Lithuanian Riflemen's Union

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Lithuanian Riflemen's Union
(Lietuvos šaulių sąjunga)
Lithuanian Riflemen's Union.jpg
Flag of the Lithuanian Riflemen's Union
Active 1919-1940
1989-present
Country  Lithuania
Allegiance Lithuanian Armed Forces
Type Paramilitary organization
Role Civilian self-defence institution
Size <10,000 members
Garrison/HQ Kaunas
Nickname Šauliai
Motto "Stiprybė vienybėje!"
Anniversaries June 27, 1919
September 20, 1989
Engagements Lithuanian Wars of Independence
Klaipėda Revolt
Resistance in Lithuania during World War II
January Events in Lithuania
Website www.sauliusajunga.lt
Commanders
Current
commander
Lieutenant colonel Liudas Gumbinas
Insignia
LRU member‘s badge LSS sign.jpg

Lithuanian Riflemen's Union or Union of Lithuanian Riflemen (Lithuanian: Lietuvos Šaulių Sąjunga), also referred to as šauliai (Lithuanian: šaulys for rifleman)paramilitary organisation with historical significance.

Membership[edit]

After Lithuania re-established independence in 1990, the organization was recreated, but it did not regain its former popularity or influence. Current membership of the Lithuanian Riflemen's Union is nearly 10,000[1] (in the interwar period it was 62,000). 66% of members are Young Riflemen (12–18 years old), 10% are Combat Riflemen (19–45 years old) and the remaining 24% are Non-combat Riflemen.[2]

History[edit]

The organisation was most powerful in independent Lithuania until the Soviet occupation in June 1940. Being a member was seen as prestigious, and "šaulys" was regarded as a defender of the state: when Lithuania was occupied, it conducted guerrilla warfare. It was natural that many state officials were members of this organisation. At the time it was multinational containing Belarusians and Russians. The main purpose of the organization was to train citizens in a military art, and in case of military aggression, to provide trained people to the Lithuanian Armed Forces. After the Soviet Union occupied Lithuania in 1940, the Soviets quickly dissolved the organisation, and many members were arrested and sentenced to death.

After Lithuania re-established independence in 1990, the organization was recreated, but it did not regain its former popularity or influence. A branch called Young Riflemen (Jaunieji Šauliai) is a paramilitary organisation for children. Current membership of the Lithuanian Riflemen's Union is 7,000; in the interwar period it was 61,000. 61% of its members are Young Riflemen (12–18 years old), 8% are Active Riflemen (people who formerly were in army, 18–45 years old) and the remaining 31% are Inactive Riflemen.

Controversy[edit]

Members of the organization participated in the Klaipėda Revolt of 1923, when Klaipėda Region was annexed by Lithuania. The former German area with a large Lithuanian population was then administered by France, according to the Treaty of Versailles

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]