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Aleksandras Stulginskis
Aleksandras Stulginskis (1885-1969).jpg
2nd President of Lithuania
In office
June 19, 1920 – June 7, 1926
Preceded by Antanas Smetona
Succeeded by Kazys Grinius
Acting President of Lithuania
In office
December 19, 1926 – December 19, 1926
Preceded by Jonas Staugaitis
Succeeded by Antanas Smetona
Personal details
Born (1885-02-26)February 26, 1885
Kutaliai, Kovno Governorate, Russian Empire
Died September 22, 1969(1969-09-22) (aged 84)
Kaunas, Lithuanian SSR, Soviet Union
Nationality Lithuanian
Political party Lithuanian Christian Democratic Party

Aleksandras Stulginskis (February 26, 1885 – September 22, 1969) was the second President of Lithuania (1920–1926). Stulginskis was also acting President of Lithuania for a few hours later in 1926, following a military coup that was led by his predecessor, President Antanas Smetona, and which had brought down Stulginskis's successor, Kazys Grinius. The coup returned Smetona to office after Stulginskis's brief formal assumption of the Presidency.

He began his theological studies in Kaunas and continued in Innsbruck, Austria. However, he decided not to become a priest and moved to the Institute of Agricultural Sciences in University of Halle. He graduated in 1913 and returned to Lithuania. There he started to work as a farmer. He published many articles on agronomy in Lithuanian press. In 1918 he started to publish journals Ūkininkas ("Farmer") and Ūkininko kalendorius ("Farmer's Calendar").

During World War I he moved to Vilnius. He was one of the founders of the Lithuanian Christian Democratic Party and the head of its Central Committee in 1917. He signed the memorandum for the president Woodrow Wilson, addressing the question of the recognition of the Lithuanian statehood by the United States. Contrary to Smetona's views, Stulginskis was oriented towards the Entente. He was one of co-organizers of the Vilnius Conference. After, he was elected to the Council of Lithuania.

On February 16, 1918, he signed the Act of Independence of Lithuania. He was an advocate of the democratic republic as the form of the Lithuanian state. Thus, he strongly opposed the idea of monarchy (actually, Mindaugas II was the King of Lithuania from 11 July to 2 November 1918). In independent Lithuania Stulginskis was in charge of organizing the national army to defend the country against the aggressions of Bolsheviks and Poles.

Many times served as a minister, May 1920 – 1922 he was Speaker of the Constituent Assembly of Lithuania and thus acting president of the republic. 1922-1926 he was the second President of Lithuania. Stulginskis was Speaker of the Seimas 1926-1927.

He withdrew from politics in 1927, and worked on his farm. In 1941 Stulginskis and his wife were arrested by the Soviet NKVD and deported to a gulag in the Krasnoyarsk region, while his wife was deported to the Komi area. After World War II in 1952 he was officially sentenced by the Soviet authorities to 25 years in prison for his anti-socialist and clerical policies in pre-war Lithuania.

Released after Joseph Stalin's death in 1956, he was allowed to emigrate, yet he refused and returned to Lithuanian SSR. Stulginskis settled in Kaunas, where he died on September 22, 1969, aged 84, the last of the Signatories of the Act of Independence of Lithuania.

Aleksandras Stulginskis in a Lithuanian poster.

See also

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