Justas Paleckis
Justas Paleckis was a Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

n journalist and politician. He was acting president of Lithuania after the Soviet invasion while Lithuania was still ostensibly independent, in office from June 17 – August 3, 1940.

In 1926-1927, he was a director of the Lithuanian official news agency, ELTA
ELTA is a Lithuanian news agency based in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius.ELTA was founded in 1920 in Kaunas, the second largest city in Lithuania, by Juozas Eretas, the first director of the agency, a literature professor, publicist, and public figure of Swiss descent who sought to make the ELTA...

. He later voiced opposition to the ruling elite in Lithuania; in this way, he became a suitable candidate for the Lithuanian communists
Communist Party of Lithuania
The Communist Party of Lithuania was a communist party in Lithuania, established in early October 1918. The party was banned in December 1926.-History:...

 (manipulated by Soviet envoy Vladimir Dekanozov
Vladimir Dekanozov
Vladimir Georgievich Dekanozov ) was a Soviet senior state security operative and diplomat.-Before Second World War:...

) to become the puppet leader of Lithuania in the Soviets' planned takeover of the country in 1940.

After President Antanas Smetona
Antanas Smetona
Antanas Smetona was one of the most important Lithuanian political figures between World War I and World War II. He served as the first President of Lithuania from April 4, 1919 to June 19, 1920. He again served as the last President of the country from December 19, 1926 to June 15, 1940, before...

 decided to go into exile under Soviet pressure, Prime Minister Antanas Merkys
Antanas Merkys
Antanas Merkys |Bajorai]], near Skapiškis, Vilna Governorate of the Russian Empire; died on March 5, 1955 in Vladimir Oblast, Soviet Union) was the last Prime Minister of independent Lithuania, serving from November 1939 to June 1940. When Soviet Union presented an ultimatum to Lithuania, President...

 became acting president. A day after Smetona left the country, Merkys announced he had formally ousted Smetona and taken over the presidency himself. He then appointed Paleckis prime minister. Merkys himself resigned, making Paleckis acting president as well. These moves are now considered illegal and unconstitutional, since Smetona never resigned. As such, Paleckis is not recognized as a legitimate president by Lithuanian diplomats.

By this time, Lithuania had been occupied by Soviet troops
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

. His appointment as Prime Minister was made under the control and dictate of the Soviet embassy in Kaunas
Kaunas is the second-largest city in Lithuania and has historically been a leading centre of Lithuanian economic, academic, and cultural life. Kaunas was the biggest city and the center of a powiat in Trakai Voivodeship of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania since 1413. During Russian Empire occupation...

. Aided by specialists sent in from Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

, Soviet deputy foreign minister Vladimir Dekanozov
Vladimir Dekanozov
Vladimir Georgievich Dekanozov ) was a Soviet senior state security operative and diplomat.-Before Second World War:...

 worked through the Lithuanian Communist Party, while the cabinet of ministers, headed by Paleckis, served an administrative function. Dekanozov and Paleckis brought a number of non-Communists into the first "People’s government", but in historical retrospect it is clear that they constituted window dressing for the Soviet takeover. In order to save face, the Soviet Union attempted to cover its annexation of the Baltic States with a cloak of legality. Therefore Moscow ordered the puppet government of Paleckis to carry out elections for a People’s Seimas on July 14-15 with a single list of candidates containing only Communists and their allies. The People’s Parliament met on July 21, with only one order of business--a request for admission to the Soviet Union, which was unanimously carried. A few days later, Moscow "accepted" the request.

Paleckis remained as head of state, a post which was named Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Lithuanian SSR
Supreme Soviet of the Lithuanian SSR
The Supreme Soviet of the Lithuanian SSR was the supreme soviet of the Lithuanian SSR, one of the republics comprising the Soviet Union. The Supreme Soviet was established in August 1940 when the People's Seimas declared itself the provisional Supreme Soviet...

, until 1967. As such, he personally signed orders authorizing the mass deportation of several figures from independent Lithuania. With his agreement, Merkys and Minister of Foreign Affairs Juozas Urbšys
Juozas Urbšys
Juozas Urbšys was a prominent interwar Lithuanian diplomat, the last head of foreign affairs in independent interwar Lithuania, and a translator. He served in the military between 1916 and 1922, afterwards joining the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs...

 were deported to Russian SFSR. The intelligentsia and Lithuania's elite were considered as enemies and were among the first sentenced to deportation or death. He worked closely with NKVD
The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs was the public and secret police organization of the Soviet Union that directly executed the rule of power of the Soviets, including political repression, during the era of Joseph Stalin....

 residents in Lithuania (M. Gedvilas, M. Mickis).

During 1940–1953, some 132,000 Lithuanians were deported to remote areas of the USSR: Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

, the Arctic Circle
Arctic Circle
The Arctic Circle is one of the five major circles of latitude that mark maps of the Earth. For Epoch 2011, it is the parallel of latitude that runs north of the Equator....

 zone and Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

. They were not allowed to leave remote villages. More than 70 percent of the deportees were women and children. There were 50,000 women and 39,000 children deported to remote areas of the USSR. Some 30,000 of the deportees died there mostly because of slave work and starvation. Some 50,000 of the deportees were not able to return to Lithuania. During the same period, another 200,000 people were thrown into prisons. Some 150,000 of them were sent to the Gulag
The Gulag was the government agency that administered the main Soviet forced labor camp systems. While the camps housed a wide range of convicts, from petty criminals to political prisoners, large numbers were convicted by simplified procedures, such as NKVD troikas and other instruments of...

 (the USSR‘s concentration camps), situated mostly in Siberia.

He served as Chairman of the Soviet of Nationalities (1966–1970).

His son Justas Vincas Paleckis
Justas Vincas Paleckis
Justas Vincas Paleckis is a Lithuanian politician, signatory of the Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania, and Member of the European Parliament for the Social Democratic Party of Lithuania. He is also a part of the Party of European Socialists...

 is a politician and Member of the European Parliament
Member of the European Parliament
A Member of the European Parliament is a person who has been elected to the European Parliament. The name of MEPs differ in different languages, with terms such as europarliamentarian or eurodeputy being common in Romance language-speaking areas.When the European Parliament was first established,...

 http://www.paleckis.lt/?lang=en and an active pro-European.
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