Lithuania: A Social Portrait of the Elite Born in 1945–1947

  • Arvydas Virgilijus Matulionis
Keywords: generation, elite, social portrait, social mobility


The article is based on the biographies of the members of elite published in the ency­clopaedia Lietuva (Lithuania), and on interviews with these persons. Men outnumber women in this cohort of the Lithuanian elite. Part of its representatives was born in the countryside, but others had their social roots in cities and towns, particularly in Kaunas. Later most of them came to Vilnius and have been living in the capital of Lithuania. Their parents belonged to the intelligentsia. Part of this generation was deported to Siberia. Institutions of higher learning, in particular Vilnius University and Kaunas Polytechnical Institute, were the channels of vertical social mobility, although some of the representatives of the future elite received their professional education in Moscow, Leningrad, Novosibirsk, and other universities in Russia. The majority of the elite born in 1945–1947 are Lithuanians, but there is also a high percentage of Jews. A qualitative research shows that these people cannot be labelled as a lost generation, because the achievements of the elite of this particular age group are significant.