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The Soviet Hit Men

Smogikai
Director: Jonas Öhman

Lithuania, Sweden, 2008, 55 min., documentary
For almost ten years, from 1944-1953, the guerrillas in Lithuania resisted the Soviet occupation.

As a means of annihilating this resistance, the Soviet security used under-cover hit squads, mainly recruited from among the captured guerrillas, who were turned against their former comrades, hunting them down or killing them.

The effort was one of the most efficient means employed by Soviet security against the guerrillas. At the same time it became a symbol of treason and deception, projecting a shadow of pain and fear that is felt even today

Some of the hit men still alive talk about the top-secret organisation and about the cunning operations. They also talk about their decision - how and why they agreed to become hit men.

The authors of the film travelled around Lithuania for 18 months, talking to witnesses and gathering material from archives and other sources. The effort was to present the subject as objectively as possible and to provide information about the nuances of the matter.

The tales of the former hit men and others do not only reveal little-known facts about the post-war period, they also give some insight into the choices made by man in extreme situations, and also how these choices form a human being.

The subject has never before been presented on screen in Lithuania.
Section: Identity

Screenplay: Jonas Öhman