Ringaudas Songaila

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Ringaudas Songaila
First Secretary of the Communist Party of Lithuania
In office
1 December 1987 – 19 October 1988
Preceded byPetras Griškevičius
Succeeded byAlgirdas Brazauskas
Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Lithuanian SSR
In office
24 December 1975 – 16 January 1981
Preceded byAntanas Barkauskas
Succeeded byLionginas Šepetys
Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Lithuanian SSR
In office
16 January 1981 – 18 November 1985
Preceded byJuozas Maniušis
Succeeded byVytautas Sakalauskas
Personal details
Born(1929-04-20)20 April 1929
Klaipėda, Lithuania
Died25 June 2019(2019-06-25) (aged 90)
Trakai, Lithuania[1]
Political partyCommunist Party of Lithuania

Ringaudas Bronislovas Songaila (20 April 1929[2] – 25 June 2019)[3] was an official of the Lithuanian SSR nomenclatura. In 1987–1988, he was the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Lithuania or the de facto head of state.


Songaila was born in Klaipėda. He graduated from a veterinary school and within five years became a deputy of the Minister of Agriculture. In 1962, at the age of 33, he became Minister of Production of Agricultural Products and Resources.[3] In agriculture, he worked on increasing the size of kolkhozs (collective farms), increasing centralization and specialization of agricultural production, elimination of khutors (single homesteads), and implementation of land improvements.[1] Songaila was a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Lithuania (1962–1981), Chairman of the Council of Ministers (1981–1985; equivalent to Prime Minister), Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Lithuanian SSR (1985–1987; de jure head of state),[4] and First Secretary of the Communist Party of Lithuania (December 1987 – October 1988; de facto head of state).[3]

He was described as a "bland" and indecisive but loyal communist who stayed away from political intrigues and showed interest only in agricultural matters.[3] When Songaila ordered KGB and Internal Troops to forcibly disperse a rally of the radical pro-independence Lithuanian Liberty League on 28 September 1988, he was forced to resign one month later.[5] He was replaced by Algirdas Brazauskas, who supported Sąjūdis movement and Lithuania's declaration of independence in March 1990.

After the resignation, Songaila retired from public life and died on 25 June 2019 at the age of 90.[3] He was buried in the Antakalnis Cemetery in Vilnius.[6]


  1. ^ a b "Ringaudas Bronislovas Songaila". Visuotinė lietuvių enciklopedija (in Lithuanian). Mokslo ir enciklopedijų leidybos centras. 24 January 2020 [2012].
  2. ^ Sužiedėlis, Saulius (2011). Historical Dictionary of Lithuania. Historical dictionaries of Europe. Vol. 80. Scarecrow Press. p. 280. ISBN 978-0-8108-4914-3.
  3. ^ a b c d e Vaitelė, Tomas (14 July 2019). "Anapilin iškeliavusio sovietinės Lietuvos vadovo klystkeliai: po "bananų baliaus" tapo visų užmiršta praeities šmėkla" (in Lithuanian). Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  4. ^ Zinkus, Jonas; et al., eds. (1985–1988). "Songaila, Ringaudas". Tarybų Lietuvos enciklopedija (in Lithuanian). Vol. 4. Vilnius: Vyriausioji enciklopedijų redakcija. p. 72. LCCN 86232954.
  5. ^ Beissinger, Mark R. (2002). Nationalist mobilization and the collapse of the Soviet State. Cambridge University Press. p. 175. ISBN 978-0-521-00148-9.
  6. ^ Jockus, Arvydas (28 June 2019). "Mirė "bananų baliaus" organizatorius R.Songaila" (in Lithuanian). Alfa.lt via Vakarų ekspresas. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
Party political offices
Preceded by First Secretary of the Communist Party of Lithuania
Succeeded by