Lithuanian Riflemen's Union (Lithuania)

Country: Lithuania
Details of Formation: The Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union (LRU) was established in Kaunas in 1919. During German and Soviet occupation the LRU became anti-government and eventually ceased to exist. When the movement for reform started at the end of the Cold War, first attempts were made to restore the LRU. On June 1, 1989, restoration of the LRU was officially announced. However, it did not regain its former popularity or influence (Wikipedia). One news source from 1995 reported that the re-established LRU was unarmed. Another news source from 1997 speaks of the LRU’s first combat platoon. The LRU is coded a PGM from 1997 onwards, as we have no evidence that it was armed before that year.
Details of Termination: Still active
Purpose: The group’s main purpose is to strengthen national security and organizing training for young people on techniques of sabotage and subversion in the event Lithuania is ever occupied. In case of occupation, the LRU had the duty of rousing the population for battle with the occupying forces. It was given the task to defend the state's border.
Organisation: The LRU operates within the framework of Lithuania’s defense system. It cooperates with government institutions such as the military, the Police department, Fire and Rescue Department, Lithuanian State Border Guard Service and others. Its highest ruling body is the Conference of Members. The LRU commander is selected by the Minister of Defense and approved by the Conference of Members. Since July 2014, its commander is reserve col. Lt. Liudas Gumbinas (Wikipedia). The LRU receives financial support from the state and is allocated a part of the National Defense budget. Members who disobey receive heavy penalties, as did three riflemen who wore their uniforms at the funeral of a war-crime suspect.
Weapons and Training: The young riflemen (11-18 years old) receive training, including military training (Wikipedia). Due to the association with the Lithuanian military, the LRU can use the military’s material and equipment, training techniques and equipment and weaponry. The military also provides a military advisor for training of the riflemen.
Size: A news source from 1997 says the group had 3,200 members, and another news source from 2010 estimates a membership of almost 10,000. After Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, the number of applications for membership in the LRU increased by a third. Currently, the PGM has 11,000 members (Wikipedia).
Reason for Membership: Membership is voluntary. One news source reports that members applied because they fear a Russian aggression in Lithuania.
Treatment of Civilians: --
Other Information: The Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union is also known as Lietuvos šaulių sąjunga or šauliai. It is a paramilitary non-profit organisation and supported by the state.
References: Wikipedia. “Lituanian Riflemen’s Union”. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Lithuanian_Riflemen%27s_Union&oldid=829838793

Information was taken from news sources listed in the PGMD.