The Seim of Lithuania adopted and President Valdas Adamkus approved amendments to the Law on Meetings. These amendments prohibit the use of Soviet and Nazi symbols at any public events. In particular they specify that “Nazi and Communist symbols shall not be used at any meetings in Lithuania as they may be understood as propaganda of the Nazi and Communist occupation regimes”. Besides, “no flags, state emblems, insignia, uniforms, which include elements of the flags and emblems of Nazi Germany, USSR and Lithuanian SSR, shall be demonstrated”. The authorities also prohibited demonstration of German Nazi and CPSU leader portraits. The law bans “the use of the Nazi swastika, Soviet hammer and sickle, Soviet five-point red star, as well as execution of the hymns of Nazi Germany, Soviet Union and Lithuanian SSR.
The Seim promptly approved a system of penalties for violation of the Law with the amendments. According to amendments to the Criminal Code demonstration of the symbols of the Nazi and Communist regimes is subject to a money penalty of 500 – 1000 Litas (equivalent to 200 – 500 US Dollars) with confiscations of these articles. Besides execution of the hymns of Nazi Germany, USSR and Lithuanian SSR in public is subject to a money penalty too.
The Law adopted by the Lithuanian authorities equated the history of the USSR and history of fascism. In so doing, neither the Lithuanian President nor legislators are ashamed with the fact that the symbols of the Soviet Union became the symbols of fight against Nazi Germany for the peoples of Europe inclusive of the Lithuanians during WWII. In fact the Lithuanian authorities slapped in the face of those who spilled their blood liberating the nations against the Nazi slavery. Meanwhile on July 8 when new Russian Federation Ambassador V. Chhikvadze submitted his credentials to the Lithuanian President the latter hypocritically claimed that “in Lithuania nobody wants to cast doubt upon the contribution of the Russian people likewise other peoples – Ukrainians, Byelorussians, Kazakhs, etc. to the fight against fascism”.
In this connection it is not surprising that the decision of the Lithuanian authorities caused an adverse reaction in Moscow and Kaliningrad. Speaking about the decision of the Seim Konstantin Kosachev, Deputy Chairman of the RF State Duma Committee for Foreign Affairs, said: “It is a new gross mistake of the Lithuanian politicians. It is a case when a mistake is worse than a crime. The fact that the Lithuanian people survived as a nation and restored today their statehood is a direct result of the victory of the Soviet Union with its symbols in World War II. It is immoral and intolerable to equate the Soviet Union with Nazi Germany.”
In Kaliningrad left-wing parties and veteran organization held a protest rally at the Lithuanian General Consulate to express public indignation about the actions of the Lithuanian rulers. The protesters carried slogans “Hands off Star, Hammer and Sickle!”, “Lithuanians, Friendship with Russia Better Than ABM Defense!”
The analysis of the situation relating to the ban of the Soviet symbols in Lithuania and their equating with the symbols of Nazi Germany confirms that our neighbors suffer from a new paid exacerbation of the anti-Russian hysteria. It is impossible to explain the steps of the Lithuanian rulers with anything else but the desire to aggravate the relations with our country as much as possible. But who needs it and who stands to gain from it?