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Wednesday 25.04.2018 | Name days: Līksma, Bārbala
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Protest-free removal of sensitive Soviet sculptures analysed in Lithuania

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RULast week in Vilnius, a sensitive symbol of the Soviet rule – statues of the Green Bridge – was removed. The long-prepared and much-discussed step was received without protests from the Russian-speaking community, unlike the relocation of the Bronze Soldier in Estonia in 2007.

Eight years ago, the Bronze Soldier of Tallinn, a memorial for WWII Soviet soldiers, was relocated from the city centre to a war memorial, which led to protests and riots, in which one person died and another 44 were injured.

Some were expecting similar reactions to removal of the so-called Green Bridge statues in Vilnius, but when they were taken down last week, there were no conflicts or provocations, LRT and Delfi.lt report.

Russian-speaking community in Lithuania is closer integrated into the society, the meaning of the Green Bridge statues has decreased and the Russian media avoided provocations – these are some of the reasons that helped Lithuania avoid protests, believe experts interviewed by LRT.

«We know that if Russia wanted to, it could equalize the symbolical meaning of both, the Bronze Soldier, and the Green Bridge statues, » stated Eastern Europe Studies Centre (EESC) analyst Laurynas Kasčiūnas.

«People were rallied and mobilised to go to Estonia in order to protest. The case of the Green Bridge statues was different, because we only saw representational messages in the Russian press and explanations about what’s happening. It is worth noting that the messages were written in a tone that was unfavourable to Lithuania, but no one invited people to take any sort of action,» noted professor and philosopher from the Vytautas Magnus University, Gintautas Mažeikis.

«We saw news reports by Russian media after the sculptures were removed. The reports said that we were trying to rewrite history, disrespect the Soviet army and are just one step from being fascist,» Kasčiūnas evaluated.

The EESC analyst reasoned that integration of Russian speakers in Lithuania is much more successful than it was in Estonia eight years ago. Another factor is that there are fewer Russian-speakers in Lithuania.

Mažeikis agreed to the opinion: «The notion of a Russian speaker in Lithuania is inadequate, because Belarusian consciousness is getting stronger and Ukrainian consciousness is emerging, which is the opposite of what Moscow sees as a Russian speaker. Also, Polish people, who used to identify themselves with Russians before, are now completely different.»

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  1. Linda says:

    That’s because Estonia is the “honoured enemy” coined by the Rus gov.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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