To what extent does the Lithuanian political regime match the standards of civilized Europe? It’s hard to give an unambiguous answer. That’s what comes to mind on February 16 – the Lithuania’s Independence Day marked by marches of Neo-Nazis in Kaunas, Lithuania’s second-largest city. On October 28, 1941 German and Lithuanian fascists joined together to eliminate the local ghetto executing 10 thousand Jews in one day.
The main event during holiday’s festivities was the clash between 500 radical nationalists and protesting Jewish community.
Dovid Katz is a U.S.-born Jewish scholar of Yiddish who settled in Vilnius 16 years ago and has led protests against the veneration of Nazis in the Baltic States. Having made sure that they are in majority and there is nothing to threaten them, Neo-Nazis chanted «Out with Katz» posing for pictures near the Jewish protesters. They thanked the march organizers for preparing the event.
Efraim Zuroff is an Israeli historian and director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center office in Jerusalem. The Center has been investigating Nazi crimes for many years. He sent a letter to Andrius Kupčinskas, the mayor of Kaunas, expressing hope that the local authorities will not permit the action. In particular, it said, «As you well know, once again the neo-Nazis and ultranationalists plan to march in the center of Kaunas this coming Monday, February 16 to mark Lithuanian Independence Day. I think that it should be obvious to you that such a march in which the main slogan is «Lithuania for Lithuanians», and numerous Lithuanian swastikas are shown along with the image of Third Reich supporter Juozas Ambrazevičius who collaborated with the Nazis in the murder of the Jewish residents of Kaunas is hardly an appropriate manner to celebrate Lithuanian independence».
The admonition was ignored and the march did take place. About the same time the mayor ostracized Laisvūnas Muralis, a young school teacher from Kaunas, who wrote in his post that Americans ruled Ukraine and incited the civil war there. The teacher posted a picture of Ukrainian President Poroshenko with a rope hanging nearby accompanied by his commentary «One cannot escape responsibility for genocide!»
Muralis was immediately fired. The Kaunas mayor was personally involved in persecution saying «It’s unacceptable and abnormal when a man who has to educate children as a teacher openly supports terrorists in Ukraine and speaks against European integration». At the same time it is acceptable and normal to allow Nazi marches take place as part of Independence Day festivities.
The behavior of Andrius Kupčinskas is a glaring example of duplicity demonstrated by the current Lithuanian regime which cares so much about the young fascist generation it fosters. The Lithuanian rulers persecute people for anti-fascist views under the disguise of protecting Lithuanian national interests with the use of political demagoguery. No way can national interests and sovereignty be protected when Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite betrays them every day to please the United States and NATO.
Presenting letters of credence to Vytautas Leškevičius, the newly assigned Lithuania's permanent representative to NATO, the President said that Lithuania should seek stronger U.S. and NATO presence in the country and the whole region. Her vision of things by and large boils down to the fact that increasing US foothold in Europe means reducing the influence of Russia and that’s what the Lithuanian foreign policy is about.
The meaning is clear – the Lithuanian President with all the vigor typical for those who belong to the recent addition to the European structures advocates US expansion in the European continent. Washington welcomes this approach. It wants its European presence to expand. The United States has already chosen Vilnius to host the NATO Energy Security Centre of Excellence. According to current plans, the elements of NATO Response Force are to be deployed in Lithuania. Victoria Nuland, US Assistant Secretary of European and Eurasian Affairs, says these forces are to be stationed at the forward edge battle area. By making such statement the State Department admits that NATO is not only involved in the war in Ukraine but acts as a belligerent.
The Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs demonstrates outrageous duplicity sayings the main threat to peace in Ukraine are the Russian arms supplies to anti-government forces. Lithuanian Defence Minister Juozas Olekas admitted the fact that his country supplied arms to the government forces of Ukraine. According to him, it was gratuitous aid sent to a friendly country to fulfill the given promises. "We've agreed (with Ukraine) that they will check what they need and we will check what we can send them, and then we will find a final conclusion - what we can do, how we can support," he said. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius says from time to time that Lithuania is ready to render any kind of support to Ukraine, including military aid.
One more to add to the picture – this January the Kyiv-based Institute of World Policy released an annual rating of key figures promoting Ukraine’s cause worldwide. It hails those who lobby for Ukraine’s integration into European and international bodies. Dalia Grybauskaite tops the list. She left behind (just come to think of it) John McCain himself (the third place), Angela Merkel (the sixth place), George Soros (the seventh place) and Joe Biden (the eighth place). A sweeping victory! But lobbyism is something to pay for. It would be interesting to know who and how pays Grybauskaite for her lobbying activities?