Interview for the project
Fascism-XXI at your door
July 26, 2012.
Video part 1
In the situation of an economic and political crisis the authorities of Lithuania are desperately looking for national heroes and find them in the Nazi era. They glorify «The Forest Brothers» and all other collaborators of Nazis during the WWII, this is why history is falsified.
As you may know, before the WWII Lithuania was a rather poor country, then it was incorporated into the USSR and the war began shortly after that. As soon as Germans occupied Lithuania they began mass executions of civilians. Unfortunately, many Lithuanians participated in those executions. After the war significant part of such people fled to forests and became «The Forest Brothers».
Well, now all of «The Forest Brothers» became so called heroes, who supposedly were fighting for the independence of Lithuania. It's clear that many of them were just German collaborators with their hands bloodstained. Our government gets inspiration exactly in those times: before the WWII, when Lithuania had a pro-Nazi regime; during the WWII, when many future «forest brothers» collaborated with the Germans and after the war when «The Forest Brothers» pretended to be fighting for freedom, but actually were just murdering peaceful civilians — farmers, their families, children etc.
This is how the revival of fascism and Nazism begins in Lithuania. Such ideas are implanted into children's minds. Fairy tales about fights for freedom are cultivated. So, the young generation of Lithuania is looking at such heroes as role models. I hope I have fully answered one of the questions.
How all this affects the present day? As a result of such brainwashing, young people get such preconceptions like russophobia, xenophobia, nationalism. For the same reason, many people celebrate March 11th (Independence Day of Lithuania) yelling «Lithuania is for Lithuanians» and decorating themselves with swastikas.
Some orders of Lithuanian courts also play along the same line. For example, recently one court has ruled that swastika is an ancient symbol of Balts - the ancestors of the Baltic nations, the evidence was supposedly found in some archeological excavations. Such «ancient» swastika can be legally demonstrated. Another court has ruled, that «Lithuania is for Lithuanians» is a democratic slogan.
Recently Lithuanian authorities sponsored the reburial of Juozas Ambrazevičius – one of the major Nazi collaborators, the head of the so called Provisional government of Lithuania in 1941 and the man who welcomed the troops of Hitler on Lithuanian land. That government was tainted with collaborationism, but very recently, in 2012, the leader of such government was reburied with a pompous ceremony.
Then, no wonder how it has been found out recently that twelve open neo-Nazis serve in the Lithuanian army. Some journalists investigated this issue and compared photos of these petty warriors on duty and their photos in their free time. The same people after service demonstrate tattoos with swastikas and German crosses, they raise their hands in Nazi salute and shout «Sieg Heil!». These people are still serving and none of them was discharged.
Also, in the social networks, «Facebook» and others, some former ministers have a habit to say to their buddies «Sieg Heil!» instead of good-bye. This is new; the higher level of the same problem. In addition to the level of common people, celebrating March 11th with the Nazi slogans and larger with each year groups of skinheads (from one to two thousand), we have a level of elite circles, ruling class people who have sympathies for Nazism. Here I’ve answered the next question.
There was a question about film «The Soviet Story». This film is a blatant fabrication for the most part. It has been shown on the national Lithuanian television and was featured several times in the prime time – peak time of audience viewership, with such comments like “Lithuanian people, look, this is the true history that has been hidden from you ...”
Video part 2
The film was accompanied with the comments by the well-known political scientists, Lithuanian politicians, journalists supposedly as the ultimate truth. Although we all know that it is far from verity. It has been featured several times, but I have to say, that probably nationalistic propaganda already has gone too far here, because, in response to a question on the reaction of the society about this film, it can be said that in principle, there was no particular reaction of the public to this film because people are tired of such blatant propaganda, it is not new anymore.
And all of this was seen as a perfunctory propaganda, which fewer and fewer people believe in. Especially against the background of the crisis, when more and more people live in poverty, more people leave the country: we have an awful migration level. We are constantly reminded of the pre-war and the post-war deportations to Siberia but today's capitalist "deportation" has affected many times more people than it had then. With such public context, the movie just was not apprehended as the ultimate truth.
I can say with confidence that, bearing in mind the historical experience, it is safe to say that Fascism will not pass in Lithuania. We will not let this happen. There are more and more of us, people who understand and know the real history of Lithuania, and we will do everything to stop it.
The media describe or depict or make reports about the activities of neo-Nazis, I would say, in quite uncritical almost apologetic way. That is, unfortunately, in the reports of journalists the marches of nationalists and neo-Nazis are covered, I would say, with a slightly positive attitude. Many journalists simply being uninformed and naive do not realize how dangerous it is, and such events are obtruded as the actions of nationally-minded, allegedly patriotic young people.
So in regard to them an epithet “patriotic” is used. Only on occasion the media may admit that they are really the right-wing radicals bearing danger to the society. Therefore, we should work harder with the journalists, it is necessary to explain the basics to them. The level of our education has fallen dramatically since the Soviet period, and many journalists simply do not know how dangerous it is.
In addition, some of them carry out the order of the authorities: there is a request from the authorities for nationalism – it is the official ideology of the present-day Lithuania. It is used to explain all the hardships: that external enemies - the Soviet Union, Russia - are to blame for all the ills of Lithuania. In addition, there's also Belarus to blame, which must be, as always, "liberated from the authorities", as they say in the official press. And in this sense we need to educate journalists, we should work with them, because the professional level of journalists has fallen drastically.
The activities of the Lithuanian anti-fascists come down to a quick response to all of these phenomena. We have founded an anti-fascist organization "Lithuania without Nazism". This is the national subdivision of the world organization "World without Nazism", and we are actively working on educating and informing people. We hold debating clubs, we organize rallies. We try to print our information in the press, appear in the media. We expose the authorities when they implicitly or openly support the neo-Nazis. We lodge our complaints with the international courts, and we will not retreat a step back.
It happened that we are kind of in the vanguard within the Baltic States. If we take the former Soviet Union republics we could see that neo-Nazism advanced the most in Latvia and Estonia. "The Forest Brothers" are glorified in our country, in Latvia and Estonia they extol the former SS officers - we did not have them, but these forces cooperate with each other, the authorities favour them, and we are at the forefront of this particular battle.
A testing ground is now being created within the Baltic States. The authorities, I think, not only of the Baltic States, but also some other European countries, try to make such ground out of the Baltic States. We already have a total impoverishment of the population. And the authorities are experimenting, they’re checking: "what is the response?”. We are like the testing area that can be then used on larger countries. And so far they succeed, because after all they own the media. But it is possible to resist, and we do it.