If the nation is sitting on a powder keg, it must suddenly be removed from beneath its behind. These are the words of famous crisis prevention specialist Remigijus Šimašius, who works as Vilnius mayor.
This was his explanation for the secret command on a secret operation – to remove a plaque to Nazi administration official and anti-Soviet resistance figure J. Noreika – General Storm early on Saturday morning of July 27. The same one that a hooligan had earlier smashed with a hammer, Vytautas Bruveris wrote in lrytas.lt.
It comes as no surprise that from this, even the Presidential Palace’s windows shook. Thus, the head of state G. Nausėda wished everyone calm, promised to organise broad national discussions on historical memory policy overall and urged politicians to cease waving hammer and sickles around.
Will the president enter the debate?
One can hope that taking such a fatherly pose, the president will truly begin what has long been needed – to finally put everything in the correct place and take stock of Lithuania’s bloody 20th-century history. This would be real prevention, not against individual powder barrels, but against them all.
In either case, the urging for politicians to calm down is very timely. After all, the Conservatives, who are now going after R. Šimašius, are themselves rampaging, pressuring the ruling coalition to bless an old legislative amendment, which establishes fines to all those, who openly carry the so-called Ribbon of St. George.
The right wing’s arguments are made out of reinforced concrete, as are their heads. Supposedly, currently the Kremlin regime and the Ukrainian separatists in the East that it backs use it, thus it must be banned just like the Nazi swastika or soviet hammer and sickle.
By the way, the Conservatives’ aims regarding the St. George Ribbon risk serious challenges to our museum staff and the publishes of history books. Because the senior officers of inter-war Lithuania, half of whom were awarded czarist Russian medals featuring this ribbon, publicly displayed them along with their other awards.
What are we to do with pictures of this? Paint over them or burn them?