Lithuania Enforces New Law to Remove Monuments and Symbols of Totalitarian Regimes
New Law Mandates Removal of Totalitarian Monuments from Public Spaces
Lithuania has implemented a new law, effective May 1, 2023, which requires municipalities to remove monuments and other symbols of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes from public spaces.
The law was passed in December 2022 by the Lithuanian parliament, with the aim of eliminating the glorification of these regimes and their ideologies.
The state-funded Genocide and Resistance Research Centre of Lithuania (LGRTC) will oversee the removal process, with local municipalities given 20 working days to submit lists of public spaces featuring such symbols. The research centre, in conjunction with local municipalities, will then have the power to designate certain objects as linked to totalitarian or authoritarian regimes.
A commission consisting of nine members, delegated by various institutions and organizations, and approved by the Lithuanian parliament, will assist in the decision-making process. The commission’s members will be responsible for evaluating the historical context of the object and determining whether it promotes or glorifies totalitarian or authoritarian regimes.
The new law explicitly bans the commemoration or representation of people, symbols, and information that promote such regimes and their ideologies. This includes monuments, plaques, sculptures, and other symbols that glorify totalitarian leaders or events. The law also covers public displays of the symbols of fascist or communist regimes, as well as their collaborators.
Lithuania, like many countries in Europe, has a complex history, including occupation and oppression by authoritarian regimes. The new law is a step towards acknowledging and reckoning with that history, and promoting a democratic society that is free from the influence of totalitarianism and authoritarianism.
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