There are seven letters on six stelae. A memorial to Soviet soldiers was defaced in the prestigious Antakalnis cemetery of the capital.
“Even though it is an unpleasant, deservedly unpleasant object, vandalism is a negative thing,” Vilnius City Mayor Remigijus Šimašius told LNK.
The stelae were defaced when they found that their removal had been temporarily suspended by the United Nations Human Rights Committee.
“I’ll say it straight, my first instinct was to send that resolution in the direction of the Russian ship,” R. Šimašius said.
Any documents and international agreements, the mayor says, it turned out that Lithuania must respect the decision of this committee. Therefore, the memorial will still have to stand here.
According to Minister of Justice Ewelina Dobrowolska, the authors of the complaint submitted false information to the United Nations Committee.
“It is planned to rebury Menama, to demolish and destroy Menama,” E. Dobrowolska told reporters on Wednesday.
Therefore, the Ministry of Justice appealed this decision of the United Nations Committee and expects an answer within a month.
“We’re not talking about removing headstones, we’re not talking about moving remains in any way.” We are talking about the fact that the stelae, which are essentially uncharacteristic of cemeteries, could be removed,” said the Minister of Justice.
Until this day, the day of the Soviet victory, May 9, was a meeting place.
Vilnius City Mayor R. Šimašius also emphasizes that these are not tombstones. The Soviets installed a square in the cemetery with ideological symbols of praise.
“Nobody in the civilized West behaves like that, cemeteries are cemeteries,” said Vilnius City Mayor R. Šimašius.
In the United Nations case, the authors of the complaint are identified as ethnic Russians. But among them is Kazimieras Juraitis, an associate of Algirdas Paleckis, who was convicted of espionage for Russia, who went to see Aliaksandra Lukashenko.
“There is some kind of memorandum signed by the United Nations between the countries, specifically for national minorities. I perceive this as a violation of my rights, because this memory is also important to me as a Lithuanian. In this case, I will officially declare myself to be Russian”, K. Juraitis said in mid-September via video broadcasts.
The authors of the complaint assert that the decision to postpone violates their rights as a national minority. And the member of the Vilnius council, the daughter of the partisan Tigar, says that she is offended that the monument has not been removed yet.
“In Vilnius, as in the capital, there is such a magnificent monument to the nation that oppressed us for so many years. And it was really shameful that it was still standing for so many years,” Vilnius city council member Angelė Jakavonytė told LNK.
A. Paleckis himself also spoke about the monument in the program of the Russian spy comrade. They bypass the system by using the phone and plugging in the punishment while watching the live broadcast.
According to the Minister of Justice, the institutions are looking for ways to prevent the activities of A. Paleckis.
“These are weak actions, when they are at war with the monuments, the people who freed us from the fascists, from the Nazis,” A. Paleckis said in the aforementioned program.
On Wednesday, the Vilnius City Council took over the memorial as its property. And when it is removed, it will be handed over to the National Museum. Removal work was planned to begin as early as Thursday, with a view to completing it by Halloween.
But now it’s obvious that it won’t be possible, but it will still be delayed.
“We plan to start the work after that, after November 1, and postpone it during November,” capital city mayor R. Šimašius told LNK.
Since it is already clear that the process will be a bit longer, and considering Wednesday’s act of vandalism, the municipality will cover the steles with a cloth.
“So that they don’t annoy people, because they are really there for something, and then the covered steles will be removed,” he said.
After Russia started the war in Ukraine, Estonia and Latvia also took down memorials glorifying the Soviet era.
The same United Nations Human Rights Committee urged Latvia to postpone the dismantling of the Soviet obelisk. But Riga claims that the writing made them permanent only when the obelisk was already removed.
You can find the full LNK report here: