How Lithuania dealt with its Soviet statues

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JOSEF STALIN stands in military dress, his hand tucked inside the breast of his coat. Vladimir Lenin sits—relaxed, cross-legged—with a book. Elsewhere, he extends his arm, mimicking the pose he adopted when he arrived in Russia in 1917 to seize power. Grutas Park, a sculpture garden in south-west Lithuania, is the home of 86 such relics of the Soviet era. Established by Viliumas Malinauskas, a mushroom magnate, the park has been their woodland home since 2001.

In 1990, when Lithuania declared its independence from the Soviet Union, citizens pulled down statues of leaders and prominent communist figures. In the heated political moment there was little thought for what to do with them subsequently (as seems to be the case in many of the American cities that have removed their Confederate monuments). After a debate in Lithuania’s parliament, the statues were removed and placed into…Continue reading

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