Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I am not sure how careful you should be with your T-shirt choice in Lithuania, but for what I know, the law specifically applies to public gatherings (meetings, rallies, pickets...). This is while use of Soviet signs in party symbolic is still under question. I do not know how this law applies to the 4 sculptures on a central Vilnius bridge

or to the Grutas park of Soviet sculptures. Will it be legal to play the Russian anthem before an official football match?

The Lithuanian political club clearly likes to display anti-Russian gestures; it looks impolite there to go against that flow. It is comparable to special pro-gun or anti-abortion rituals in the US. On the other hand, the political elite has to complain from time to time of populist successes - much of the public does not visibly embrace or long for Soviet times in any way, but here is much vacuum to express discontent with political and economic trends. Already a 'populist' president (Paksas) was elected and... impeached.

The sudden hastiness with the law shows economic interest from the business class, to my view. Corporate control of politics is pretty rampant in Lithuania, just as nihilism towards any "common interest". (Witness exceptional youth emigration, or lawsuits against the state for an elk hitting your car on late evening, or so) The "social-democratic" party (largely, descendant of the communist one) proved to be the most  dedicated server of corporate interests. Social consequences are softer than in the "wild" Russia, but economic inequality (masked by latest credit innovations for a while) does not lag the US or any other "market". Inflation fever is already charging; workers' wages keep up well apparently, but that only gives an "explanation" to Friedmanian expert commentators.

The Soviet symbol law helps the corporate elites, as it obfuscates alternative social models. Just in time to counteract any new "leftish" creativity. There is even talk to ban references to Marx, Engels and Che Guevara...

by das monde on Fri Jun 20th, 2008 at 08:22:09 AM EST

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