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Historical road roller: Is Lithuania on its way to the ideological society?

Источник изображения: www.misswit.net
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“Historical road roller” term has been getting a new meaning in Lithuania recently, including now the real political struggle for the preservation of one historical truth. Each new victim of this “road roller” makes the European democratic state more similar to the ideological state. For the last few weeks Lithuania was in a fever of political scandals based on the assessment of the country’s historical past. It began with the suspending broadcasting of the First Baltic Channel, the event that came to the notice of OSCE and caused disappointment and bewilderment from the direction of Dunja Mijatović, OSCE Representative on Media Freedom. Later “Komsomolskaya Pravda, Lithuaniagot into trouble because of the publishing their brand with forbidden in Lithuania Soviet symbolism on the front page. Anatolij Ivanov, editor-in-chief of the weekly “Litovskij kurier” (edited by the same company LK MASSMEDIA as “Komsomolskaya Pravda, Lithuania”), told us before that previously the weekly was presented a claim but “the policemen were laughing at it, because they haven’t ever dealt with something more idiotic than that”.

It seems that now Lithuanian politicians decided not to let the periodical with seditious brand alone. A week ago Conservative Jurgis Razma made an official request to the police general commissioner for the clarification of the “Komsomolskaya Pravda, Lithuania” case and for some measures to be taken. According to the Anatolij Ivanov’s words, by this time distributors are already refusing to deal with the disgraced periodical, though there isn’t any writ or other official orders.

It’s important that the same processes of “historical selection” have become more intense at the political elite’s level. At the end of the last week opposition Conservatives demand impeachment of Social Democrat MP Bronius Bradauskas from the post of the chairman of the parliamentary Budget and Finance Committee. The reason is the same – January 13th. No, the politician didn’t contested the events of the year 1991, he just considered inappropriate to take risks and demonstrate a film about the disputed matter of the Vilnius TV Tower in the presence of the Russian ambassador in Lithuania, taking into account the tension of Russian-Lithuanian relations. Moreover, Labour MP and Seimas speaker Loreta Graužinienė got into trouble only for taking the liberty of defensing her colleague. Incidentally, there were few defenders, since Social Democratic Party, led by the Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius, had dissociated itself from Bronius Bradauskas and condemned him as well as the Conservatives did.

It’s interesting that in that particular case banning of the video about January 13th events was considered as censorship even by the head of government. In case of the FBC it was considered as regular decision of the European democratic state.

All the examples demonstrate the depth of the control over the loyalty to the “right point of view” penetrating into Lithuanian society. Talking about Lithuanian politicians, they got used to call this kind of control “ideological dictate”, concerning Soviet times though. But with each new scandal about January 13th, “Soviet occupation” and Soviet symbolism it becomes more difficult to ignore the fact that even after the year 1991 the ideology is still there in Lithuania, just with the opposite sign. Aleksandr Zinovyev, famous Soviet and Russian social philosopher and laureate of numerous European prizes, criticizing actively the Soviet society model before the Reconstruction, called this model an “ideological society” according to the important role of the ideological dogma.

There is no doubt that Lithuania won’t attain to such comprehensive and systematic ideological and educational methods like USSR had. Nevertheless, one can clearly see the gradual ideologization of Lithuanian society in the frequent political scandals about sacral historical dates and symbols.

“Ideology is not a science, though (as in the case of Marxism) it can claim to be a science and can use its advantages” Zinovyev wrote in his book “The crossroads”. “Its aim is not to open the truth but to standardize and organize public conscience and to control the people by the processing of consciousness… There is no need to believe in ideology, it should be accepted on the rational basis. It is adopted with the following change of way of thinking and people’s behavior dependent on social providence”.

Previously people in Lithuania were trying to become Komsomol activists or Vilnius party school workers teaching political economy, for instance, depending on “social providence”; now they accept the “sainted” estimation of the past, disown their colleagues if they arouse suspicions about their ideological solidarity, suspend the channels if they demonstrate the alternative historical point of view and reject “seditious” things in advance, for not to come to no good…

Therefore, it’s possible that soon “occupation doctrine” in Lithuania will turn into a Baltic analogue of the North Korean Juche Idea: to show only “approved channels” to the people where the heroic national liberation fight against the occupants would be praised; to participate in the informational war against yesterday’s neighbours-enemies “still fastening their rapacious eyes on the small island of freedom”; to save their independence relying on their own humble power by destroying occupant’s APP, nationalizing enemy’s pipelines, etc. Don’t such phrases in Lithuanian media as “broadcasting of the slanderous programme about January 13th events”, “false facts about the Soviet aggression in January, 1991 were proclaimed in the propagandistic programme “Man and Law”” provoke an association with the North Korea? Or, for instance, the necessity of the First Baltic Channel to submit each programme “to the Lithuanian Radio and Television Commission approval and broadcast the programme only with their permission”?

Half a year before the Lithuanian presidency of the Counsil of the EU a German political scientist Alexander Rahr in our interview pinned his hopes that the leadership of EU would help Lithuania to “step over their phobias and begin to think in a European way”. It seems that in old Europe couldn’t imagine that it’d be North Korea who’d come to Lithuania instead of Europe.    

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