Lithuania bans public display of Soviet, Nazi symbols, anthems
Lithuanian parliament passed a law banning a public display of Soviet and Nazi symbols and national anthems, local media reported Wednesday.
The law forbids the display of the images of Soviet and Nazi leaders as well as flags and memorabilia showing the hammer and sickle, red star, or swastika at public gatherings, reported dpa.
Also banned are the public display of the Soviet and Nazi coats of arms as well as playing of their national anthems.
Equating Soviet symbols with Nazi symbols will be likely to anger Moscow as Russians see their defeat of Nazi Germany as one of the cornerstone events of Russian history.
During an hour-long debate in the parliament, members of parliament wrestled with the proposal, ru.delfi.lt news portal reported.
A member of parliament Vytautas Cepas asked to explain what measures ought to be taken against a Russian football team when they come to Lithuania for a match.
Following protocol, national anthems are to played ahead of the match. However it could be illegal under a new tougher measure as the Russian and Soviet anthems employ identical melody.
The Soviet Union occupied Lithuania in 1940, after Joseph Stalin signed a pact with Nazi Germany a year earlier.
The Soviets deported many Lithuanians to die in Siberian gulags one year before the Germans occupied the territory in 1941.
Some Lithuanians fought alongside the Nazis, while others joined the Red Army.
The Soviets re-established control over Lithuania in 1944, which they retained until 1990 when the small Baltic nation declared independence. A year later the Soviet Union collapsed.