Decolonisation in Lithuania?

Revisiting the Concept of Cultural Resistance under Foreign Rule since 1990

  • Violeta Davoliūtė (Autor/in)


The wave of anti-Soviet iconoclasm sweeping the Baltics has taken a somewhat unexpected turn in Lithuania towards a debate over the role played by writers and intellectuals during the Soviet occupation. A recently adopted law and associated political campaign to cleanse public spaces of the last remaining monuments associated with the USSR have collided with the plans of the Lithuanian Writers Union to erect a new monument in Vilnius to Justinas Marcinkevičius, a Lithuanian writer during the 1960s–1980s, and a prominent leader of the popular movement against Soviet rule. During the frst wave of anti-Soviet iconoclasm in the early 1990s, a compromise was reached over monuments to Soviet-era writers and artists, leaving them untouched, for future generations to decide. Today, this compromise is being revisited, along with the notion that writers and artists who continued their work during periods of foreign rule were engaged in a form of cultural resistance. The outcome of this collision, in some ways intergenerational, is not yet clear. Will the iconoclastic impulse be channelled to help society work through the legacy of collaboration and accommodation with both the Soviet and Nazi occupational regimes? Or will it contribute to forgetting by erasing any and all reminders of this complex and diffcult era?