All of the Baltic countries are very proud of their new independence. The student on the right
is holding a Lithuanian flag. I encountered these two on the street in Vilnius, the capital. The
Lithuanians are very outgoing. They have the reputation of being the Italians of the Baltics.
The Ethnologic Museum in Lithuania has examples of traditional architecture from every region
of the country. Catholicism is the main religion.
A woman in rural Lithuania would have been proud to have a kitchen like this one hundred years ago.
There were a lot of weddings while I was in the Baltics.
Even Eastern Europeans consider this fifty-year old Russian car a joke. It is being decorated
for a wedding party.
Each of the Baltic countries has a museum of the Soviet Occupation, which lasted fifty years.
Tens of thousands were murdered or deported to Siberia. This is a village of Lithuanians in the
Gulag. Many never returned to their home country.
Partisans fought the occupation up to about 1950, by which time they had been crushed
by the Soviets.
The KGB Prison
The KGB prison in Vilnius is now a museum. It is pretty shocking.
This is a straight jacket in a padded torture cell of the prison. I entered
the museum with a noisy group of tourists. The tour proceeded past
the holding cells to the processing room, the prison cells and then the
torture cells. Each step along the way things got quieter. By the time
we got to the execution chamber you could hear a pin drop.
Grutas Park, sometimes referred to as Stalin World, is a open air
museum created by a Lithuanian entrepreneur using sculptures
of Soviet era heroes that had been pulled down with the fall of
communism in 1991. The park is surrounded by a moat, an electric
fence and guard towers, from which loud speakers blare patriotic
socialist music. Performances of socialist opera are put on by a
troupe of Young Pioneers in the evenings, preserving an art form that
can hardly be seen anywhere in the world today.
This ten meter statue of Lenin was rescued from the scrap heap
after it had been violently pulled down at the time of independence.
Although the broken legs were welded back together, Lenin's right
thumb and foot were lost in the confusion.
Stalin World is a full service theme park. Hot dogs and ice cream cones are sold, and there
are even rides for the children.