Linking Communism With Nazism

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Lithuania is the latest country to conduct a hysterical campaign that equates Soviet symbols with Nazism. The bill, approved by the Lithuanian parliament last month, would prohibit public displays of Soviet symbols, including the Soviet flag, hammer and sickle, military uniforms and the five-pointed star -- in the same spirit that the country prohibits the Nazi swastika. Lithuanian politicians are attempting to package this law as a noble stance against Soviet and Nazi totalitarianism. But this anti-Russian initiative -- officially packaged as anti-Soviet -- is both hypocritical and blasphemous.

This is not the early 1990s, when the Russian Communist Party, one could argue, posed a threat to the anti-Communist Lithuanian establishment.

Moreover, Lithuania is the last country that should be leading this self-righteous campaign. Lithuania was the only nation to be singled out in the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact as a beneficiary after the division of Poland. Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union agreed to hand the Vilnius region -- formerly Polish territory -- to Lithuania, which gained nearly 7,000 square kilometers, including its current capital, from the pact and subsequent agreements. The Lithuanian authorities rarely acknowledge this "small detail." Therefore, if we are going to start re-examining the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, perhaps Vilnius and its surrounding areas should be returned to Poland.

Something is definitely wrong with the Lithuanian initiative. These provocateurs in top government positions hop from summit to summit, telling European Union that they are engaged in a fight against communism. But what is really at stake here behind all of this heightened demagoguery?

This is really an attempt to blackmail the Russian Federation, the legal successor to the Soviet Union, for its responsibility in the brutality of the mid-20th century. For Lithuania and its Baltic neighbors, this responsibility inevitably involves paying multibillion-dollar reparations.

True, modern Russia is the legal successor to the Soviet Union. But in ideological terms, the country has nothing in common with the Soviet Union. This has been the case for 17 years now. So what is going on? Why are Lithuania and its East European allies fighting against Soviet symbols by fighting against non-Communist and non-Soviet modern Russia?

We have learned from our esteemed Western scholars that economic pragmatism is the underlying basis of most political decisions and diplomacy. So we perfectly understand that every political and economic group that has joined the anti-Communist crusade is doing so out of its own economic interests.

One of the reasons for this anti-Russian campaign concerns oil and gas pipelines. Russia is currently trying to build a system of direct energy transport routes that will circumvent the Baltic states. This arrangement is obviously not to Lithuania's liking because it means their oil refineries would become useless.

In addition, in the Czech Republic Western companies are trying to force Rosatom from the market of selling nuclear fuel and modernizing old atomic energy stations. And Poland wants to continue foisting on Russia second-grade meat that, according to some reports, does not even originate in Poland.

The problem is that these interests do not reflect the needs of those countries' citizens. They are corporate and political interests dictated by the desires of the ruling elite. Meanwhile, Lithuania and its Baltic allies are pretending to be the "white doves of democracy," but they are the ones who ate from the hands of Hitler's regime. They benefited financially by cooperating with Hitler. Throughout World War II, they were dreaming of the day when they would witness the collapse of the Soviet Union and could feast upon its ruins. After all, Hitler promised those states -- under the protection of the Third Reich -- Soviet land, a cheap labor force and rich natural resources.

In the end, however, it was brave Soviet soldiers -- wearing the same red stars and hammer and sickle pinned to their uniforms that are so despised by our Baltic neighbors -- who marched to Berlin and whose bodies are buried beneath Baltic soil. The Soviet Army brought the Nazis and their East European collaborators to their knees.

The Baltic war against the red star is a war against the Red Army. This war, like the current ideological war against Russia, is destined to end as it always has -- in defeat for those who started the whole campaign.

Maxim Shevchenko hosts the political talk show "Sudite Sami" on Channel One.