Minister of Culture Šarūnas Birutis signed a law amending the criteria for cultural artifacts to be listed as heritage. From now on objects marked with Soviet or Nazi symbols will not be included in the Register of Cultural Heritage.
© DELFI / Šarūnas Mažeika

However, it will be up to director of the Department of Cultural Heritage, Diana Varnaitė, to decide how to protect objects with such insignia that have already been included in the register.

Legal protection of objects will not be considered if they feature the Nazi flag, coat of arms, swastika, SS sign, as well as flags of the USSR or the Lithuanian SSR, Soviet coats of arms, the hammer and sickle symbol, Soviet five-pointed star. Monuments with symbols of Nazi or Soviet organisations will not be considered for inclusion into the register either. Nor will be monuments for members of Germany's National Socialist or the USSR's Communist Parties, if they were responsible for repressions against Lithuanian residents.

The law takes effect next week. It may affect the Soviet-time sculptures on the Green Bridge in Vilnius, an object of some controversy lately. The Chairwoman of the State Commission of Cultural Heritage, Gražina Drėmaitė, has said that if the sculptures of the Green Bridge are excluded from the Register of Cultural Heritage, then Vilnius City Municipality should decide their fate.

Lately, there have been calls to remove the Soviet-era sculptures from the Green Bridge which are thought by some to symbolize Soviet occupation and therefore out of place in a democratic country. Opponents say that the sculptures should be kept as historical artifacts and a sign that Lithuania is able to deal even with the more difficult chapters of its history.

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