Lithuania discussing criticism of national hero

The Lithuanian writer Rūta Vanagaitė has written that the former anti-Soviet partisan Adolfas Ramanauskas, codename Vanagas, belonged to the KGB and took part in the extermination of Lithuanian Jews during World War II. Historians dispute the accusations and Vanagaitė's publisher has withdrawn her books from the market. Lithuanian commentators would like to see a more level-headed debate.

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Delfi (LT) /

Putin's useful idiots

The criticism of Vanagaitė is being taken too far even if she's mistaken, Tomas Venclova writes in Delfi:

“Such a fierce attack reminds me of Soviet times. ... The expression 'useful idiots' comes to mind when discussing those who don't realise that their actions play right into the hands of Lithuania's enemies. Those who destroy Vanagaitė's books and attack her so fiercely and are giving Putin the best ammunition he could wish for for his propaganda. He's trying to convince the world that Lithuania is in the grips of fascism. ... I beg the attackers: don't be useful idiots, don't help Putin!”

Lrytas (LT) /

Finally confront the past

Lrytas explains why Vanagaitė's remarks have caused such outrage:

“Lithuania still hasn't confronted its tragic history and prefers to see it all in black and white. Either you're a patriot or you're a bastard. As long as the historians refuse to provide answers as to what proportion of the Lithuanian population and how many partisans had a hand in the annihilation of the Jews, Lithuania and its public will remain vulnerable to attacks. Scandals like this one can emerge again and again.”