Stalin World

Trip Start May 01, 2009
Trip End May 22, 2009

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Flag of Lithuania  ,
Wednesday, May 20, 2009

     I am starting wind down as I approach the end of the Grand Russian/ Baltic tour. Today, I head out of the town to a city down south called Druskinikai. This town is famous for its health spas, but I am actually going to a small village called Grutas where the status from the former Soviet Republic of Lithuania were now located.

      After the declaration of Independence of Lithuania in 1991, the Soviet statues that used to stand at every public squares and garden were quickly dismentled and removed from their pedastal.  These "work of art " were left decaying and dying. People don't really know what to do with these former Soviet symbol. Until 200, millionaire forest  mushroom tycoon Viliumas Malinauskas decided to take all these decaying statues and make a park out of them at his 2 km square estate. When he open this Stalin World park, there were lot of angry Lithuanians protesting of Mr. Malinauskas bring back the horrorific memory of the Soviet days. But Mr. Malinauskas emphasized that is park is done for educational purposes only, to educate the younger generation NEVER to forget about the past and know about their tragic history.

      After a 2 hour ride from Vilnius, I entered  Stalin World. The main entrance has this barbed wires and a red cattle cargo train that was used to deport innocent Lithuanian to the concentration camps in Siberia. The open park space is very clean and neatly organized with every statue standing with 3 languages describing who each one of these Soviet monsters were. The  description also showed a photo where these statues were once at. The most common statues were Lenin followed by Stalin. There were also a few display rooms showing Soviet propagandas, fake polling station, library and lots of artifacts and Soviet art works. It sure is intersting to get a glimps into the Soviet days of the republics.  Lithuania was considered by Russian as a infereior and backward country so are their neighbors of Estonia and Latvia. All three of these countries were stripped of their independence in 1939 when Soviet signed a secret non-agression pact witht he Nazis. The first thing the Bosheviks did was to deport/tourture/murder/imprison anyone of intellegence and anything anti-Soviet. More than 300 thousands of Lithuanians were deported via cattle cargo train as free slave labor in Siberia to help develope the infrastructures. Military personel of Lithuania were killed to prevent any chance of rebellion. All the people in Lithuania were stripped of their freedom of speech and religion. All pre-war books were destroyed. It is a very sad period as the Soviet tried to brainwash and Sovietize/Russianize teh Lithuanians.  Stalin reportedly killed more people from the Baltics/ Ukraine and other Republics more than Hitler had killed. Sadly, this history is not well publicized or made aware of in the Western World.

     After touring the park, I tried the famous wild forest mushroom in this area.  Every fall, the mushroom grew all over the forest, and the people would come out and pcik them. Unfortunatly, came at the wrong season, or else I would love to join them in the hunt of wild mushrooms. There are 1200 species of mushrooms here in Lithuania while 380 of which are edible and 100 are poisonous. I had the grilled mushrooms with tiny bits of pork/bacon fat and covered with baked scalloped potatos. The mushrooms are very flavorful.

      Then I came out to the bus stop waiting for the next bus to get back in town. However, it took almost 2 hours before the next bus showed up!!!  I was too tired from the waiting so I took a nice 2 hour nap on the bus on my way back.  I woke up to find the bus driver himself smoking away. He tried to blow the smoke out of the window by the the cigarette smell still stink up the whole bus.  After getting off the bus. I passed by the supermarket just to see a bunchof people gathering at the entrance smoking away. Although they are " considerate enough" not to smoke inside public places, the proximity of where they smoke can still harm those who go in and out of the market, probably a good idea to set up some smoking room or restriction on no smoking with in 50 meter of the premises. I read inthe paper that Taiwan set up such restrictions and tried to give severe fines to those who violated the law way to go Taiwanese Government !!!
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