An “Inner” View of the Neo-March on Vilnius, 2015

by Geoff Vasil

Afunny thing happened on the way to the neo-Nazi march. I saw a man walking towards me, and thought I knew him. Apparently he thought the same thing, and we both said hello in Lithuanian as we passed one another. As I pondered how we might know each other, it came to me: I had seen him at an earlier neo-Nazi march, probably the one in Kaunas a month earlier. He thought I was a fellow marcher, apparently, or at least not an enemy to the cause.

But what is their cause? What does staking out a Lithuanian place in history, or taking pride in a mythical genetic complement, or taking pride in a language to which they have made zero contributions actually mean?

I was in a bit of a hurry. The reason was, besides leaving the house a little late, I wasn’t sure exactly when the march was supposed to start. In Kaunas the Lithuanian news portal (a trans-Baltic phenomenon with URLs made with TLDs for Latvia and Estonia as well) had either been a victim or perpetrator/purveyor of disinformation (and is there a difference?) and had misdirected both the fascist youth and their would-be opposition to attend a march there on February 15th instead of the usual February 16th, the pre-World War II day of Lithuanian independence which, paradoxically, was called and is called the Day of the Restoration of Lithuania, a reference to the mediaeval Grand Duchy thereof rather than to the pre-World War II state of the same name made into a Soviet republic in 1940 and then again in 1945. Is the third time a charm?

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