The amendment to the law on commemorative days has been registered by 16 members of the Seimas, representing both the ruling and the opposition parties. They include the Speaker of the Seimas, Viktorija Cmilyte-Nielsen, the foreign and justice ministers, and also the main initiator and drafter, Deputy Speaker of the Seimas Paulius Saudargas.
"May 9 is celebrated in the Russian Federation as the day of the victory in the Second World War, while at the same time eliding the war crimes committed by the Soviet Union and the repressions of entire peoples during the bloody Stalinist era. Lithuania, Ukraine and parts of Europe did not have the chance to celebrate their victory over Nazi Germany, as one occupation was replaced by another, and crimes against humanity were also committed," the bill's explanatory note reads.
"Today, the world is going through the genocide of the Soviet Union reincarnation, Putin's Russia, in Ukraine. This day would, therefore, combine the tragedies experienced by the Ukrainians then and now, i.e. the Soviet-orchestrated Holodomor, the mass murder, deportation and extermination of civilians in the GULAG system, and the war crimes committed by the Russian military today," the authors of the bill say.
In Lithuania, May 9 is celebrated as Europe Day.
The Latvian parliament has recently taken a similar decision and declared May 9 as a day of remembrance for the victims of the war in Ukraine. No mass events are allowed on that day in Latvia either.
The Russians usually commemorate May 9 as the day of victory over Nazi Germany. Meanwhile, the Western world marks the end of WWII in Europe on May 8.