VILNIUS – Lithuania's society is poisoned by Russian culture as it was too much emphasized during the Soviet era, Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte says, adding that it would be worthwhile to take a closer look at other cultures.
"I think we have certain intoxication with Russian culture in our society. I am not surprised by the reluctance to stage, listen, read or do anything else with it now," the prime minister told the Znad Wilii radio station on Wednesday, asked about the initiative not to use Russian authors' works in Lithuania.
"I don't think there's any compulsion in here, because, for example, I still think people should read Varlam Shalamov's Kolyma Tales now. This is my opinion, this is a book that impressed me very much", she said.
During the period of Soviet occupation, Lithuania's society was "fed with Russian culture" as the myth was being created that this culture was "somehow very, very great", which is why even now a part of the society tends to put it on a pedestal.
"Russian culture has clearly dominated the repertoires of our theaters, and elsewhere, and it seems to me that we have had this historical circumstance for a very long time mainly because we have talked little about other cultures, such as the Polish culture, the Swedish culture, the Ukrainian culture, the Spanish culture," the Lithuanian prime minister said.
In April, in response to the massacre of civilians by Russian troops in Ukraine, the Lithuanian Art Creators' Association called for an embargo on Russian culture and art in Lithuania until the end of the war in Ukraine.
Several Lithuanian theaters have already announced their decision to remove works by Russian authors from their repertoires.