Speaker 1:

Deep in the Lithuanian countryside, a cold Sunday morning is disrupted by music and cannon fire.

 

 

There's excitement in the air as the crowds stream in. They're rolling up for Stalinworld, Lithuania's remarkable, not to say controversial, new theme park.

 

 

Complete, of course, with its own Vladimir Lenin.

 

Speaker 2:

[Foreign language]

 

Speaker 1:

Getting some tips from the past master of revolution is the man behind this memorial, Viliumas Malinauskas is a former Soviet collective farm boss turned mushroom millionaire and theme park entrepreneur. He tended for a government contract to create a memorial to the victims of communism, and this is what he came up with. But his black humour about the past is in question in a country where one quarter of the population was deported to the Soviet Gulag.

 

Speaker 3:

[Foreign language]

 

Speaker 1:

After winning the tender, Mr. Malinauskas scoured rubbish dumps for old Soviet statues. The Lithuanians were the first to tear them down 10 years ago, and now they've been set up again as the centrepiece of his park behind his home.

 

 

Soviet marching tunes blare out of watch towers, also exact copies of those in the labour camps, and carrying on like this would have once landed these people in Siberia too.

 

Speaker 4:

(singing)

 

Speaker 1:

There's a singing Stalin beneath a statue of the real Stalin, responsible for the deaths of an estimated 20 million people, but no one here appears phased.

 

Speaker 5:

[Foreign language]

 

Speaker 6:

Many of the people here actually survived that era by having such a humour, otherwise there was no way to live through it.

 

Speaker 1:

All in all, you think this is a good idea?

 

Speaker 6:

I think it's a wonderful idea and I'm glad to see that many people came to go through the experience.

 

Speaker 7:

[Foreign language]

 

Speaker 1:

There's more theatre for the crowds, a reenactment of Lenin's time as a revolutionary on the run in Finland, which these people were forced to learn about at school like Holy Writ. Now they poke fun at him. Lenin's with the leader of the Lithuanian Bolsheviks, and neither is much good at fishing.

 

Speaker 8:

(singing)

 

Speaker 1:

Then a visit from some young pioneers. The motto here seems to be: If you can laugh, you know you've won.

 

Speaker 9:

[Foreign language]

 

Speaker 10:

[Foreign language]

 

Speaker 1:

As well as a zoo and swings for the kids, there's a Stalinworld shop.

 

 

... one white Lenin and one Stalin with a pipe.

 

Speaker 11:

Okay.

 

Speaker 1:

I want to buy a Soviet statue, but business is slow. The real movement is over at the cattle car canteen where they're doing a brisk trade in mushrooms. They sell better than Lenins these days.

 

Speaker 12:

[Foreign language]

 

Speaker 1:

Maybe the lesson of history is: If you can laugh and you can shop, you know you've won.

 

 

I saw Lenin commending you for opening a good park, was it nice to talk to him?

 

Viliumas M.:

[Foreign language]

 

 

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