EUR 300 fine proposed for wearing St. George's ribbons in Lithuania
A fine of up to 300 euros is proposed for wearing Russian St. George's ribbons with black and orange stripes in Lithuania.
The Seimas of Lithuania on Thursday gave its initial backing to the amendments of the Code of Administrative Offences, with 41 votes in favor, ten against and 25 abstentions.
The amendment had been proposed by a group of members of the opposition Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats.
"Obviously, this symbol has become over the last couple of years a symbol of Russian imperialism," Laurynas Kasčiūnas, one of the lawmakers behind the initiative, said introducing the bill.
In his words, this symbol has been inciting hatred and discord for some time already, therefore should be banned along Nazi and communist symbols.
Under the proposal, people would face fines raging from 150 to 300 euros for the distribution and use of St. George's ribbons during meetings or mass events or any other demonstration.
Although such ribbons were initially used to commemorate the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany during WWII and honor Soviet troops, Lithuania has nothing to celebrate as the end of WWII led to Lithuania's occupation by the Soviet Union, which lasted 50 years, the amendment initiators say.
Meanwhile, Social Democrat Algirdas Sysas asked what next color Lithuania plans to ban. "Perhaps we should just ban Russia and all i's would be dotted, and we won’t do anything else," he said ironically.
Kasciunas noted that St. George's ribbons spread in 2005 after the Kremlin launched its hostile policy towards neighbors.
The bill will now go to parliamentary committees and commissions for further consideration and will return in the fall.