The Union of Lithuanian Nationalist Youth (ULNY), one of the organizers of the annual neo-Nazi march in the center of Vilnius on the nation’s independence day, has been made a member of the Lithuanian Council of Youth Organizations, a body that is a recipient of European Union structural funds as well as Lithuanian government funding.
Media reports confirm that at the national conference last weekend, there were no votes against granting the ULNY full membership in the nationwide umbrella organization of accredited youth groups eligible for state funding. The vote was 19 in favor, zero against with seven abstentions.
The Lithuanian Council of Youth Organizations (LCYO) is the largest youth NGO in Lithuania, comprising 64 organizations and a combined membership exceeding 200,000. The neo-fascists now enjoy the same status as the Federation of Sober Youth and the Union of Lithuanian Student Governments.
The president of the LCYO, Loreta Senkutė, told the news portal 15min.lt:
“Every time before organizations are accepted, they tell about their activities and answer questions. This time there were many who spoke out in favor. The organization didn’t face large challenges, it took care of small problems, it answered questions by members. We didn’t have anyone speaking out against their membership, on the contrary, there was great support.”
LCYO receives funds for its activities from the Lithuanian state budget as well as European Union structural funds, among other sources.
Mindaugas Kluonis, who is a member of the board of the Tolerant Youth Association, told 15min.lt that this latest development is indicative of
“a cynical calculation by the so-called ‘youth leaders’ while the biased Lithuanian educational system, which lends insufficient attention to the crimes of the Nazis, has failed to foster critical thinking and failed to instill democratic values.”
Last summer, journalist Eglė Samoškaitė, writing in Delfi.lt, exposed the various forms of government funding which Lithuanian neo-Nazi youth groups have been receiving.
The new formal incorporation of a major racist youth organization into a European Union supported national union of youth groups is a further step on the road to legitimization of European neo-Nazism, a disturbing trend that is running concurrent with Baltic state glorification of Holocaust collaborators.