A Floundering or flourishing democracy? Reasons for the weakness of the political Left in Lithuania
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AbstractThe aim of this work is to analyse the reasons of weakness of the left wing in Lithuania. The post-communist period in Lithuania and other Central and Eastern regions of Europe was marked with a number of neo-liberal reforms and challenges of Capitalism to the Lithuanian public, culture, system of university education and ordinary Lithuanian citizens. The arrival of the system of wild capitalism was uncritically and usually blindly appreciated by society as well as by so-called advanced intelligentsia, who favoured the USA, NATO, capitalism and everything related to the West. The ideological slogan “the West is the best” determined the introduction of the capitalist market based on neo-liberal reforms, the great desires to join the European Union, which was perceived as the West, and refusal of everything “Soviet”. Such an ideological direction was partially logical considering the Leninist-Stalinist Marxism experience imposed by the Soviet occupation. However, such a cardinal twist determined the shortage of a strong and independent intellectual and political left wing in Lithuania, which could critically evaluate liberal reforms implemented in the state. The majority of representatives and critics of the social thought opposing the Soviet model of state capitalism criticised the prevailing ideology from the point of view of Lithuanian nationalism and “laisser faire” capitalism. The Soviet Union having collapsed, former dissidents and representatives of critical thought became the ones, who in modern Europe are considered to be the most conservative liberals or neo-conservatives.