Grutas village was located by Grutas lake where I could easy find some swimming (catching fish) and flying birds like white storks, grey herons and others, excuse, I didn't know the names. There were some smaller and colorful birds among pine trees of Grutas Park as well.
No wonder, the area north of Grutas belongs to the largest national park of Lithuania called the Dzukija National Park (founded in 1991) where rare eagles used to live. Hmm... I didn't see any.
This statue of Vladimir Ilich Lenin, on my picture, was created by sculptor Jakubonis and stood at Lenin's Square (presently Laisves Square) in Panavezys from 1983 till 1990.
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (1870 - 1924) was a Russian revolutionary, the leader of the Bolshevik party, the first Premier of the Soviet Union and the founder of the ideology called Leninism. Dispite propaganda which seems to be continued even now, historical documents and the Soviet archives prove Lenin's cruelty esp. towards those who didn't accept him and the revolution. There was no difference in crimes commited by Lenin and Stalin except the fact of longer criminal activity of Stalin. Read more here.
This huge statue of Soviet soldier, on my picture, stood in Siaulai in 1947-1991. There were numerous monuments devoted to the Soviet Army in Lithuania and there were a few in Poland as well. They called themselves "liberators" although vast majority of both Poles and Lithuanians called them occupants.
Until 1946 the Soviet Army was called the Red Army, created as Workers' and Peasants' Red Army in 1918. In the end of 1918 to the beginning of 1919 the Red Army entered Lithuania for the first time. Natives could experience the Red Terror for the first time. On 19 September 1939 Soviet troops entered Poland from the east including Vilnius which belonged to Poland that time. On June 1940 the Red Army entered independent Lithuania. The state was occupied by 150,000 soldiers of the Red Army. At the first days of German-Soviet war, in 1941, 672 people were killed but 518 of them by... the Red Army men.
Since July 9 to August 10, 1944 the Red Army, fighting against Nazis, occupied 2/3 of pre-war territory of Lithuania. Massive burglaries and requisitions followed the Red Army's moving to the heart of Lithuania. Because of slaughter performed by the Red Army men, only few native inhabitants left in the district of Klaipeda, Silale and Pagegiai. Forced mobilisation to the Red Army was carried out. Until June 1946 the martial law existed in Lithuania. RA forces took part in the struggle with partisans. Later on it helped to consilidate the occupant power.
On January 13, 1991, the forces of the Soviet Army killed 13 people at the TV Tower in Vilnius.
There is a pond on the right side of the main Grutas Park walkway. There is a house for a few water birds put there. I could see a few colorful ducks (mandarines) and white swans there. They are not very interesting animals for me - quite common in the wild in my country, Poland.
This gate, on my picture, leads to a part of the Grutas Park where numerous monuments and statues of Vladimir Ilich Lenin are put. There are over 10 statues of Lenin standing, walking, sitting, talking with Kapsuskas etc.
No wonder, the statues of Lenin were the most common of all communist monuments in the world ruled by the Soviet Union. The monuments of Stalin were torn down in 50'. Lenin survived because the communist propaganda disclosed (partly) Stalin's crimes but never Lenin's. Well, there was no difference in crimes commited by Lenin and Stalin except the fact of longer criminal activity of Stalin. Read more here.
There are over 60 statues and monuments from the Soviet era put off the beaten path in the Grutas Park. Let's start from Stalin. This statue, on my picture, was created by Tomskis in 1950 and stood in Vilnius...
Stalin (1879-1953) was born in Georgia. In April 1922 he became A Secretary general of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. having practically absolute power, he began political "cleanings".
In August 1939, Hitler and Stalin signed up a non-aggresion pact with additional secret protocol regarded the division of the interest zones in Europe. The Soviet Union threatened the three independent states - Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia - with the armed invasion, founded military bases in them and in June 1940 annexed them. Stalin himself took control of first terror actions, perfomed in June 1940 and later, in Lithuania. Stalin remained an autocratic dictator of the Soviet Union till his death in 1953. All nations of Eastern Europe became victims of his inspired and organized terror and genocide. About 360,000 citizens of occupied Lithuania, mostly of Lithuanian and Polish nationality, were imprisoned, exciled to Siberia and killed.
One of the main attractions of the Grutas Park is its location itself - by Grutas Lake, in a pine forest crossed by rivers. Well, the nature and pinewoods add a lot of beauty to open-air exhibition of the Soviet era sculptures and monuments. Enjoy :-)
I saw a lot of storks in the wild in Lithuania but exclusively White Storks. This Black Stork, on my picture, I found in the Grutas Park mini-zoo. He was a huge bird, all black except for the white belly and its red bill and legs. This was a shy and wary species, unlike the closely related White Stork. That's why I've never found any Black Stork in the wild although generally Lithuania was a very interesting destination for bird watching.
There is a mini-zoo in the Grutas Park. Well, it is the least ordered and the worst organized part of the Grutas Park, in my opinion. There are quite many kinds of birds closed in relatively small cages. And there is no information on any of them except the name in Lithuanian and eventually in Latin language.
This standing alone, modern in style and new building is located a few hundred meters off the walking itenerary of the Grutas Park. Is it a house of the owner and the creator of the Grutas Park? Well, probably.
Viliumas Malinauskas, the former heavyweight wrestling champion of Lithuania and later on a businessman called "The Mushroom King" put up and opened the Grutas Park on April 1, 2001 that was on the All Fool's Day.
He was the richest man in the area who founded and built mushroom growing emporium called Hesona which sold mushrooms to many countries all over the world and had the annual turnover twice larger than the budget of nearby Druskininkai - the best balneological resort in Europe.
This dark green and old rail car is put together with a part of railway track along western walking loop of the Grutas Park. There are no written explanations on it but the advertisement of Soviet lottery put on its top and... a few Soviet (fake) gadgets in its windows. Is it next gift store? Well, it was closed when I visited the park.
Train was the main and often the only mean of transportation in deep Russia. There were no roads for cars/trucks in most areas of Asian part of the Soviet Union. Well, they (mainly Soviet rulers) used horses or other animals depends on climate and... periodical hunger of local people. But generally the only way to get to Gulags - Soviet concentration camps - in deep Asia was by using the rail tracks built by prisoners for often moving "labour camps".
This monument, on my picture, was devoted to underground Soviet Partisans who fighted for joining Lithuania to the Soviet Union during WWII. They were inspired in Moscow in 1941-1944 and consisted of Soviet activists, Red Army men, escaped prisoners of war and some inhabitants of Lithuania (mostly of Jewish nationality) who formed groups of saboteurs. Half of the members of groups were people sent by the "center".
This huge monument, on my picture, was devoted to underground Soviet Partisans who fighted for joining Lithuania to the Soviet Union during WWII. They were inspired in Moscow in 1941-1944. The monument stood in the Square of Komjaunimas Street in Vilnius, in 1983 - 1991 (presently Pylimo Street).
Native people didn't support them. In the East of Lithuania they got in conflict with platoons of Army Krajova (Polish underground forces), in other places - with groups of selfdefence of Lithuania. To supply themselves, they robbed native people and those, who were in opposition, were killed. In summer 1944, Soviet partisants attacked and killed the inhabitants of a few villages in the east and south of Lithuania.
There was statue of Vytautas Putna, on my picture, in the Grutas Park. He was the Soviet Army activist and took the leading role in army, awarded the Order of the Red Banner.
In March 1921, the division under his command, repressed the revolt of Kronshtadt, hundreds of mutinous sailors and soldiers were killed. Since 1927 he was a military attache of the Soviet Union in different states and organized reconaissance work. In 1937, when stalinist refinement of army took place, he was recalled from London to Moscow and shot dead.
This monument, on my picture, was devoted to the Red Army and stood in Lazdijai. The writing in Russian and Lithuanian said: August 1, 1944; 31st Army of Belarusan Front liberated region of Lazdijai.
Hmm... in real, they were seen as new occupants (after Nazis) not liberators by natives. I got to know in the Grutas Park that the Red Army carried out a lot of crimes against local population. They killed not only the opponents. The prisoners were tortured to death: their eyes were put out, ears torn off, they were shot by explosive bullets.