T+L Reports: Soviet Theme Park
Published: May 2009
Are Eastern Bloc citizens becoming wistful about the past?A Communism-inspired theme park has opened in southern Lithuania and is attracting busloads of visitors from every corner of the European Union. The pseudo Soviet gulag prison camp at Soviet Sculpture Garden at Grutas Park (Druskininkai; 370-313/55511; www.grutoparkas.lt), affectionately dubbed Stalin World, gets the Disney treatment with 65 statues of Lenin and Stalin surrounded by standard-issue Soviet barbed wire and guard towers. Loudspeakers blast Communist hymns and posters proclaim, THERE'S NO HAPPIER YOUTH IN THE WORLD THAN SOVIET YOUTH. Germany—not to be outdone—was recently in talks with an entrepreneur to build a large-scale re-creation of East Germany, just outside of Berlin. Plans called for surly border guards and classic Trabi cars to transport guests around the grounds. Karl Marx could never have predicted how easy it would be to get capitalist profits out of Communist kitsch.