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Lithuania’s Soviet nostalgia: back in the USSR

Feeling nostalgic for the good old Soviet Union? Then head to Lithuania, where several theme parks let visitors feel exactly what it was like – right down to scary, abusive guards

‘Forget your past! Forget your history!” A colossal bullfrog of a guard, in an olive-green uniform with red epaulets, is spitting at us in Russian while a huge alsatian strains at the leash, barking ferociously. “Welcome to the Soviet Union,” snarls the guard. “Here you are nobody!”

I can’t say I wasn’t warned: I had just signed a health and safety waiver that included the following clause: “In case of disobedience participants may receive psychological or physical punishments.” This is 1984: Survival Drama in a Soviet Bunker, a three-hour long, quasi-theatrical experience in a genuine Soviet bunker in the middle of the Lithuanian forest; imagine Punchdrunk Theatre Company run by retired KGB officers. While most former Soviet republics have let their memories of the period fade into red mist, 20 years since the Russian tanks rolled out, Lithuania is confronting its communist past head-on.

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