Monday, May 19, 2008


Imagine this, paying tourist dollars to be roughed up.

This is exactly what you get in Lithuania, a new tourist attraction.

This is are the highlights when you sign up for this tour.

YELLED at by an officer with a menacing German shepherd dog. Forced to perform exercises like squatting, running and rolling in a blanket while wearing a gas mask.

The three-hour tour allows visitors to get an idea of what life was like under a totalitarian regime, said Ms Ruta Vanagaite, its producer.

Visitors are treated as prisoners of the KGB, the Soviet secret service. They are made to dress the part in 'fufaika', a quilted cotton jacket worn by prisoners in the Soviet gulag (labour camps).

They have to head four metres underground into the bunker and have to put up with questions and commands barked at them by actors dressed in KGB uniforms. They are also forced to salute the Soviet flag.

The most unpleasant segment of the tour is the part where the entire group is forced to face a wall with their hands up. One male participant is then picked out.

An actor browbeats the hapless individual into confessing that he has stolen from the factory where he works. It's an act of 'anti-Soviet sabotage', he yells.

Lithuania which was occupied by the Soviet Union during World War II, it bore the brunt of a notoriously brutal rule. Some 360,000 Lithuanians were jailed, killed or deported to Siberia and Central Asia during the 1940s and 1950s.

However Visitors do not leave the tour empty-handed. They are 'released' from their prison and allowed to visit a Soviet-style store, and leave with a roll of toilet paper.

Tourist however have to sign a disclaimer saying they risk verbal abuse and will have to perform physical exercise --AFP.

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