Cause and Effect in European Politics and Law

The mayor of Vilnius received the Ig Nobel Peace Prize for the armoured vehicle

Adelina Marini, October 4, 2011

Do you remember the incident with the mayor of Vilnius who went over a Mercedes with an armoured vehicle because it was parked illegally? Arturas Zuokas's actions proved to be an advertisement, aimed at increasing public awareness that illegal parking was a problem. The obvious addressee of the advertisement were in fact drivers of expensive automobiles, who obviously in Lithuania too think that laws do not apply to them. It is still not clear what impact had the impressive video on the illegal parking issue but instead it brought world-wide glory for the small Baltic state that people often mistake with Latvia.

Mr Zuokas's imagination was rewarded recently when he received this year's Ig Nobel Peace Prize at a ceremony in the university of Harvard. The prize was given to him by the real Nobel Economy Prize winner for 2010 Peter Diamond. According to data from Vilnius city hall, the video has received unilateral positive coverage in international media. The New York Times, for instance, wrote that "sometimes you need a tank to get your message heard" and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is quoted as saying "firing up the tank right now".

Ig Nobel Prizes are an American parody to the Nobel prizes of the Swedish academy and are being awarded each year in the autumn for ten unusual or trivial science achievements, or for creative endeavours. The purpose of the prizes is "first make people laugh, and then make them think. For the Vilnius mayor obviously this is a repetition of his summer success. However, success will be genuine when the mayor indeed succeeds in tackling illegal parking in Lithuania's capital city.