Lithuania: Stamped Out Truth

The contemporary Lithuania uses the official interpretation of bloody events that took place in Vilnius on January 13 1991 as an ideological foundation for Russophobia-based confrontation with its eastern neighbor. It says “the Soviet soldiers committed an intentional murder of 13 unarmed people and one special operations serviceman”. The truth about what really happened, as well as the doubts over the official interpretation, are punishable crimes.

The Lithuanian authorities have been trying to get Algirdas Paleckis condemned by court for some years. He is a young politician and a diplomat, the leader of Lithuanian Socialist People’s Front (SPF), a holder of a number of decorations, like the Lithuanian Order of Merit (2004) and French Legion of Honor (2002). The persecution is launched because of the phrase he dropped in a radio interview in November 2010. He said that during the January 13 events in Vilnius there were “friendly fire” incidents. The prosecutor’s office and judicial authorities instituted legal proceedings upon the demand of the ruling Conservative Party accusing him “of negating the fact of aggression committed by the USSR against Lithuania on January 13”. This is the first time in the post-Soviet space history of twenty years when someone is persecuted under the pretext of “negating the Soviet aggression and occupation”, that is for saying the truth!

In January 2013 the Lithuanian authorities plan to condemn and intimidate the Vilnius witnesses who say Soviet soldiers never shot at Lithuanians. At the same time Lithuanian law enforcement agencies and the prosecutor’s office intentionally ignore multiple facts and witness testimonies. The case has been dragging on for over twenty years, the killers have not been found as yet! The main reason is that the confession of guilt de-jure may undermine the Russophobia-based ideological patterns of Lithuanian powers that be. At one of the court sessions the witness for the prosecution A. Madalinskas was quite candid about the reason for persecution. According to him, “Any other interpretation (different from the official version) of events would be politically disadvantageous”!

A demonstration in front of Parliament building, Vilnus, January 14, 1991
A demonstration in front of Parliament building, Vilnus, January 14, 1991

Still, the truth about provocateurs-nationalists, who used automatic rifles and shot-guns to shoot at people down the street from the rooftops of buildings situated in front of TV tower, is coming into the open to be known by common people… One can get introduced to it by reading The Fools Ship (2003) by V.Pyatkyavichus, Through the Jail Bars (2010) by political prisoner Y. Kyolyalis, The Gleams of Dawn (2010) by R. Ozolas. The writers adduce ample evidence and multiple documents, including official ones that directly testify to the fact that chairman of the Supreme Soviet V. Landsbergis, who actually was the first leader of independent Lithuania, was behind the January 13 crime. (He is the son of the interim government minister, who signed a greeting letter on June 1941 addressed to Adolf Hitler, “the liberator of Lithuania from Bolshevik yoke”). Another organizer of the crime was a person close to him – then Minister of National Defense A. Butkyavichus, who fully realized that “the death of unarmed people is the only argument to reliably convince the Americans.”

A. Butkyavichus doesn’t even try to hide it. Being an intern of a UK military school in 1997, he told the British journalists that it was the armed men under his command who shot at the crowd people during the attack against the Vilnius TV tower, including the snipers trained by US special services. Then in April, 2000 he quarreled with Landsbergis and then openly told the Lithuanian “Obzor” weekly even more, for instance he mentioned the fact that the people behind the provocation “made conscious sacrifices”. The confession stoke a brief row “to be forgotten” pretty soon.

Supreme Soviet deputy Vidmantė Jasukaitytė, a well-known Lithuanian writer and an active supporter of independence, was the first to publicly say on July 17, 1991 that the January 13 events were provoked by Landsbergis. According to her, “It’s sad our young people lost lives near the TV tower for no reason. Along with other deputies I came over to the tower and tried to convince them to go away, we knew it was a provocation planned by V. Landsbergis. But they were drunk and didn’t want to listen. The TV and press buildings were occupied to spread the libels concocted by Landsbergis supporters. If Landsbergis were a real Lithuanian, nothing like this would have taken place. The Soviet soldiers were fulfilling their duty, but people died to serve Landsbergis plans. This kind of government would lead us to impoverishment and collapse. Following in his father’s steps, Landsbergis leads Lithuania to fascism…”

In 1991 the Lithuanian forensic medicine found shot-gun bullets in the bodies of the dead. According to the established trajectory the shots came from roofs, the bullets went down, the angle was 45-50 degrees (that’s why there was no investigation, the bodies were hastily buried). At that time the Soviet soldiers were down on the street near the TV tower. According to Lithuanian witnesses, they didn’t shoot (they couldn’t do it anyway, they had not been given cartridges). The evidence presented by Algirdas Paleckis, has been confirmed by many eye witnesses in court. One of them was V. Shultsas, head of the 6th department of Lithuanian Ministry of Internal Affairs. He and his five colleagues were filming the events of the day.

Talking in court about the bloody provocation witness D.E. said, “I was a Sąjūdis member since the very start. The prime mission was to get rid of the Soviet military… After long deliberations in the headquarters of the Democratic Party, we came to conclusion that the way to accomplish it was to create a situation that would unite the people as much as possible. Somebody dropped an idea the bloodshed was inevitable. On January 12, 1991 we neared the Vilnius TV tower. There was someone we knew who told us “It’s all ready for today…there’ll be a nice surprise”. The next morning on January 13 there was a meeting of Sąjūdis governing body. It was heard “Yesterday they shot at us”. It was a shocking news for us. The decision was taken to keep mouths shut! I’ve never told about it before under any circumstances, but today I decided to tell.” B. Bilotas, another member of Sajudis governing council back then, told the court during the proceedings against Algirdas Paleckis that they said, «It would be right to shed blood to unite people and expedite the Russians pull out” at the meeting of the organization’s governing body on January 12. On January 13, while being inside the Sajudis headquarters at 1B Gedeminas avenue, he “heard not once the words coming from all sides,” it was friendly fire, they shot their own people”.

They “shot their own people” before, in the middle of the XX century, for instance. It was not only Soviet servicemen they killed but common Lithuanians – teachers, peasants…Sometimes they shot whole families, often with little children. Now these murderers and rogues have become “ours” in Lithuania, they are heroes nowadays. Their bloody “deeds” contribute to Russophobia-based “tradition of national patriotism” deleting from peoples memory the dozens of years they lived in the Soviet Union. This is one more story making up an ideological myth enrooted in the young people’s perception of the events that took place at the beginning of the 1990s. The concoction says a group of dissidents and common activists from Sajudis defended democracy on January 13 and freed the Lithuanians from totalitarian Socialist hell to make them join democratic paradise.

Nobody’s interested in truth. For instance, no way any “Soviet aggression against Lithuania” could have taken place. Just because no such thing as Lithuanian citizenship existed on January 13, 1991, Lithuania was just a tiny “puzzle” in a big geopolitical game (at the very time of provocation in Lithuania the US started to bomb Iraq).

According to Algirdas Paleckis the reason he told the truth about the January 13 events is his confidence in the fact that many problems of contemporary Lithuania go back to the provocation in question that split the people into Communists and non-Communists, the Lithuanian and the Russian, patriots and pseudo patriots. It made Lithuania degrade to the level of Latin American “banana republics”.

AP photo taken on January 14, 1991. The 'unarmed' defenders of the parliament are resting after duty watch.
AP photo taken on January 14, 1991. The ‘unarmed’ defenders of the parliament are resting after duty watch.

Indeed, actually all industry, all giant factories built in Soviet times have disappeared. Unemployed and paupers have appeared instead. The population has gone down by 23%. Over half a million Lithuanians emigrated to the West that makes the people split. In the times of need (for instance, to promote Polish interests with the help of Lithuanian Poles) it is remembered there was no encroachment on the rights of minorities in the Baltic States when they were part of the Soviet Union. The Russophobia and fascist actions are ignored and let slide. For instance the Association Lithuania without Fascism addressed the OSCE Ministerial Council saying, “The revanche is already taking place, and it is present in the school textbooks and media. The courts rehabilitate swastika and Lithuania for the Lithuanians kind of slogans. Yearly the self-government authorities permit Nazi marches to mark major state holidays. Neo-Nazi that serve in the armed forces are proud to take part in them. Regularly the graves of Soviet soldiers and holocaust victims are desecrated. Every year the Hitler’s birthday is marked with Nazi flags and signs. Nobody has ever been brought to justice for such actions…”

To make the possible come true, the Sajudis leaders and other US oriented Lithuanian politicians committed an act of bloody provocation twenty two years ago. Now they demand Russia pays them a huge multi-billion compensation “for the Soviet occupation of Lithuania”. Provocateurs and killers fear the truth. They bring it to court being afraid that one day the people will finally find out what is behind the lie about “the Soviet aggression and occupation”. They’ll find out that what took place in 1940 was not an occupation, but the incorporation of Lithuania into the USSR with full consent of Lithuanian government (only one person among the Lithuanian leaders went abroad). No occupation is possible when all economic and ideological activities are conducted by natives that is by ‘the occupied The Russian “occupiers” had built sea ports, Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant, oil refineries along with pipes and minerals, factories in Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipeda, Siauliai – all on the territory of what had been a banana republic before the war… Vilnius, a large part of Vilenskaya volost (administrative territory) and Klaipeda with suburbs – the territories annexed by Nazi in March 1939 without a shot – have been given to Lithuania as a present by the Soviet Union! Klaipeda, that was surrendered by Lithuanians without resistance, became part of Königsberg land district. In the spring of 1945 Russia soldiers from Siberia paid with thousands of their lives to liberate it. With so much Russian bloodshed, Moscow didn’t make it part of Kaliningrad oblast (district) but presented it to Lithuania. It gave Lithuania a comfortable access to sea – the Neman river delta with the port of Rusnė and half of the Curonian Lagoon. As a result Lithuania left the Union with the territory exceeding by one third the one it had joined it with…

Source: Strategic Culture Foundation

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