If we compare processes leading towards the restoration of Lithuania’s independence that took place at the end of the 19th – beginning of the 20th century and at the end of the 20th century, we may draw very interesting parallels as well as notice huge differences. One of the key differences was that the Declaration of Independence of 11 March 1990 was consolidated at a much lower cost of lives than the Declaration of Independence of 16 February 1918. In general, there are very few cases in history when so few lives had to be sacrificed for freedom and when freedom was won without destroying or otherwise plundering the country.
Naturally, when the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania declared Independence on 11 March 1990 nobody could predict that it would end on a comparatively happy note. Moscow threatened and demanded to revoke “anti-constitutional” actions. Additional units of armed forces were redeployed to Lithuania and unusual movements of armoured troops started. Demonstration of military force in the background of ultimatums issued by USSR president Mikhail Gorbachev suggested that the scenario of events of 1956 in Hungary and 1968 in Czechoslovakia might be used in the Baltic States. Under such circumstances the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania issued a statement on 23 March 1990, stating that the USSR was intentionally exacerbating the tension, while the actions of its armed forces could qualify as the follow-up of the 1940 aggression against Lithuania. The storming of the Supreme Council was expected that day; however, the column of armed troops passed by. Lithuania withstood a serious trial, while Prime Minister Kazimiera Prunskienë bravely stated that Moscow would have to compensate for the pavement ruined by the tank tracks.
Only later evidence was received on how fragile and cliffhanging Lithuania’s situation was during those days. On March 23 USSR defence minister Dmitry Yazov made a note in his daybook, “…projected?! To get ready to seize the TV centre” and “… not Burokevičius but Sakalauskas. Burokevičius will help.” Thus, the development of the scenario of the January 1991 events was started immediately after the declaration of independence on March 11. However, Mikhail Gorbachev kept delaying the use of military force in hopes of prostrating Lithuania with more “humane” measures. An economic blockade was declared, efforts were made to create a parallel government structure and a pro-Soviet Polish autonomy in South-eastern Lithuania. The Soviet army committed acts of violence albeit “with caution” – it primarily engaged in searching for young men trying to escape military service in the USSR armed forces and in taking the so-called Party property “under protection”.
Moscow completely ignored the fact that Lithuania restored its independence on the grounds of legal succession, i.e. by legally liquidating the consequence of Soviet occupation which took place in 1940. Gorbachev persistently insisted that Lithuania voluntarily joined the Soviet Union in 1940 and was now trying to secede from it. By the way, Western countries essentially agreed with the second part of Gorbachev’s version stating that the key to Lithuania’s independence lay in Moscow. True, they pressed Gorbachev to deal with the Lithuanian problem by means of negotiation without using any military force; however, Lithuania was also advised not to hurry, not to rebel too much and not to “cause any problems for Gorbachev.” The international context was such that the mighty of the world were much more concerned about Gorbachev than about the affairs of Lithuania. The policy of not recognising the 1940 annexation of the Baltic States had always been rather ambiguous.
However, the West held back Gorbachev’s fist and in the summer of 1990 the hope arose that Moscow would relent. The ultimatum “to go back to the situation of March 10” was replaced by pressure to suspend the Declaration of Independence of March 11. Purportedly in that case the blockade would be terminated and negotiations on the regulation of relations would be started. It was a difficult decision for the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania, but it finally declared a moratorium, which included several safeguard clauses and the statement that it would be effective for only 100 days starting with the first day of the said negotiations. In spite of that, there were many interpretations that Lithuania had almost surrendered. However, that was the end of the story of the moratorium, which added much fuel to the fire and somewhat reminded of the ill-fated elections of William of Urach as the King of Lithuania in the summer of 1918. True, Moscow terminated the economic blockade of Lithuania, both parties formed their delegations to start negotiations, and these delegations met several times; however, no intergovernmental negotiations started. Gorbachev only simulated the process of negotiations by questioning Lithuania’s decision to be independent, thus, essentially agreeing only to discuss the terms and conditions of “honourable” surrender.
Consequently, no turning point occurred in Lithuanian-USSR relations. At the end of 1990 it became clear that Moscow might try to break the situation using the good old method, viz. military force. That’s what it tried to do on 13 January 1991, albeit unsuccessfully. Lithuania withstood this trial as well, although this one was the most severe during the period of restoration of the second independence. To crown it all, Soviet tanks squashed Gorbachev’s
perestroika as well as his personal political future. In the Soviet Union itself, centrifugal imperial tendencies accelerated so much that Gorbachev was no longer able to control them. Under such circumstances he eventually lost the support of the West.
Gorbachev has never assumed any personal liability for the bloodshed in Vilnius. Instead, he blamed the “extremist” politics of Vytautas Landsbergis. In his memoirs published in 1995 he still claimed that he has always been against the use of violence, even depicted his ultimatum of 10 January 1991 demanding the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania to reinstate the validity of the Constitution of the USSR as an invitation to behave calmly and wisely. Purportedly he had already made up his mind to let Lithuania “go”; however, under his own terms and conditions.
However, there is one factor that makes us seriously doubt the sincerity of Gorbachev. By not starting serious negotiations he failed to make use of most probably the best opportunity to direct Lithuania towards limited sovereignty; therefore, it is hard to believe that this was the result of lack of insight. It was no secret that besides Landsbergis’ idealistic line of unconditional independence based on the principles of restoration of historical justice there was also the so-called realistic line of entering into “special relations” with the USSR supported by Prunskienë. It is an undisputable fact that Landsbergis’ line achieved its final victory only after Moscow used military force.
Almost 13 years have passed since the events of January 1991 in Vilnius. We still call them tragic events; however, flags raised on January 13 no longer have mourning bands. Deaths at the TV tower are not forgotten, but different topics of the underhand dealings of politicians are prevailing more and more. Even celebrations feature bitter speeches about “lost opportunities” in 1990 and some statements are completely motiveless. This prompted the Board of the Club of Signatories of the Declaration of Independence of March 11 to address the
Seimas requesting announcement of the unpublished documents of the Supreme Council related to the events of January 1990 in order to avoid various speculations.
The Board of the Seimas supported this idea and on 13 February 2002 it formed the editorial commission consisting of: Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis – Deputy Chairman of the
Seimas (Chairman of the Commission), Julius Beinortas – Signatory of the Declaration of Independence of March 11, Mintautas Daulenskis – Director of
VÁ Seimo leidykla “Valstybës ţinios”, Gediminas Ilgűnas – Signatory of the Declaration of Independence of March 11, Irena Perkauskienë – Head of the Document Department of the Office of the
Seimas, Gediminas Rudis – Senior Research Fellow of the Lithuanian Institute of History, Regina Đkuropad – Senior Specialist of the Archive of the
Seimas. The Commission decided that first of all it had to analyse the records of private sessions of the Supreme Council and the material pertaining to three commissions formed in January 1991 (for the investigation of the events of 8 January 1991 near the building of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania, for the analysis of circumstances related to the disappearance of A. Đimënas, and for the investigation of the crime committed by the armed forces of the USSR in Lithuania from 11 to 13 January 1991). To better understand the context of the events, the decision was made to prepare a chronicle of the armed aggression of the USSR against Lithuania.
There were no problems related to the publishing of the records of private sessions of the Supreme Council; however, material pertaining to the above three commissions could not be found in the
Seimas or in any other archive. Former members of the commissions were approached, yielding no results. The editorial commission can only regret and hope that the published records of private sessions of the Supreme Council will at least partially compensate that which is lost.
Representatives of the Lithuanian Division of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (“CPSU”) demanded the liquidation of the guard post in the Institute of the History of the Party under the Central Committee of the Lithuanian Communist Party.
Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania Vytautas Landsbergis left for a two-day visit to Norway.
En route to Norway, he met with Chairman of the Supreme Council of Estonia Arnold Rüütel in Tallinn. In Norway, Landsbergis reached an agreement that Norway would open an information and commercial representative office in Vilnius and a similar representative office of Lithuania would operate in Oslo.
In Vilnius, a military unit of the Ministry of Interior of the USSR seized the Archives of the Lithuanian Communist Party. The guard did not let the Minister of Interior of the Republic of Lithuania enter the building, while the Lithuanian policemen who were guarding the building were banished.
In Vilnius, Lithuanian policemen were driven away from the building of the Central Committee of the Lithuanian Communist Party, part of which was in the hands of the Lithuanian Democratic Labour Party.
In Riga, the special troops of the Ministry of Interior of the USSR – the OMON – seized the Press Building and placed its director Kazimirs Dundurs under arrest (Vilnius OMON is alleged to have participated in the action). He was replaced by the emissary of the Latvian Communist Party A. Vrublevskis. Journalists and typographers refused to work in protest. First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Latvian Communist Party Alfred Rubik threatened that on New Year’s night there would be a reaction to the fact that the Press Building had established a public limited liability company, which he claimed to be illegal since the Press Building was the property of the Central Committee. The International Press Institute operating in London announced that Kazimirs Dundurs’ life was threatened.
Deputy Chairman of the Latvian Supreme Council Dainis Ivans called Minister of Interior of the USSR Boris Pugo. The latter ordered to solve “political problems” together with Alfred Rubik.
There were shootings on the Vansu Bridge in Riga, near the Press Building. OMON opened fire at a bus passing by the Latvian Ministry of Interior. Nobody was wounded.
After these events in Latvia, the security of the Press Building of Tallinn was strengthened.
The rationing of food products started in Lithuania.
Lithuanian prime minister Kazimiera Prunskienë sent a telegram to the Soviet of Ministers of the USSR informing that Lithuania still had not received any funds for the maintenance of Soviet establishments in Lithuania and to pay pensions to former Soviet army officers.
An unauthorised meeting was held near the Government Building in Vilnius by the Lithuanian Freedom League. The meeting protested against the price rises and demanded the resignation of the Government.
Food prices rose in Latvia.
Latvian prime minister Ivars Godmanis attended the sitting of the Federation Council in Moscow and talked with USSR president Mikhail Gorbachev. The latter claimed that he knew nothing about the seizure of the Press Building in Riga by the OMON.
The Presidium of the Estonian Supreme Council issued a declaration regarding the events in Latvia and Lithuania, in which the Estonians expressed their solidarity with the course chosen by Latvia and Lithuania and suggested that the Soviet Government immediately take measures to stop the military interference in the affairs of the Baltic States.
US senator Christopher J. Dodd sent letters to US president George Bush, USSR president Mikhail Gorbachev and US secretary of state James Baker, in which he stated that any strong-arm actions taken by Moscow against the Baltic Republics would have their consequences and if they were not stopped the economic assistance to the USSR would have to be terminated.
Richard Boucher from the US State Department indicated that Government officials were very much concerned about the events in Vilnius and Riga. He said that such actions were provocative and they could only complicate the situation in the Baltic region even more. “We urge stopping action that would only help obstruction or delay the start of constructive dialogue. Peaceful dialogue is needed for reaching a peaceful and suitable decision to implement the legitimate hopes of the Baltic people.”
Danish Foreign Minister Uffe Ellemann Jensen warned the USSR that strong-arm actions taken in the Baltic States could prevent the USSR from receiving EC assistance and he was outraged that the Soviet Government did not accept Lithuania’s proposal to start negotiations without any preliminary terms and conditions.
The two-day meeting of the heads of the customs departments of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia ended in Vilnius. A unanimous decision was reached that the three Baltic Republics had to follow a common customs procedure.
A meeting of the leaders of the Communist Parties of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania faithful to the USSR was held in Riga. The meeting issued the declaration “On Antidemocratic Measures and Human Rights Violation in the Baltic Republics”.
Mikhail Gorbachev issued a decree on the enforcement of the previous year’s drafting of young people into the Soviet army, including the Baltic Republics.
Commander of the Prebaltic Military Command Unit Fiodor Kuzmin stated that several divisions would be sent to the Baltic Republics in compliance with the order of USSR defence minister Dmitry Yazov to ensure the enforcement of the Soviet president’s decree.
Chairman of the Latvian Parliament Anatolijs Gorbunovs informed about Kuzmin’s promise not to start sending in troops before February 13. It was expected that during this period of time the respective Latvian and Soviet military authorities would reach an agreement.
Having discussed the introduction of an alternative service, the Parliament of Latvia voted that young people from Latvia should not resume their service in the Soviet army for security reasons.
Egidijus Bičkauskas spoke during the sitting of the Federation Council in Moscow stating that Lithuania would not sign any economic independence agreement with Moscow.
The Government of Ontario, Canada, sent a delegation to the Baltic Republics to assess the situation and establish what kind of assistance would be the most efficient.
The programme of the Lithuanian Communist Party was published in Lithuania stating that the goal of the Party was an independent and democratic Lithuanian State “the citizens of which would themselves decide on all political, economic, social, cultural, etc., issues.”
The Soviet Government announced that as of February 1 the Soviet interior ministry troops would join the militia in patrolling in major Soviet cities.
In a press conference, US president George Bush pointed out that Mikhail Gorbachev had “internal problems with the Baltic people”; however, he thought that the changes in the Baltic Republics would take place peacefully. He reminded that he had already discussed this issue in a philosophical sense with Gorbachev in Malta.
The Lithuanian Government adopted resolutions “On Purchase Prices of Agricultural Produce and On Retail Prices of Food Products” and “On the Increase of Labour Remuneration for the Employees of Budgetary Institutions and Organisations”. On this day food product prices were increased as well.
Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania Vytautas Landsbergis sent a telegram to Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev stating the intention to reach for progress in normalising relations between Lithuania and the USSR. Landsbergis emphasised that he was ready to come to Moscow if the Soviet president thought that any informal meeting would be expedient.
The commander of the Prebaltic Military Command Unit Kuzmin informed Chairman of the Supreme Council Landsbergis by telephone that under the order of Soviet Defence Minister Dmitry Yazov a forced drafting of young people to the Soviet army would be started in Lithuania and a special division of paratroopers would be used. Kuzmin also conveyed similar information to the prime ministers of Latvia and Estonia by telephone.
At about 9 p.m. a paratrooper unit left Alytus for Panevëţys.
In Lazdijai Customs, KGB officers and Soviet border guards intercepted the whole consignment (18 million) of postage stamps printed abroad and sent to Lithuania.
Following the protest of Arnold Rüütel and Edgar Savisaar, the sending of additional Soviet army units into Estonia was postponed.
Even though Marlin Fitzwater, press secretary to the US president, stated that there were no intentions to recall the US-Soviet summit meeting scheduled for February 11-13, there was information published in the US that administration officials allegedly said that President Bush thought the summit meeting could not be held as scheduled because of the Crisis in the Persian Gulf and the Baltic States.
Danish foreign minister Uffe Ellemann Jensen sent letters to the leaders of the Member States urging them to address the Soviet Government with a request not to use any force in the Baltic States.
In Đimoniř village, Kupiđkis Region, six men dressed in civilian clothes arrived by military ambulance and forcibly took away Linas Černiauskas, who refused to serve in the Soviet army. Criminal proceedings were started against him.
In the Kremlin, Soviet president Gorbachev received Lithuanian prime minister Prunskienë and Lithuania’s Representative in Moscow Egidijus Bičkauskas. The Lithuanian prime minister asked Gorbachev not to pursue the announced forcible drafting of Lithuanian young men into the Soviet army. The issue of Lithuanian-Soviet intergovernmental negotiations was discussed. Gorbachev said that this issue would be resolved in the sitting of the Federation Council on February 12.
From the very morning people started to gather near the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania. The majority of them were Russian-speaking people invited to the protest action by
Jedinstvo and the CPSU. Athletically built men armed with stones and iron bars were seen in the crowd. The meeting urged overturning the Lithuanian Government and the chairman of the Supreme Council.
At 9.45 a.m. Chairman of the Supreme Council Landsbergis went on the radio and TV and invited Lithuanian people to come to the Supreme Council Building and support the government. At 10 a.m. people invited by
Jedinstvo and the CPSU stormed the central entrance of the Supreme Council Building, tore down the doors and started to force their way into the Supreme Council. Thirty people succeeded; however, the security guards shortly forced them outside.
At 10.23 a.m. one hundred deputies voted for the recall of the increase in prices (four deputies voted against it and four deputies abstained).
A group of Soviet paratroopers arrived at Jonava Airport.
The so-called Civil Committee of Vilnius Teachers sent a telegram to Soviet president Gorbachev demanding that he use all his presidential powers and to stop “the licence of ambitious politicos and economic dilettantes as well as inhuman and anti-constitutional actions of the Lithuanian Government.”
Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania Landsbergis wrote an open letter to the leaders and governments of democratic states of the world stating that they may prevent a new aggression by entering into diplomatic relations with the lawfully elected Lithuanian Government.
At 4.35 p.m. a column of over one hundred military and armour-clad vehicles arrived to Vilnius. It squelched with thunder and headed for the North Town.
In the evening Lithuanian prime minister Kazimiera Prunskienë announced her resignation. In ten minutes the Supreme Council approved the resignation of the first Government of the restored Lithuanian State.
The Council of the Baltic States issued a declaration protesting against the marching of additional Soviet troops into the territory of the Baltic States and addressing the society, parliaments and governments of the world urging them to speak against the move started by the USSR.
As soon as Air Force commander Pavel Grachev stated that the troops under his command should not participate in political processes, he was immediately recalled from Riga to Moscow.
On that day over thirty combat aircraft with paratroopers on board landed in Điauliai Airport.
At the initiative of Carl Bildt, the leader of the Moderate Party, representatives of Swedish political parties met to discuss the situation in the Baltic Republics. Swedish prime minister Ingvar Carlsson attended the meeting. On the same day Swedish foreign minister Sten Sture Andersson called the ambassador of the USSR and asked him to explain what was going on in the Baltic States.
In Milan, US secretary of state James Baker stated that the sending of additional units of the Soviet army to Lithuania “alarms regarding the situation in the Baltic region. We are worried about that. We really hope it does not mean that the USSR renounces positive character, which was so apparent in its philosophy and relations over the last eighteen months.”
The White House issued a similar statement in which it urged the USSR not to start exercising any pressure on the Baltic States and to resume peaceful negotiations.
From the early morning Soviet military helicopters started circling over downtown Vilnius and throwing proclamations stating that the Lithuanian Parliament and the Government were leading the Lithuanian residents towards destruction.
At 2 p.m. Soviet military officers arrived by military car to Martynas Maţvydas Library near the Parliament and installed audio amplifiers. Preparations were made for the meeting.
The first IL-76 Soviet military aircraft landed in Vilnius Airport; it carried fifty paratroopers from Pskov Division and a group of high-ranking Soviet army officers. The spokesperson of the Soviet Ministry of Defence confirmed to foreign journalists that paratroopers had been sent to Vilnius.
Within a couple of hours the KGB special forces unit – Alfa squad – flew in from Moscow.
At 4 p.m.
Jedinstvo supporters and enterprise workers of the all-union subordination started gathering in the square near the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania. The crowd demanded the introduction of Soviet presidential rule. It was announced that some Vilnius railway workers and some employees of Lithuanian Airlines had gone on strike. Red banners left the square at around 6 p.m.
On the other side of the same square thousands of residents of Vilnius gathered at the invitation of Chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme Council Landsbergis. They chanted “Lithuania” and “Landsbergis” and sang Lithuanian songs.
Russian Orthodox archbishop Chrisostom addressed the residents of Vilnius on the radio in support of the legitimate Lithuanian Government.
In the afternoon the radio newsreader invited people to come to Sudervës Street near the Radio and TV Tower, which was surrounded by armour-clad vehicles.
At 5.30 p.m. the radio asked people to help again – people were asked to quickly come to the building of the Radio and Television Committee on Konarskio Street.
At 6.40 p.m. Vytautas Landsbergis informed that Russian armed forces had withdrawn from the approaches to the Supreme Council and to the TV tower; however, the danger had not passed yet.
At night, Soviet combat armour-clad vehicles blocked the Vilnius bridges.
The Latvian Strike Committee demanded the dissolution of the Latvian Parliament, renouncement of the increase in prices, and the resignation of the Parliament leaders. The ultimatum stated a deadline, viz. January 14.
The commission formed by the 4th Congress of the People’s Deputies of the USSR arrived in Latvia. The objective of the commission was to investigate the discrimination of the army in Latvia.
Janis Peters, the representative of the Latvian Parliament to Moscow, reached an agreement with Dmitry Yazov that the Soviet defence minister would meet representatives of the Latvian Parliament on January 11.
Estonian representatives in the Conference of People’s Deputies of the USSR Enn-Arno Sillari and Edgar Savisaar met with Dmitry Yazov who promised not to send any additional Soviet army units to Estonia.
By order of Mikhail Gorbachev, Chairman of the Soviet of Nationalities of the USSR Supreme Soviet Rafik Nishanov and his deputy Boris Oleinik met with representatives of the Lithuanian division of the CPSU who came to Moscow and demanded the introduction of presidential rule in Lithuania. Nishanov promised that they would not have to wait long for that.
In his speech in the sitting of the Foreign Relations Committee of the
Folketing, Danish foreign minister Uffe Ellemann Jensen emphasised that he would raise the issue of the USSR policy in the Baltic Republics in the meeting of EC ministers of foreign affairs to be held in Luxembourg on January 10. He said that the EC should not let the USSR make use of the fact that the attention of the world is concentrated on the Persian Gulf Crisis. He reminded that in 1956 the USSR sent its army to Hungary at the time of the Suez Crisis. According to him, the EC had to issue a warning to Gorbachev regarding his actions in the Baltic States. He also promised to raise the demand in the meeting of EC ministers that the Soviet Government start negotiations with the Baltic Republics and propose to link the EC’s assistance to the USSR with the behaviour of the latter (except for food aid).
The Finnish Parliament organised a three-day conference to discuss the problems of the Baltic Sea region. The conference was chaired by Parliament Speaker Kalevi Sorsa. Chairman of the Estonian Supreme Council Ulo Nugis spoke at the conference. Deputy Chairman of the Latvian Supreme Council Dainis Ivans also attended the conference. He was pleased that the situation in the Baltic States was being discussed in an international meeting. He was also pleased with the increased interest in events taking place in the Baltic States and that their interpretation changed for the benefit of the Baltics.
The French Government issued a communiqué stating that the Baltic Republics had been occupied in 1940 and that their aspirations should not be suppressed by force. The communiqué urged the Soviet Government to find a solution only with the help of peaceful negotiations.
In Prague, Deputy Foreign Minister of Czechoslovakia Zdenek Matejka called Soviet ambassador Boris Pankin and informed him about the concern of his Government with the events in Lithuania and requested him to inform the Soviet Government about Czechoslovakia’s encouragement to settle the problems without using any violence.
At the sitting of the Lithuanian Supreme Council, Chairman Landsbergis read the letter of Czechoslovakia’s president Vaclav Havel in which he expressed his support for the Lithuanian Parliament and his hope that “truth and love should prevail over lies and hatred.”
Polish president Lech Walćsa sent a telegram in which he also expressed his support for Lithuania.
Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev issued an ultimatum to the Lithuanian Supreme Council demanding the immediate reinstitution of the validity of the Soviet Constitution and recall of all earlier adopted unconstitutional acts. He started his address as follows: “We must look straight into the eye of truth and see the real reasons behind the current situation. They are the result of the severe breach of and derogations from the Soviet Constitution.”
First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Lithuanian Communist Party Mykolas Burokevičius and Second Secretary Vladislav Đved organised a press conference in Vilnius and explained that all the events taking place in Lithuania were the result of the policy of the present Government and the accusations that the recent events were inspired by Moscow were unjustified. They claimed that the majority of Lithuanian residents did not support the policy pursued by the Lithuanian Parliament; therefore, they were planning to organise strikes and demonstrations.
A centre of space communication with Moscow was installed in the North Town cantonment of Vilnius.
An unidentified Soviet officer informed an ELTA reporter that after January 13 the Soviet army would use any possible measures to catch young Lithuanian men and draft them into the army.
A list was made stating when and from which regions of Vilnius or cities/towns of Lithuania people would keep a vigil at the Lithuanian Parliament for the next few days.
At the proposal of the Chairman of the Supreme Council, the new prime minister – Albertas Đimënas – was introduced.
The Presidium of the Latvian Supreme Council issued a statement in which it strongly condemned the use of force by the Soviet Union in Lithuania and expressed the solidarity of Latvia with Lithuania.
An unauthorised demonstration of about 10,000 people organised by
Interfront was held at the building of the Latvian Council of Ministers. There were attempts to break into the building. The demands were the same as those of the Latvian Strike Committee.
The Estonian Government raised food prices.
The situation of the Baltic Republics was discussed in the meeting of EC foreign ministers held in Luxembourg. The European Community issued a statement saying that “the EC and its Member States are deeply concerned with the situation in the Baltic Republics and hope that the USSR, with due consideration to its commitments undertaken in the Helsinki Final Act, will refrain from any intimidating actions and will start negotiations with the elected representatives of the Baltic Republics as soon as possible in order to find a peaceful solution for legitimate aspirations of the Baltic nations.”
US senators Donald W. Riegle, Alan J. Dixon, John F. Kerry, Bill Bradley, Alfonse D'Amato, Carl Levin, John Glenn, Dan Coats, Dennis DeConcini and Malcolm Wallop addressed the US president stating that they were concerned about the news on the movement of the Soviet army in Lithuania, especially about the latest increasingly provocative and frightening actions of the official representatives of the Soviet Union that tried to force the leaders of the Baltic States to recognise the Soviet constraint as being legitimate in the Baltic States. Recalling the rhetoric used by Gorbachev, Pugo and Kruchkov in recent months and listing the specific actions of the “black berets” or other Soviet soldiers, the senators wrote that “our Government must make it perfectly clear to Moscow that our involvement in the Persian Gulf crisis does not reduce our commitment to the Baltic States. President Gorbachev must know that if Moscow does not stop its aggressive actions and start benevolent negotiations on the restoration of independence of the Baltic States, it will have a negative impact on US-Soviet relations and economic assistance will be suspended.
Senator Christopher J. Dodd addressed the US president suggesting that he address the Soviet president and state the US position to support the aspirations for independence of the Baltic States, as the attacks of Moscow on the Baltic States were increasing. He also urged that the diplomatic representative of the United States in Leningrad be sent to visit the capitals of the Baltic States as often of possible.
In a press conference, Richard Boucher from the US State Department noted that the US was watching the events in the Baltic Republics very closely. He recalled the statement made by Secretary of State James Baker on January 9 in which Baker expressed his concerns about the sending of the army into the Baltic States and the hope that the USSR did not change the course of policy.
The foreign minister of Iceland Jon Baldvin Hannibalsson delivered a statement of the Icelandic Government to the Soviet ambassador Igor Karsavin stating the it was very much concerned about the events in Lithuania and emphasised that no force should be used in the relations between the USSR and the Baltic States; if force were used, it would have a negative impact on the relations between the USSR and the West.
The Presidium of the Nordic Council in Copenhagen discussed the current situation in the Baltic States. A declaration was adopted stating that the Presidium as well as the governments of all Nordic Countries welcomes democratic achievements in the Baltic States and demands the immediate commencement of the actual negotiations between the Soviet Government and the governments of the Baltic State in order for the aspiration of the Baltic people to freedom to come true. The declaration states concerns about military actions and the hope that democratic changes will not be terminated in the Baltic States.
According to Finnish president Mauno Koivisto, Finland cannot allow the Soviet Union to become an enemy. “Declaration stating that we do not support the Soviet Union or Mikhail Gorbachev does not conform to our goals,” – the president of Finland said to the journalists in the press conference. He emphasised that the Baltic States were an integral part of the Soviet Union; therefore, Finland would not interfere with the domestic affairs of its neighbouring country, and such issues should be dealt with in compliance with the provisions of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe. According to him, there is a danger that various assistance, including economic assistance, allocated to separate regions of the USSR may be interpreted as a form of political protest against the entity of the USSR and it is therefore not useful for the providers as well as for the benefactors. Closing the conference, Koivisto spoke that talks about a military coup in the USSR were only a speculations and did not have any grounds, while the power of military officers may grow, as there was currently much unrest and disorder in the Soviet Union. He claimed he did not have any information that the Baltic States faced any danger. To the question whether Finland will provide asylum to young people from the Baltic States who refused to serve in the Soviet army, Koivisto answered that it was a legal issue and it was difficult for him to provide an answer. He emphasised that the Baltic States heard many nice words and received many nice promises rather than actual assistance from other countries and that nobody understood the Baltic nations so well as the Finns did. He wished to the Baltic States to follow the Finnish example, i.e. to rely on themselves alone.
The Political Council of the Independent Polish Confederation (“IPC”) announced an appeal to all Polish political and public organisations and to all Poles and Byelorussians living in Lithuania urging them to be more active in their support of Lithuania in its fight for independence. “Threat to freedom of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia grows with each day. Let us not allow Moscow to succeed in turning back the wheel of history again,” – these words end the declaration. It was sent to Lithuania by chairman of the IPC Leszek Moczulski.
Information started pouring to the Supreme Council of Lithuania that Soviet combat vehicles were moving along the streets of Vilnius at night.
At around 9 a.m.
Jedinstvo supporters, members of the CPSU and other opponents of independence gathered in the Independence Square and tried to provoke a fight.
The so-called “Congress of Democratic Forces of Lithuania” issued an ultimatum to chairman of the Supreme Council of Lithuania Landsbergis and prime minister Albertas Đimënas stating the following:
“The workpeople of the Lithuanian SSR and all realistically thinking groups of Lithuanian residents who cherish the fate of Lithuania and its people, give their vote of censure on you and on the majority of the Parliament. (…) On behalf of the workpeople of Lithuania and on behalf of its best workers, peasants and intelligentsia we demand that the Supreme Council and the Government assents to the demands of the Soviet president by January 11, 3 p.m. and immediately reinstates the Soviet Constitution and the Constitution of the Lithuanian SSR on the territory of Lithuania. If our demands are not met by 3 p.m., we shall establish the national salvation committee that will take care of the future of the Lithuanian SSR.”
In Kaunas, at 11 a.m. Soviet troops seized the premises of the former Voluntary Society for Assistance to the Army, Air Force and Navy as well as the
Vairas Hotel located nearby.
At 11.45 a.m. commander of Vilnius military garrison General Vladimir Uskhopchik informed the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania about the commencement of military “exercises” in Vilnius and about the search for soldiers who defected from the army.
At 11.50 a.m. Soviet troops surrounded the headquarters of the Lithuanian Defence Department on Virđuliđkiř Street with armour-clad vehicles and then seized it.
At 12 noon Soviet tanks and armour-clad vehicles seized the Press Building in Vilnius. During the action Soviet troops used firearms. Vytautas Lukđys, an employee of the Lithuanian Defence Department, was badly wounded in the head; bullets got Arvydas Kvičkauskas and Algis Vaičiukas. Several other people were beaten and injured.
At 12.15 p.m. Soviet paratroopers seized the building of a technical school in Alytus in which Alytus Division of the Lithuanian Defence Department was located.
At 12.55 p.m. at the crossing of Ţalgirio and Rinktinës Streets a Soviet tank crossed over to the opposite traffic lane and hit a truck; the driver of the truck was badly injured.
The movement of combat vehicles along the streets of Vilnius intensified.
At 1.30 p.m. chairman of the Supreme Council Landsbergis tried to reach Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev by telephone. The effort was not successful. The following answer was provided: “The president is busy, he is having lunch.”
The chairman of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania receive a notice from the employees of Ignalina Nuclear Power Station that they were starting a two-hour strike and demand the reinstitution of the Soviet Constitution and the Constitution of the Lithuanian SSR as well as the resignation of the Lithuanian Supreme Council by 3 p.m. If these demands are not complied with, the employees of Ignalina Nuclear Power Station threatened to cut the power supply as of January 15.
Lithuanian volunteers swore their allegiance to the Republic of Lithuania and swore to defend the Lithuanian Supreme Council. The oath was read by defence minister Audrius Butkevičius. Volunteers were sanctified by rev. Robertas Grigas.
At 3.20 p.m. the new prime minister Albertas Đimënas introduced eleven ministers to the sitting of the Supreme Council; the ministers swore their allegiance to Lithuania.
At 3 p.m. in the press conference organised in the building of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, head of the Ideological Division Juozas Jermalavičius announced that the “salvation committee of the Lithuanian SSR” was established in Lithuania, which takes over the government of Lithuania. To the question what the role of the Soviet army was, Jermalavičius answered that the Soviet armed forced were the security of the functioning of the Constitution on the territory of the Lithuanian SSR.
At 4.30 p.m. fifty tanks left Rudamina for Vilnius. A column of covered combat vehicles started their drive from Panemunë to the capital.
A military helicopter circled a few loops around Vilnius and threw leaflets demanding the introduction of the Soviet presidential rule in Lithuania.
Over 20,000 people gathered near the Supreme Council building in Independence Square in support of the Parliament.
In the sitting of the Government the Appeal to the Governments of All Countries of the World was adopted. It asked them to provide Lithuania with any kind of assistance that free countries could provide in this difficult hour for Lithuania and in the face of the violent overturn of the Government, and to recognise the Lithuanian Government
At 4.40 Lithuanian foreign minister Algirdas Saudargas dispatched a note of protest to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR; the note expressed the concern about the violence of the Soviet army in Lithuania.
At 5.25 Soviet troops seized the warehouse of the Society of Hunters and Fishermen and stole twelve hunting rifles and documents of the Society.
The Supreme Council adopted the appeal to the Lithuanian people. It pointed out that aggressive actions with the use of armament threaten the independence of Lithuania.
At 8.55 p.m. Soviet troops seized and overrun the premises of Vilnius Division of the Defence Department on T. Kosciuđkos Street.
At 9 p.m. TV relay centre of Nemenčinë was seized.
The CPSU organisation of Vilnius Airport and the leaders of
Jedinstvo organised a meeting and went on strike in the airport.
At 11 p.m. the crew of one armour-clad vehicle stormed into the dispatcher office of Vilnius Railway Station. The train traffic was stopped.
Commander of the Prebaltic Military Command Unit Colonel-General Kuzmin announced that the landing operation was suspended in Estonia; however, on the condition that the Republic itself would organise the drafting of young men into the Soviet army.
The Presidium of the Estonian Supreme Council expressed its solidarity with Lithuania. “The world must know: We can be enslaved but we cannot be defeated,” – the statement said.
The Presidium of the Latvian Supreme Council stated that it declares before God and before the whole mankind that Latvia is and will be together with Lithuania.
Rallies were held in Latvia in support of the Latvian Parliament and the Government policy.
“The Republican Strike Committee of the Latvian SSR” sent a telegram to the Soviet president demanding the introduction of the presidential rule “in order to avoid the catastrophe”.
A meeting between Dmitry Yazov and representatives of the Latvian Government was held in Moscow. A verbal agreement was reached that no more Soviet troops will be gathered in Latvia.
The Latvian Popular Front invited all Latvian people to attend the manifestation on January 13.
The US Senate unanimously approved a resolution asking president Gorbachev not to use any force in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.
NATO issued a statement regarding the events in Lithuania stating that NATO supported a peaceful settlement of the crisis and urging the Soviet Government not to use any violence in Lithuania.
In the meeting of foreign ministers of the European Community with UN Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar the situation in the Baltic States was discussed alongside Persian Gulf Crisis. After the meeting foreign minister of Luxembourg Jacque Poos organised a press conference. On behalf of the EC he expressed the concern about the events in the Baltic Republics and urged the USSR to follow the spirit of CSCE, Paris Declaration and other documents and not to use any force. He also urged the USSR to start negotiations with the Baltic Republics without any delay. He announced that the EC decided to suspend humanitarian and technical aid to the USSR.
French Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement that “France states once again that a sovereignty must be returned to the Baltic Republics, which were unlawfully annexed in 1940” and that the USSR must commence negotiations with the Baltic Republics.
The British Ministry of Foreign Affairs denounced actions undertaken by the USSR in Lithuania during which civilian buildings were seized. Soviet representative Vladimir Ivanov was called to the British Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A statement was issued to him that the British Government did not justify this action. The Soviet Government was urged to withdraw its troops from the streets of Lithuanian cities, to terminate any kind of military actions on the territory of the country, to allow legitimate governmental authorities to implement their powers, and to start negotiations.
Pope John Paul II sent a telegram to the chairman of the Lithuanian Bishops Conference cardinal Vincentas Sladkevičius, in which he expressed his solidarity with the Lithuanian nation and wished to remain strong.
The Czechoslovakian Parliament adopted an appeal to the Supreme Soviet of the USSR urging not to use any force in the Baltic States.
The Czechoslovakian Government decided to terminate the contract with the USSR regarding the maintenance of machinery, equipment and apparatus.
The Polish Parliament adopted a resolution denouncing the USSR for the use of military force in Lithuania and urging Moscow to start peaceful negotiations with the Lithuanian Government. The resolution reminded Moscow that the Soviet leader has officially declared the right of small nations to decide their own fate. Prior to voting, deputy of the Lithuanian Supreme Council Czeslaw Okinczyc delivered a speech at the Polish Parliament. 293 parliament members voted for the resolution and 3 voted against.
The declaration of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the Polish Government was following the events in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius with deep concern and urged the Soviet leaders to settle disputable issued peacefully.
Polish public movement
Akcja Demokratyczna issued a declaration in which it expressed its solidarity with Lithuania and with all fighters for freedom, and asked the government of Poland as well as governments of other democratic countries to support Lithuania. The declaration proposed that the Helsinki Committee in Poland established an assistance foundation for Lithuania to which the Movement contributed 10,000,000 zlotys.
The Council of Krakow issued an appeal in which it expressed its admiration of the fight of the Lithuanians for freedom and its respect for the killed.
Swedish prime minister Ingmar Carlsson stated that the use of force in Lithuania is a very dangerous phenomenon, which could harm the relations between Moscow and the Baltic States. The Swedish Government thought that any use of force should not be tolerated.
Swedish ambassador to the USSR Orjano Berner returned to Moscow in order to deliver a letter of Swedish foreign minister Sten Andersson to the Soviet foreign minister, which stated the disapproval of the Swedish Government of the actions undertaken by the USSR in Lithuania.
Canadian Secretary of State for External Affairs Joe Clark called Soviet ambassador and expressed a strict disapproval of the Canadian Government of he actions undertaken by the USSR in the Baltic States. He reminded the ambassador that former Soviet foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze has several times confirmed that no force would be used against the Baltic States.
Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia dr. Neal Blewett stated: “Declarations of Independence of 1990 mirror the aspiration of the Baltic nations to gain economic and political independence peacefully and democratically. The Government hopes that all concerned parties will demonstrate the highest moderation to prevent the situation from further worsening, and urges the Government of the Soviet Union not to take any actions that would undermine the opportunities for a peaceful solution.”
In the press conference for foreign journalists, representative of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Taidze Vatanabe expressed the concern of the Japanese Government about the actions of the USSR in Lithuania and other Baltic Republics. He urged the governments of the USSR and the Baltic Republics to settle all disagreements peacefully, as there was a danger to “appeal to arms”.
0:30 - The Soviet military with military equipment and guns seizes the base of the Individual Militia Special Purposes Unit of the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Lithuania in Valakupiai. About 30 former Lithuanian militiamen go over to the occupant side. The leader of this group is Chief of the Unit Staff Boleslovas Makutinovičius. Fifteen police cars, about 200 firearms and sports firearms are stolen.
4:30 - Attempts to occupy the Police Academy building located in Baltupiai.
Vytautas Landsbergis, chairman of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania, informs the Council that he three times tried unsuccessfully to contact Mikhail Gorbachev, president of the USSR, during a sitting held late at night.
Deputy Defence Minister of the USSR Colonel General Vladislav Achalov arrives in Vilnius.
5.30 - Unknown persons set fire to the temporal border post on the Vilnius-Lyda highway and a car standing nearby.
11:20 - Armed Soviet soldiers attack the border post near Varëna on the Pariečë-Druskininkai road, break the road barrier and take away the temporal border post wagon by force.
About 400 Soviet Army soldiers are transferred from Kaliningrad to Vilnius.
The Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuanian adopts the Resolution "On Defence Measures of the Republic of Lithuania"; the Temporal Defence Governance is formed.
The first edition of
Laisva Lietuva ("Free Lithuania") is issued. The newspaper is published by the editorial boards of thirteen newspapers that were driven away from the Press House by the Soviet occupants. The newspaper is distributed free of charge.
14:00 - Violating traffic regulations a Soviet Army truck crashes into a car on Tvirtovë alley in Kaunas. One person is killed and three injured.
Soviet soldiers occupy the building of DOSAAF, a Voluntary Society of Assistance to the Army, Aviation and Navy, located in Basanavičiaus Street, Vilnius.
18:00 - "The Information Agency" of the Central Committee of the Lithuanian Communist Party declares that for the second day rumours spread that Algirdas Brazauskas, former vice prime minister, is invited to a meeting with President Gorbachev and the general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. "Competent sources report that there were no invitations from Mr. Gorbachev. Such rumours are spread with one aim – to create political capital for bankrupt leaders," the declaration says.
22:00 - The ammunition column is moved from the North Town to the downtown by Ţirműnai Street. Paratroopers are "hunting" for young men to serve in the Soviet Army in Kaunas.
In the City Committee of the Lithuanian Communist Party, Reserve Colonel Vitalijus Đurupovas, officer of the Central Committee, gives instructions to representatives of "worker squads" to prepare for important events.
23:00 - Addressing the Supreme Council of Lithuania and citizens of Lithuania, a group of unknown persons calling themselves "the National Committee of Salvation" say that the present Government brought the people to the precipice and is not controlling the situation therefore "Our duty is to take over all the power in Lithuania in order to avoid an economic crash and a fratricidal war."
24:00 - Tanks, armoured vehicles and covered trucks from the North Town move towards Karoliniđkës district. KGB Alfa Group are in one of the trucks.
Arnold Rüütel, Boris Yeltsin and Ivan Silayev sign the agreement on political and economic co-operation between the Russian Federation and Estonia.
NATO headquarters in Brussels releases the declaration expressing concern regarding the use of force in the Baltic countries. The Government of the Soviet Union is urged to stop using force and start negotiations with democratically elected governments of the republics.
The US Congress approves the Act allowing President George Bush to start the war against Iraq if its army does not withdraw from Kuwait by January 15. US diplomats leave Baghdad.
US Senator Alfonse D'Amato declares that taking advantage of the world's concentration on the crisis in the Persian Gulf, the Soviet Union attacks movements for independence in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia and other republics making attempts to separate. The senator warns Mr. Gorbachev that the use of force in the Baltic countries threatens the good relations of the countries and that "Congress may not grant the most favoured nation trade status and food assistance and might even cancel the summit." This declaration, published the next day as an Open Letter to the President, was signed by senators Bill Bradley, Connie Mack, Donald W. Riegleis and Jesse Helms.
National Security Adviser of the US President Zbigniew Brzezinski, visiting Poland on Saturday, says that the Soviet leaders must understand that if the Lithuanians’ aspirations for freedom are quenched by force, it will suffer serious international consequences.
On Saturday (January 12) Australian prime minister Robert Hawke says that what is happening in Lithuania arises disgust.
Swedish prime minister Ingvar Carlsson makes a statement in which he condemns the use of force in Lithuania.
Norwegian minister of foreign affairs Thorvald Stoltenberg, speaking in the parliament, expresses his concern on the course of the events in the Baltic countries and concludes his speech: "We see that the situation is very serious and declare that it develops in an unwanted direction. In our letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union we urge a return to peaceful ways of problem solving – to negotiations."
Danish minister of foreign affairs Uffe Ellemann Jensen makes another declaration on the events in Lithuania and the Baltic countries.
Visiting Scotland UK prime minister John Major says that the actions of Soviet soldiers in Vilnius are a step backwards and may have serious consequences. In his opinion, it is obvious that Mikhail Gorbachev is conceding to the army more and more willingly or unwillingly.
Ambassador of the Soviet Union Vladislav Terechov is invited to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany upon the instruction of Minister Hans Dietrich Genscher.
The Parliament and the Senate of Poland makes a joint declaration protesting against the use of force and actively supporting the rights of decision of Lithuanians and other Baltic nations.
The Green Party of Poland, various public organisations and professional unions make statements expressing support for Lithuania in its fight for freedom
A protest meeting is organised in front of the Embassy of the Soviet Union in Warsaw at midday regarding the politics and actions of the Soviet Union against sovereign Lithuania.
A protest meeting is also organised in front of the Consulate of the Soviet Union in Krakow. A protest is handed to the Consul regarding the actions of the Soviet Army in Lithuania.
Colonel Zbigniew Skoczyla, representative of the Migration Department under the Ministry of the Interior, informs where Lithuanian citizens in Poland can apply to obtain refugee status.
The Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Russian Federation adopts a declaration regarding the increasing tension in the Baltic republics.
Twenty-two People's Deputies of the USSR propose to adopt a resolution regarding the events in Lithuania, expressing protest against intervention of military forces into complex social and political processes and its fight with the legal government. The resolution is not adopted but Mikhail Gorbachev, under pressure from Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Russian Federation Boris Yeltsin and other deputies from Russia, forms a commission within the Presidential Council aiming to find a political solution of the existing situation in Lithuania. The commission includes Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Armenia Levon Ter Petrosian and Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Soviet Republic of Belarus Nikolai Dementei.
During the Soviet TV news, Vremia, Head of the Commentators Group Biriukov, after his return to Moscow, informs that the local authorities are not in control of the situation in Lithuania, strikes are taking place, more and more Lithuanians are striking, those who do not agree with Government's policy are not allowed to express their opinions on radio and in press, and people of other nationalities are terrorised in Lithuania.
After midnight. Soviet Army tanks, armoured vehicles and armed soldiers stormed the television tower and Lithuanian radio and television building in Vilnius. This resulted in deaths of 13 civilians, and over 500 more civilians have been injured. Here is a list of those who died tragically:
ALGIMANTAS PETRAS KAVOLIUKAS,
APOLINARAS JUOZAS POVILAITIS,
VYTAUTAS KANCEVIČIUS (he died on February 18 of gunshot wounds).
The “black berets” were accompanied to the TV tower by Vilnius radio telephone communication service engineer, reserve lieutenant-colonel Anatoly Subbotin.
During the attack on the Television and Radio building Soviet landing-forces soldier Viktor Shatskikh was shot dead by his own comrades. (Izvestiya newspaper announced that lieutenant Viktor Shitnovich had been killed.)
By the TV tower, by means of the loudspeakers arranged in the military vehicle it was announced (Juozas Jermalavičius’ voice) that the parliament had been defeated and that power had passed to the “national rescue committee.”
Landing-forces soldiers took away or broke down video cameras and documents from representatives of four foreign TV companies. Several journalists from Norway, United Kingdom and Spain were beaten up and kicked. The Spanish Foreign Ministry sent a note of protest to the USSR Foreign Ministry regarding injuries caused to the Spanish TV cameraman Miguel Awega.
Leaflets are distributed in Vilnius, in which it is stated that if Soviet rule comes back, civil rights and land will be granted.
After termination of Vilnius radio and television broadcasts, a radio station in Kaunas (in Sitkűnai) began to broadcast at 2 o’clock. The Sitkűnai and Juragiai broadcastings stations were surrounded by landing-forces soldiers who demanded termination of broadcastings.
An attack on the Supreme Council palace is expected.
At night, the Supreme Council palace was visited by Leningrad City Council bloc Democratic Russia delegation: Sergey Bereznitsky (deputy editor-in-chief of Nevsky Courier newspaper), Aleksandr Vinnikov, Aleksandr Tseliakov, and people’s deputy of the Russian Soviet Federal Socialist Republic and Leningrad City Council Presidium member Yury Nesterov.
At 4.15 the governmental information service announced that the Government was not going to terminate its activities in the conditions of active occupation by the USSR army. The activities of the Government in the new conditions were discussed at the Government meeting.
Having defined the USSR actions as military aggression against Lithuania, the Republic of Lithuania Supreme Court in case of termination of activities of the Republic of Lithuania Government empowered the Republic of Lithuania Foreign Minister Algirdas Saudargas who went to Poland to represent the Republic of Lithuania abroad and to form the Republic of Lithuania Government in emigration.
On January 13 the Republic of Lithuania Foreign Minister Algirdas Saudargas and the Lithuania Supreme Council deputy Czeslawas Okinczycas held two press conferences in Warsaw.
The Supreme Council of Lithuania announced January 13, 14 and15 d. as days of mourning.
The Supreme Council recalled Albertas Đimënas from the position of Prime Minister due to his unknown whereabouts and inability to hold the position. Gediminas Vagnorius was appointed as Prime Minister, and Zigmas Vaiđvila was appointed as his deputy. Towards evening Albertas Đimënas appeared at the parliament. A special commission was set up in order to investigate the circumstances of his disappearance.
At 10.35 30 armoured vehicles and 7 tanks passed through the Supreme Council underground tunnel.
At 10.40 a plane with delegation sent by decision of the Nationalities Council of the USSR Supreme Council landed at Vilnius airport.
At 11 two armoured vehicles passing through the city announced by means of loudspeakers that starting from January 13 a curfew from 22:00 to 6:30 was enforced in Vilnius, and Vilnius military garrison head general major Vladimir Uskhopchik was appointed as Vilnius military commandant.
At 13.37 a delegation of the Nationalities Council of the USSR Supreme Council arrived to the parliament palace of Lithuania: Boris Oleinik, Levon Ter Petrosian, Nikolay Dementey, and the USSR Supreme Council Human Rights and Publicity Board president Vladimir Fotiyev. Later they visited Điaurës Miestelis.
The Republic of Lithuania Supreme Council addressed all people of the Soviet Union, reminding them that the tragedy of Lithuania is their tragedy as well and encouraging them to help stop the aggression; it also addressed the world governments, explaining that the Soviet Union had started an unannounced war against Lithuania and asking them to recognize that the Soviet Union had attacked a sovereign state.
The Republic of Lithuania Supreme Council adopted a resolution “Regarding setting up of an interim defence authority of the Republic of Lithuania” (members: Gediminas Vagnorius, Albertas Đimënas, Zigmas Vaiđvila, Audrius Butkevičius, Romualdas Ozolas, Aleksandras Abiđala, Mečys Laurinkus, Vaclovas Zabarauskas).
The mysterious Lithuanian “national rescue committee” announced its address to the USSR President Michail Gorbachev and to the USSR Supreme Council chairman Anatoly Lukyanenko, in which it stated that starting from January 13, 1991 the citizens’ resistance in Lithuania became especially active and acquired the form of armed resistance. In the address it was stated that pogroms were organized against Lithuanian Communist party committees, and that the national defence fighters literally hunted for communists and supporters of the Soviet regime. The “committee” stated that the situation in Lithuania was not controlled anymore neither by the Supreme Council and the Government, nor by the recently set-up “national rescue committee”; therefore, there was no other solution other than asking the USSR President to urgently impose presidential rule in the territory of Lithuania. Any delays, the “committee” stated, would result in “complete economic break-up and in large numbers of casualties.”
Swedish consul Lars Freden arrived to the Republic of Lithuania Supreme Council from Riga.
At 21.15 Vytautas Landsbergis announced that an agreement had been reached with the soldiers and that they had promised that no military actions would take place during the night.
In Latvia, during the extraordinary meeting the parliament decided to form the Defence Committee.
Latvian Supreme Council deputy president Dainis Ivanas talked on the radio encouraging Latvian people to go to Riga Old Town in order to protect the parliament.
In Riga, people started to gather by the most important buildings, block the entrances with cars and take strategic positions. All defence actions were coordinated by the Defence Committee.
The Communist party of Latvia addressed the “national rescue committee” asking it to take absolute power in Latvia until the new Supreme Council is elected.
The Presidium of the Supreme Council of Estonia set up the Extraordinary Defence Council (Arnold Rüütel, Edgar Savisaar and Ulo Nugis). Marju Lauristin and Lepo Sumera were granted the right to form the Government abroad.
The Republic of Estonia Supreme Council Presidium and the Republic of Estonia Government gave a joint statement, in which they expressed their growing concern and disappointment about the fact that the USSR armed forces had forcefully interfered with the internal affairs of Lithuania and were attempting to take the power from the democratically elected parliament and lawful Government of Lithuania and to transfer it to the group of communists supported by the Soviet army. The aggression of the Soviet army in the Republic of Lithuania, the statement said, meant the aggression of a superpower against a small defenceless country.
The Estonian Supreme Council Presidium and Government addressed the world parliaments and governments which respected the nations’ resistance rights, and democracy and freedoms ideals asking them to help stop the aggression against the Republic of Lithuania and the escalation of armed force in the Baltics.
The Russian Soviet Federal Socialist Republic Supreme Council chairman Boris Yeltsin arrived to Tallinn.
Heads of the three Baltic states Vytautas Landsbergis, Anatoly Gorbunov, Arnold Rüütel and the Russian Soviet Federal Socialist Republic Supreme Council chairman Boris Yeltsin announced a statement addressed to the United Nations, other international organizations, world countries parliaments and governments regarding the Soviet Union authorities’ actions in relation to the Baltic states. (Vytautas Landsbergis signed the documents by telefax. At the meeting in Tallinn, Lithuania was represented by Sigitas Kudarauskas who initialled the document). Together with the statement an address to the UN Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellara was adopted, which encouraged organizing without delay of an international conference to consider the Baltics issue.
Russian Supreme Council chairman Boris Yeltsin and Latvian Supreme Council chairman Anatoly Gorbunov signed the Russian Soviet Federal Socialist Republic and Latvian Republic agreement on economic and political cooperation. Boris Yeltsin assured that such an agreement with Lithuania would be signed later, when the situation in the Republic was not as tense.
The French and German Foreign Ministers in their joint statement declared that “Regardless of the statements of the international community and the USSR authorities’ assurances which were received yesterday, the Soviet army continues its aggressive actions in Lithuania. France and Germany hereby condemn this attack on democracy and lawfulness; condemn the harsh violations of the new Europe principles established in Paris Charter. The Baltics people’s decision right, freedom of self-expression and the rule of law must be guaranteed. France and Germany hereby encourage President Michail Gorbachev (…) to order termination of violent acts and to renew dialogue with the freely elected representatives of the Baltic people.”
Official representative of the German Government Dieter Vogel announced the Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s statement, in which the Chancellor expressed his deep concern about the latest events in Lithuania. In the statement, he expressed his sympathy with the victims of the military actions, and with the relatives of the victims.
Jacques Poos, Foreign Minister of Luxembourg presiding in the European Community, sent a letter to the Soviet Union embassy addressed to the Foreign Minister. In the letter, the EC condemned the use of Soviet military force in Lithuania, which contradicted the 21 November 1990 Paris Charter, and stated that it “was waiting for an explanation from the USSR authorities.” Convening of an extraordinary meeting of the EC Foreign Ministers to discuss issues in Lithuania and the Persian Gulf was announced.
NATO Political Committee held a meeting to discuss the situation and to analyze the latest reports about the injuries and deaths which were the results of use of Soviet military force in Lithuania.
Swedish Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson stated that regardless of Michail Gorbachev’s promises military force had been used in Vilnius, which resulted in injuries and deaths of people. Swedish Prime Minister said that he was looking for opportunities of joint actions with other European countries. A strict protest was expressed to the USSR ambassador.
Danish Foreign Minister Uffe Ellemann Jensen on behalf of his country’s Government sent a protest note to the USSR ambassador. Danish Foreign Minister emphasized that no discussions could be held regarding long-term cooperation of the EC and the USSR while people in Vilnius were being killed. In his statement it was said that the Danish Government hoped that the USSR would recall its soldiers from the occupied Lithuanian buildings, terminate the violence and stop threatening Lithuanian people and the authorities elected by them.
Danish Parliament President Hans Peter Clausen sent a telegram to Lithuanian Supreme Council Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis, in which he on behalf of the Danish Parliament declared: “At this difficult time for the nations of the Baltic states we hereby express our approval and admiration of how the Lithuanian people and the democratically elected Parliament support the freedom and democracy principles when facing the brutal military suppression. Danish people believe that soon the day will come when regardless of the hardships it presently experiences, Lithuania will again be able to have its place among free democratic European states.”
Belgian Foreign Minister Mark Eyskens declared that because of the events in Lithuania the EB could review its promises regarding aid to the USSR. According to Mark Eyskens, the use of force in Vilnius could mean return to the period of confrontation.
Prime Ministers of Iceland, Norway and Finland sent their protests regarding Soviet military actions in Vilnius to Michail Gorbachev through the USSR ambassadors.
A picket of solidarity with Lithuania was held by the former USSR embassy in former East Berlin. A declaration with hundreds of signatures was sent to the USSR President.
The US President George Bush’s Administration started to discuss the possible sanctions and other diplomatic measures in relation to the USSR, if the Kremlin violently suppressed the rebelling republics.
In the 13 January statement of the US President about the situation in the Baltic states it was stated: “I closely follow the progress of events in Lithuania and other Baltic States. The changing situation causes concerns. The use of force against peaceful and democratically elected Government may not be justified. The brave people and authorities of the Baltics act in a dignified and moderate manner. The thoughts and prayers of the US people are with them, especially with the Lithuanian people who experience a great tragedy. (…) The events that we face are in now way compatible with this (democratic, peaceful, change-related) course of the USSR. (…) The events that are taking place in the Baltic states may mean going back from the reforms or even terminating the reforms. (…) We condemn these acts, which will have a negative impact on our relationships rather than improve them.” US President Bush ended his statement by encouraging President Gorbachev to refrain from acts so that no violence is exercised and people are not killed. He encouraged the Government of the Soviet Union to return to peaceful negotiations and dialogue with lawful governments of the Baltic States.
The US ambassador Jack Matlock met in Moscow with the USSR Deputy Foreign Minister Kovalev and told him that the US Government condemned the Kremlin’s actions in Vilnius, and emphasized once again that the US did not recognise incorporation of the Baltic States.
Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney sent a letter to Michail Gorbachev, in which he expressed his disgust with the violence used against Lithuanian people and their democratically elected Government, and demanded from Gorbachev to condemn such behaviour of his state without delay.
An extraordinary meeting of the Government of Czechoslovakia was held to discuss the events in Lithuania.
Due to the events in Lithuania, Czechoslovakian Prime Minister Marian Čalfa urgently cancelled his planned visit to Southeast Asia and invited the USSR ambassador Boris Pankin. Prime Minister Čalfa asked the USSR ambassador to explain the events in Vilnius and expressed the opinion of the Government of Czechoslovakia that the use of military force against the lawfully elected Lithuanian authorities and Lithuanian civilians endanger the peace process in the entire world and destroy the trust that the USSR was going in the democratic direction.
Czechoslovakian citizen forum parliament expressed its solidarity with Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian nations who strived for independence, and condemned the use of force and insisted that the URSS authorities stopped violent actions in the Baltic republics.
Polish party Centre Agreement addressed the Polish Government encouraging it to condemn the armed aggression against Lithuania and to demand removal of the Soviet army from Lithuania without delay.
Polish party Democratic Union chairman Tadeusz Mazowiecki in his statement addressed the USSR President Michail Gorbachev encouraging him to stop the bloodshed in Lithuania and expressed his solidarity with the Lithuanian parliament and Government. Similar statements were made by nearly all Polish parties.
In the statement of Polish Christian Democratic party the attempt of the USSR to forcefully stop the wish of independence of the Baltic States was condemned. In the statement, the Polish Christian Democrats encouraged their Government to provide all needed help to Lithuania which “has all rights to be an independent state.”
Thousands of people protesting against the events in Vilnius gathered in front of the USSR embassy in Warsaw. The protesters were joined by taxi, fire brigade and other vehicle drivers who passed by the USSR embassy turning on the sound alarms.
In Moscow, the USSR, the Russian SFSR, Moscow City Council and Moscow District Council deputies held a protest campaign “Today – Lithuania, tomorrow – Russia!” The campaign was joined by members of Memorial and Shield organisations. Hundreds of thousands of protesters who gathered in Manezhnaya square demanded resignation of Michail Gorbachev and condemned the Communist party. In the statements it was announced that Lithuania had the right to leave the USSR. Afterwards the demonstration continued in Gromkaja square.
A protest campaign was held in Leningrad, where military actions in Vilnius were condemned. About 200,000 Leningrad people and a group of city deputies took part in the protests.
Protest actions were held in the following Russian cities: Krasnodar, Perm, Rostov on Don, Omsk, Samara, Sverdlovsk, Irkutsk, and Voronezh.
Protest actions also took place in Ukraine: Kiev, Odessa, Ternopol, Lvov, Chernigov, Kharkov, Ivano-Frankovsk, Lugansk, and Simferopol.
President of Moldova Mircea Ion Snegur talked on television and condemned the military aggression in Lithuania.
Military actions in Vilnius were condemned during the protest demonstration in Kishinev. An address to the world nations and parliaments was adopted, in which they were encouraged to condemn the USSR aggression in Lithuania and to support the fight for independence of the nations suppressed by the USSR
Nizhny Novgorod USSR people’s deputy election club Democratic Russia during its meeting adopted a statement addressed to the USSR Constitutional Supervision Committee chairman, in which it stated that the “national rescue committee” lead by the Lithuanian Communist party was attempting an armed coup; therefore, it was necessary to urgently discuss the anti-constitutional actions of the USSR President, and that the USSR Supreme Council had to discuss the issue of confidence in the USSR President. A letter of protest was also sent to the USSR President Michail Gorbachev.
In Tbilisi a meeting was held by the Government palace, during which the USSR army causing bloodshed in Lithuania was condemned. The meeting was attended by Georgian Supreme Council chairman, deputies, and science and culture representatives.
An action of protest to condemn the military action in Vilnius took place in the central square in Minsk. The meeting was attended by the Byelorussian Supreme Council deputies – members of the People’s Front fraction.
At night Soviet soldiers stopped Lithuanian road police patrols in various parts of the city and warned them that they had to follow the imposed curfew, and that they would be able to resume fulfilment of their duties only after receipt of special permits from the military commandment.
Supreme Council chairman Vytautas Landsbergis talked on the telephone with the USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev and expressed his protest against the USSR military actions in Vilnius.
In the morning the collaborators’ radio station began its operations in Vilnius.
At 11.45 in Vilnius, Gedimino ave. 34, the USSR army soldiers entered the local radio communications station and violently forced the employees to leave the premises. The operations of Vilnius radio were terminated, whereas Kaunas radio continued its work.
At 13.20 the USSR soldiers, by threatening with a gun, took a video camera from the French TV channel TF-1 cameraman who was filming Vilnius radio point premises.
At 15.20 on the road Vilnius-Kaunas next to Grigiđkës the USSR soldiers from armoured vehicle opened fire on a passing car, the passengers of which attempted to film the soldiers. One person was wounded.
The Republic of Lithuania Supreme Council adopted the statement “Regarding unlawful actions of the USSR armed forces.”
The Republic of Lithuania Supreme Council addressed Soviet soldiers and officers reminding them that they were forced to commit crimes against humanity.
The USSR Supreme Council Nationalities Council delegation lead by Byelorussian Supreme Council chairman Stanislav Shushkievich worked in Vilnius, in the hall of the Academy of Sciences. The delegation met with Vilnius intelligentsia and community members.
The employees of Ignalina nuclear power plant stated that they condemned the use of arms at night of January 13 in Vilnius, expressed their sympathy to the families of the dead and withheld their decision not to provide electric power in the territory of Lithuania, although they did not revoke their intentions and would wait until all circumstances of the events that took place on January 13 have been clarified.
The Youth Communist League Committee of Vilnius Radio Measurement Devices Institute initiated writing of an open letter to the Republic of Lithuania Supreme Council. The letter was signed by 136 employees of the Institute. It was stated in the letter that workers of the factory recognised the Supreme Council of Lithuania as the only lawful authority and that they did not recognise the “national rescue committee.” The workers condemned use of any kind of force.
Those killed on January 13 by the television tower and the defenders of the Radio and Television committee were laid out at Vilnius Sports Palace.
Heads of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Russia passed a joint statement considering the actions of the Soviet Union in Baltic States as a serious threat to their sovereignty.
The Government of Estonia froze food and service prices.
Deputy head of the USSR armed forces General Headquarters general colonel Grigory Krivosheev arrived to Tallinn in order to discuss “the cooperation of the USSR Defence Ministry and Estonian Government representatives joint commission.” When asked by journalists who had given the order to use military force in Vilnius, Krivosheev said, “I have not heard anything about the use of military force in Lithuania; therefore, I cannot answer this question.”
Almost in all Estonian cities and towns mourning meetings were held, during which solidarity with Lithuania was expressed.
At the plenary meeting of the Central Committee of the Latvian Communist party the decision was taken to demand from the USSR President imposition of presidential rule in Latvia, and the statements of the Presidium of the Russian Supreme Council and Boris Yeltsin’s statements regarding events in Lithuania were condemned.
Latvian Supreme Council deputy fraction Ravnopraviye issued an address to the Latvian Supreme Council and to the Latvian citizens to stabilise the situation and fulfil all requirements of the USSR President, to recall raising of prices and abolish legal acts which violate human rights.
The Republic of Latvia Government and the Republic of Latvia Foreign Ministry addressed the world countries parliaments and governments and the governments of the Soviet Union republics. In the statements it was said that the reactionary members of the Communist party of the Soviet Union supported by the USSR armed forces were preparing for a rebellion and liquidation of the lawful governments of the Baltic States. It was said that Latvian internal affair groups faithful to the USSR central authorities undertook acts of sabotage, were taking arms from Latvian militia officers, and that a rebellion could take place within the nearest 24–48 hours.
Latvian parliament ratified the Latvia and Russia cooperation agreement, in the preamble of which it was said that the states recognised each other’s rights to independence and were ready to initiate equal mutually favourable inter-state relations.
At the urgent meeting of Latvian cabinet of ministers Latvian Foreign Minister Janis Jurkans was empowered to represent the Republic of Latvia abroad and, if needed, to form the emigration government.
Latvian Foreign Ministry sent a letter to the USSR Foreign Ministry, in which it expressed its protest against the bloodshed crime committed in the territory of sovereign Lithuania.
Latvian Supreme Council announced that the day of burial of the victims of January 13 would be a day of mourning in Latvia. In the resolution of the Supreme Council it was indicated to provide humanitarian aid to Lithuania and, in the case Lithuanian Supreme Council were not be able to hold its meetings in the territory of Lithuania, to provide all opportunities for the Lithuanian parliament to hold its meetings in Riga.
Latvian Foreign Ministry sent a statement to Oslo, to the International Nobel Prize Committee, stating that awarding of the prize to Mikhail Gorbachev was a mistake and that after the events that had taken place in Lithuania the authority of the prize in the world would lose its value.
In Tallinn, on the initiative of the People’s Front a mourning meeting was held, in which solidarity with Lithuania and Latvia was expressed. The meeting in Freedom square was attended by Estonian Supreme Council chairman Arnold Rüüteli, Prime Minister Edgar Savisaar, members of parliament, Estonian Evangelical Lutheran bishop Kuno Pajula, and prominent culture representatives. Half-mast state flags were put in the city.
In Moscow, a press conference was held by the Russian Soviet Federal Socialist Republic Supreme Council chairman Boris Yeltsin. He read out the joint statement of the Baltic republics and Russia, in which the republics declared that they recognised the sovereignty of each other. Journalists were familiarised with B.Yeltsin’s address to the soldiers serving in the territory of Russia and of the Baltic republics. Boris Yeltsin encouraged the soldiers not to surrender to reactionary powers and to think about the future of Russia and its nation prior to storming civil buildings in the Baltic countries. Boris Yeltsin made this statement for the first time in Tallinn, at the Republic of Estonia Council of Ministers on January 13.
Talking at the USSR Supreme Council session, Mikhail Gorbachev stated that he was informed about the use of force in Vilnius only on Monday morning. He stated that the military action was held in Vilnius on the local initiative.
USSR Minister of the Interior Boris Pugo said that the people who had been sent by the “national rescue committee” to pass to the Supreme Council of Lithuania the demand to stop anti-Soviet TV broadcastings had been beaten up by the regime supporters, and that 76 couriers had suffered. Boris Pugo said that a group of people’s guards who gathered by radio and TV building in Vilnius had attempted to stop the slander campaign but were met with clubs and knuckle-dusters. Then the “national rescue committee” asked for the USSR army Vilnius military garrison head’s help. Armoured vehicles were sent, which were met by bullets from Sŕjűdis – one soldier was shot, and another soldier lost his leg. Then soldiers started shooting upwards, and later opened targeted fire. Internal affairs army started to protect radio and television centre. When answering the deputies’ questions, he emphasized, that no one had given any instructions to use military units in Vilnius, and that it was done on the initiative of Vilnius military garrison head.
The USSR Defence Minister marshal of the USSR Dmitry Yazov said that all responsibility for the critical situation in Lithuania rested with the Lithuanian authorities. He stated that unarmed opponents of the authorities and armed supporters of the authorities had met and that those who were unarmed had to be defended. According to Yazov, Vilnius military garrison head acted lawfully because he sent his subordinates to support the “national rescue committee.”
A group of the USSR people’s deputies sent a telegram to the Supreme Council of Lithuania, in which they wrote: “We hereby express our protest against the provocative attempts of the armed forces to interfere with the complex socio-political processes in Lithuania, against liquidation of lawful authorities, and against unlawful formations which were set up in order to perform the role of saviours of Lithuania.”
The USSR Academy of Sciences Democratic Russia election club made a statement in which it encouraged a political strike in the entire USSR on January 16. The following slogans were proposed: “Keep your hands off Lithuania and other sovereign republics!”, “No to dictatorship!”, “No to civil war!”, “Russian soldiers, go home!”, “The President and the Government must resign!” The statement was read out on January 16 at the Supreme Council of Lithuania by the Memorial union member Viktor Kogan-Jasny.
Foreign Ministers of 12 European Community countries who met in Brussels issued a statement in which they stated that “the use of force in Lithuania is unacceptable” and that they mourned the deaths of innocent people because of the repressions. In the statement it was said that the issue could be solved only by ensuring a dialogue between the Soviet authorities and the elected representatives of the Baltic nations. The EC insisted that such a situation in Lithuania could not continue anymore or expand to other Baltic States. If it did, the cooperation between the EC and the USSR could be terminated.
NATO issued a statement addressed to the USSR demanding adherence to the European security and cooperation conference provisions. It was stated in the statement that NATO was deeply concerned about the fact that military force was used in Lithuania against state institutions and civilians. Countries of the Alliance emphasised that if force was used again, that could have an impact on the relations of the Alliance and the USSR.
Talking at the White House, US President George Bush said that the events in the Baltic States demonstrated that the Soviet Union turned away from the reform process, which could have a negative impact on the relationships of the United Stated and the Soviet Union. President Bush said that the US and the West had to join their efforts in order to strengthen and support peaceful changes in the Soviet Union. He demanded from the Soviet Union to return to peaceful negotiations and dialogue with the lawfully elected governments of the Baltic States and not to use force.
Secretary of the United States James Baker declared in Ankara that the US and USSR cooperation would depend on whether the Soviet Union continued the started reforms. James Baker also demanded from Moscow to solve the Baltic issue peacefully.
An unnamed Washington administration representative called the events in Vilnius tragic and said they would have a negative impact on further development of the relationships between the US and the Soviet Union. However, he mentioned that Washington administration had not yet taken any decision regarding any response measures.
US Congresswoman Barbara B. Kennelly, a member of the parliamentary Security Committee, at the meeting at the House of Representatives stated that the events that took place in Vilnius in their brutality equal to the events in Tiananmen square in China. She asked rhetorically whether it was Gorbachev himself who gave such orders or whether he himself became a victim of the army. Kennelly said that regardless of the scenario the US could not remain silent, and demanded telling the Soviet Union that the events that took place in Lithuania would damage the USSR and US relationships.
Congressman Gary Ackerman issued a statement in which he condemned the USSR violence and the shed blood of the innocent Lithuanian civilians.
Australian Prime Minister Robert Hawke issued a statement which said: “Australian Government condemns the Soviet Union Government for the use of force in the capital of Lithuania, Vilnius. (…) Australia does not recognise incorporation of the Baltic States into the USSR. (…) Actions of the Soviet army in Lithuania pose a threat to the more favourable attitude towards the USSR which formed at the beginning of reforms. These events may have an impact on future cooperation of the East and West. (…) The use of force means that the Government of the Soviet Union does not recognise the main democratic mandates of the Lithuanian Government and parliament. The resolution regarding the status of the Baltic States is a complex matter; however, the use of force is an unacceptable measure which will not solve anything.
I hereby encourage the Soviet Government to think once again and not to send additional military units to the capital of Lithuania.
I hereby encourage the Soviet Government to behave in a moderate manner, so as not to allow deterioration of the situation.
Australian Government will closely follow the events in Lithuania, hoping that it is still possible to stop the started tragedy, and that peaceful dialogue can be resumed.
(…) I asked Dr. Blewett to invite the Soviet Union ambassador in the afternoon and to give him the said information.”
New Zealand Prime Minister Jim Bolger announced to representatives of the media that the actions of the Soviet army in Lithuania were dreadful and unreasonable, and emphasised that he was especially disappointed by the fact that during his visit to Moscow Soviet Union officials had assured that military force would not be used against Lithuania.
Japanese Cabinet of Ministers Secretary General Misodizi Sakamoto said at a press conference that the policy of Japan towards the USSR could change, if it was established that Mikhail Gorbachev had given orders to use force in Lithuania. In that case the issue of provision of humanitarian aid to the USSR would arise as well.
The council of Japanese public organisation Gensuikyo fighting against atomic and hydrogen bombs announced its solidarity with Lithuanians who aim at achieving their goal by peaceful measures. In its statement the council demanded from the Soviet authorities to stop the use of military force without delay.
British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd terminated his visit to Turkey in order to be able to participate in the extraordinary meeting of the European ministers, and said that after the attack on pro-democracy demonstration participants in Lithuania the policy of the West in relation to the USSR had to be reviewed.
Iceland delegation to the Northern Council addressed the USSR Supreme Council chairman Anatoly Lukyanenko and the USSR Supreme Council Union Council chairman Ivan Laptev in writing expressing its great concern about the events that took place on January 13 in Vilnius. In the letter signed by the delegation head Pall Petursson it was stated that the Northern Council presidium meeting that took place on January 10 in Copenhagen had to be evaluated not only as an expression of the concern about the situation but also as support of independence of the Baltic States. In the statement of the Northern Council it was demanded from the USSR Government to start as soon as possible negotiations with governments of the Baltic States regarding restoration of independence of the Baltic States.
After the end of the meeting of Swedish Foreign Policy Council chaired by the king, Swedish Government (Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson) on January 14 made an official statement. The statement read: “The suppression tactics and violence are unacceptable under any conditions. The events that took part on the weekend in Vilnius must be condemned. If the violence continued, this would have a serious impact on the future of the Soviet Union and of Europe. The conflict of Moscow and the Baltic republics must be solved by political measures and agreements. The democratically elected Baltic parliaments must be respected and defended. Any attempts to trample their position and powers by various pretending “national rescue committees” pose a threat to the lawful authority and contradict one of the most important aspects of the Soviet Union perestroika policy – the forming democracy. The seeking of the Baltic parliaments to ensure Baltic people’s national decision rights regarding their independent states must be respected. Any talks about a new and peaceful future of Europe are useless without full participation of the Baltic people.
The attitude of Swedish Government is based on the democratic values which are important to us and rely on international law.”
Swedish Government officially declared that it would grant the status of political refugees to 400 Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian youths who in accordance with laws of their republics had chosen alternative service and could be mobilised to the USSR army against their will in the nearest future.
Next to the USSR embassy in Sweden, at the protest demonstration held because of the violence committed at night of January 13 in Vilnius, Latvian Foreign Minister Janis Jurkans who was invited by Swedish Foreign Minister gave a speech.
Talking at the extraordinary Bundestag meeting held to discuss the events in the Persian Gulf and in the Baltic States, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl said: “We, Germans, must confirm our joint clear position regarding military intervention carried out last weekend in Lithuania.” Kohl informed the Bundestag that he had sent a letter to Mikhail Gorbachev the day before and encouraged the USSR President to return to the dialogue with the lawfully elected authorities of the Baltic people.
The Bundestag passed a resolution, in which it condemned the use of military force in Lithuania and encouraged the USSR to stop the violence and to look for a peaceful solution.
The speaker council of the Berlin-based civil movement Democracy Now issued the statement “Lithuania has to restore its freedom.”
The Free Baltic States committee was set up in Germany. The initiators of the committee were Germans as well as Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians living in Germany.
Belgian senator W. Luyten sent Belgian Foreign Ministry’s interpellation, in which he expressed indignation over the cowardly Soviet attack against independent Lithuania, which was annexed for 50 years following the disgusting pact of Hitler and Stalin. The senator demanded from the Foreign Ministry a reply regarding how Belgium and the EC would react to the events and what specific aid they would provide to Lithuania, and demanded from the Belgian Government to express its protest regarding the bloodshed action and to initiate international condemnation of the action.
Protesters demonstrated in Paris. 500 people took part in the manifestation next to the Soviet Union embassy, of which 7 were French parliament members. The parliament members, the former French Labour Minister, Ričardas Bačkys and the Russian dissident Pliusch met with the Russian embassy adviser Orlov.
In Paris, Alain Krivine on behalf of the Communist Revolutionaries League and Arlette Laguiller on behalf of the Workers Fight Association condemned the “bloody intervention of the Soviet army in Lithuania”, comparing it to the “imperialistic aggression against the people of the Middle East.”
French Radical party chairman Yves Gallard stated that “the Persian Gulf crisis, as dramatic as it is, may not become a curtain for the intervention of the Soviet army in Lithuania.”
At an extraordinary meeting Hungarian parliament passed the statement proposed by the Foreign Affairs Committee, in which it condemned the cruel actions of the USSR army in Lithuania. The statement contained the demand to stop the aggression immediately and to remove Soviet army from Lithuania. The parliament expressed its solidarity with the sovereign authorities of Lithuania and emphasised that, taking into consideration the experience of 1956 and 1968, it understood that problems could not be solved by force and suppressive methods. The parliament addressed its Government asking it to activate diplomatic measures and to send humanitarian aid to Lithuanian people as soon as possible.
Hungarian Young Democrat League presented an alternative draft statement, in which it encouraged Hungarian Government to recognise independence of the Lithuanian state.
Hungarian delegation arrived to Lithuania: parliament deputy Kozma Huba, Hungarian Democratic Forum board member Peter Machim, and Hungarian Prime Minister Chancellery employee Istvan Totha. When giving his speech at the Supreme Council of Lithuania, Kozma Huba said: “Sooner or later Lithuania will win. Long live the sovereignty of Lithuania, and let the solidarity of the peoples of Europe become stronger! Long live our common objectives! Thank you.”
Hungarian parliament speaker György Szabad sent Vytautas Landsbergis a telegram, in which he stated that he admired the courage demonstrated when defending constitutionality of Lithuania.
Hungarian Prime Minister Joýsef Antall issued a statement, in which he on behalf of the Government expressed “solidarity with Lithuanian people and the belief that problems could be solved only by peaceful measures.”
Hungarian Foreign Minister Geza Jeszenszky invited the USSR ambassador Ivan Abolmov and asked him to explain the events in Lithuania, and informed him about the attitude of Hungarian Government towards the bloodshed.
Statements of condemnation of the USSR aggression in Lithuania were issued by Hungarian parties Free Democrat Alliance (on January 13) and the Democratic Forum (on January 14).
Protest demonstrations took place next to the USSR embassies in Prague and Budapest.
Bulgarian President Zhelyu Zhelev invited the Soviet interim representative Vladimir Ivanisov and told him that the events in Lithuania were a serious attack on perestroika; therefore, they rose a serious concern to Bulgaria, and a very dangerous form of repressions were regarded as offensive by most Bulgarian citizens and organisations. Separate statements were issues by the Foreign Ministry and political parties of Bulgaria.
Bulgarian labour federation Podkrepa condemned the actions of Moscow in Lithuania and expressed its support for Lithuania’s fight for independence.
Polish Government lead by Jan Krzysztof Bielecki discussed the situation in Lithuania. President Lech Walćsa, who also took part in the discussions, said: “Our neighbours are fighting for their inalienable right to be free.” The Council of Ministers passed a resolution, in which it was stated that Polish Council of Ministers maintained the same official relations with the lawfully elected Lithuanian authorities as before, invited their ambassador from Moscow for consultations, assigned the administration to provide all possible humanitarian aid to Lithuanian people, assigned the Foreign Ministry to form a special working group in order to analyse the situation and to form a position regarding events in the Baltic States. Polish Council of Ministers addressed Polish people encouraging them to refrain from any unlawful actions against the USSR institutions in Poland.
A delegation from Poland arrived to Lithuania: Seimas presidium member and Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper editor-in-chief Adam Michnik, senator Andrzej Sielinskis and Seimas deputy Krzysztof Dowgialla. When giving his speech at the meeting of the Supreme Council of Lithuania, Adam Michnik, said: „We say NO to all occupants of Lithuania! Long live free Lithuania!”
In Warsaw, 10 thousand protesters by the Soviet embassy shouted “Gorbachev is a murderer!”, “Give back the Nobel Peace Prize!”, etc.
Protest actions began in Poland, the slogan of which was “Long live free Lithuania!” Signatures on protest petitions were collected during the protest actions and in institutions, to be sent to the USSR embassy and General Consulate. The protest declarations passed at city municipality sessions were also sent to the USSR representatives in Poland. Lomzh bishop in his letter to Vytautas Landsbergis informed him that services mourning those who were killed in Lithuania would be held at most churches in Poland.
Gdansk sea trade port Solidarnoúă delegates at their IV session, during which they discussed issues regarding the port privatisation, declared that they expressed their solidarity with Lithuania fighting for its independence and protested against the Soviet military invasion which suppressed the striving for freedom of the Lithuanian nation.
Gdansk district Solidarnoúă commission presidium expressed its protest against the USSR army intervention in Lithuania and expressed its solidarity with Lithuanians in their fight for the state which was destroyed by the Ribbentrop and Molotov pact.
The decision was taken to set up Lithuania Aid Fund in Poland.
The first vehicles with aid for Lithuania arrived from Poland through Lazdijai. The first Polish Red Cross trucks left Warsaw at 22:00 o’clock on January 13.
The Supreme Council of Moldova passed a resolution condemning anti-constitutional actions of the USSR Government in Lithuania. The resolution contained the demand to stop violence in Lithuania immediately. The Supreme Council of Moldova took the decision to send a delegation to Lithuania, which would express their support and maintain uninterrupted communication between Lithuania and Moldova.
Armenian Supreme Council Presidium and Council of Ministers issued a joint statement, in which they said that Armenia was concerned about the situation in some republics, especially in Lithuania, whereby the blood of innocent people was shed, and that it believed that the unilateral and unrealistic central policy regarding democratic processes and the nations’ right of decision were the reasons for the difficult situation in Lithuania.
Coordinating discussions of the Democratic Russia movement were held in Moscow. A proposal was made to convene a meeting of the Russian Supreme Council in order to discuss the Lithuanian issue, and to propose that if Mikhail Gorbachev did not recall the army from Lithuania, Russia had to recall the agreement with the USSR and take back the money that were allocated for maintaining of the army, and to recall the mobilised Russian soldiers from the USSR army.
A demonstration was held in Moscow to protest against the murders committed by the USSR army in Vilnius. The meeting was attended by a group of people’s deputies of Russia.
Leningrad City Presidium issued a statement, in which it expressed its indignation over the aggression committed in Vilnius. The statement was concluded with the following: “Remember that if there is no sovereign Lithuania, there is no sovereign Russia. For our and your freedom!” The statement was read out by Leningrad Council deputy Sergey Berezinsky.
A solidarity telegram in an hour of hardships for Lithuania was sent by the Ukrainian Ruch movement chairman Ivan Dratch.
The Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania resolved to restore the Order of the Vytis Cross of the Republic of Lithuania. By Resolution of the Presidium of the SC as of the same date it was first granted to the thirteen persons killed when defending the buildings of the Lithuanian Radio and Television.
The State Commission for the Investigation of the Crimes Committed by the USSR Army on 11-13 January was formed. The Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius was elected the Chairman of the Commission and the Deputy Chairman of the SC Kazimieras Motieka was elected the Deputy Chairman of the Commission.
By Resolution of the Presidium of the SC the Commission for the Defence Fund of the Republic of Lithuania was approved. The Deputy of the SC Vladas Terleckas was appointed the Chairman of the Commission.
In the premises of the Government of Lithuania the delegation of the Federal Council of the USSR met the commandment of the military forces deployed in Vilnius. The military stated that they had not initiated the curfew restrictions imposed. The tripartite “negotiations” resulted in agreement that the curfew in Vilnius would be cancelled as soon as possible. Apart from the Members of the Government, the negotiations were attended by the Deputy of the SC Mečys Laurinkus and the Deputy Chairman of the SC Kazimieras Motieka.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania Algirdas Saudargas delivered a speech over the Polish TV. He informed that he was ready to form the Lithuanian Government in emigration in the event the legitimate Government in Lithuania would be eliminated by force. On the same day he left for London to meet the representatives of the British Government.
The Deputy Chairman of the SC of Moldova Victor Puscas and the Deputies of the SC – the Chairmen of two committees Valery Matey and Vasil Nedelchuk arrived to Lithuania to familiarise themselves with the situation and to read to the Lithuanian Parliamentarians the Declaration of the SC Presidium of Moldovan SSR.
Lithuania was visited by the SC Deputies from Georgia Merab Uridiya, Irakly Melashvili and Temur Nergadze. They brought the protest of the SC Presidium of Georgia signed on 13 January.
Three People’s Deputies of the USSR arrived to clarify what was actually happening in Lithuania. In a couple of days Stepan Sulakshin delivering a speech at the sitting of the SC of Lithuania said that he was ashamed to go to Moscow then because it would be as difficult to make the words of truth heard as it was for the Lithuanians to work their way through to freedom. He asked the Lithuanians to believe that Vilnius was occupied by tanks and soldiers not of the Russians but of the USSR Communist Party.
The Delegation of the Federal Council of the USSR left Vilnius for Moscow late in the evening.
The SC Delegation of Belarus – Boris Gunter, Sergey Naumchik and others – arrived to Vilnius pursuant to Decision of the SC of Belarus.
The Deputy of the City Council of Nizhny Novgorod Alexey Svetlichny delivered a speech at the Sc of Lithuania.
In Grigiđkës an armoured car of the USSR Army destroyed a Volga passenger car. The USSR soldiers did not let pass a car of the Lithuanian road police who arrived at the place of accident.
In Riga an armed team of the OMON attacked the Police Academy, beat up some third-year students and stole all the weapons stored at the warehouse. The police forces from all over Latvia arrived to Riga to reduce the probability of other armed conflicts.
About 10 thousand people participated in the meeting organised by the Latvian Interfront where “the National Salvation Committee” announced that they assumed law-making and law-enforcement powers. The CC of the Latvian CP suggested the people of Latvia electing a new Chairman of the SC and the Cabinet of Ministers. Some large factories in Riga went on strike.
The CC of the Latvian Communist Party condemned the statement of the Baltic Republics and the Presidium of the SC of the RSFSR regarding the events in Lithuania and the speech of Boris Yeltsin. It was decided to appeal to Mikhail Gorbachev to introduce the presidential power in Latvia.
The SC of the Estonian Republic ratified the agreement between Russia and Estonia on intergovernmental relations which was signed by Arnold Rüütel and Boris Yeltsin in Moscow on 12 January.
A meeting of the Russian-speaking population was organised in Tallinn at the Government buildings (about 5 thousand people gathered). The meeting was also attended by the members of the Ravnopravie Political Group of the Estonian SC. The agreement between Russia and Estonia was called the Munich Conspiracy and it was demanded that the Government and the SC would be dissolved and prices would be reduced. The Coordination Committee suggested the Estonian SC responding to their demands within 24 hours.
The open letter of the Latvian Deputies to the President of the USSR was distributed by the SC of the USSR regarding the tragic events in Lithuania in which 9 deputies demanded the immediate termination of the use of the military forces and the commencement of the criminal proceedings against those who organised the massacre in Lithuania.
Alexander Bessmertnykh was appointed the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR. On the same day he received a telephone call from the Ambassador of the USA Jack Matlock who informed that the Government of the USA condemned the actions of the USSR in the Baltic countries.
Representatives of the largest trade unions of the USA joined the picketers at the Embassy of the USSR in Washington.
The House of Commons of the Canadian Parliament unanimously adopted a resolution condemning the brutal and unacceptable use of force in Lithuania. The Resolution addressed Mikhail Gorbachev encouraging him to avoid violence against the people of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia and their democratically elected governments.
In Australia a few hundred of people protested at the iron gates of the USSR representation. Demonstrations of protest were organised in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Adelaide.
The Committee of Ministers of the EC Council of Europe signed a communication in which it stated that any further violent actions of Moscow in the Baltic countries could undermine the cooperation with the USSR. The Communication condemned the use of force against civilians and demanded the immediate termination of violence as a breach of the Helsinki Treaty and the Paris Treaty.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iceland Jon Baldvin Hannibalsson applied to the Embassy of the USSR for a visa to come to the Baltic countries.
The Prime Minister of Sweden Ingvar Carlsson stated that full responsibility for the events in Lithuania was to be borne by the management of the USSR. In his opinion, Mikhail Gorbachev was still on the side of the military and they shot at his order. “The Kremlin decided to occupy the Baltic countries”, the Prime Minister of Sweden said.
The Liberal Party of Sweden decided to discontinue any support to the USSR and to expand their support to the Baltic countries.
The Emigration Service of Sweden decided not to extradite people from Sweden who arrived from the Baltic States and the region of the Persian Gulf.
An information centre for Latvia and Estonia was opened in Stockholm. The opening ceremony was attended by the Ambassadors of almost all countries of the world accredited in Sweden.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Finland Pertti Kullervo Paasio regretted the events in Vilnius. Speaking at the sitting of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Finnish Parliament he condemned the use of weapons against civilians but pointed out that so far the situation was not fully clear and it was not clear who ordered to shoot.
The Prime Minister of Denmark Poul Schluter sent a letter to the President of the USSR Mikhail Gorbachev in which he expressed concern about the military intervention in Lithuania. A letter of similar contents was sent to the Supreme Council of the USSR by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Denmark Uffe Ellemann Jensen.
The Minister of European Affairs of France Elisabeth Guigou stated, “We must not dictate to the Eastern countries how to behave. Help is the only measure which can direct the events towards the good. Do you believe that upon termination of the relations with Moscow the situation in the Baltic countries would improve however bad it is?”
Demonstrations against the violence committed by the Soviets in Lithuania were organised in Paris. About 500 people gathered at the Soviet Embassy. In the Cathedral of Paris the Cardinal Lustier sacrificed a mess for the world peace and for Lithuania.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany Hans Dietrich Genscher stated that the relations of Germany with the USSR should not change because of the events in Lithuania.
Two demonstrations of protest were organised at the USSR Embassy and the consular mission in Rome where the USSR was condemned for the violent actions in the Baltic States.
The Italian Communist Party as well as other political parties of Italy expressed their solidarity with the Lithuanian people and condemned the bloody actions in Vilnius.
The Prime Minister of Italy Giulio Andreotti stated that he regretted the events in Lithuania but, according to him, one must admit that no one could demand that due to the perestroika the USSR would collapse earlier than such a constitutional and economic system was created so that autonomous movements could find their own form of expression. Mr. Andreotti assured that he understood that tanks could not but provoke a strong emotional reaction but at the same time he understood that “crucial state interests” existed.
At an extraordinary meeting the Executive Committee of Kiev City People’s Deputies Council adopted a resolution in which it expressed concern about the recent events in Lithuania. The statement mentioned that it was a dangerous precedent to try to overthrow the legitimately elected authorities and that President Gorbachev was directly responsible for such violent actions. The sitting resolved to address the Chairman of the SC of Ukraine Leonid Kravchuk to encourage him to join the heads of Russia, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in their address to the Secretary General of the United Nations Javier Perez de Cuellar. The statement ended with the words of sympathy to the people of Lithuania and the relatives of the killed persons.
The Machinery Institute of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences organised a meeting and adopted a resolution in which it demanded that the SC of Ukraine would express a protest to the President of the USSR with regard to the use of weapons in Lithuania. It was signed by 115 employees.
In Krakow the Committee on the Support for Lithuania of the Republican Foundation Poland-Lithuania resolved to suggest to the SC of Lithuania establishing an information centre for Lithuania in Krakow which could function until Poland would start official diplomatic relations with Lithuania.
The Council of Lublin City suggested that if the Lithuanian Government in exile would be formed in Poland, Lublin was ready to provide for all the working conditions for it.
The City Council of Los Angeles (California) condemned the actions of the USSR military forces in Lithuania and other Baltic countries and decided to start the process of announcement of twinning with Kaunas City.
Toronto City Council showing respect for the people killed on 13 January in Vilnius announced the official mourning day in the city on 20 January. The tricolours of the Republic of Lithuania were to be hung out at half-mast and kept so until 26 January. In its resolution the Council decided to address the councils of the twin cities – Kiev and Volgograd – encouraging them to support the initiative of Toronto and express sympathy to Lithuania in respect of the tragic events in Vilnius, address Mikhail Gorbachev and ask him to stop the use of force, to demand to protect democracy as a winner of the Nobel Prize should, so that the Councils of the twin cities together with Toronto City Council would support the strivings of the Baltic States for independence, so that they would together demand to convene an extraordinary session of the United Nations Security Council to discuss what was the fastest way to stop the acts of violence and the suppression of the strivings for independence in the Baltic States.
The Italian-Lithuanian Association headed by Professor Paolo Barbio adopted a statement in which it condemned the bloody campaign of the Soviet Army in Vilnius. The statement pointed out that Italy did not forget the shameful Stalin-Hitler Pact for long, that they condemned the repressions undertaken by Moscow against the freely elected Parliament and the legitimate Government of Lithuania and that they praised the people of Lithuania on their resistance to such violent attacks and defending of their political freedom.
The International Committee for the Protection of Journalists based in New York sent a letter to the President of the USSR in which it encouraged Mikhail Gorbachev to take measures to protect representatives of the mass media from the military violence in Lithuania. A joint statement of joining the demands of the International Journalists’ Union was announced by the Journalists’ Unions of the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
The Leningrad Association of Afghanistan War Veterans protested against the Army being used for political purposes.
The demand to withdraw all the armed troops of the USSR immediately from the Baltic Republics was sent to the President of the USSR Mikhail Gorbachev by the USSR People’s Deputy Academician Dmitry Likhachev.
Representatives of Belarus, Bashkiria, Georgia, Moldova, Tatar Republic, Udmurtia, Ukraine, Chuvashia and Yakutia who gathered in Minsk for the sitting of the USSR Interparliamentary Environmental Council adopted a declaration by which they demanded to stop military interventions into the domestic affairs of the sovereign Lithuania.
The funeral of the victims of 13 January in Vilnius Antakalnis Cemetery.
The Government of Lithuania received a statement of eight senior military officers of the USSR KGB Department in Lithuania in which they condemned the use of force against the independent Republic of Lithuania and the bloodshed and informed that they refused to work for the USSR National Security Committee any longer.
The Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania adopted Resolution Regarding the Survey of the Residents of the Republic of Lithuania whether they agreed with the statement of the newly drafted Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania: the State of Lithuania is an independent democratic republic.
A television signal transmitter was installed on the roof of the Parliament. The television of the independent Lithuania revived its broadcasts.
The collaborators’ television (nicknamed by the public as “Kaspervision”) headed by Edmundas Kasperavičius started its broadcasts from the Lithuania RTV premises occupied and gutted by the USSR Army.
Vilnius was visited by the delegation of the Russian Federation headed by Gennady Burbul.
Representatives of the Ukrainian movement Rukh delivered a consignment of medicines from Lvov to Vilnius Clinical Hospital No. 6, and Vilnius Clinical Hospital No. 1 received the same from the Church of St. Brigitte of Gdansk; the Red Cross Association from Bialystok and Paris Division of the World’s Physicians sent medicines and syringes to the Hospital of the Red Cross.
At about 18:00 the armoured cars of the USSR soldiers blocked the road to a crew of the Lithuanian Road Police not far from Ukmergë. The armed soldiers took duty weapons, cartridges and documents from the road policemen and ravaged the duty car. At about 22:00 a similar attack against a crew of the Road Police was undertaken on the road Vilnius-Kaunas not far from Gariűnai.
In Riga at the Vecmilgravi Bridge the OMON pelted a bus with children but there were no victims. Later in the same place a car of the Ministry of Transport of Latvia was also pelted. The driver Roberts Murnieks was shot dead in the head.
Late in the evening the Chairman of the SC of Latvia Anatoly Gorbunov had a telephone conversation with the USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev. Mr. Gorbunov informed the USSR President about the political and economic situation formed recently in Latvia and told him that lately the SC and the Government of Latvia focused on the criticism coming from the local residents and that they took all possible measures to stabilise the situation. The second theme of the conversation was tension caused by the OMON militia teams and the crime by them. Mr. Gorbunov asked the President of the USSR to stop illegitimate actions of the special divisions in Latvia.
The Russian-speaking population organised a strike in Daugavpils. The meeting attended by about 5,000 people demanded to dissolve the Latvian SC and cancel all the resolutions thereof adopted since May 1990.
In Limbaţi Region in Latvia the USSR troopers “combed” households looking for young men who deserted the USSR Army. Kaspars Ozols who was in alternative military service was detained.
In Tallinn the Interfront organised a meeting at which it demanded to dissolve the Estonian SC and the Government.
The Parliament of Czechoslovakia which gathered for the sitting of both Houses announced a statement condemning the deployment of the Soviet military forces in Lithuania and their acts of violence. The statement required that the safety of the Lithuanian Parliamentarians and all representatives of the authorities would be guaranteed. The Parliament adopted a resolution to send 2 deputies observers to the Lithuanian Parliament.
The statement of the Bulgarian Socialist Party and its political group in the Parliament announced at a press conference expressed “huge concern and worry about the events in Lithuania.” It stated that the use of military force was not in line with the principles of democracy and the perestroika.
In Sofia at the monument to the Soviet soldiers the rescuers a meeting of protest was organised where a few hundreds of the demonstration participants with slogans of protest condemned the military actions in Vilnius.
The Parliament of Sweden informed that they were discussing the possibility of sending their delegation to Lithuania to express their solidarity.
The Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Parliament of Finland Markus Aaltonen assessing the situation in the Baltic States, apart from other things, mentioned that “by certain actions and harsh statements Mr. Landsbergis complicated the possibilities of continued negotiations between Moscow and Lithuania.”
The Parliament of the Netherlands debated over the situation in the Baltic countries. The sitting was attended by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Hans van den Broek. The Parliamentarians spoke that the actions of the USSR in Vilnius were “absolutely unacceptable.” In his speech the Minister of Foreign Affairs said that the President of the USSR assured that no such military actions would be repeated in the future. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands expressed doubts as to whether the sanctions against the USSR would not provoke the opposite effect.
In London the House of Commons had debates when it considered who issued an order to use weapons against unarmed people in Vilnius. The majority of speakers said that such actions should be reflected in the relations of the USSR and the United Kingdom. Following the meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Algirdas Saudargas, the State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Douglas Hurd speaking in the Parliament stated that the explanation of the President of the USSR that he had not ordered the soldiers to behave violently against the people of Lithuania was insufficient. Mr. Hurd said that in the event the violent actions continued, the United Kingdom might terminate its cooperation with Moscow. He said that the Government condemned the use of military forces against the legitimately elected governments of the Baltic States and expected a clearer statement as to who was responsible for the massacre in Vilnius. According to Mr. Hurd, if President Gorbachev failed to show clearly that he had not issued an order to do away with Lithuania, the United Kingdom could not join in following the new way of Gorbachev.
The State Secretary of the USA James Baker gave a telephone call to the newly appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR Alexander Bessmertnykh and said that the USA did not envisage any justification for the bloodshed in the Baltic States and were considering the purposefulness of the economic support for the USSR.
The Senate of the USA adopted a resolution proposed by the Senator Robert Byrd which harshly condemned the use of military forces of the Soviet Union in Lithuania and suggested President Bush discontinuing the economic support to the Soviet Union.
Boston Massachusetts City Council unanimously adopted a resolution which stated that the Council encouraged President Bush to respond to the address of the legitimate authorities of Lithuania to the parliaments and the governments of the countries of the world and to recognise the independence of Lithuania and to support the fight of Lithuania for freedom by putting pressure on the Soviet Union to stop the bloodshed in Lithuania. The Council suggested that the USA should initiate a sitting of the United Nations Security Council to consider the measures of stopping the massacre in Lithuania.
The witnesses of the January events in Vilnius – People’s Deputies of the RSFSR, Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, the USSR People’s Deputies, members of the Polish Senate – announced a joint statement in which they said that “the actions of the Soviet Army in Lithuania were a continuation of the military intervention and a rude attempt on the independence of the sovereign Lithuanian state” and addressed all “the goodwill people” of their countries “encouraging them to gather together and rebut the aggressive actions of the reactionist militaristic forces.”
In response to the events in Vilnius, the SC Presidium of Kazakhstan announced a statement in which it claimed that what happened in the sovereign republic could have more serious consequences than could seem from the first sight, not only in respect of Lithuania but the entire country. The Presidium addressed the authorities of the USSR and asked them to stabilise the situation as soon as possible relying only on political measures, the Constitution of the USSR, dialogue and agreement, mutual understanding and respect.
The fourth session of the SC of the USSR heard the report of the Parliamentary delegation which visited Lithuania. The head of the delegation Nikolay Dementey informed that the delegation managed to agree with the SC of Lithuania and the military community of Vilnius to stay in touch and regularly exchange information. To reduce the tension, the delegation organised a meeting of representatives of the Cabinet of Ministers of Lithuania, the Ministry of Defence of the USSR and Vilnius military community. The session positively evaluated the work of the delegation.
Speaking at the SC session, the President of the USSR Mikhail Gorbachev said that he received very contradictory information about the situation in Lithuania, which was why it needed thorough examination. He stated that certainly dissatisfaction with the rudest violations of the Constitution and the laws was extremely strong and that it was mostly felt by Russian speakers and the Poles. He agreed that Mr. Landsbergis also had some support but said that special resistance of the population in Lithuania was formed. For the President of the USSR “it was not a surprise that the rural people also started moving because very many telegrams of dissatisfaction with the Lithuanian authorities arrived in Moscow from rural regions.” The President was disgusted with the fact that by violating the Constitution of the USSR Lithuania formed the National Defence Department which compiled lists of people not favouring the current authorities and wanted the “revenge” but he also said that he felt obliged to look for political solutions to avoid the deterioration of the situation.
The statement of the Political Bureau of the CC of the SUCP regarding to the events in the Lithuanian SSR was published. It stated that the social and economic crisis in Lithuania continuously becoming deeper forced the Government to resign in the night of 12 January to 13 January and provoked an open collision with human casualties. Before the tragic events in Lithuania the SC and the governmental bodies of the Republic adopted many acts and resolutions which constituted rude violations of the national rights and freedoms of citizens... The statement pointed out that the Political Bureau of the CC of the SUCP viewed the joint address of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and the Russian Federation to the Secretary General of the United Nations Organisation as undisguised disrespect for the supreme authorities of the USSR and as an open invitation for foreign countries to interfere with the domestic affairs of the country, which could have grave consequences for the domestic life of the country and the entire world.
At night the representative of the USSR President Georgij Tarazevich, the former Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Belarusian SR arrived. He has met Vytautas Landsbergis, in the daytime spoke in the meeting of the Supreme Council.
In the nighttime the patrolling of the Soviet soldiers in Vilnius became very intensive. The formal pretext was that the bandits are driving throughout the city, therefore money and arms are confiscated. After the request to transfer the detainees to the units of the Lithuanian Ministry of the Interior the soldiers transferred them. After the investigation of events the people were released.
The soldiers of the USSR kidnapped eleven young people. The pretext was that the deserters from the army of the USSR are caught.
The military patrol in Ukmergë region detained the patrol of the Road Inspectorate, tore out the arms, depredated the car.
The Supreme Council of the RoL adopted a law on the voluntary national defence of the RoL.
The press conference of the representatives of the USSR and the Lithuanian Communist Party (Communist Party of the Soviet Union) took place in Vilnius House of Officers. The participants of the conference presented their own absurd versions of the bloody events of January. Juozas Jermalavičius strongly refused to tell the journalists the names of the members of the “National Salvation Committee” or at least to name its leader. He announced that the “Committee” has decided to discharge the Departments of National Defence and Security and to apply to the Prosecutor’s office of the Lithuanian SSR requiring starting the criminal proceedings against the heads of these Departments. The representative of the Ministry of Defence of the USSR major general J.Nauman participated in the conference and he declared that the information on the killed civilians was “a pack of lies and provocation” and that the soldiers did not have the military cartridges.
Deputies of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet Larisa Skorych, Sofija Genzor and Michail Gorinich arrived to Vilnius.
Officer of the USSR Vladimir Tarchanov who after the events of the night of January 13 read the appeal to the officers and soldiers of the USSR through the Lithuanian radio asking not to fight with the peaceful residents, arrived to Vilnius, to the House of the Supreme Council. The Russian mass media declared that such officer did not exist in Vilnius and that the Lithuanian propaganda falsifiers had invented everything.
About 22.10 close to Gariűnai crossing the car of the deputy of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania Vidmantas Povilionis was stopped. The soldiers mocked the deputy, drew their arms. Then the deputy was brutally put into the car and taken to the commandant’s office.
Representatives of the organisation “Doctors Without Borders” (“Medecins sans Frontieres”) arrived to Vilnius to see what kind of help is necessary for Lithuania.
Three planes came from Poland carrying the humanitarian aid.
A charity of the “Red Cross” was delivered to Vilnius from Hungary.
The representatives of the Hungarian Parliament Gyula Kincses and Istvan Szent-Ivanyi visited Lithuania.
The chairman of the Latvian Supreme Council Anatolijs Gorbunovs spoke with Mikhail Gorbachev by phone.
The delegation of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR came to Riga to examine the situation in the Republic.
The General Prosecutor’s Office of Latvia started the criminal proceeding on homicide of Robert Murnieks. The Supreme Council has order the Prosecutor General J. Skrastins to start the criminal proceeding and to arraign the Communist Party for instigating to depose the Government.
Latvian Committee of Citizens and the Republican Party and the Revival Party declared that the agreement signed by the heads of the Baltic States and Russia on January 13 in Tallinn is invalid and unlawful.
Eleven factories of Tallinn belonging to Moscow began a strike.
USA and their allies attacked with missiles and from the aircrafts targets in Iraq and the occupied Kuwait. The Persian Gulf War has started.
Democrat senator Donald W. Riegle from the USA proposed a draft law, according to which the United States would discontinue the economic support to the Soviet Union, if it does not stop the military activities in the Baltic States. Senator Alfonse M. D'Amato stated in the meeting that the proper signal for Moscow would be the diplomatic acknowledgement of the governments of the Baltic States. Both the Democrats and the Republicans stated that the reaction of the Bush Government to the tragedy occurring in the Baltic States was too mild.
The representative of Lithuania Stasys Lozoraitis and chairman of the board of the World Lithuanian Community Vytautas Bieliauskas were invited to the briefing in the Committee on Human Rights in the USA Congress. A group of congressmen badly criticised the actions of Mikchail Gorbatchev in the Baltic States during the debates. It was suggested to withdraw the intentions to grant the USSR the most favourable trade status. Deputy Secretary of State Raymond G. H. Seitz who participated in the hearing of the Committee of Congress told that the President of the USA and the Secretary of State had in no uncertain terms condemned the use of force in the Baltic States and had declared that “there is no excuse for the use of force against the peaceful and democratically elected government”.
Raymond G. H. Seitz told that the USSR with its actions had violated the provisions of CSCE and turned away from the way of democratisation. “We appealed to the USSR and stressed that only a peaceful dialogue with the lawful representatives of the Baltic people is the only way to stop the crisis”, “in our opinion, the Soviet leaders are responsible for the actions of the soldiers”. Mr. Seitz informed that deputy Prime Minister of Latvia and one of the Vice Presidents of the SC of Lithuania had arrived to the USA and “they will be met at a high level”.
Mr. Seitz informed that the Government of the USA was actively negotiating with the partners in NATO as well as with the European Community and the governments of the CSCE (which were meeting in Valletta) how to help the Baltic States. Mr. Seitz told that the USA supported the Austrian proposal to arrange a special meeting of the CSCE for consideration of the Soviet actions in the Baltic States. The Deputy Secretary of State informed that President’s Bush Government analysed a proposal to grant the Baltic States the status of observer in the forthcoming Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe and considered a possibility to send a high-level delegation to the Baltic capitals.
Bundestag of Germany elected Helmut Kohl a chancellor of the united Germany.
The chancellor of Germany Helmut Kohl stated that the German soldiers would not participate in the Persian Gulf War.
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden Sture Andersson, when speaking in the Swedish Parliament read a statement beginning with words: “All people have a right of self-determination. This is written in the Charter of the United Nations. Democratically elected parliaments of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia by the vast majority declared that their nations wish to use this right and to live as independent states. Sweden, its Government and people welcome and acknowledge this determination.“
Union for social security of the soldiers and their families of the Russian Federation “Shield” and its chairman peoples’ deputy of the RSFSR Vitalij Urazhcev proposed the Supreme Council of Lithuania to organise an independent expertise for investigation of the actions of the Soviet soldiers in Vilnius and other cities of Lithuania.
Delegates of Hungary, Poland, Austria, Switzerland and Sweden in the CSCE presented a proposal to arrange an international conference for discussion on the violent activities of the Kremlin in the Baltic Republics. The Soviet Union has categorically rejected this proposal. The delegates of the USA stated that the refusal to organise such a conference would make harm to the whole Helsinki process.
Members of the Polish Sejm Jacek Kuronis, Jan Litynski and Zbigniew Jan arrived to Vilnius. Jacek Kuronis, when speaking in the SC of Lithuania told that the Polish senators and members of the Polish Sejm are staying already a whole week in Lithuania and they will stay “as long as you need”. „If this will be necessary, we will die together with you“, told Jacek Kuronis.
Deputy marshal of the Polish Senate Alicja Grzeúkowiak and members of the Sejm Bartlomiej Kolodziej and Antoni Tokarczuk on behalf of the “Centre Agreement” appealed “from Vilnius, the free capital of Lithuania” to the parliament members of the world asking to express “an active solidarity with the Lithuanian nation defending its independence”. The statement said: “There is no free and democratic Europe without the free and democratic Lithuania!“
As Bronius Kuzmickas informed, nine senators representing different parties had to arrive from Belgium to Lithuania. According to the senator W. Luyten, “the Lithuanian Parliament is a symbol of a citadel of democracy in the today’s world”. Mr. Luyten proposed to send invitations from the Supreme Council of Lithuania to the parliaments of all the European countries inviting delegations, which after visiting the “besieged parliament” would in other way treat the necessity to immediately solve the question of the political acknowledgement of Lithuania. Mr. Luyten had offered his services if the support was needed for co-ordination of such action.
The secretariat of the international organisation “Amnesty international“ in London publicised the information that thousands of Lithuanians gathered at the TV tower on January 13 in order to prevent the troops of the Soviet army to take over the TV building and that the soldiers killed 13 unarmed people. The information described the most significant events of the several past days in Lithuania and the reaction of the leaders of the Soviet Union. The secretariat of the „Amnesty international“ declared that they would try to collect all information on the acts of violence and had already appealed to the Government of the Soviet Union encouraging to start a thorough and objective investigation of these tragic events, to publish the conclusions publicly and to sentence those who were guilty, based on the international standards.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan called the ambassador of the USSR in Japan Ludvig Chiezhov and while speaking about the situation in the Baltic States suggested not using here the military force anymore. The ambassador answered that any external pressure could make the situation even more complicated.
The Supreme Soviet of Belarus adopted a statement condemning the actions of the USSR army in Lithuania.
The Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union made a statement on the events in Lithuania. Beside the other things, the statement stated that the Political Bureau “feels sorrow for the deaths of the people”, however pointed out that the Government of Lithuania had not objectively evaluated the situation and throughout avoided the political forms of solution. The statement told that the Political Bureau of the CC treated the common statement of the leaders of the Supreme Councils of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Russia to the Secretary General of the UN Javier Perez de Cuellar as an open invitation for foreign countries to interfere into the internal affairs of the USSR and this could have the serious outcome both to the internal policy of the country and for the entire world.
The Government of the Republic of Lithuania distributed a statement “On the Lie about Lithuania Propagated via the Mass Media of the USSR”.
Prime Minister of the RoL Gediminas Vagnorius sent a telegram to the Prime Minister of the USSR Valentin Pavlov requesting to take all measures to immediately stop the unlawful actions of the military forces of the USSR in the territory of Lithuania, to return the occupied buildings and to reimburse the losses made, and to strictly punish the guilty persons.
Director General of the Department of National Defence Audrius Butkevičius when speaking in the meeting of the SC of Lithuania informed that although the USSR army declares that the curfew has not been imposed, actually cars are stopped at the main entrances to Vilnius and at the main crossings of Vilnius and the documents of residents are checked; recently “hunting” of the youngsters to the army of the USSR has become especially intensive and the Department knows thirty cases, when the youngster were kidnapped in the street, in queues and in the social buildings.
Fourteen tons of food and medicines were brought from Lodz to Vilnius.
Container with the medicine equipment of the religious handout of the Lithuanian Catholics reached Kaunas.
Commission of the Ministry of the Interior of the USSR came to Riga. The Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis spoke on the phone with the Minister of the Interior of the USSR Boris Pugo.
Eight representatives of the parliamentary delegation of the USSR head by the people’s deputy of the USSR Anatolij Denisov after the arrival to Riga discovered only one fact of disagreement between the OMON and the Latvian Ministry of the Interior and stated that the situation in Latvia is normal.
The Estonian Government started to organise construction of barricades at Toompea.
Ministers of foreign affairs of the European Community gathered into the urgent meeting in Paris where analysed the situation in Lithuania and warned the USSR for the second time that the EC could freeze not only the economic but also the humanitarian aid.
The representatives of the NATO discussed the Lithuanian question in Brussels. They told that in if the events in Lithuania protract, the intentions to allow Mikchail Gorbatchev to visit the NATO headquarters should be retracted.
Pope John Paul II expressed one more time a serious concern about the situation in the Baltic Republics.
Committee on International Policy of the Department on the Social Affairs and World Peace of the Conference of Catholics of USA publicised a statement (signed by archbishop John R. Roach) on the situation in the Baltic States. The statement stated that the Committee had appealed to Bush encouraging invoking all his powers in order to solve the crisis in the Baltic region as soon as possible. The Committee in its statement also told that it had appealed also to the representatives of the Government of the USSR inviting to stop the violence and to start a fair dialogue and negotiations.
Conference of Bishops of the Check Republic and the Slovak Republic sent a letter to the Lithuanian Conference of Bishops encouraging the Lithuanian believers to believe that the freedom would be retrieved.
Protesting against the violence of the military force against the Lithuanian residents Nikolaj Petrakov, counsellor of the President of the USSR Mikchail Gorbatchev, resigned.
Minsk City Soviet and the CK of the Belarusian communist youth condemned use of force in Lithuania. The deputies stated that the formation of the “National Salvation Committee” conflicted with the Constitution and could cause a civil war. The deputies said in the adopted resolution that the actions of the army of the USSR were directed against the lawfully elected Supreme Council and the Government of Lithuania. The resolution encouraged allowing the Lithuanians themselves to decide on their destiny.
The embassy of the USSR in Stockholm did not issue visas for the delegation of three Swedish Parliament members who were going to Lithuania.
Latvia buried Robert Murnieks who died at the Vecmilgrav Bridge.
The Latvian SC formed a Defence Committee (Anatolijs Gorbunovs, Ivars Godmanis, Jânis Dinçvichs, Romualds Razhukas, Andrejs Inkulis).
“National Salvation Committee of Whole Latvia” declared a political statement in which they told that “the decisive moment has come, the situation in the Republic is critical. The ruling circles have brought Latvia to the edge of a precipice”, “we can no more live with it”, “the National Salvation Committee in this situation takes the responsibility for further destiny of Latvia and declares that all powers come into its hands”.
A resolution of the “Meeting of People of Whole Latvia” was distributed; it stated that the meeting welcomed the evaluation of the situation in Lithuania made by President Mikchail Gorbatchev during the session of the SS of the USSR on January 14 and completely agreed with the methods of restoration of the constitutional order in this Republic. The resolutions ended with the words: „Latvia must stay in the renewed USSR“.
Deputy chairman of the SS of the USSR Anatolij Lukjanov called to the chairman of the Estonian SC Arnold Rüütel by order of President of the USSR Mikchail Gorbatchev. He stated by phone that the events analogous to those in Lithuania might not be repeated in Estonia.
Press-officer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR Vitalij Churkin told during the press conference about the meeting of Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR Aleksandr Bessmertnych with the ambassador of the USA Jack Matlock; the meeting took place on January 18. During the meeting the events in the Persian Gulf and in the Baltic States were discussed. During the meeting the Minister of Foreign Affairs expressed the displeasure concerning the reaction of the Congress and the press of the USA to the events in Lithuania; he told: “The campaign organised by the USA may have the opposite effect and make the situation even more complicated”. “The objective of Moscow is to start a dialogue and to carry out negotiations and the nihilistic approach of the West may prevent this”, told Churkin.
President of the USSR Mikchail Gorbatchev eliminated seven supporters of reforms from the main governmental institutions, including Leonid Abalkin, Jevgenij Primakov, Aleksandr Jakovlev. Two economists who had elaborated the program of the economic reform of the USSR - Stanislav Shatalin and Nikolaj Petrakov - were fired before. Petrakov together with 29 other liberals had signed a statement in which the actions of Moscow were called a crime.
The Political Bureau of the CP of the RSFSR in its statement told that communists together with all Russians felt sorrow and sympathised with the families of people who had died in Vilnius; however stated that whole guilt for the tragic events fell on the politicians who grouped their citizens according to the nationality and religion and violated the fundamental principles of the human rights. The statement condemned the irresponsible and incendiary speeches of Boris Jelzin and appealed to the citizens of the USSR supporting the national separatism.
Presidium of the SS and the Government of Uzbekistan published a statement in which they sympathised with the families of people who had died in Lithuania and appealed to the President, the Supreme Soviet and the Government of the USSR insistently asking to use all the rights granted by the Constitution of the USSR to normalise the situation and to eliminate the national conflicts in order restore peace in the country.
A protest meeting was arranged in London Trafalgar Square. Members of the Parliament and representatives of different parties spoke in the meeting. They were disgusted at the actions of the army of the USSR against the unarmed people. Two Russians also spoke during this meeting – poetess Irina Ratushinskaja and the famous dissident Vladimir Bukovskij.
Foreign Minister of Iceland Jon Baldvin Hannibalsson and his two assistants visiting the Baltic States met with Chairman of the Supreme Council Vytautas Landsbergis. In a press conference the guest confirmed that the Government of Iceland had always unconditionally recognised the independence of the Baltic States. “My Government is seriously considering the possibility of entering into diplomatic relations with Lithuania,” he noted.
Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius received a member of the French Parliament, former Minister of Industry Alain Madelin. They discussed the situation of Lithuania and its relations with the USSR. On January 21 Mr Madelin visited the Lithuanian Supreme Council.
Lithuanian Prime Minister Vagnorius received a member of the Parliament of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic, Jaroslav Suchanek. They discussed the consequences of the Soviet Union’s military aggression against Lithuania as well as the problems and opportunities of Lithuania’s international recognition. Mr Suchanek informed the Lithuanian Government about the consignment of pharmaceuticals dispatched by the Red Cross of his country.
The Electoral Committee of the Republic of Lithuania passed a resolution
On the Organisation of the Poll of Lithuanian Residents and indicated that this poll would be conducted on 9 February 1991.
Early in the morning, OMON officers stopped a mini-van on the Vansu Bridge, arrested all five members of the volunteer unit patrolling in the mini-van and took them to the KGB prison.
At about 9 p.m. the OMON suddenly started its attack on the Ministry of Interior of Latvia. The Ridzene Hotel located in front of the ministry came under fire during an official dinner attended by Anatolijs Gorbunovs and Marshal of the Polish Senate Andrzej Stelmachowski. The nearby buildings of the Prosecutors Office of Latvia and the library of the Latvian University were surrounded.
Leader of the Popular Front political group of the Latvian Parliament Jânis Dinçvics called Soviet ministers Boris Pugo and Dmitry Yazov, who claimed to know nothing about the OMON’s campaign.
At midnight, armed Soviet troops seized the building of the Ministry of Interior of Latvia. Five people were killed, among them – famous filmmakers Andris Slapins and Gvido Zvaigzne (the latter died in hospital on February 5), more than ten people were wounded, including cameraman Vladimir Brezhnev from the TV programme Vzgliad. At about 3 a.m. the OMON left the building.
Chairman of the Latvian Supreme Council Anatolijs Gorbunovs cancelled his visits to Sweden, Great Britain, France and Germany scheduled for January 21-26.
The meeting of G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors held in New York decided to postpone the issue of the USSR joining the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
The US issued an official protest regarding the events in the Baltic States, which was presented to the Soviet chargé d’affaires ad interim.
Boris Yeltsin delivered a speech in the sitting of the third session of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Federation in which he pointed out that “the process of the overthrowing of constitutional bodies has actually started under the pretext of correcting certain mistakes made by young democracies in the Prebaltic States, and the so-called salvation committees attempt to replace constitutional bodies.” Boris Yeltsin spoke that the Soviet Government was ambivalent, as one direction of its policy was reforms and the other was the defence of the old political system, which was disastrous.
A demonstration of solidarity with the Baltic nations was held in Moscow. It was organised by the co-ordination council of the movement “Demokraticheskaya Rossia”. The slogan of the demonstration was “Today – Lithuania, and tomorrow – Russia!”. About 300,000 people attended the demonstration.
In Stockholm, Mass was celebrated for those killed in the Baltic States. The Swedish Royal Family extended its sympathies to Latvian Foreign Minister Janis Jurkans, who was visiting Sweden at that time. Jurkans was received by the Swedish Foreign Minister Sten Sture Andersson.
The Presidium of the Lithuanian Supreme Council approved the Regulations of the Independence Defence Fund of the Republic of Lithuania.
Lithuania officially offered assistance to Latvia.
Paratroopers of the Pskov Division departed from Lithuania.
Polish Parliament members Marek Dziubek, Krzysztof Putra and Graţyna Langowska arrived in Vilnius.
Chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme Council Landsbergis sent a letter to the leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate asking the Congress to quickly send a delegation to Lithuania to familiarise themselves with the new Soviet intervention.
Chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme Council Landsbergis received the Canadian consul to Moscow M. Medos.
The Latvian Supreme Council decided that the Ministry of Interior of Latvia should develop a defence system and invited the people of Latvia to unite into support groups.
A group of high-ranking officials of the Soviet Ministry of Interior led by a deputy minister Yuri Kukushkin arrived in Riga.
Latvia’s Interior Minister Aloizs Vaznis and Deputy Prime Minister Ilmars Bisers met with Boris Pugo in Moscow. At night, OMON units that were guarding the seized buildings in Riga were replaced with troops of the Ministry of Interior of the USSR subordinated to Boris Pugo.
Latvian cameraman and documentary filmmaker Andris Slapins who was wounded by OMON militiamen during the storm of the Ministry of Interior of Latvia died from gunshot wounds in a Riga hospital.
Ambassador of the Holy See to the USSR Francesco Colosunno arrived on a private visit to Ventspils to get to know the situation.
Arnold Rüütel met with Mikhail Gorbachev, who confirmed that no force would be used in Estonia.
Estonian Prime Minister Edgar Savisaar met with directors of Estonian plants subordinated to the USSR.
Icelandic and Estonian foreign ministers issued a common statement in Tallinn denouncing the use of force against the Baltic States and urging to establish an international forum in the United Nations for dealing with the problem of the Baltic States. In a press conference Jon Baldvin Hannibalsson stated that after the chairmen of the Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian Supreme Councils and the chairman of the Russian Supreme Soviet signed the single document, the situation in the Baltic States took a new direction.
There were two explosions in Tallinn at night: one near the headquarters of the United Council of Work Collectives and the other near the United Council of the Strike Committee located in the territory of the ship repair plant of Tallinn.
US president George Bush issued a statement urging the “Soviet leaders not to use any force” in the Baltic States. In a White House press conference Marlin Fitzwater, press secretary to the US president, said that the Washington Administration and the Western countries discussed “sanctions and other measures” to be applied to the Soviet Union; however, no decision had been made. He also spoke about the meeting of NATO ambassadors that was held the day before and which discussed “punishing steps” to be taken against Moscow.
Responding to the events in the Baltic States, the European Parliament suspended the emergency food relief (one billion USD) assigned by the European Community to the Soviet Union.
A sitting of the Canadian Parliament held on 21 January 1991 also discussed the situation in the Baltic States. The sitting resolved to suspend the provision of financial credits to the Soviet Union, to raise the Baltic States issue in the United Nations Security Council and in the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe. On the same day a note of protest was issued to the Soviet ambassador to Canada regarding the events in Latvia. Canadian Secretary of State for External Affairs Joe Clark announced that a representative of the Canadian Embassy in Moscow would be sent to the Baltic States shortly.
Sixteen NATO ambassadors organised a special meeting to discuss the use of violence in Latvia. They discussed the “co-ordination of actions” in response to the use of force in the Baltic States by the USSR.
Danish Foreign Minister Uffe Ellemann Jensen urged suspension of the EC economic assistance to the Soviet Union. The EC Commission “denounced the new military intervention directed against peaceful citizens.”
As a protest against the force used by the Soviet Army in Latvia and Lithuania, the EC postponed a meeting with Soviet officials scheduled to discuss economic co-operation until “positive decisions regarding the situation in the Baltic Republics were reached.”
The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs denounced the use of force by the Soviet Union in the Lithuanian and Latvian Republics that “became the site of repressions against the resurgent democracy.” Such actions “cannot be the response to lawful aspirations of the Baltic nations to have their sovereignty.”
In Prague, Czechoslovakian President Vaclav Havel made the following statement: “Czechoslovakia, still being a member of the Warsaw Pact, cannot assume any liability if another member country is using force against its residents.”
German Foreign Minister Hans Dieter Genscher issued a statement saying that Bonn expected those guilty of the acts of violence conducted in the Baltic States to be prosecuted.
A mass rally was held in Stockholm to demonstrate solidarity with Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. In the Dom Cathedral a Mass was celebrated for the independence of the Baltic States. The Royal Family was present at the Mass.
Foreign ministers of Hungary, Poland and Czechoslovakia met in Budapest and agreed to terminate participation in the activities of the Warsaw Pact from July 1. Hungary and Czechoslovakia signed a bilateral defence treaty. All three states declared that they were worried about Moscow’s actions in Lithuania and urged an investigation of the circumstances of the violent campaign carried out in Vilnius.
Georgian president Zviad Gamsakhurdia denounced the actions of the Soviet Union in Riga. He considered them to be a continuation of the murderous actions carried out in Vilnius in January. He expressed his support of the independence of the Baltic States.
Anatolijs Gorbunovs spoke on the telephone to Mikhail Gorbachev for half an hour; at that time, Latvian Communist Party leader Alfred Rubik was in Moscow. After the conversation with Soviet president Gorbachev, Gorbunovs reported that the president had provided his guarantee that no presidential rule would be introduced in Latvia.
Mikhail Gorbachev issued a statement regarding the situation in the Baltic States in which he declared his support of the “constitutional introduction of power.”
Swedish Parliament members led by a deputy speaker Christer Eirefelt visited Tallinn. He expressed his hope that the Baltic States would get their freedom. The delegation of the Swedish Parliament stated that it would raise the issue of the Baltic States in the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
The EC Council of Ministers decided to suspend the aid to the Soviet Union. The decision to set up the joint working commission of the European Commission and the EC which would be in charge of the provision of aid to the USSR was postponed.
In Washington US Secretary of State James Baker met with Deputy Chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme Council Bronius Kuzmickas, Minister without portfolio Endel Lipmaa and Deputy Chairman of the Latvian Supreme Council Dainis Ivans. Baker stated that Soviet actions in the Baltic States may cancel all progress reached in the relations between the US and the USSR. He added that “negotiations and dialogue” was the only way to eliminate the difference of opinions of the governments of the Baltic States and the Soviet Union.
The US State Department and the White House issued statements denouncing the “intimidation and the use of force in the Baltic States.” US ambassador to Moscow Jack Matlock was authorised to directly express the concern of the US regarding the act of violence committed last week in Riga.
US State Department spokesperson Margaret Tutwiler stated that Congressional representatives of the Republican Party addressed the US president advising him to postpone the US-USSR summit meeting as a result of the actions carried out by the Kremlin in the Baltic States. She stated that Bush answered the congressmen that “the Baltic States and the summit meeting was a very delicate diplomatic situation” and that US concern about the Baltic States was being emphatically expressed through Ambassador Matlock.
US Senator John Heinz presented a resolution urging President Bush to terminate economic assistance, e.g. the provision of credits, to the USSR and another resolution on the termination of Export-Import Bank credits to Moscow.
The U.S. House of Representatives supported (417 to 0) the resolution urging President Bush to review all economic assistance intended to be provided to the USSR “with due consideration to the actions of the Soviets carried out in the Baltic States.” It also urges the suspension of all technical aid and not to support the membership of the USSR in the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and GATT, also to refuse the most favourable trading status as long as the Soviet Army continues the obstruction of the lawful governments of the Baltic States. This resolution was presented to the Senate for discussion.
US Senate Majority Leader democrat George Mitchell stated that it was “impossible to continuously suppress the aspiration of independence by force. I was hoping that the Soviet leaders had learned their lesson from the latest developments in Eastern Europe; they seem to have failed to do that, unfortunately.”
US Senate Minority Leader republican Robert Dole stated the following: “We want the Baltic States to be free and independent. One cannot receive the Nobel Peace Prize and then start killing people in Lithuania and Latvia.”
In Montreal, Deputy Chairman of the Latvian Supreme Council Dainis Ivans met with Canadian Secretary of State for External Affairs Joe Clark.
While speaking in the extraordinary debate in the House of Commons, Canadian Secretary of State for External Affairs Joe Clark stated that “Canada strictly denounces the brutal use of military force against the democratically elected Latvian Government.”
New Zealand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Don McKinnon called Soviet ambassador Sokolov and informed him about New Zealand’s concern about the use of force by the Soviet Army in Lithuania and Latvia.
Danish Prime Minister Poul Schluter stated that “leaders in Moscow are responsible for the bloodstained incidents in Lithuania and Latvia, even if there are still doubts as to who initiated these acts of repression.” He expressed his hope that the “suspension of the economic co-operation with the Soviet Union would have such a big effect that it would urge the Soviet Government to start peaceful negotiations with the Baltic States regarding the restoration of their independence.”
Danish Foreign Minister Uffe Ellemann Jensen said that Denmark would continue to support the efforts of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in their peaceful striving for a democratic society.
Hungarian, Czechoslovakian and Polish foreign ministers Geza Jeszenszky, Jiri Dienstbier and Krzysztof Skubiszewski met in Budapest and issued a joint communiqué in which they “stated their deep concern about the situation in the Baltic Republics,” expressing support for their aspirations.
Swedish delegate to the United Nations Conference on Disarmament in Geneva M. B. Theorin stated that “it is unacceptable for Sweden that the Soviet Army uses force in the Baltic States.” She also stated that the “brutal intervention” of the Soviets into the political processes taking place in the Baltic States violates Helsinki agreements.
A Mass celebrated in Stockholm for the support of independence of the Baltic States was attended by the Royal Couple.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy issued a statement in which it expressed its growing concern about the progress of the events in the Baltic Republics. The statement claims that dialogue and negotiations are the key to reaching long-term decisions with due consideration to the lawful expectations of the Baltic nations.
The Japanese Government announced that the country did not intend to refuse to provide assistance to the USSR in spite of the Western countries’ urging to do so because of the events in the Baltic States. At the same time the Government expressed sorrow for the use of military force in Lithuania and Latvia and urged termination of such actions immediately.
Japanese Consul General in Leningrad Shoji Suezawa stated that the Japanese Government was concerned about the events in the Baltic States and thought that the situation should be stabilised without using any force.
Having discussed the issue of the independence of the Baltic States, the Government of Iceland resolved the following: first, the Embassy of Iceland in Moscow would present the USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs with a request to explain the meaning of military campaigns carried out in Lithuania and Latvia during the last two weeks with reference to the Vienna Final Act of the Conference on Security and Co-operation. Second, to try to include the issue of the Baltic States into the agenda of the United Nations. Third, to repeat arguments why the Baltic States should be supported in the North Atlantic Organisation. Fourth, to address
Alting and ask its members to raise this issue in the Council of Europe. Fifth, to demand that the President of the Nordic Council submit the issue to the following week’s sitting of the Nordic Council for discussion. Sixth, to recommend that parliamentarians visit the parliaments of the Baltic States and formalise the relations between the parliaments of Iceland and the Baltic States. It ends with the statement that during the visit to the Baltic States (January 18-21) the Foreign Minister of Iceland discussed with the Baltic leaders the possibility of entering into diplomatic relations and that such possibilities were currently under consideration.
The Australian Senate unanimously adopted the statement proposed by Senator Hill denouncing the brutality of the Soviet Army used against Lithuanian citizens which killed 14 people, also denouncing the actions of the troops of the Ministry of Interior on January 21 in Riga, and demanding that the USSR respect the principles of human rights. The statement asks the Australian Government to join other democratic countries in protest against such brutality and to ask the Soviet Government to help the republics, the democratically elected parliaments of which declared their decision to be sovereign, gain their independence peacefully.
Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Gareth Evans called in the Soviet ambassador for the third time in eight days regarding military actions in the Baltic Republics.
At about 1 p.m. paratroopers wearing masks seized the paper warehouse of
Spauda Company located on Kirtimř Street in Vilnius.
A consignment of medicines and food was delivered to Vilnius from Einbech and Leipzig, Germany.
Frozen blood plasma and dressing equipment was sent from Tartu to Vilnius.
The Icelandic Government submitted its decision regarding entering into official diplomatic relations with Lithuania to the Parliament of Iceland for approval.
The U.S. Senate supported (99 to 0) the resolution urging president Bush to review all economic assistance intended to be provided to the USSR “with due consideration to the actions of the Soviets carried out in the Baltic States.” The resolution also urges suspension of all technical aid and not to support the membership of the USSR in the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and GATT, also to refuse the most favoured trading status “as long as the Soviet Army continues the obstruction of the lawful governments of the Baltic States.”
The European Union sent a letter to the Soviet foreign minister regarding the events in the Baltic States stating the guidelines on human rights issues with reference to resolutions of the CSCE.
British Prime Minister John Major met with Latvian Foreign Minister Janis Jurkans and promised to analyse the possible suspension of aid to the Soviets, excluding food relief.
The Estonian Information Office was opened in Stockholm.
In the evening, Soviet soldiers opened fire at private passenger vehicles (29 shots were fire fired at one vehicle; another vehicle, including its passengers, was captured by soldiers). Three security guards of the Supreme Council were forcibly detained and taken to the military North Town and beaten. Beatings caused the eardrum of Saulius Steponavičius to rupture.
Soviet soldiers were very active at night. Armed patrols stopped automobiles, fired from submachine-guns and machine-guns, raided trolleybuses and searched passengers.
Consignments of medicines were received from Finland, Latvia and Armenia.
The Supreme Council of Lithuania addressed all public organisations, parties and movements asking them to explain the essence and objectives of the poll to be held on February 9 and asking the Lithuanian people to actively participate in this poll.
On Joint Militia and Army Patrolling on City Streets of Soviet Minister of Interior Boris Pugo and Defence Minister Dmitry Yazov was published.
The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank postponed all negotiations with the USSR regarding “special relations” between the USSR and these organisations that were earlier proposed by George Bush. President of the World Bank Barber Conable said that the membership of the Soviet Union in this organisation was not further discussed because the Soviet Union pulled back from the road to market economy and because of the reaction of the World Bank member countries regarding the actions undertaken by the Soviet Union in the Baltic States.
In Strasbourg, the European Parliament adopted the resolution (270 to 9, 4 abstained) stating that the EP was shocked at the Soviet military intervention to the Baltic States. The EP denounced the Soviet military aggression against the movements for independence in Lithuania and Latvia and urged the start of negotiations to solve the crisis.
In Brussels, NATO Secretary General Manfred Woerner warned that further use of force in the Baltic Republics would “do much damage” to the relations between the Western alliance and the Kremlin.
In its sitting the Icelandic Government accepted the proposal of Foreign Minister Jon Baldvin Hannibalsson and decided to present a note to the USSR demanding an explanation why the armed forces were used against the Baltic States. It was also resolved to send a parliamentary delegation to the Baltic States, together with the Nordic Countries to co-ordinate the policy regarding the Baltic States in the United Nations Organisation, to discuss the situation in the NATO bloc and, if the use of force continued, to convene a meeting of the UN Security Council.
Italian parliamentarians (Emma Bonino, Peppino Calderisi, Roberto Cicciomessere, Giovanni Negri, Sergio Stanzani, Alessandro Tessari) representing the Radical Party issued a statement that murderous efforts in Lithuania and Latvia to overturn the lawfully elected parliaments violated the Helsinki Final Act and the Charter of Paris. The Party addressed the Italian Government demanding that it urge the Soviet Government to respect the undertakings of the Paris Conference and discontinue the use of force against the lawful government of the Baltic States, initiate a meeting of foreign ministers of the 34 countries signatory to the Helsinki Act that would discuss the situation in Lithuania and Latvia as well as in other republics trying to secede, initiate a meeting of foreign ministers of the European Community and discontinue the programme of economic assistance to the USSR.
Swedish Ambassador to the USSR Erian Berner presented a note to the USSR asking for an explanation regarding the events in the Baltic States.
Deputy Foreign Minister of Sweden Per Sher arrived in Riga.
The Board of the USSR Union of Lawyers sent a telegram to the Board of Latvian Lawyers denouncing the campaign of armed forces in Vilnius and Riga.
At night Soviet soldiers stopped and beat a number of passers-by on the streets of Vilnius. Ambulances were also being stopped and paramedics as well as patients taken out for “inspection.” A camera was taken away from APN reporter N. Baranauskas.
The meeting of the “Citizens Forum” of Sniečkus Town (attended by 113 participants) adopted the Appeal to the Residents of the Township, Deputies of Sniečkus Municipality and the Supreme Council of Lithuania stating that the Lithuanian Communist Party was a destructive force in Lithuania that had a goal: to organise a military coup and to seize power. The Appeal regretted that there were people in the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant supporting reactionary forces. The Appeal also stated that the residents of the township united into the “Citizens Forum” strongly supported the Supreme Council and the Government of Lithuania.
January 20 saw the funeral of people killed in Riga (Andris Slapins, Edijs Riekstins, Sergejs Kononenko, and Vladimirs Gomonovics). Tens of thousands of people attended the funeral. A day of mourning was declared in all three Baltic Republics.
The Latvian Parliament established a Department of Defence.
In Moscow, representative of the Latvian Republic Jânis Lovniks was accredited at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia Alexander Fiodorov stated that Russia intended to send its official representative to Riga in a week.
Polish Foreign Minister Krzysztof Skubiszewski announced that the Polish Government intends to allow the Baltic States to open their information offices in Poland.
The Washington Administration claimed that as a result of actions undertaken by the Soviet Union in the Baltic States the US intended to postpone indefinitely the meeting between President Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev that was scheduled to be held at the beginning of February.
The White House and the US Senate passed resolutions demanding Gorbachev to immediately discontinue the use of military force in the Baltic States. In its resolution the Senate addressed the President asking for suspension of the exchange of information with the Soviet Union in the field of technology, review of the assistance to Moscow and discussion of Washington’s support to Moscow in its aspiration for International Monetary Fund and World Bank membership.
“The Swedish Government will recognise Lithuania as soon as it is possible and it shall be one of the fist countries to do so,” declared Swedish Secretary of State Perre Schori while visiting Vilnius.
The International PEN centre – the headquarters of the worldwide association of writers in London – sent a letter to the Soviet President expressing its outrage at the actions of the Soviet Government in Latvia and Lithuania and reminded the President that the Russian PEN centre has also strongly denounced violence committed against the sovereignty of Lithuania. The PEN centre demanded immediate discontinuance of all military pressure and a halt to interference with political processes in the Baltic Republics.
The Latvian Police Force split. The staff of the Ministry of Interior of Latvia declared that they would not obey Minister Aloizs Vaznis.
Five persons were released from the military North Town in Vilnius. All the detainees had been beaten. Three of them were seriously injured and hospitalised.
Medicine, dressing equipment and food was received from Bialystok, Katowice, Krakow, Siedlce, Szcezin, Gorzow, Plock and Suwalki.
Lithuania received a relief consignment from Salzburg.
A Red Cross consignment reached Vilnius from Hungary.
At 9.30 p.m. armed Soviet soldiers attacked and devastated Lithuanian customs buildings in Lavoriđkës and Medininkai.
The congress of the Democratic Action Citizens’ Movement (ROAD) held in Warsaw severely protested against the Soviet intervention in Lithuania and Latvia and urged the Polish
Sejm and Senate, the President and the Council of Ministers to once more discuss the possibility of recognising Lithuania
de jure and enter into diplomatic relations with the country.
In St. Stanislaw Kostka’s Church in Warsaw, a Mass was celebrated for the freedom of the Baltic States. Deputy of the Lithuanian Supreme Council Czeslaw Okinczyc made a speech during the sermon.
A lorry full of medicines and food arrived from Duisburg to Vilnius.
The Lithuanian Supreme Council issued a statement
On the Expansion of the Aggression Against Lithuania and the Threat of Stratocracy in the USSR. The statement again makes an appeal to the world community, the large democratic states and the United Nations asking for preclusion of military violence and stratocracy.
Enterprises of the city of Narva go on strike.
Chairman of the Soviet of Nationalities of the USSR Supreme Soviet Rafik Nishanov arrived in Riga. The official goal of his visit was to look for methods to normalise the political situation in Latvia.
In Moscow, Arnold Rüütel met with US Ambassador Jack Matlock.
In Vienna, the Luxembourg representative in CSCE issued a statement on behalf of the Member States saying that the EC “was following the tragic events in Lithuania and Latvia with deep sorrow and great concern. The twelve Member States invite a dialogue, which is a must as it is the only way to solve problems of this kind,” and “definitely asks the USSR to observe the rules of conduct to which it is a signatory, so that the Community could further help it overcome this period full of obstacles as quickly as possible.”
Following his visit to Denmark, the head of the Board of Foreign Economic Relations of the Latvian Ministry of Agriculture Gatis Kruze said during an interview with the Latvian daily
Diena that the representative of the Danish Government gave assurance that Denmark was ready to provide financial assistance directly to the Baltic States without involving Moscow. Kruze said that during a meeting with Danish Foreign Minister Uffe Ellemann Jensen the latter stated that Denmark had never recognised the incorporation of the Baltic States into the Soviet Union and had never broken any diplomatic relations with Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Denmark’s proposal to organise an international conference for the Baltic States received support in the session of the Nordic Council. Representatives of almost all parties in the Nordic Council expressed their support for the fighters for independence in the Baltic States. Drafts of thirteen programmes related to the Baltic States were scheduled for discussion on 1 March 1991.
Just after midnight Soviet soldiers opened fire on a passenger vehicle on the Vilnius–Kaunas road (near Gariűnai). A second-year student of Vilnius Technical University, 20-year-old Jonas Tautkus, was mortally wounded by a gunshot and died in hospital the following day.
Registration of the victims of the barbarous actions of the Soviet Army during January events reached 580 people.
US Consul General in Leningrad R. Miles and Consul R. Peterson arrived in Vilnius. The latter was authorised to spend two weeks in Lithuania working and observing the situation.
A delegation of the Russian Federation arrived in Vilnius to discuss the text of the treaty with Lithuania.
Soviet President Gorbachev issued the Decree
On the Co-operation Between Militia and Armed Forces in Enforcing Law and Order and in the Fight Against Crime.
USSR people’s deputy Viktor Alksnis gave an interview to
Argumenty i fakty newspaper in which he said that Mikhail Gorbachev initiated the establishment of “national salvation committees.”
A delegation of the Green Party of the Swedish Parliament participated in the plenary session of the Latvian Supreme Council; it expressed its solidarity in Latvia’s fight for independence.
New Soviet Foreign Minister Alexander Bessmertnykh met with US Secretary of State Baker in Washington. They discussed the situation in the Persian Gulf and the Soviet policy in the Baltic States. It was decided to postpone the meeting between the Soviet and the US presidents scheduled for February 11-13. The official reason was that Bush was busy with the war in the Persian Gulf; however, analysts thought that the decision was influenced by the activities carried out by the Soviet Union in the Baltic States.
The Lithuanian Health Ministry informed that recently twelve more Lithuanian nationals became victims of Soviet soldiers patrolling in the streets of Lithuanian cities and towns in accordance with the order of USSR Defence Minister Dmitry Yazov. In Vilnius Region Soviet patrols stop and search ambulances.
The Information Office of the Nordic Council of Ministers was inaugurated in Tallinn.
The strike of workers of plants subordinated to the USSR ended in Estonia.
Valentins Dauksis, “Prosecutor General of the Latvian SSR” appointed by Moscow, spoke on Latvian TV and informed that the five Latvian volunteer guards arrested on January 20 on Vansu Bridge by OMON were charged with illegal possession of guns and were transferred from the KGB prison to another location. The Ministry of Interior of Latvia established that the five volunteers were Aigars Teteris, Agris Kreismanis, Gatis Jurkans, Kaspars Grinbergs and Haralds Steinbergs.
Mikhail Gorbachev suggested that in order to relieve the tension and the pressure from the West, working groups should start negotiations with each of the three Baltic Republics.
The negotiation group led by Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Council Česlovas Stankevičius returned from Moscow. It co-ordinated the text of the political treaty between Lithuania and the Russian Federation. The text was basically co-ordinated, all of its articles were initialled.
The Lithuanian Ministry of Interior established ARAS special forces unit, formed of the officers of OMON faithful to Lithuania.
Irzi Orzek, Wlodzimierz Mokry and Janusz Rozek, representing the Polish Parliament and the Parliament Citizens Club, visited Vilnius.
The Estonian Supreme Council decided to organise a referendum on the sovereignty of Estonia to be held on March 3.
A delegation of the Nordic Council led by Chairman of the Nordic Council of Ministers and Danish Minister of Interior Thor Pedersen arrived in Riga.
First Secretary of the Embassy of Ireland in the USSR Thomas Rassel arrived in Riga.
The Government of Iceland informed that it decided to recognise the independence of Lithuania.
A sitting of the Communist Party of the USSR was held, with the participation of commanders of military commands. It was resolved “to restore constitutional order” in all the republics.
The US Congress and Senate adopted a joint resolution demanding termination of the use of force in the Baltic States.
Senator Alfonse D’Amato proposed to the Congress to adopt a resolution demanding that the US President “provides full diplomatic recognition to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.”
The East Subcommittee of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Poland’s Centre Agreement prepared proposals to the Government to develop charity assistance to Lithuania and preserve the same political relations; not to hurry to provide diplomatic recognition of Lithuania until other states do; at the request of Lithuania, to provide conditions for the functioning of its government–in-exile and at the same time recommend that Polish diplomats make every effort to ensure that the Lithuanian Government-in-exile is allowed to establish itself in Scandinavian countries.
Chairman of the Supreme Council Landsbergis received the Norwegian delegation that arrived in Lithuania, viz. Chairman of the Baltic Support Group of the
Storting Ingvald Godal, member of this group Terje Nyberget and member of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee and head of SOS Baltikum Edvard Stang.
The Information Office of the Nordic Council was opened in Vilnius.
In Elektrënai an armed Soviet soldier broke into the apartment of A. Grigaliűnas. When he could not find the apartment owner’s son, he beat the former, who was later hospitalised.
The Estonian Supreme Council resolved to hold a general plebiscite on March 3.
A delegation from the Norwegian Parliament visited Estonia and discussed the assistance of the Norwegian Parliament to Estonia’s striving for independence.
Anatolijs Gorbunovs delivered a speech in the sitting of the Federation Council of the USSR in Moscow. He said that the issue of the Baltic States was an international problem rather than an internal issue of the USSR. Furthermore, he confirmed that Latvia would not participate in any referendum of the Soviet Union. No representatives of Estonia or Lithuania attended the sitting.
As Radio Freedom announced, information was received from US governmental sources that the United States received the support of the USSR regarding its policy in the Persian Gulf; therefore, the US would have to soften its criticism of the repressions in the Baltic States.
In a press conference Vitaly Churkin from the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that no secret agreement between the US and the Soviet Union on the position regarding the Persian Gulf and the Baltic States existed and could not exist.
Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius met with Chairman of the Nordic Council of Ministers and Danish Minister of Interior Thor Pedersen. Co-operation between the Nordic Council member states and Lithuania was discussed.
Soviet soldiers beat three people in Klaipëda and one in Kazlř Rűda.
Leningrad TV reporter Alexander Nevzorov filmed how Latvian volunteer guards allegedly attacked, opened fire on and burned a
Volga passenger vehicle of the Central Committee of the Latvian Communist Party that was driven by several militiamen near the OMON base. The Latvian Ministry of Interior established that the licence plates of the vehicle were fake – they were issued for a
Moskvitch vehicle whose owner had sold his vehicle a year earlier; therefore, the licence plates were removed from the Latvian register.
The State Commission of the Republic of Lithuania investigating the crimes committed by the USSR Armed Forces in Lithuania on January 11-13 provided information on sustained material damage. According to the preliminary data, damage caused on January 11-13 alone amount to almost 36,000 roubles.
The Lithuanian Supreme Council issued an Appeal to the Lithuanian People and the Statement on the Forthcoming Opinion Poll to be Held on February 9 and once again invited all Lithuanian residents to participate in the poll and support the independent democratic state of Lithuania.
Prosecutor General of Lithuania Artűras Paulauskas met with Prosecutor General of the USSR Nikolay Trubin in Moscow and discussed the possibilities of co-operation in the criminal proceedings commenced regarding public instigations to violate the sovereignty of Lithuania and to overturn the state power by force as well as regarding the crimes committed by the Soviet Army on January 11-13 in Vilnius.
Soviet President Gorbachev received the delegation of the Lithuanian Democratic Labour Party consisting of Algirdas Brazauskas, Vladimiras Beriozovas and Domijonas Đniukas. The goal of the visit was to settle property disputes between the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Lithuanian Democratic Labour Party. The fate of the Press Building seized by the army was also discussed. Gorbachev promised to send representatives of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in the nearest future to deal with the situation on site.
Cameraman Gvido Zvaigzne wounded by Soviet soldiers on January 20 died in Riga.
Soviet President Gorbachev issued a decree declaring the plebiscite to be held in Lithuania on February 9 illegal.
The Embassy of France conveyed to the Lithuanian Mission in Moscow the Appeal of the President of France to the Chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme Council. French President Francois Mitterrand wrote that events in Vilnius and Riga stirred many emotions for the French people. He expressed his deep regret for the victims. The French President noted that France had never recognised the annexation of the Baltic States by the USSR and urged that sovereignty be regained only by means of dialogue and negotiations.
The Statement of the Lithuanian Governmental Delegation for intergovernmental negotiations with the USSR was signed. The Statement expressed the hope that the Soviet Union would show good will and eliminate the obstacles occurring at the beginning of the year and preventing the return to the negotiating table.
US President Bush stated that the Baltic States and the Ukraine would receive medical aid worth USD 5 million directly from the US. The White House Press Secretary said that President Bush “wishes to demonstrate the concern of the US about the situation in the Baltic States.”
US Secretary of State James Baker recommended that the President not submit the treaty on reduction of conventional armaments in Europe to the Senate for approval, as the latest actions of the USSR gave grounds for distrust. At the same time he expressed his support to the “brave people of the Baltic States.”
By decree of Soviet President Gorbachev, colonels Nikolay Grachev and Viktor Ermakov were awarded the rank of army general.
In Vilnius Lithuanian Prime Minister Vagnorius met with the members of the Presidium of the Nordic Council – former Prime Minister of Denmark Anker Jorgensen, former Prime Minister of Norway Jan P. Syse, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden Karin Soeder and Secretary General of the Presidium of the Nordic Council Jostein Osnes. A discussion was held regarding the possibility of international recognition of Lithuania.
Chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme Council Landsbergis received a letter from Commander of the Prebaltic Military Command Unit colonel-general Fiodor Kuzmin informing that on February 10-20 military training manoeuvres would be held in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia under the command of lieutenant-general Petras Čausas.
Icelandic parliamentarian Hannes Eriksson arrived in Lithuania.
Chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme Council Landsbergis sent a telegram to the leaders of Latvian Radio and Television R. Lobanovski and I. Rakins expressing his gratitude that Radio Riga started broadcasting news in Lithuanian from the tragic events of January 13 when Lithuanian Radio and Television was occupied.
Soviet military training manoeuvres PribVO started; they lasted for ten days.
Czechoslovakia’s President Vaclav Havel received former Prime Minister of Lithuania Kazimiera Prunskienë. Prunskienë informed Havel about the situation in Lithuania.
Secretary General of the Council of Europe Catherine Lalumiere stated in Strasbourg that the Council of Europe “condemns human rights violations” in the Baltic States; however, it has neither the mission nor the wish to destabilise such countries as the USSR or Yugoslavia. According to her, “Baltic leaders cannot control the process that they themselves started with their requirements and this puts not only them but also others in danger.”
An opinion poll – a plebiscite – of Lithuanian residents was held. A total of 2,652,738 Lithuanian citizens took part in the poll. 2,028,330, or 90.47% of the participants of the poll supported the statement that Lithuania should be an independent democratic republic, 147,039, or 6.56% of the participants of the poll voted against that statement, and 66,613 ballots were recognised as invalid.
The funeral of Gvido Zvaigzne was held in Riga.
A delegation (13 people) of the US Congress and Senate Helsinki Commission left for the Baltic States. En route it stopped in Stockholm and attended the rally held each week in support of the struggle of the Baltic Republics. The head of the delegation congressman democrat Steny Hoyer said that the opinion of the republicans and the democrats on the aspiration of the Baltic States for independence coincide. Before leaving, on February 11 the commission proposed the Baltic nations as candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize. According to Senator Denny de Concini, the situation is “comic when candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize are being suppressed by the previous year’s Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.”
Based on the results of the opinion poll, the Lithuanian Supreme Council adopted the Constitutional Law
On the Lithuanian State and the Declaration On the Equal Participation of the Republic of Lithuania in the Community of the States of the World.
Independent military experts (retired captain of the 1st rank, candidate of technical science A. Yevstigneyev; retired lieutenant-colonel I. Bychkov; people’s deputy of the USSR colonel S. Kudinov; retired captain of the 2nd rank, doctor of law, Prof. G. Melkov; retired major N. Moskovchenko) of the
Shchit public military organisation of the USSR presented the Lithuanian Supreme Council with the conclusions regarding the events that took place on 11-13 January 1991 in Vilnius. These conclusions stated that there was an attempted military coup in Vilnius; the Soviet Army used the types of ammunition banned by the 1907 Hague Convention and the 1949 Geneva Convention; the Soviet President failed to perform his constitutional duty; the Soviet ministers of defence and of the interior as well as the Chairman of the KGB allowed their subordinates to carry out anti-constitutional actions. The conclusions also listed officers who performed the said criminal actions.
Deputy of the Czech and Slovak Federal Meeting and member of the Committee of Foreign Affairs Miroslav Sychra and First Secretary of the Embassy of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic in Moscow Jozef Macisak visited Vilnius.
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl met with British Prime Minister John Major in Bonn where they discussed the situation in the Persian Gulf and the Baltic States.
Alting approved the proposal of the Government to officially recognise the Republic of Lithuania. The document also states that diplomatic relations must be established with Lithuania as soon as possible. All six parties of the Parliament voted for the proposal; one member of the
Alting voted against. As a result, on February 13 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR delivered a note of protest to Iceland and recalled its ambassador from Reykjavik for consultations.
In its session, the City Council of Krakow denounced the Soviet aggression in Lithuania and expressed its sisterly solidarity to Lithuania in its peaceful struggle for the right of sovereignty.
A press conference of the commission of independent military experts investigating the events of January 11-13 was held in the Lithuanian Supreme Council building in Vilnius. All five members of the commission headed by retired captain of the 1st rank A. Yevstigneyev belonged to
Shchit Military Union. After the conference three members of the commission were arrested in the Railway Station and taken to the North Town. They were charged with illegal possession and transportation of guns, gold and narcotics. Government driver Kćstutis Balčiűnas, who drove the guests, was also arrested and interrogated.
On February 14, the experts of
Shchit were released and departed for Moscow.
Lithuanian Prime Minister Vagnorius met with the delegation of the Danish Parliament led by President of the Parliament Hans Peter Clausen, who emphasised that Denmark recognised the Baltic States in 1921 and that Denmark’s position had not changed since then – the present visit of the parliamentarians was interpreted as a visit to the independent state. Danish Consul in Moscow Svend Boje Matsen joined the delegation and visited Lithuania.
Iceland was the first Western country to officially recognise Lithuania as an independent state. The telegram sent by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iceland stated that the Icelandic Parliament “decided to confirm that the recognition of independence of the Republic of Lithuania granted by the Icelandic Government in 1922 was still in effect.”
In her interview for Radio Hessen (also distributed by DPA) the Secretary of the German Parliament to the Minister of Foreign Affairs said that “the Federal Government treats Lithuania’s efforts to enter into diplomatic relations with reservation. The Government of the Federal Republic of Germany supports Lithuania’s aspirations to implement its right to independence,” and “Bonn has never recognised the annexation of Lithuania.” She did not reject the possibility that diplomatic missions would be established on the grounds of mutual agreement of Germany and Lithuania “if the dialogue between Vilnius and Moscow showed a tendency of recognising Lithuania.” She said that Moscow must respect the freedom of self-determination of nations and it is urged to do so by the Federal Republic of Germany and the European Community.
The Latvian Supreme Council resolved to hold a national plebiscite on the independence of Latvia on March 3.
A meeting of foreign ministers of the Baltic States and Russia was held. Latvia and Russia signed an agreement to open the mission of the Russian Federation in Riga.
A delegation of the Danish Parliament led by Chairman Hans Peter Clausen arrived in Latvia. The delegation later left Riga for Tallinn.
First Secretary of the Embassy of Czechoslovakia in the USSR Jozef Macisak arrived in Riga.
News agencies announced the letter of British Prime Minister John Major to Estonian Prime Minister Edgar Savisaar. The letter said that Great Britain anxiously awaited the Baltic States to become full members of the Helsinki Process. The letter also stated that Great Britain had warned the Soviet leadership that it would review the provision of assistance, also had warned them not to use any power and urged them to start negotiations with the Baltic Republics.
A sombre meeting was held near the occupied Radio and TV buildings in Vilnius.
A delegation of the US Congress led by Congressman Sten H. Hoyer arrived in Vilnius from Riga. The delegation consisted of Alfonse D'Amato, Don Ritter, Christopher Smith, Dennis Hertel, Tom Lantos, Richard Durbin, Albert Bustamante, Ben Cardin, Louis Slaughter, Bill Sarpalius, Christopher Cox and Craig Thomas. The delegation met with Chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme Council Landsbergis, Lithuanian Prime Minister Vagnorius and members of the Government.
The International Development Agency sent a ship carrying medical aid from the US to Lithuania.
The delegation of the Danish Parliament led by Chairman Hans Peter Clausen visited Estonia. The Chairman spoke in the Estonian Parliament stating that all parties of Denmark supported the struggle of the Baltic States for their independence. The delegation left for Latvia.
In his speech to the Latvian Parliament, Clausen stated that Denmark recognised Latvia as an independent state as early as 1921, that it has never changed its position on this issue, and has always considered the 1940 incorporation into the USSR to be illegal. He also invited a delegation of the Latvian Parliament to attend the session of the Nordic Council to be held in Copenhagen at the end of February.
In Liepaja Region Soviet soldiers shot Valdemars Kekis, tractor driver of
Priekule collective farm.
The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs issued a statement that the time was not ripe to recognise Lithuania as an independent state. The statement also said that Lithuania’s independence must first be recognised during negotiations with the USSR.
In a television interview, US Secretary of State James Baker said, “It should be completely clear that we want the independence aspirations of the Baltic States to come true.” Until then high US officials had spoken only about their support to the “self-determination” of the Baltic States.
The Soviet Union recalled its Ambassador from Reykjavik demanding that Iceland “explain” its decision of January 31 to recognise Lithuania.
William B. Walsh, the personal representative of the US President, met with the ministers of health of the Baltic States in Tallinn and informed them that the US President decided to officially provide assistance to the Baltic States in the field of medicine.
While speaking in the Polish Parliament, Polish Foreign Minister Krzysztof Skubiszewski provided the following answer to the question of representative of the
Democratic Left Parliament Club Ryszard Bartosz whether the Government would make efforts to reclaim Vilnius Region if Lithuania regained its independence: “Poland will not do that, as we recognise the present borders of Lithuania.”
A delegation of the Slovenian Parliament consisting of Chairman of the Committee of Foreign Affairs and President of the Slovenian Social Democratic Party Matjoz Sinkovec, Chairman of the Judicial Commission Anton Tomazic and member of the Committee of Foreign Affairs Joze Smok visited Vilnius. They were accompanied by reporter Antoni Rupnik.
By resolution of the Lithuanian Government Egidijus Bičkauskas was appointed as the plenipotentiary representative of the Lithuanian Government at the Soviet of Ministers of the USSR.
By Decision No. 9 of the Presidium of the Vilnius City Council, J. Karosas Street was renamed into ISLANDIJOS Street.
Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR Anatoly Lukyanov sent a letter to Chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme Council Landsbergis notifying that the decree of February 1 of the Soviet President approved a delegation that has to “discuss the complex of political, social and economic issues.” Lukyanov requested to be informed about the composition of the Lithuanian delegation in order to start the “discussion of the complex of the said issues” the following week.
Latvian Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis met with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl in Bonn.
In Washington, in the eve of February 16 – the Independence Day of Lithuania – US President Bush issued a declaration announcing February 16 the official Independence Day of Lithuania and insistently proposed that the Soviet leadership start constructive negotiations with the lawful government of the Baltic Republics. Promulgating the declaration, Bush said that the US “strongly supported the freedom of self-determination of the Baltic people and their right to control their future.”
Czechoslovakian President Vaclav Havel stated that his country intended to open a mission in Lithuania that would collect political, economic, cultural, etc., information and co-operate with ministries of foreign affairs of both countries.
Hungarian Prime Minister Joýsef Antall said that Hungary was considering “forms of closer bilateral diplomatic co-operation with Lithuania.”
The 73rd Anniversary of the declaration of independence of Lithuania was celebrated. A solemn session of the Supreme Council was held in the eve. On the festive day thousands of people gathered in sites of recent tragic events and participated in the processions in the city streets.
A Mass was celebrated in Archcathedral and a rally was held in Cathedral Square.
Members of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly David Atkinson (Great Britain), Daniel Tarschy (Sweden) and Guy Dufour (France) arrived in Vilnius. During their conversation with Lithuanian Prime Minister Vagnorius they stated their opinion that the Council of Europe could grant special guest status to the Baltic States.
A delegation of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly led by Anders Bjorck arrived in Latvia.
A Boeing 727 landed for the first time in Vilnius Airport. The aircraft delivered a consignment of pharmaceuticals – a gift from the Americans to the Lithuanian people.
Vytautas Kancevičius of Këdainiai died at a Vilnius hospital from gunshot wounds sustained during the bloodstained Sunday in January. He became the sixteenth victim of the military terror of the Soviet Union against the Republic of Lithuania.
A special delegation of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly led by Vice-President of the Parliamentary Assembly Miguel Martinez visited Estonia. The objective of this visit was to help peacefully solve the issue of the independence of the Baltic States.
The first congress of farmers of Poland’s
Solidarnoscz passed a resolution stating support to independence aspirations of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.
The Supreme Council issued an Appeal to the session of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR proposing to assess the assault on peaceful residents by the Armed Forces of the USSR in Vilnius on January 13, to surrender seized buildings and to withdraw the repressive units of the Soviet Army, the Ministry of Interior and the KGB. The proposal was made to start the negotiations between state delegations of the USSR and the Republic of Lithuania on the recognition of Lithuania’s independence and on the conclusion of a treaty between both states.
A delegation of the Hungarian parliament consisting of the head of the delegation Korma Huba and members Matijus Janos, Koso Peter, Totz Istvan, Howat Lajos and Balok Laslo visited Vilnius. The delegation was accompanied by Secretary of the Committee of Foreign Relations Kristova Katalin.
The head of the Czechoslovakian delegation which observed the plebiscite held on February 9 in Lithuania Ivan Rynda said to the Czechoslovakian Telegram Agency that there was no longer any doubt that the independence of Lithuania would be restored.
Ambassador of South Korea in the USSR Ro-Mon Ho and two First Secretaries of the Embassy Kim Sung Chvan and Che Il Song arrived in Vilnius. Later they left Vilnius for Riga.
The Latvian Supreme Council formed a special commission consisting of eight deputies (led by Maris Budovskis) for the investigation of whether some of the deputies of
Ravnopravije political group in the Latvian Supreme Council really took part in the attempted military coup in January.
In his interview with Danish Television and press, Danish Prime Minister Poul Schuter said that still there were no conditions for establishing embassies in the Baltic States, as they were occupied by a foreign army. In all other issues the Danish Government supported the Baltic States.
US Congressmen Stefan Solars and Gery Ekerman visited Vilnius.
The commemoration of the 73rd Anniversary of the Soviet Army was organised in the headquarters of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Lithuanian SSR (USSR).
The European Parliament adopted a resolution on the issue of the Baltic States urging the leaders of the USSR and the Baltic States to start direct negotiations without any conditions precedent or any military or economic pressure.
During its visit to Riga, the delegation of the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that Switzerland supported the independence aspirations of the Baltic States and the Swiss Government decided to prepare the specific programme of co-operation with the Baltic States.
Estonian Prime Minister Edgar Savisaar and Icelandic Prime Minister Steingrimur Hermansson signed a joint declaration emphasising that the independence issue of the Baltic States must be dealt with in the background of World War II and not as an internal issue of the Soviet Union.
Iceland offered to become a mediator in the negotiations between the Baltic States and the USSR.
In response to the question of a representative of the Scottish National Party in the Parliament whether the British Government would recognise the independence of Lithuania based on the plebiscite of February 9, British Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Douglas Hogg said that Great Britain supported the independence aspirations of Lithuania; however, it could not enter into diplomatic relations as yet, because Lithuania still did not meet the international requirements of an independent state, viz. it had to have a clearly defined territory, a government that could govern this territory and be able to independently manage its affairs with foreign countries.
Conclusions of the experts from
Shchit Independent Military Union were published. They stated that the central government of the USSR, seeking to perform a coup d’état, adopted a decision to use force in Vilnius; this decision was adopted in Moscow not later than on January 8.
The Presidium of the Lithuanian Supreme Council and the Lithuanian Government adopted the Statement
On the USSR Referendum to be Held on 17 March 1991 in the Soviet Union. The Statement pointed out that from 11 March 1990 no Soviet law or resolutions of the government was in effect in Lithuania and was not binding on the Lithuanian people.
In its session in Strasbourg, the European Parliament adopted a resolution. The resolution urged Lithuania and the USSR to start direct negotiations without any conditions precedent or any economic or military pressure.
Czechoslovakia’s non-parliamentary parliament (forum of parties not elected to the parliament) urged the Government to enter into diplomatic relations with the Baltic Republics and restore them to the level of 1938.
At 7 p.m. Jedinstvo held a rally at the Sports Palace in Vilnius.
About 5,000 military men, OMON militiamen and Russian-speaking people summoned by Interfront, the Council of Veterans and officers of the Prebaltic Military Command gathered at the monument to the liberators of Riga from fascist invaders in Riga to celebrate the Day of the Soviet Army.
A referendum asking “Do you want the independent Estonia to remain part of the Soviet Union?” was held in Silamiae and later (on March 3) in Narva and Kohtla-Jarve. Eighty-nine per cent of those who participated in the referendum voted for Estonia to remain as part of the USSR.
Minister Adviser Achuradin Nur and Secretary Abdula Rachman of the Indonesian Embassy arrived in Riga.
The Socialist International mission led by President of the Austrian Parliament Robert Fischer arrived in Lithuania. A meeting with Chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme Council Landsbergis took place.
Deputy Chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme Council Česlovas Stankevičius met with First Deputy Prime Minister of the USSR Vitaly Doguzhiev. They discussed the possibilities of negotiations between the Republic of Lithuania and the Soviet Union.
Minister Chancellor of the Indonesian Embassy in Moscow Amirudvin Nur visited Riga. He proposed to start economic co-operation between both parties.
At about 9 p.m. armed Soviet soldiers broke into the premises of the TV relay station of Plungë, searched them and cut off cables.
During the intermissions between sittings of the session of the Nordic Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers held in Copenhagen (until March 1) speeches were delivered by Chairman of the Estonian Supreme Council Arnold Rüütel, Chairman of the Latvian Supreme Council Anatolijs Gorbunovs and Deputy Chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme Council Bronius Kuzmickas, who all asked for the support of the Baltic States. The USSR Embassy in Denmark issued a protest regarding the participation of the Baltic representatives in the session.
The session of the Nordic Council supported the restoration of the independence of the Baltic States and stated that they had the right to self-determination. The session also proposed organising an international conference on the Baltic States.
Representative of the Lithuania Support Foundation of Poland Adam Kozlowski arrived in Vilnius and held a press conference.
The Government of Denmark recognised the Lithuanian Government
de facto by signing the Protocol on Intergovernmental Co-operation.
87.57% of the population having the right to vote participated in the Latvian referendum on independence. Out of these, 73.68% voted for the restoration Latvia’s independence.
In a similar referendum in Estonia 82.86% of the population having the right to vote participated; 77.83% of them voted for Estonia’s independence.
Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania Voldemaras Katkus left for Poland. He met with Polish Foreign Minister Krzysztof Skubiszewski, Marshal of the Senate Andrzej Stelmachowski and other officials. During these meetings it was agreed to discuss four draft agreements prepared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania.
The EC Council of Ministers and the European Parliament voted to provide food relief and credits (about USD 1.5 billion) to the USSR, which were frozen in January as a reaction to Soviet Union’s actions in the Baltic States.
British Prime Minister John Major visited Moscow for the first time, where he met with Mikhail Gorbachev, Defence Minister Dmitry Yazov, Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov and representatives of the opposition and the Baltic States, i.e. Egidijus Bičkauskas, Janis Peters and Yuri Kakhn.
Employees of independent Lithuanian Radio and Television started a hunger strike at the occupied Radio and Television buildings. They demanded the immediate return of the property to the rightful owners.
Wolfgang von Stetten arrived in Vilnius.
Twelve congressmen of the US House of Representatives proposed a draft resolution supplementing the proposal to provide assistance to the Baltic Republics with a paragraph stating that the US Government must offer the status of observer in the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe to the Baltic States.
There were three explosions in Riga – on the bridge over the Gauja River and in the multi-storeyed dormitory of the Ministry of Interior. Riga had suffered 22 such explosions during the last six months.
In Congress, President Bush announced the end of the Persian Gulf War.
The first anniversary of the restoration of Lithuania’s independence was celebrated. A solemn session of the Supreme Council was held. The line and the parade of the Lithuanian volunteer army soldiers took place in the Independence Square.
Armed OMON soldiers arrested four officers of
Aras Flying Squad of the Ministry of Interior in Vilnius.
A delegation of the Norwegian Peace Prize Committee consisting of Rector of Oslo University I. Lioning and representatives of the Youth Council of Norway K. J. Berglyd and B. K. Funemark arrived in Vilnius.
A delegation of the National Assembly of France consisting of C. Huriet (French Senate), M. Pelchat (National Assembly of France) and M. Lestaut (member of the Municipal Council of Grenoble) visited the Supreme Council of Lithuania.
Deputy of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Estonia J. Jak, deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Federation Yevgeny Nesterov, deputy of Moscow Council V. Daineko, deputy of Leningrad Council A. Vinikov, Senator of the Republic of Poland Jerzy Kloczowski and deputy of the Supreme Council of Armenia Sh. Kocharian arrived to the celebration of the first anniversary of the independence.
Additional KGB units were being concentrated in Lithuania. Combat vehicles were intensively moving along Ukmergë and Kaunas highways.
The Lithuanian Supreme Council issued an Appeal to the United Nations Secretary General and to the states subscribers of the International Pact on Civil and Political Rights asking them to investigate gross violations of human rights that were and still are carried out by the Soviet Army; to discuss the situation in Lithuania and in the region of the Baltic States; to mediate that intergovernmental negotiations between the Soviet Union and Lithuania start soon.
The Lithuanian Supreme Council adopted a resolution declaring that the Republic of Lithuania subscribed the documents of the International Human Rights Charter.
A delegation of the British Parliament consisting of Quentin Davies (Conservative Party), Paul Philip Flynn (Labour Party) and Margaret Anne Ewing (Scottish National Party) visited the Supreme Council.
Additional units of the Soviet Army as well as combat vehicles were redeployed to Lithuania.
A delegation of the Canadian Parliament consisting of Pauline Browes (Conservative Party), Jesse Flis (Liberal Party), David Sturpich (New Liberal Party) and Gil Bertrand (representative of the Canadian Embassy) arrived in Vilnius.
Andrei Sakharov Square was inaugurated near the Press Building in Vilnius. The inauguration was attended by Sakharov’s widow Elena Boner.
Lithuanian Deputy Prime Minister Zigmas Vaiđvila and plenipotentiary representative of Lithuania Egidijus Bičkauskas met with Soviet Minister of Interior Boris Pugo in Moscow. They attempted to negotiate regarding the return of the occupied buildings in Vilnius.
The meeting between US Secretary of State James Baker and representatives of the three Baltic States – Janis Peters of Latvia, Egidijus Bičkauskas of Lithuania and Yuri Kahn of Estonia – took place in the US Embassy in Moscow. The focus was the negotiations between Moscow and the Baltic States. The United States wished for the negotiations to start as soon as possible and without any preliminary terms and conditions. Baker again stressed the US position regarding the issue of the Baltic States: the US never recognised the annexation of the Baltic States and held that the Soviet Law on succession from the USSR should not be applied to the Baltic Republics.
Estonian minister Endel Lipmaa, who attended the meeting, pointed out that this time Baker showed more concern and competence regarding the issue of the Baltic States than he did during previous meetings with the Baltic leaders held in Paris and Washington.
At midnight, OMON led by Mikutinovich kidnapped Director General of the Defence Department Audrius Butkevičius and his driver. Audrius Butkevičius was released only at 10 a.m., while his driver was released in the afternoon.
In his interview with
Mattino newspaper, Foreign Minister of Italy Gianni De Michelis said, “Lithuanian Landsbergis is an extremist and agent provocateur. What would the Italian Government say if some leader of Alto Adige province declared that the province acceded to Austria. The Helsinki Process is based on the principle of the inviolability of borders. Unilateral succession of the Baltic States would start an uncontrollable process, as other Soviet Republics would decide that they could do the same. And West Europe itself would face the issue of borders between Germany and Poland, Ireland and Great Britain, etc.”
Chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme Council Landsbergis sent Memorandum
On the Necessity to Restore Legal Intergovernmental Relations Between the Republic of Lithuania and the USSR to Soviet President Gorbachev.
At about 6.30 p.m. OMON soldiers tried to stop seven employees of the Defence Department (who were returning from work in Đalčininkai) on Liepkalnio Street in Vilnius by blocking the traffic. The persecutors opened fire on the bus in the very downtown of Vilnius. Two employees of the Defence Department were wounded.
Chairman of the Lithuanian Supreme Council Landsbergis received a five-member delegation of the European Parliament led by Vice President of the European Parliament Siegbert Alber, which arrived to Lithuania.
OMON threatened to occupy banks and communications of Vilnius.
A meeting of the Baltic Council was held in Jurmala, which issued an Appeal to OSCE member states asking to organise an international conference for the investigation of the Baltic issue. A copy of the Appeal was sent to US President Bush.
Soviet Minister of Finance Yevgeny Orlov sent a telegram to the Latvian Minister of Finance demanding the transfer of 4.2 billion roubles to the Soviet budget before April 1. If the demand is not obeyed, it was threatened that “violent measures” shall be taken according to the Soviet law.
While visiting Moscow, former US President Richard Nixon made a speech in the Institute of World Economy and International Relations stating that the refusal of the Soviets to grant freedom to the Baltics “poisoned” the US–Soviet relations and that the Kremlin had to immediately grant independence to the Baltic States.
Former US President Richard Nixon visited Lithuania. He met with the leaders of the Lithuanian Parliament and the Government, had a sightseeing tour of Vilnius and visited places seized by the Soviet Army.
A rally of Lithuanian medical doctors protesting against the bloodshed in Lithuania and against violence directed against unarmed people was held in Cathedral Square.
Foreign ministers of the Nordic States issued a statement in support of the independence of the Baltic States.
Chairman of the Supreme Council Landsbergis sent a telegram to Deputy Prime Minister of the USSR Vitaly Doguzhiev. The telegram proposed that all members of the negotiation groups met in Vilnius on March 27-28. No response was provided.
Spokesman for the Soviet Foreign Ministry Vitaly Churkin read a severe statement issued by the Ministry, which accused the US Administration of issuing “absurd” statements and of “criminal violation” of the international law for not recognising the 1940 annexation of the Baltic States.
At night, a freight train was derailed near Ţasliai Railway Station. Sixteen wagons and two tank-wagons carrying fuel oil rolled down the bed.
At about 12.50 p.m., armed soldiers, dressed in civilian clothes, kidnapped officer of the Defence Department E. Ţvinklys on Gediminas Avenue in Vilnius.
At 8.30 p.m. a vehicle with civilian licence plates tried to break through the barricades near the Parliament. It was stopped by the security guards. Apart from the driver, Soviet Army colonel Taras Zhdan was sitting in the vehicle. The officer was drunk. During the interrogation the driver told that the vehicle was owned by the KGB. The vehicle, the driver and the officer were returned to the Soviet military command.
Arnold Rüütel visited the United Stated on March 27–31. He met with George Bush and James Baker.
Statistics Lithuania announced that in January and February of 1991 the Lithuanian economy sustained a loss of almost 75 million roubles as a result of the military invasion of the Soviet Union.
Prepared by the Information Analysis Department of the Office of the