The price of freedom

Adoption of the act on the restoration of the independent Lithuanian state. Home confrontation between Lithuania and the central government. Creating a National Salvation Committee in the state. Activities Soviet power structures in the country.

Рубрика Иностранные языки и языкознание
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Язык английский
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“The price of freedom”

Done by:

Teymur Mammadov,

Emin Mammadov,

Giedrius Rakauskas


Rytis Bulota

January events (lit. Sausio бvykiai) - action capture, using armored vehicles, Soviet troops of strategic facilities and the media in the Lithuanian SSR, from 11 to 13 January 1991, less than a year after the restoration of Lithuania's independence from the Soviet Union. The events took place in Vilnius, capital of the republic, and in the cities of Alytus, Siauliai, Kaunas, and Warren.

Since early January, these events took place in Riga (albeit without the use of military units and heavy equipment), where as a result also had several victims.


11th of March 1990 Lithuania was the first former Soviet republic which adopted the act of the restoration of an independent Lithuanian state, even though Soviet Union did not accept that. So Lithuanian SSR was renamed to the Republic of Lithuania. Lithuania restored their constitution from 12th of May 1938

The central authorities of the USSR announced the decision unconstitutional. From that time the confrontation between Lithuania and Central government began. Chairman of the Supreme Council (SC) of Lithuania Vytautas Landsbergis the leader of the "Sаjыdis" was advocating for the independence of Lithuania.

25th of April 1990 for the protection of independence of Lithuania the government decided to create the Department of National Defence. The atmosphere was tense to the limit and the social explosion could be triggered by even the most insignificant event.

Since 7th of January 1991, in accordance with the decision of the Lithuanian government, the prices of food were increased in an average 3.2 times, which caused an extremely negative reaction of the population. 8th of January the Supreme council of Lithuania the several thousands of people came to protest. Most of those people were employees of organizations of national importance. They required cancelling the increase in prices of food products. On the same day, under the pressure of disgruntled masses, the Lithuanian parliament has cancelled the government's decision to raise the prices. In the evening the Lithuanian Prime Minister Kazimiera Prunskiene at the meeting of Supreme Council announced the departure of its government to resign thus expressing disagreement with the decision of Parliament. Her resignation was accepted by a majority votes.

On the 9th of January every hour on the local radio the messages about the movements on the territory of Lithuania units of the Soviet army were transmitting. On the afternoon in Vilnius Airport landed the plane with 50 paratroopers, later it was reported on the movement of tanks along the route Vilnius-Panevezys.

The building of the Supreme Council gathered a crowd of thousands of people, consisting mainly of representatives of the Russian-speaking population, with the slogans: "Down with parliament! Long live the USSR".

Representatives of the large industrial enterprises of national importance of Vilnius, the staff of the Ignalina nuclear power plant and railway station that said they are ready to start a general political strike if the parliament doesn't announce its dissolution. Because of the strike the staff of Vilnius airport stopped their work.

10th of January outside of the Supreme Council building protests of supporters and opponents of the Lithuanian leadership were still going on. After lengthy debates Lithuanian parliament on the proposal of Lansbergis elected a new prime minister of the republic. He was 40 years old economist, a member of Social Democratic Party of Lithuania Albertas Simenas. On the same day President of the USSR Mikhail Gorbachev sent appeal to the Supreme Council of Lithuania SSR which suggested immediately restore the full effect of the Constitution of the USSR and the Constitution of the Lithuanian SSR, and cancel the previously adopted anti-constitutional acts. Landsbergis described the appeal of the President as interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state.

11th of January, at the direction of USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev to protect the building party, publishing house, in order to stop publications.

On the same day it was planned to take custody of television but the seizure was not made because the republican state security agencies have received information, or rather disinformation that there is a large group of fighters of the Department of National Defence, but in fact the object virtually was not.

At 6 o'clock the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Lithuania announced the creation of the Committee for National Salvation, which takes full responsibility for the fate of the republic. In order to ensure the security of its members their names were not announced.

In response the management of the Armed Forces of Lithuania urged people to go out from their house and to participate in the protection of buildings of parliament, the radio centre, and the TV tower.

In the evening on 12th of January, there were reports about the movement of military equipment in the city. independent committee government soviet

In the night from 12th-13th January in the building of the Vilnius Committee of the Communist Party of Lithuania were held an occasion about the preparation and introduction of presidential rule in the republic. When the building of the city committee has gathered a few dozen workers, they were handed a pre-prepared petition to the Committee for National Salvation. It kept demanding the resignation of the Supreme Council of the Republic. But on the outskirts of the Supreme Soviet of Workers' petition was beaten by troops "Sаjыdis".

On the same night, units of the Soviet army stormed the Vilnius TV tower. Actions of the detachment led by Deputy Minister of Defence of the USSR Colonel General Vladislav Achalov.

Soon the Lithuanian parliament building was surrounded by 10 tanks prepared for an assault on the television station, special soldiers of KGB “Alpha” occupied the building.

Later the speaker of Lithuanian TV reported that the troops seized the building. After these transmissions was interrupted. Vilnius radio conveys the message that Moscow launched aggression against a sovereign state - the Republic of Lithuania. A bit later units of the Soviet army seized Vilnius news agency. Early in the morning the Canadian Radio reported that Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev ordered to sail army forces. The Canadian Radio reported that Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev ordered to sail army forces.

During the military operation there were killed 14 civilians, and one officer of the “Alpha” Viktor Shatskikh. More than 600 people were injured.

After the events of January 1991 the former Minister of Defence of Lithuania Audrius Butkevicius said that the defenders did not open the fire, because they received the corresponding order, but later on he admitted that the shooting was carried out not only by soldiers of “Alpha”, but also directly from the TV tower.

In November 1996, in Vilnius the trail began "a coup d'йtat January 13, 1991", which ended in August 1999.

13th of January Lithuanian celebrates Defender of Freedom Day, established in memory of the tragic events in January 1991.


Actions of security agencies of the USSR in Lithuania condemned the parliaments of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and the Moscow City Council and the Leningrad City Council. West, while having Kuwait crisis also made harsh statements against Mikhail Gorbachev , but he said that "knew nothing" about the events of that night. Nobody wanted to take responsibility, the Minister of Interior and Ministry of Defense also asserted in his innocence.

After the storming of the TV tower in Vilnius Lithuania's prosecutor opened a criminal case under Art. 88 h. 2 of the Criminal Code of the Lithuanian SSR (attempt to commit coup d'etat). The investigation established the guilt of 23 people, including Defense Minister Dmitry Yazov, KGB chairman Vladimir Kryuchkov and Chenin and secretaries of the CC CP of the Lithuanian SSR Burokeviиius, Ermalavichyus, Naudzhyunas, former commander of Vilnius garrison Major General Uskhopchik commander of Vilnius OMON Makutynovich. December 17, 1991 the Presidium of the Lithuanian Armed Forces sent a letter to the chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR Boris Yeltsin with a request to assist in the extradition of suspects in the hands of the Lithuanian justice.

At the end of October 1996 over a number of M. Burokyavichusom and the leaders of the Lithuanian Communist Party was organized by the Court in the case of loss of life at the Vilnius TV tower January 13, 1991. He is accused of "attempting to change the political system" and the organization of appearances parts Airborne, the KGB and the Interior Ministry to seize the building of radio and television. In this case verdicts were announced Mykolas Burokeviиius, Juozas Ermalavichyusu, Juozas Kuolyalisu, Leonas Bartoshyavichyusu, Stanislovas Mickeviиius and Yaroslav Prokopovich.

From 1992 to the present time Lithuanian Prosecutor General's Office of Belarus put forward a request for extradition (extradition) General Vladimir Uskhopchik (commander of Vilnius garrison at the time) and Major Stanislava Yuonene (then chief editor of the newspaper "Soviet Lithuania"), is now the Belarusian citizens.


These events had to take place in the history, in order the revolution to happen, and communist dictatorship to end up. The proud Lithuanian nation showed its power, excerpt and immovability, also showed how Lithuanian can assert their rights. That was also a huge step in another nations' movement as well, since after Lithuania escaped Soviet Union, all of the others escaped following this country.


1. LEAVE TO STAY ... (Rus.) Journal "Power" (19/03/1990).

2. Diarchy in Lithuania: the outcome is not clear (Rus.) Journal "Power" (03/26/1990).

3. Bulletin of the Supreme Council and the Government of the Republic of Lithuania. 1990. № 10. April 10. Pp 394-395.

4. LITHUANIA: Twentieth INDEPENDENCE DAY (Rus.) Journal "Power" (04/02/1990).

5. Yegor Gaidar. Money and the fate of the Empire (Rus.), The Independent newspaper (July 3 2006).

6. CHRONICLE besieged Lithuania (Rus.) Journal "Power" (04/30/1990).

7. LITHUANIA: The President made a bet on Red (Rus.) Journal "Power" (07/01/1991).

8. 1991: Bloodshed at Lithuanian TV station (Eng.)

9. No Aid for a Repressive Moscow. The New York Times. January 15, 1991.

10. Literary Gazette, 1991, № 2 dated 16 January, p. 1.

11. VLADIMIR Z-pond. The Case of the coup in Lithuania: a consequence completed, criminals fled (Rus.) Journal "Kommersant" (23.12.1991).

12. Lithuania Belarus handed a note about Uskhopchik

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