Lithuania: 30 years since Bloody Sunday

Lithuania marks the 30th anniversary of Vilnius's Bloody Sunday today. This is the name given to the events of 13 January 1991, when Soviet troops attempted to stage a coup in Lithuania, which had declared independence the previous year in March. More than a thousand people were injured by tanks and gunfire and fourteen people died.

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Delfi (LT) /

A genuine, thriving culture of remembrance

For Delfi columnist Paulius Gritėnas, 13 January 1991 is one of the three most important dates in modern Lithuanian history, along with the two dates of the country's declarations of independence, 16 February 1918, and 11 March 1990:

“The witnesses of those times remind us of them every year, shaping our common experience. ... Those born later, in turn, contribute their reflections on what these eyewitness accounts mean to them today. ... In this respect, January 13 differs significantly from the other two dates. It is not about the memories of important politicians and decision-makers. It is about the memories and reflections of the people. The topic transcends all the political, social, economic and cultural differences that otherwise divide us. Hence the thesis that January 13 is the ontological proof of the Lithuanian state's existence.”

15min (LT) /

So much pain in our neighbouring countries

One look at the former Soviet republics shows that resistance to the coup was worthwhile, says 15min:

“They chose a different path and put up with the pain of a rotting tooth in the hope that everything would turn out well. But that tooth poisoned the whole organism. Ukraine has been trying to correct its mistakes ever since the Orange Revolution, relentlessly, even though the pain is great. The people of Belarus are only just beginning to remove the pus. It is difficult for them, but hopefully they will not give up. For many years to come, the pus of the imperialist legacy will also infect the great country of Russia: 30 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has again slipped into semi-dictatorship.”