Recalling the circumstances of 13 January, 15min The interviewed historian emphasized that the 1990s were a time when the Soviet Union tried to influence Lithuania in its pursuit of freedom in various ways. In particular, he said, attempts were made to intimidate the public. As soon as independence was declared, there were demands to end all acts and plans to abandon them, threatening an economic blockade. Other measures were taken, including military service. Eventually, an economic blockade began.
According to A. Jakubčionis, she pointed out that Lithuania is still too integrated into the Soviet Union and that both are dependent on each other’s resources: “If Mazeikiu Nafta supplied all military crews, what would the Soviet Union do with them?”
The minute the Soviet Union sits down to negotiate with Lithuania, it recognizes it as an independent state.
One of the most important events of that year A. Jakubčionis considers the discussion on ending the blockade. “Here I pay tribute to Vytautas Landsbergis,” he added, “who coined the classic phrase, which, in my opinion, is not emphasized enough. He said “some laws may be suspended for a hundred days after cross-border negotiations begin.” What do cross-border negotiations mean? The minute the Soviet Union sits down to negotiate with Lithuania, it recognizes it as an independent state. “
The arsenal of threats in Moscow also included the deprivation of Vilnius and the Vilnius region, as well as the alleged opening of Klaipėda, which was returned in 1945, and the autonomy of south-eastern Lithuania or Poland. In the end, when no measure proved successful, the historian said, the use of force began.
According to A.Jakubčionis, in 1991. The establishment of an anti-state National Rescue Committee in 2006 is a typical step invented by the Bolsheviks, when a group of trustees formed in one state or another declares disagreement with the local government and calls a “rescuer” – the Red Army. In this context, A. Jakubčionis highlights another very important event, when in 1991, while visiting Riga, Borisas Yeltsin recognized Lithuania’s independence and condemned the use of force.
Let’s go back to today.
15min When asked whether he supported the idea of declaring January 13 a day off, the historian replied in the negative, explaining that in his view, it should be a day of celebration of internal concentration rather than unemployment.
By the way, the interlocutor said that for himself, the events of January were stuck as an emotionally gloomy, depressing feeling, permeated with misunderstanding – it was not expected that military action could be taken and people killed.
15min invites to read an interview with historian A.Jakubčionis.
– Can the views of historians and contemporaries differ? For example, yesterday I read an article in which the Soviet generation was called the lost. In addition, I noticed that comments from people who were offended about it were poured in. Who is right in such cases – the historian or the person who survived those events?
– Probably that intersects, but different approaches are perfectly normal. This is what is called generational differences. Well, the younger generation cannot look at the past the way the old generation looked. That’s one thing. The second thing is that the generation that grew up in independent Lithuania, young people, feel superior because they already lived in an independent country, while others murmured in the Soviet era, were not free, and so on. This is understandable, as is the fact that most of the people who lived in Lithuania during the Soviet era were not guilty of living in such a system.
Lithuania would still have become a free and independent state.
– Although historians do not like the question “what if”, I cannot help but ask: what if not January 13th? Was it possible to stifle that desire for freedom, or would it have finally erupted anyway?
– Given the further development and the collapse of the Soviet Union, Lithuania would still have become a free and independent state. Russia is now seen in Russia as the cause of the collapse, but the Soviet Union collapsed from within. First of all, due to economic problems, and later social, political and national problems. Just look at the history textbooks. In 1979, some factories in Vilnius began to restrict electricity supply due to a lack of electricity. This is an absolute economic crisis. The other thing is that it was only with the start of the transformation that food difficulties began, and even the most basic goods were in short supply. I remember one poem that sounded like this: “Thank you to the party, the homeland for the ticket for the bedding. If I’m a good slave to her, you’ll get an extra towel. “
Socialism and democracy are incompatible things that destroy each other: either democracy or socialism. If Gorbachev sincerely thought that socialism could be democratized, he himself unknowingly led socialism to destruction. The collapse of the Soviet Union, like socialism, was inevitable and Lithuania would have been free, even if independence had been suppressed by military force. For the time being? Maybe for half a year, maybe 9 months, but in the end it would be independent.
– And who deterred aggression? Are we aware of the events of 1989 in Tbilisi, when people gathered were fatally crushed by paratroopers? What scared Gorbachev?
– When the Soviet Union threw the famous Pskov division against Lithuania and that spec. the group “Alfa” sent tanks, I think the idea was simple: let’s shoot, scare and spill, and suddenly – did not spill. It was a wonder how this could be, because the Soviet Union was a typical authoritarian state that believed that all problems could be solved by force. And here it failed. In addition, international public opinion has responded. A few days later, both the French president and the German chancellor, the British prime minister, expressed concern and condemned the bloodshed. Let us not forget that Gorbachev had just received the Nobel Peace Prize. Let’s pay tribute to the people of Lithuania as well. If they went out to defend freedom en masse, the Soviet Union had to realize that military force would not defeat the mass population. Or then you have to start killing everyone in a row en masse, which also became impossible. I think that the determination of the population and the international situation led to the complete abandonment of military force, but then other measures against Lithuania began.
– What would you single out as the most important things that led people to fight for freedom? It has been going on for a long time, or was it an instantaneous decision?
– We should go back to the year 1989, which meant euphoria in Lithuanian and Lithuanian life. If you remember, on February 16, 1989, the session of the Sąjūdis Seimas announced that the main goal was to restore independence. On the same day in Kaunas – the restoration of the Statue of Liberty. In the same year, the Baltic Way took place. If it is believed that about a million Lithuanians alone stood and demanded freedom… I think that all this, the year 1989 and the pursuit of freedom, to which many people joined, led to Lithuanians standing up for independence. Awareness of the need to strive, to demand, to resist and will be achieved.
– And what does January 13th mean to us today? Do we properly evaluate it after 30 years?
– In part, it faded. Again, a new generation has come that does not remember, did not see the events of that time, but as a phenomenon it will undoubtedly remain in the recent history of Lithuania. This is mass heroism, which has shown that Lithuanians want to live in an independent state.
What other Lithuania can be fought for if we live the best in our history.
– However, there are those who say that “we did not fight for such a Lithuania”. Is frustration after certain historical upheavals part of a natural process?
– I read the assessment of one of the economists, which states that Lithuanians have never lived better than now, that another Lithuania can be fought for if we live the best in our history. Maybe if there’s an emotional frustration that it’s not the way I want it to be, it’s humanly understandable. It is impossible for Lithuania to live according to everyone’s understanding. For example, let’s take two different approaches to gays. One can say that he did not fight for a Lithuania where parades are allowed, but the other thinks the opposite. Everyone has their own understanding. As society becomes increasingly intolerant of itself and is convinced that “I have said and I am right.” In my opinion, it is absolutely good to live in Lithuania and to say that “we did not fight for that” is sometimes just a brave pretense.
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