Lithuanian politician claims to summon Gorbachev to court
MOSCOW, January 27 - RAPSI. Lithuanian politician Algirdas Paleckis, the leader of the Socialist People's Front party, has stated that he has requested the Lithuanian Prosecutor General's Office to summon former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev to court to testify as a witness in the case of the tragic events in Vilnius in 1991.
"Gorbachev is directly linked with the case as he was the supreme commander-in-chief at the time and many Alfa officers and other military testified that Gorbachev knew and approved everything that was going on," Paleckis told RIA Novosti on Friday.
"I think Lithuania prosecutor's office is hesitating to summon Gorbachev to court because he is a popular figure in the West and has the image of a good man there. I'm almost sure that the European authorities are exerting some pressure on Lithuania in this regard.
However, it is obvious and clear that Gorbachev was involved in the case and he must testify in court," he said.
Paleckis was charged with "denying Soviet occupation" after making provocative statements on the radio last February. He discussed the tragic event at the television tower in Vilnius on January 13, 1991 when he said "brothers shot at brothers." The prosecutor's office demanded to place Paleckis on one-year probation, but the court acquitted him.
Lithuania declared independence from the Soviet Union on March 11, 1990. However, the Soviet Union called the move illegal and imposed an economic blockade between April and late June 1990. In January 1991, Lithuania succumbed to unauthorized protests, which resulted in special Soviet troops entering the republic. On the night of January 13, a column of Soviet armored vehicles entered the center of Vilnius.
The troops clashed with civilians at a local TV tower. Fourteen people were killed and over 600 were injured as a result of the bloodshed.
One Soviet paratrooper was killed by friendly fire.