VILNIUS – “It would have been nice” for European Commission President to take into account the history of the Baltic countries when assessing the role of last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said on Thursday.
EC President Ursula von der Leyen was one of the first top-ranking politicians to express condolences over the death of Gorbachev.
She praised former Soviet president as a “trusted and respected leader” who “opened the way for a free Europe”.
“I think it would have been nice not to forget the different experience of the Baltic countries,” Landsbergis told reporters in Vilnius on Thursday.
Gorbachev was regarded fondly in the West where he was praised for his major role in ending the Cold War while Germany honored him for his crucial role in reunificiation.
In Lithuania, however, he will be remembered for cracking down on independence-seekers.
Landsbergis said that the comments by EU Commission President had shown “once again … that we view Russia differently, that we sometimes view the historical memory differently”.
“Greater efforts and more discussions, explanations about our experience are still needed. And our history of January 13 should also get a higher profile, including but not limited to Brussels’ corridors,” the minister said.
Fourteen civilians were killed and hundreds more were injured when the Soviet troops stormed the TV Tower and the Radio and Television Committee building in Vilnius in the early hours of January 13, 1991.