Landsbergis: Lithuania properly assessed Yazov's role in 1991 crackdown

  • 2020-02-25
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - Lithuania gave a proper assessment to Dmitry Yazov's role in the Soviet army's crackdown on unarmed civilians in Vilnius in January 1991, even though the process took a very long time, Lithuania's first post-independence leader Vytautas Landsbergis said on Tuesday. 

"Almost properly, because he (...) was convicted. This took an extremely long time. But in the end, it was done," he told BNS following reports that Yazov, who was the Soviet defense minister at that time, had died at the age of 95.     

Robertas Povilaitis, whose father died in the January 13, 1991 events in Vilnius, said Yazov's role in the killings had been property assessed, but that of Mikhail Gorbachev, the then Soviet leader, had not.  

"It is a shame that the role of Gorbachev, the commander-in-chief and the then president of the Soviet Union, has not been properly assessed and investigated," he told BNS. 

Last year, a Vilnius court sentenced Yazov to 10 years in prison in absentia for war crimes and crimes against humanity.   

More than 60 other former Soviet officials and military officers were convicted for their roles in the Soviet crackdown on Lithuania's independence drive.

Fourteen civilians were killed and hundreds more were wounded 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.

The Soviet Union used military force in its attempt to remove the legitimate government of Lithuania which declared independence on March 11, 1990.