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Member of Putin's party accuses Mikhail Gorbachev of 13 January aggression in Lithuania

Buvęs Sovietų Sąjungos lyderis Michailas Gorbačiovas su Rusijos premjeru Vladimiru Putinu
„Reuters“/„Scanpix“ nuotr. / Former USSR leader Mikhail Gorbachev and Russia's president-elect Vladimir Putin
Šaltinis: BNS
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Member of Russian President-Elect Vladimir Putin's party, Vice-Speaker of the State Duma, Sergey Neverov, has publicly declared the 13 January aggression in Vilnius took place by orders of the then leader of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev.

The member of the United Russia made the statement after Gorbachev's comments on anti-Putin protests in Russia. Gorbachev said publicly the fact that opposition protests on 5-6 March were stamped down by force showed the authorities' fright.

"Mikhail Sergeyevich, what kind of fright you had in Tbilisi, Vilnius and Sumgayit? And what actions were taken there against peaceful people on you order?" Neverov was quoted as saying by the United Russia's website.

"You are talking about some fright in Pushkinskaya Square. This is the way you call adequate and legitimate actions by law enforcement services which stopped a handful of young people in wild spirits to protect people? Your claims that "we'll need to go to those and other squares time and again" show who you support. Various mcCains and mcFauls who are dreaming of an "Arab Spring" in Russia." Who are you working for?" Neverov said.

Internal vengeance

Lithuanian MEP Vytautas Landsbergis believes public accusations by the deputy speaker of the Russian State Duma against former leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, regarding the 13 January events in Lithuania are vengeance for criticizing the government.

"It's difficult to draw conclusions. My first impression is that it's some sort of vengeance or a threat that you cannot criticize Putin's government for violence because you had screwed up yourself. It's rather normal behavior, especially in their world," Landsbergis, former head of state of Lithuania, told BNS on Thursday.

According to Landsbergis, it's hard to say whether "it was a spontaneous threat or just people have there lists on how to discipline politicians, and put them into circulation."

"What we do know is the fact that Russia's law enforcement is covering up for Gorbachev, and has not agreed to allow Lithuanian prosecutors to question him. I don’t know whether Lithuanian prosecutors have issued an international arrest warrant, perhaps they haven’t. It would be a consistent thing.

"Such a statement might slightly limit Russia's propaganda against Lithuania, if Lithuanian prosecutors issued an international warrant. They wouldn’t be able to say that Lithuanians made up it on purpose and are persecuting a well-known Russian politician," the Lithuanian MEP, who was the de facto leader of Lithuania on 13 January 1991, said.

"Then this statement would have some meaning, though I believe it's internal vengeance," Landsbergis concluded.

Lithuania 's Prosecutor General's Office had asked Russia to question Gorbachev about the 13 January events but Russia refused to do so. Gorbachev says he knew nothing about the events in Vilnius and was not responsible for them. No charges against Gorbachev have been brought in this case.

14 people were killed during an attempt by the Soviet army and special forces to take over the Vilnius TV Tower on 13 January 1991, and more than 1,000 unarmed civilians were injured. 23 people have been charged of war crimes and crimes against humanity in this case, including 21 Russian citizens. Moscow has refused to hand them over to Lithuania.

BNS
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