Mr. Landsbergis (2021) - full transcript

Documentary about Lithuania in the years 1989 to 1991, when the Baltic country broke away from the Soviet Union. Because of the peaceful protests with much singing, this period was later also called the 'singing revolution'. As one of the founders of the independence movement, Vytautas Landsbergis was at the heart of the historical upheaval. His incisive reflections are complemented by extensive archive footage of demonstrations, party congresses and the Soviet military intervention.

Delighted to see you, Mikhail Sergeyevich.

Mr Gorbachev,
why doesn't Moscow want to acknowledge.

Lithuania's desire for independence?

If you’re going to call me ‘Mr’…

I never have been and never will be ‘Mr’

and I don't want "misters" popping up
in the USSR

because of Perestroika.

- I didn't mean...
- I am against “misters”.

They simply wanted to carry on doing

what they did best.

They had created

a perpetual domain

and wanted to go on ruling this domain.

It is maybe one of the greatest mistakes
humankind has ever made…

…and that mistake is all too evident

within Russia and the former USSR.

…the belief that power over something
is the supreme value…

power over the little people,

but first and foremost
power over territories,

over domains.

And such an organisation,
which calls itself "a state",

exists solely to expand its territory

and remain invincible.

They proclaimed this in their anthems
and wherever else they pleased,

"invincible, "everlasting",
"we shall rule forever",

and Lenin will live forever,

all this nonsense is forever,

and you must forget about everything else

because "everything else" is evil,

and if you serve evil,

even in your mind,

then you are already an enemy.

Whose enemy?
Our enemy.

And since we are the people

that makes you an enemy of the people.

If you think differently,
if you don’t toe the party line

you aren’t just an enemy of the state

you are an enemy of the people,

because the authorities act
in the name of the people,

because they granted themselves
this privilege:

to be the people, as it were.

This is a fundamental lie,

and this whole Empire of Lies,
which still flourishes today

is founded on such complete falsehoods.

What are they selling there?

- One.
- Please.

Thank you.

Two please.

It would be better to sit lower down.

- So many people!
- Ah!

So many people turned up!

Dear singers, compatriots,

let's sing "Lietuva brangi":


Wait a second.


my precious motherland,

A land where

heroes sleep in your graves:

Your beauty lies

in the skies so blue!

My precious, you've seen

so much torment and woe.

It didn't just start suddenly
like a bolt from the blue.

We had a desire for a different life,
a more truthful life.

As Solzhenitsyn said:
a life without lies.

That’s just what we wanted -
a life without lies.

We wanted to speak of things as they were,

not things to please
the powers-that-be,

about things that needed to be solved,
things that needed to be changed.

We even wanted to suggest
how things could be changed.

The authorities saw this as a challenge,

though they themselves had asked for this,

when they’d announced changes.

Perestroika means change.

They realised that they were heading
towards complete bankruptcy

with their wretched Soviet Union,

and in order to save the situation
some changes had to be made.

They announced the possibility of reforms

and permitted people to discuss this topic

without running the risk of being exiled
to the land of polar bears

for agreeing with Moscow

that change was necessary,

and for saying
that we too supported change.

So when they started to pressure us:

“Why are you…
you’re demanding too much”,

we naturally replied,
“You yourselves are in favour of reforms

but we want more profound,

essential and far-reaching reforms.”

They took fright when they heard this,

because it was a threat to their power.

These were not the reforms they wanted.

But they somehow felt obliged

“not to instantly crush people with tanks”

but to allow them to discuss things freely

and to ‘let off the steam of discontent’

by making some trivial changes and reforms,
some "perestroikas".

“We’ll do a few changes
and it’ll all be fine,

then the Americans and the whole world

will think the leopard’s changed his spots

and they will help us survive

in the same old system of lies".

Just you wait,
go on, say it!



Hey, what are you doing?
He didn’t do anything!

We'll have to see about that!

What are you filming here?


I keep telling you,
we must sing the national anthem!

I thank all of you

who have gathered here,
have come here…

Lithuanians have shown that
they aren't slaves, and will never be.


Quick march!

My elderly father used to say:
“What a pity that I'm so old.

I'm too old, I won't live to see

them heading back home,

but you will see them

flee from our land.“

In fact he did live to see it too,
he lived to 100 years of age.

He built this summer house

for his family.

It was an article of faith for us,

that this couldn’t last forever.

"Perhaps I won't live
to see it, but you will.

Have faith."
And this faith was justified.

But it’s a different matter
to have faith, to wait, to hope

and then to plunge into despair,

alcoholism and desperation,
because you think that nothing can change.

But why not try to do something?



Lithuania, our dear homeland.

Land of worthy heroes!

I feel...

I feel as if I am in the holy temple
of Lithuania.

This isn't merely a hall,
merely a sports hall,

this is not an ordinary auditorium,
this is the holy temple of Lithuania.

On behalf of Sąjūdis,

I call upon you, my dear compatriots,

to take on this arduous task,

to stand shoulder to shoulder,
to put your hands to the plough,

for the good of Lithuania.

God bless us all!

With great joy in my heart,

with great faith

in your hearts, in your love,

in your desire

to restore independent Lithuania...


I don't think I've ever been so happy
in my whole life,

as I am now,

in this temple,

here with the whole of Lithuania!

All of Lithuania has gathered here.

Klaipėda, Panevėžys, Utena,
the whole country

is here today in our temple.

I declare

this extraordinary congress open.

We invite the next speaker to the stand:

the First secretary
of the Central Committee

of the Communist Party of Lithuania
comrade Algirdas Brazauskas.

Dear delegates and guests
of the founding congress

of Sąjūdis,
the Reform Movement of Lithuania,

dear comrades,

in the name of the Central Committee
of the Communist Party of Lithuania.

I am honoured
to greet the founding congress of Sąjūdis

on behalf of the Supreme Soviet,

the Presidium and the government
of the Lithuanian SSR

and to wish that its work

may be constructive and productive.

Three days ago I had a chance
to meet with the General Secretary

of the Central Committee
of the CP of the Soviet Union,

the Chairman of the Presidium
of the Supreme Soviet, Mikhail Gorbachev.

He asked me
to transmit his warmest wishes

to the creative and hard-working people
of Lithuania,

for whom he has great respect.

Comrade Gorbachev said

that in Sąjūdis
he sees a positive force,

which can benefit perestroika

and strengthen the authority of
Soviet Lithuania even further.

The next speaker is Antanas Terleckas

from the Freedom League of Lithuania.

In the name of
the Freedom League of Lithuania

I proclaim that the Lithuanian nation
with its glorious history

and centuries-old tradition of statehood

can never be reconciled to the enslavement
imposed upon it by Hitler and Stalin.

The Freedom League of Lithuania demands
from the government of the Soviet Union:

1. A declaration that the
Molotov-Ribbentrop pact is null and void;

2. The withdrawal of its military
forces from Lithuania,

enabling the Lithuanian people
to choose their own destiny.

The Soviet press tries to convince us,
that we are inferior,

that we cannot survive on our own,
with our economy destroyed

by Stalin and Brezhnev.

The disciples of colonialism preach that

"small" nations cannot move an inch
without "friendly" aid.

Perhaps it's time for us to
cease being a burden

to our benefactors from Moscow?

At the moment, the United Nations
consists of 159 countries.

We can be inspired by the 62 countries

which have smaller populations
than Lithuania.

They have declined the help of bigger
countries and declared their independence.

Only poor old Russia is still carrying
the heavy burden of patronage.

Let's provide her with international aid -

from now on, we'll try to carry our own
political and economic burden.

The Chairman of the Liturgical Commission

of the Lithuanian Dioceses,
Vaclovas Aliulis has the floor.

To be more precise,
reverend Vaclovas Aliulis.

First of all, a short clarification

about tomorrow morning's mass.

It was announced on TV

that the mass will take place
in the Cathedral.

Our bishops are not prepared to enter
the Cathedral for just one hour.

We will not hold a service
in the Cathedral

until we get it back
and reconsecrate it.

Holy mass will be held outside
the closed doors of the Cathedral

at 7.15 a.m. tomorrow.

The service will be led by his Eminence
Cardinal Vincentas Sladkevičius.

Do you have a light?

One, two, three - Lithuania is beautiful!

Don't you worry, old pa,

Don't you worry, old pa,
Your son will grow up,

Your son will grow up.


Remember, we also need to be patient.

And sometimes we doubt
if these changes are real.

These current changes

are like seedlings in autumn -

we don't know whether
they'll turn out to be

wheat or rye.

And we believe that these current changes

will lead our people and our country
to a joyful future.

My friends, patience means progress,

and our people must combine

patience with growth. this some trap or snare?

Many of us are surely asking ourselves
this very question,

because it's so hard to believe

that recent events in Lithuania,
Latvia and Estonia

have been allowed to unfold
without interference.

So another query arises.

Why is Sąjūdis not being stopped from
becoming a real political power?

Bastions are falling suspiciously fast.

We are already discussing
a national currency (litas),

we have got a new government,

and have been given back Vilnius Cathedral
as a Christmas present,

on the eve of our congress.

This is a miracle -
all our wishes are granted!

But let's try to work out
what's actually going on.

We should remember
that in a desperate situation,

secondary things are always sacrificed
for the sake of more important things.

The situation of the Soviet Union,
both internationally and at home,

means it needs to make all sorts of
concessions and reforms

in order to preserve
the existing power structure

and the USSR itself.

In this situation, the Baltic region,

which has always had special relations
with the USSR,

has been given
substantial freedom of action,

and might even retain it for some time.

In order to prevent us exercising
this freedom fully and irreversibly,

they have given us everything
that can easily be withdrawn:

Lithuanian citizenship,
economic autonomy,

and have met other demands
which don't seem to them too drastic,

as they can easily overturn them.

There is only one question,
and it is a very simple one:

are we still in the Union or not?

Then the question arises,
is it necessary to keep the point

which describes Lithuania
as a republic of the federation?

If we do so, we acknowledge

the legality of the decision
taken by the parliament in 1940,

to join the Soviet Union,
and we legitimise the occupation

on behalf of Sąjūdis.

We must reject this point.

That doesn't mean

that we are calling for confrontation,
for conflict,

or for the desire to instantly
quit the Soviet Union.

It is only a wish…

It is only a statement of truth,

which must recorded in the programme
of Sąjūdis, and nothing more.

Thank you for your attention.

The next speaker is Vytautas Petkevičius.

Dear friends,

I can't understand how

the previous speaker contrived
to appear on the podium.

I may make myself very unpopular

by saying that this speech

seems to me to be a provocation.

It was completely reckless.

We must be realistic about our strength

and understand what is possible now.

We can't refuse the offer of freedom,

we can't refuse such things
as independence etc.

But only a person who hasn't
contributed to creating Sąjūdis

could spit out such provocation.

Someone courting popularity,
and seeking undeserved recognition,

for something he played no part in.

If Petkevičius...

He’s an agent-provocateur…

Enemy of the people... gave such a
halfwitted explanation, you see?

I'm telling you,
you haven't proved your point,

Only pure facts...
No, you didn't set out…

You only stated - either this or that. label this speech

as a provocation is completely…

Petkevičius should apologize.

I was approached by the representatives
from Panevėžys and Šiauliai

and they said, "If this was a statement
from the Kaunas initiative group,

we must express our doubts
about this group."

...they would like to meet
the Kaunas group.

Perhaps you could meet
and clear things up?

- Where are they?
- Who wants to see us?

The initiative group.

- The Vilnius group?
- Which group?

Do you understand the nature
of his demands?

That man is calling for bloodshed!

- No, he absolutely is not.
- Why?

- He isn't calling for bloodshed!
- You people are so naïve!

You obviously haven't understood
what he was saying.

The army will demand this and will do it.

You started this mess so easily...

You also say that 'glasnost' and all...
What kind of 'glasnost' is this then?

You just had to show off
in front of the foreigners...

Where is our group meeting?

Respect Lithuania, honour...

Let's cut to the chase:
does Sąjūdis need this?

Only a silly kid

who hasn't given his life to the cause,
could spout such stuff.

You can't do this!

Do you want a Karabakh-style war here?

- No-one's saying that …
- Then there's another question.

Another question.

Members of the Kaunas group...
Just a second, comrade Vytautas.

Dear comrade Petkevičius...

- I’ve got a question...
- Please, let's take turns to speak.

I've got just a single question,
with respect, Kaunas group...

Kaunas group?

Do you agree with this man's speech?

He was giving his personal opinion.

Hold on, do you agree with his speech?

I, personally, don't.

The question should be different.

You should be asking if someone
has the right to express such an opinion.

That's exactly what I'm asking.

This is the issue of utmost importance,
that I will defend as a member of Sąjūdis.

Because next time,
when I express my opinion,

another worthy fellow might show up

and call me an agent-provocateur.

The same might happen to you,
and to a second and third person.

Listen, you should leave your
personal opinion at home,

here you represent the opinion
of your city

and of a particular group.

Don't foist your own opinion on people.

We agree on Lithuania's destination,

but we may strongly disagree
about how to go to get there.

You really need wisdom,
a sense of responsibility...

Not even close, don't ruin everything.

This might shock you,
but I want to say

that I support his right
to express his opinion.

He does not have a right to share
his own opinion... he does not.

With respect, you don't understand
what Sąjūdis is.'s a very good lesson,
we also need to think how to leave.

He expressed his opinion and that's it...

He overreacted.

That's right,
Petkevičius also overreacted

but it's very dangerous!

Listen, you need to understand
that this is a really serious matter,

It's not about hats or payslips...

Folks, let's calm down. That's enough!

Of course it was,
and we relied on people’s good sense,

that, given all the grievances

and injustice they had endured,

they would choose the right path.

At first, that path
was a call for "more freedoms".

Then later we tried to channel it

into a call for "greater autonomy",

we even proposed some policies…

The idea of economic autonomy -

the Estonians came up with this idea.

Here, in Lithuania,
we began to call it

either "economic sovereignty"

or "ecological sovereignty",

and this immediately confused the issue.

What kind of "partial sovereignty"

could be granted to the republic?

Although we didn't even get that far.

However proposals were made
for programmes of economic independence

for the Baltic Soviet republics.

Gorbachev even agreed

to pass this law in Moscow

to pacify the Baltic countries,

to give them the impression
that they had gained something.

But, when the time came to pass the law,

all the important clauses were rejected.

It often happened like this:

we would present a draft law
hoping that it would be passed,

but then amendments would be proposed:
remove this, remove that,

replace this with that...

And, of course, the authorities agreed
with the substitutions…

These "amendments" were always top-down,

and left nothing of the original proposal.

So that even our most fierce advocates

of gradual reforms

like Mrs. Prunskienė,

who was so proud that the law

on economic independence
would be passed,

also came back disappointed,

feeling she had been deceived and tricked
by Moscow.

They had been working hard,
had agreed on everything,

but when they got to Moscow,
they were swindled.

The law was meaningless,
it was passed in name only.

This was yet more proof

that we would achieve nothing

with partial concessions and reforms.

The top brass always
had tricks up their sleeves,

according to the well-known principle:
"I'm the boss, and you're an idiot".

Comrade Deputies,
Professor Landsbergis

of the State Conservatory

of the Lithuanian SSR,
has the floor.

Honourable congress,
honourable chairman,

we must all try to understand each other,

to find common goals
and to value everyone’s noble aims.

Let ‘s show a political culture that’s fit

to be part of the universal culture
of humanity.

The desire of the Baltic republics
to strengthen their autonomy,

to aim for the return of their statehood

is also the way to release
the creative powers of the nation.

This is one of the goals of perestroika.

The gains won on this path
will be gains for us all -

for instance, the policy
of economic autonomy for the republics,

developed in the Baltics.

It has already been adopted
in Lithuania and Estonia

and I hereby propose it to the congress
as a law for the entire Union,

which, in our view, would be beneficial
for all the republics.

It would be sad

if this proposal
got dumped in the "miscellaneous" pile.

The democratisation of a country includes
the defence of the process of democracy.

I would like to remind you of the warning
given in Tallin on May 14th

by the Baltic Assembly
of the Popular Fronts,

including the Lithuanian Sąjūdis

to the Congress of People’s Deputies,

a warning about the threat of war

by the state against its own people.

This document should be distributed
among all the delegates of this congress.

It calls for the armed forces
to be used

exclusively in defence
against an external attack.

These stipulations have also been included
in more detail,

in a letter to the USSR
Congress of People’s Deputies,

a letter signed by 50 deputies
from Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia,

in which we propose

to the Supreme Soviet of the USSR
a legislative initiative

including point number 4:

the disbanding of the military units

which took part
in the killings and repression

of civilians in the city of Tbilisi,

and brought disgrace to the army’s name.

These documents are convincing proof

that our concerns relate to everyone -

we want no peacetime testing

of chemical warfare gasses,

and the Congress, which is responsible
for the fate of democracy in this country,

must stop any potential Napoleonic coup

or Pinochet-style uprising
from acquiring apparent legitimacy.

Please remember what I'm referring to:

the Minister of the Interior’s right

to deploy special forces
at his own discretion;

and to the right of the Supreme Soviet

to declare a state of emergency
throughout the entire country.

For instance, it could imprison Gorbachev

and openly proclaim itself a ruling junta.

Do we really want to grant them
such extraordinary powers

without any public control?

Are you really willing to accept
a ghost standing at your door,

with a badly written constitution
in one hand

and a blood-stained shovel in the other,

which is what such legal powers amount to?

Lithuania, in any case, won’t accept this.

Please take my remarks as a proposal

for each and every Congress deputy
to reflect upon this matter,

to return to the discussions,
and vote to repeal these provisions

and recent amendments to the criminal law,

especially with regard
to crimes against the state.

We must also reflect
on what’s gone on so far

and the different standpoints taken.

3 days ago, Deputy Rodionov
expressed his nostalgia for 1937

and many deputies warmly applauded him.

Think, comrade deputies,
why did you clap?

Another issue which concerns us all

is the black and bloody stain
on the history of the USSR

created by the Hitler-Stalin pact,
which has already been discussed here.

The existence of these secret protocols

is proved by the Nuremberg copies,

and by the fact that these protocols
were diligently used

from 1939 to 1941.

In my opinion, Mikhail Gorbachev himself
has no doubts about their existence.

I propose the following formulation
for the parliamentary enquiry:

On the Pact and the Problem
of the Secret Protocols.

The aim of the enquiry was clearly defined
in the appeal to us

by the Supreme Soviet
of the Lithuanian SSR -

to denounce these secret deals,

signed by the then Soviet authorities,

and to deem them null and void
from the moment of signature.

There is no doubt that it will be done,

but it would in all our best interests
not to drag our feet.

They felt the growing strength of Sąjūdis

and they...

they started to push back against Sąjūdis

and even refused to accept
what had already been agreed:

the Supreme Soviet had agreed

to pass amendments
in line with the Estonian amendments

regarding the precedence
of the laws of the republic...

and even regarding the right to own land,
to own the natural resources,

declaring them to be the property
of the Lithuanian Republic,

and not the Soviet Union.

We prepared the same draft

as the Estonian government,

and although the Brazauskas government
did not approve it,

they agreed to "put it to the vote".

They thought they were still in control

in the Supreme Soviet

but then they lost their nerve
and tricked us,

and when the time came
to vote on the proposals,

they pulled a fast one on us...

And then, of course, we protested

and declared that from that moment on.

Sąjūdis would oppose these cheats.

And what was their reaction?

Then they began to...

threaten us,
put us under pressure and so on,

but by then,

we had already been elected
as People's Deputies of the USSR,

and enjoyed a certain protection
from high-ranking officials,

further up the pecking order

than those in the republic.

This gave us some kind of protection.

The local bosses couldn't just break us up
or arrest us

without Moscow's approval.

And they wouldn’t have got such approval.

They would have been told:
“You’re incompetent.

Find a way to shut them up,

but without any arrests or violence"...

In fact prison cells had already
been prepared for us.

We found out later
that the old KGB cellars

had been renovated, cleaned up

and the cells for 34 people

had been converted
into 2-4 person cells.

According to the status of the prisoners?

Yes, for deputies and Sąjūdis members,

if the occasion arose,
if they went too far.

So we created the Baltic Chain

all the way from Vilnius to Tallinn,

two million people took part.

So how could they start repressions
at such a moment?

They were on very shaky ground...

We stuck to our principle

of non-violence:

no destruction,

no smashing of windows

or burning of cars -

nothing like that.

We proceeded peacefully,
calmly and creatively.

And if they couldn't cope with change,

let them make way for others
who could undertake these "perestroikas".

But where shall we put
all these flowers?

...they told me not to bring them,
there'll be other cars.

There will be more cars, so then...

They told me not to bring them,
there's no room.

They said "Don't bring any more".

From Latvia and Estonia...

Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia,

The Baltics are waking up,

The Baltics are waking up,

Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia.

Very good!

People, prepare yourselves!

Now we're going to form a chain!

Come here!

Hold hands!

Freedom for the three cousins.

Your beauty lies.

In the skies so blue.

My precious, you've seen

so much torment and woe.

Your beauty lies

in the skies so blue.

My precious, you've seen

so much torment and woe.

I remember my speech in Vilnius,

at the meeting with Šepetys,

the secretary for ideology.

There were a few
Central Committee members present

but he was the most senior,

representing the local communist party.

And we represented Sąjūdis,

although we also had a few party members

whose point of view

already diverged
from the official party line.

Šepetys asked us

"not to be too rebellious,

not to create our own organisations",

because they also wanted reforms.

"Come and join us as advisors, as aides,

and we can make these changes together."

Then I decided to speak
as if expressing my own personal opinion,

though it was
the position of Sąjūdis’s other wing.

I told them that we could see

that their organization

was disunited,

and that they had conflicting views
on perestroika, on reform,

on the rights of Lithuania
and its people.

So, we wouldn't know
whom to advise, what to advise,

or what our role would be.

I said we’d go on with our programme

which was open,

and only hostile to backwardness,

stagnation and lies.

Those of you who support

our approach

are welcome to join us.

We won't come to you, you come to us.

And those of you who oppose the reforms

and reject the ideas of Sąjūdis

can stay where you are."

And only a minority stayed put,

because even in the ranks
of the official communist party

people were beginning to realise
that they ran the risk

of being left high and dry.

They still hoped to achieve something,
and they did have some success,

even when they announced their separation

from the USSR Communist party,

and formed the independent Communist party
of Lithuania.

By the way, amongst all local organisations
affiliated to Moscow,

they were the last ones to split.

The Composers' Union
was the first one to break away.

They declared their independence

and then proposed friendly cooperation

with the Union of Soviet Composers.

Left! Left!
One! Two! Three!

Left! Left!
One! Two! Three!

Give them a clap!

Let's go to where the coat of arms is!

We don't want to hear anything else,
and that's that.

Keep insisting,
they'll have to let us in.

Excuse me, can I go through?

Hold it, men.

- We have here...
- I understand.

No, now we...
Hold it, these are the wrong people...

Listen, if you want that kind of show...

We just want to give back [our medals].

- That's all?
- Yes.

I don’t understand.
He’s a good worker.


Please, don't go near the windows.

Right here...

Come closer.

One by one, please.

We renounce all our awards and benefits.

We're leaving this Gulag with benefits...

Just show me…

They're filming!

Can you explain
why you're getting rid of them?

You don't need them?

Nor you?

- Why did you get these medals?
- We don’t need them.

People are saying that
you fought to defend the Afghan people.

- Why are you giving them back?
- Nobody defended them.

Let's move back.

Move to the other side.

Hey, listen... You are so...

Lets’ sing our national anthem
for these brave sons of Lithuania,

and the Lithuanian Republic,

the anthem which is sacred to our nation!

The anthem of Lithuania!

I've lost my voice,
somebody, please start!

Lithuania, our dear homeland.

Land of noble heroes!

May your sons draw strength.

From the past...

Comrade Yakovlev has the floor.

Comrade deputies...

Attention, please!

May I have the deputies' attention,

these issues are already being resolved.

Thank you.

Please carry on, Alexander Nikolayevich.

I’ll begin with historical background.

The Non-Aggression Pact
between Germany and USSR

was signed on August 23, 1939,
and ratified on August 31

by the Supreme Soviet of the USSR.

It was published on August 24,

and ratified by the signatories
on September 24.

The existence of the secret protocol

was mentioned for the first time
at the Nuremburg trial in 1946.

The purpose of the secret protocol

was to divide the spheres of influence

in the neighbouring sovereign countries
between Stalin and Hitler.

Even today there are a number of theories
about how events in Europe

would have unfolded
without the pact and the protocol.

For all his imperial ambitions,

Stalin couldn't fail to realise
how dangerous and immoral

his secret deal with Hitler was.

Even after the war, Stalin and Molotov
covered up all traces of the protocol.

The original document has never been found
in our archives.

Although the commission was unanimous
in its judgement of the protocol

there were various opinions
about the pact itself.

Some thought that, given the situation,

the pact could be politically justified.

The policy of Germany and Japan,
the stance of Western democracies,

had left the USSR with no choice.

The USSR leadership had to adopt measures
to ensure the security of the country,

at least to delay the start of the war,

and to use this extra time
to strengthen the economy and defence.

Others believed
Stalin signed the non-aggression pact

for completely different reasons -

his interest was not the pact itself

but precisely the secret protocol,

which would give him the opportunity
to invade the Baltic states,

Poland and Bessarabia,
and perhaps even Finland.

In a word, he was driven to sign the pact
by his aspiration to re-create the Empire,

a desire which was alien
to the principles of socialism.

But this is beyond the scope of the pact

as an international legal document.

In relation to the protocol,
the commission

has concluded as follows:

1. A secret protocol,

dated 23 August 1939, did exist,

but no original document has come to light
in either Soviet

or foreign archives.

The copies at the disposal of the USSR
and the German Federal Republic

are considered authentic
according to scholarly research.

The wartime events that ensued,
conformed to the plan in the protocol.

2. The protocol was initially drafted
by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs

and approved by Stalin and Molotov,
who introduced minor amendments to it.

Soviet negotiators acted dishonourably,

abandoning their original intention

to secure double guarantees
for the independence of the Baltic states.

They failed to insist on a clause
committing Germany to restrain Japan,

merely accepting a verbal promise
from Ribbentrop about this matter.

3. Political and government institutions
of the Soviet Union

were not informed
about the drafting of the protocol.

Molotov wasn't legally entitled
to sign the protocol.

The protocol was excluded
from the ratification procedure

and wasn't ratified by the Soviet
legislative and executive bodies.

4. The protocol was adopted
against the laws of the USSR

and in breach of its obligations
towards other countries,

so from the judicial point of view
was illegal.

It was a deal on the aggressive intentions
of the signatories.

And finally, point 5:

The method of drafting the protocol,

and the terms and categories used,

such as "territorial
and political restructuring"

were in breach of the Leninist principles
of Soviet foreign policy.

Perhaps that was the first time
that the complexity of pre-war events

was discussed in such stark terms,

but there comes a time to confront
even the most bitter truth.

And thus Stalin was seen

аs the villain of the piece

while the Soviet regime, apparently,
was only partially involved -

the country had no idea
what Stalin was up to.

Perhaps it was Yakovlev's idea

to manipulate the narrative,

so that it was not the whole Soviet Union
that was to blame,

but the leadership, Stalin's leadership.

even the hardcore authoritarians

understood that
"the Baltic republics are going to leave",

so they couldn't vote for this resolution.

I asked the chairman of the commission

about the secret protocols.

But, unfortunately, I got no answer,
and in fact what answer could I get,

given that page 1 of the draft resolution

stated that the original protocol

had never been found,
either in Soviet or foreign archives.

Therefore, as far as I'm concerned,

to state that the Congress of Deputies
condemns the signing

of the protocol of August 23

i.e. the signing of a non-existent paper,
would have no authority.

Are you really going to allow yourselves
to be misled and manipulated,

after the commission carried out
such a lengthy, painstaking,

honest and unbiased investigation?

Are you still the only people
who doubt the fact

that the protocol existed,
that it was an act of conspiracy?

Do you still doubt that
their armies invaded these countries

on the exact days and times
specified in the protocol?

Do you think it was just a coincidence?

I lived through these events.

I have checked the facts and am convinced

that events unfolded minute by minute

in accordance with the protocol!

So your doubts cannot be justified.

I call upon you to vote for our resolution
in its entirety!

Let’s wash away the stain of shame
and tell the truth to our people.

Thank you.

The voting has started
and we shall take another vote later.

The resolution has not been carried,
it didn't get 50% of the vote.

We all agreed on the procedure.

What’s the way out of this impasse?

Comrades, it seems to me
we should sleep on it.

As we Russians say,
morning is wiser than evening.

Let's give the commission more time

and listen to it again tomorrow morning.

They were happy,

and we found it very amusing.

Gorbachev and Lukyanov looked at us

from their podium with astonishment.

Why were we laughing?

Why weren’t we crying - we had lost,

we had failed to achieve the goal
we had fought so long and so hard for -

but instead we were laughing!

We were laughing because we saw
how ridiculous they looked,

now the whole issue had been made public.

We had even distributed

facsimiles of the protocol

among all the People's Deputies.

They were all staying
at the "Moscow" hotel,

including, the Lithuanian, and I think
the Latvian and Estonian delegates.

We printed a large number of sets
of these documents

bearing the signatures
of Molotov and Ribbentrop,

and handed them out

so people would know
what was being discussed.

So to claim

that there were no signatures,
that these documents didn't exist,

simply because nobody in Moscow
had found them yet... that was absurd.

And then something happened that was

straight out of Grimms' Fairy Tales:

the powers-that-be are happy,

we are laughing at the whole situation

and Gorbachev feels uncomfortable.

He turns to Yakovlev

and suggests that the commission
"does a bit more work on the document,

to improve it".

He wanted to delay the process.

He didn't want it to be seen
that the majority of conservative

and Bolshevik deputies in the Congress

had rejected a resolution that Gorbachev,

the reformer-in-chief himself,

had allowed to be put to the vote.

It was as if they rejected Gorbachev.

Gorbachev realised all this

and proposed to continue the work
so that it became an open-ended process.

Yakovlev behaved honourably and refused.

Maybe his reply isn’t in the transcripts -

I've checked, and things are missing.

Yakovlev definitely did say:
"No, I've fulfilled my task.

We presented the draft resolution

and I don't see any reason to rework it.

We’ve done our task

and I won't work on it any more."

So then we needed some sort of...


...and a miracle occurred -

an old man came up to the speakers' stand.

Where had he sprung from?
He wasn't a deputy.

Who let him in?

Perhaps they had kept him backstage,
just in case of an emergency.

And it just so happened
that there was an emergency.

I remember vividly
seeing him come up to the microphone

although it seemed to me
that he went up to the podium,

but my colleague Sličytė says,

"No, he was in the auditorium,
among the deputies, close to the podium".

Anyway, he somehow managed
to get hold of the microphone,

and said "I know something
about this matter.

I'm an archivist" - or maybe he said
"I was an archivist"...

"I know the whereabouts
of the document

about the transfer of these protocols

to Molotov's secret archive.

I remember these documents
and their transfer,

and I know that there is a certificate
recording the transfer of the documents.

That's where you need to look", he said,

as if it was news to Gorbachev and co.

They stubbornly insisted
that the originals no longer existed,

but the old man said that they did.

So they went and found them.

As soon as someone succeeds
in dividing us, there will be trouble.

You have your autonomy...

at work, in your city, in your republic,

however, comrades,
we must stick together.

We won't surrender!

We have so many problems.
How do we solve them all?

Some people say: "Let's end it all,
tear it all apart, let's be on our own!"

No good will come of that idea.

That, dear comrades,
will lead you into a historical cul-de-sac.

We don't think so.

That's why I want to hear from you.

If you get full autonomy right away
and start trading at market prices...

you‘ll fall flat on your faces!

- That's why you shouldn't...
- We're not afraid.

You have to be aware of the grave state

our Federation finds itself in today,

as well as the entire Union.

So we can’t ignore the problems
that have built up over a long time.

We need perestroika
to solve all these issues.

Perestroika has laid them bare.

Could you have raised these questions
anytime in the past?

No, never.

What’s more, if you did dare ask anything,
you knew what would become of you.

Moscow doesn't want perestroika.

We must move out from the communal flat
and live in separate cottages.

That's why we need
a completely different Federation.

We can’t lose faith now, we mustn’t doubt

that we can come to an agreement.

We mustn't abandon our Union.

Where would you run to?
Why would you run?

That's what you should think about,
so do give it some thought.

All the best.

Welcome to the leader of the friendly
neighbouring state!

Freedom and independence for Lithuania!

We don't need more rights,
we need full independence!

We don't need more rights,
we need full independence.

From whom?

- Who instructed you to do this?
- I wrote it myself.

- You personally?
- Yes, me personally.

- Where do you work?
- Here, at the factory.

- What's your job?
- I'm a metal worker.

A metal worker?

- And you can write so well?
- What do you think?

Do you think we Lithuanians
can't write in Russian?

We can write and read
and speak Russian!

Unlike the local Russians who can't even
utter a single word in our language!

I understand Lithuanian!

I'm Russian.

[...] unity!

What's the difference?
You're Lithuanian, I'm Russian?

What’s your vision of your independence?

I was born in an independent Lithuania
and my vision is to die in a free land.

Fine, but how you see this independence?

I imagine that, just like Lenin said,

no one nation should dictate to another

and then we shall have our independence.



If the working class,
the farmers, the intellectuals,

preserve, improve and develop

their economy, their lives,
their cities and so on,

there’s no problem - the dust will settle,

and all these opportunist types
will break their necks.

If everything turns out just as I say

we shall overcome all obstacles.

We shall overcome all obstacles.

Remember what I say and spread the word.

Give him our support!

Why have you come to scare us
instead of trying to understand?

Independence for Lithuania
we need your understanding and respect.

We are for an independent Lithuanian CP.

A farmer without land -
a village without a future!

Our aim - independent Lithuania!

Ok, I’ve read all your slogans.
You can relax!

He says your arms will get tired
if you keep holding them up…

I’ve read them, now come down here,
and we can have a discussion.

“Freedom...” I've already read that one,
thank you.

That's it, you've done your task.

I don’t think Sąjūdis people are lepers,

but there are some destructive elements
within the organisation.

But in principle, this movement
is engaging with

wide social circles in Lithuania.

Representatives of other nationalities
are also involved.

I'm realistic, I’m fine with that,

as long as Sąjūdis seeks a way forward,

tries to improve perestroika
and make it more dynamic,

to enhance life within the nation
and the relationship between the nations.

But, if Sąjūdis tries to stir people up,
to ignite violence,

it will get what it deserves from me.

We will not allow it.

- Thank you.
- Good bye.

Mikhail Gorbachev has the floor.

I hope this is not the last applause
I receive here.


Occupation is Lithuania’s tragedy.

Mikhail Sergeyevich, give us back
what Stalin stole -

our Lithuanian statehood!

Your comrades are roaming round Lithuania

to advocate for the Russian empire.

We don't need the empire!

We don't need a prison of nations
dressed up in pretty colours!

Freedom for Lithuania!

Russia has on its conscience many crimes
committed against Lithuania.

However, Lithuanians don't want to live
in permanent hostility with Russia.

If the former foes in western Europe
could make peace with each other,

then peace between Lithuania and Russia
mainly rests on you, Mikhail Sergeyevich.

It's in Russia's best interests

to make radical changes
to the foreign policy developed by Stalin,

in particular,
the policy towards Lithuania.

Even when Gorbachev came
in January of that same year [1990]

we gave him a friendly reception.

I'm not talking about his meeting
with party members,

but Sąjūdis was ready to greet him.

We called a massive rally,

Cathedral Square
was overflowing with people

who’d come to meet Gorbachev.

Gorbachev came as a VIP,

a positive character,

the leader of the neighbouring country.

However, he was deeply offended.

But we made our attitude clear:

he's a revered,

respected reformer etc.

He is the head of another state.

He called it all "professors' scheming".

We should stop this scheming...

Yes, that we were impudent and so on...

Of course, we were anticipating events

but after March 11
independence was enshrined in law.


Freedom for Lithuania!


Don't betray, lads!

Don’t betray!

Don't betray!

Independence today!

Deputies, please take your seats.

Firstly, we need to check
if we have a quorum.

Please count.

There are 129 deputies.

Another one's just arrived.
We have 130.

130 deputies.

We have a quorum.
We can start.

Dear deputies, the next item on the agenda

is to propose candidates for the post
of Chairman of the Supreme Council.

We're waiting for proposals.


I would like to nominate R. Ozolas

for this highly responsible post.

I think the fact that he's a philosopher

would be a positive benefit,

helping him take a democratic approach

towards all the people of Lithuania
and all political parties.

I suggest nominations should be made
from the podium.

This is a serious matter and...

Honourable Chairman,

dear Deputies.

I propose the Chairman

of the Seimas Council of Sąjūdis,

V. Landsbergis.

I’ll present the reasons for my candidacy

Leaving questions of party loyalty
and ambition aside,

but using a bit of peasant wisdom,

and taking into account our present
and future situation,

I reckon we need a calm, experienced,
tolerant farmer with strong nerves,

who could unite worker bees
and queen bees and all other bees.

Allow me to say that I can see
just such a farmer here today,

in the respected figure
of A. Brazauskas.

Moreover, we can't ignore
the 100 000 spontaneous signatures

that were collected
in support of his candidacy.

Thank you for your attention.

If I remember correctly,
we also need the agreement.

Please, honourable Mr Brazauskas.

Yes, I agree.
Do I need to speak now?

No, later on.

Now, honourable Mr Landsbergis,
please stand up.

I am willing to run for election.

Quiet please.

Now, honourable Mr Ozolas.

There should be only one round of voting,

so I withdraw my candidacy,
thank you.

Two candidates for the post
of Chairman of the Supreme Council.

The ballot will be secret.



Don't let Brazauskas humiliate Lithuania!

According to para 2.1 of the regulations

of the Supreme Council
of the Lithuanian SSR,

V. Landsbergis is elected as the Chairman
of the Supreme Council of Lithuanian SSR.

to the honourable V. Landsbergis.

Please come and take your seat.

Frankly, I don’t quite know
how to address you,

dear deputies, colleagues, peers,

but you are even more than that -

it seems that there is much more to say.

We are in some sense partners,
people who share the same destiny.

The destiny of our country
has united us at this very time,

on this very land.

You have chosen one among you

to hold this more prominent position,
to take on this more complicated role.

Someone had to be nominated

so that we can work
as a parliament

and complete the tasks
we were elected to perform.

Everybody liked him,
he fought off everyone.

People attacked him, but he's very good...

...he got Sąjūdis back on track.

I call upon you to vote
in a spirit of unity,

so that we get
a two thirds majority.

Who is for this law

concerning the name of our state
and its coat of arms?




The count is 133.

The Supreme Council
of the Republic of Lithuania

passed this law with 133 votes for,

no votes against
and no abstentions.

J. Bieliauskienė, former political prisoner

and social activist, has the floor.

I call you to embrace unity, forgiveness
and the spirit of repentance.

Without repentance,
without accepting one's own guilt,

there can be no forgiveness.

First of all, I need forgiveness
from my own conscience.

I want to assure
the honourable Chairman,

the honourable Presidium
and the free Parliament

that there's nothing to fear -
we are strong,

we are surrounded
by myriads of our martyrs,

our heroes, our fighters,

who have paid for our freedom
with their blood.

For non-believers,
they can serve as an example,

to believers they are
a great mystical power,

they are our comrades-in-arms,
they keep vigil on our path to freedom,

they will help us to remain united,

to overcome even the greatest hardships.

Thank you for your attention.

Let's be united, noble
and we will remain free.

Thank you, Jadvyga Bieliauskienė.

It seems that Mother Lithuania
has just spoken through her lips.



The Act of The Supreme Council
of the Republic of Lithuania

on the restoration of
the independent state:

in accordance with the will of the nation,

the Supreme Council
of the Republic of Lithuania,

decrees and solemnly proclaims

the restoration of the sovereign powers
of the Lithuanian state,

that were taken away
by foreign powers in 1940,

and from henceforth Lithuania
is once again an independent state.

The Independence Act

passed by the Lithuanian Council
on Feb 16, 1918,

and the resolution on the restoration
of the Lithuanian state

passed by the Constituent Assembly
of Lithuania on May 15, 1920

never lost their legal power

and are the foundation of the Constitution
of the Lithuanian State.

The territory of the Lithuanian State
is integral and undivided.

Constitutions of other states
have no legal power here.

- Tomaševičius.
- Abstained.

- Tupikas.
- For.

- Ulba.
- For.

- Uoka.
- For.

- Vagnorius.
- For.

- Vaišvila.
- For.

- Vaitiekūnas.
- For.

- Valatka.
- For.

- Valionytė.
- For.

- Varanauskas.
- For.

- Vilkas.
- For.

- Zingeris.
- For.

- Žalys.
- For.

- Žiemelis.
- For.

- Kropas.
- For.

124 deputies have voted for this act.

No votes against.

There were six abstentions.

The act has been passed.

I salute the Supreme Council,
I salute Lithuania.

Lithuania, our dear homeland.

Land of worthy heroes!

May your sons draw strength

from the past.

May your children always

choose the paths of virtue

may they work for their own good

and the good of all the people.


Thank you!

Thank you!

The day after the vote on independence.

Brazauskas was flying to Moscow.

He gave a very significant reply

to Bill Keller

from the New York Times,

who asked him,

"What's your reaction
to yesterday's events?"

Brazauskas was candid,
he said, "Things will end badly,

we'll get into great difficulties".

The American was taken aback:
“But you voted for it.”

Brazauskas explained:
"We had no choice",

meaning that they felt morally obliged
to vote for it [independence].

Nobody was holding a gun to their heads -

but the prospect of public disapproval

was so unpleasant, so unappealing,

that they didn't dare oppose

the people’s will for independence.

They proposed various manoeuvres:

“we too want independence, but later,
and not the way you're going about it -

but differently,
not the way you're doing it -

out of the blue, with no prior notice,
and without permission".

But we knew that neither Gorbachev

nor Moscow would give prior permission.

For the Congress of People's Deputies,

the decisions of the Supreme Council
of the Lithuanian SSR

have no legal authority.

The USSR Congress
of People's Deputies decrees,

according to article 73 para 11

and article 108 of the USSR Constitution,

that the legislative acts of March 12,

passed by the Supreme Soviet
of the Lithuanian SSR

on the restoration of the independence
of the Lithuanian state

and on the repeal of the USSR Constitution
on the territory of the LSSR

are null and void.

What does this decree mean?

Does it mean that we defy

the will of the people of the Republic,

who constitutionally elected

the supreme institution of state authority
in the republic?

What shall we do

if these people
insist on having it their own way?

What measures do you suggest we take?

To pass such a decree in the Congress

without the deputies seeing the documents

passed by Lithuania’s Supreme Soviet,

and moreover...
no, we haven't received them.


on the first day,
according to what I heard,

the authorities were told
to investigate the situation

and to report their findings -
we haven't heard the report.

To pass such a decree is very risky.

I wouldn't like it if Kaliningrad region

was cut off by this new potential source
of military confrontation.

And if force is used,
we perfectly understand

that the nation that has expressed its will
won't submit to violence.

When asking who benefits from

the separation of Lithuania from the USSR,

let's be frank and open.

We should stop trying to appease
and pity those who don't pity us.

In my opinion, it is to the benefit
of the political extremists,

who are pushing forward their agenda,
and who have already undermined

party and state power
in the Lithuanian Republic.

But it’s of no benefit to the Lithuanians.

It’s a betrayal of the defenders
of Soviet Lithuania, both living and dead.

I take it as a stab in the back
of our entire Soviet people,

it's a stab in the back of perestroika,

it’s a blow against the economic
and political reforms in our country.

I suggest we postpone the decision.

Why? Let me explain.

Firstly, the procedure's wrong.

Although Lithuanian delegates have
observers’ rights,

they didn't know
that this issue would be discussed.

Most of them aren’t here.

That's my first point.

You may disagree with me.


I am sure that hasty resolutions

and hasty actions,
perhaps also taken by the Lithuanian side,

would only block the way towards finding

a constructive solution in the future.

In Lithuania, as in Belarus and Russia,

they drink brine to cure a bad hangover.

But brine can’t cure political hangovers.

Allow me to express my indignation

at the lack of respect

shown to the 3rd Congress
of Peoples' Deputies,

by Landsbergis,
the newly elected chairman

of the Supreme Council of Lithuania.

He has failed to show up

and is unwilling to put his demands

to the USSR directly.

In accordance with article 176,

I'd like to ask the leader
of the Lithuanian delegation

to give an explanation regarding
a matter that disturbs me immensely.

If my memory doesn't fail me -
and there’s nothing wrong with my memory -

it states in the 4th volume
of the Great Soviet Encyclopaedia

that only 5% of the population of Vilnius
is Lithuanian.

The Soviet of Nationalities

and the Committee
of Constitutional control

must examine the legal grounds

on which the capital city of Vilnius may
eventually break away from Lithuania.

If that happens, what kind of farm yard

do they propose to use as a venue
for talks with the great Soviet Union?

Until a law is passed on the process

of separation from the USSR

and the conduct of a referendum
in the republic,

we should enforce direct presidential rule
on the territory of Lithuania.

And in that way we would ensure
the protection of the USSR’s interests

in the given territory.

I'd like to proceed from the discussion

we had at the start of the Congress.

The Congress and all of us here
express the will of the Soviet people

in declaring our respect
for the Lithuanian nation.

We are able to distinguish between the
Lithuanian people and those individuals

who are pushing the nation
into a historical cul-de-sac,

and endangering the fate of the people.

They put the people in danger.

We have to help
both the Lithuanian people

and many of those

who are today involved
in making these decisions,

which... some of which we know about,
although not all of them.

These people need to come to their senses.

And I believe we can help them do that

by sticking to two essential principles:

by showing respect and patience,

but also by being firm and principled.

If anyone thinks

this issue can be solved
by simply raising a hand

in a hasty night-time meeting

instead of waiting for the next Congress,
and so on, this is a very frivolous way

of deciding the fate of a people,

and of our peoples as a whole.
It's simply irresponsible.

We had chosen the perfect date for this:

the 3rd Congress of People’s Deputies
was meeting in Moscow

where they were due
to elect Gorbachev president.

It would have been very awkward for him
to send troops into Vilnius.

And we had made the right choice.

And after three days,

their Congress,
the high command

together with Gorbachev,

decreed that our decisions weren’t valid.

But we could say
that we'd been an independent country

for three days already,

and no foreign power
had the right to declare

that our decisions were valid or not.

If anything,
their decisions were not valid,

or valid for them but not for Lithuania...

The decisions of our neighbour,
the Soviet Union,

were not necessarily relevant to us,

they weren't our decisions -

our decisions had already been made.

I'm calling from a taxi.

We are near Vilnius.

I'm a member of the information centre
of the Supreme Council.

A column of tanks
and armoured personnel carriers

were heading from the west
to Vilnius.

At the outskirts of Vilnius

they could take the turning
towards their base

or towards the centre of the city.

And they turned towards the city centre,
towards the Supreme Council!

We realised that our last hours

or minutes might have come.

They drove past the Supreme Council,
with their weapons cocked,

heavy machine guns aimed at our windows.

The message was loud and clear:
"Remember who you've picked a fight with!"

Do you know why they've occupied it?

They've done it because [...]

It’s all at the request of the CPSU.

This is one of the most brutal acts

of the Soviet army in recent times.

It has no legal basis whatsoever.

They couldn't give any answers

when our prosecutors asked
about the legal basis.

As a result of our negotiations

we've got a team of staff

who will set themselves up
tomorrow at 9.30 am

in the Council of Ministers

and will be working round the clock
in the Ministry of the Interior.

Do you think there'll be a coup?

Anything is possible.

The past few days have been very eventful.

They say that their main goal

is to ensure
that not a single shot is fired.

- I am very sorry, I won't talk.
- You will have it!

It will be all yours!

Paulauskas has illegally accepted the post
of the prosecutor for the Republic;

he deliberately avoids any contact
with the Prosecutor’s office of the USSR,

and ignores its instructions.

Paulauskas' behaviour

is a gross violation
of the constitution of the USSR,

and of the USSR’s law
“On The Prosecutor’s Office of the USSR”;

his conduct violates the ethical code

and is incompatible with his position
in the Prosecutor’s Office.

Artūras Stasevich Paulauskas
must be relieved of his post

as First Deputy Prosecutor
of the Lithuanian SSR;

he must be fired
from the Prosecutor’s Office,

and deprived of his rank
of senior judicial consultant.

Signed, Sukharev,
Prosecutor General of the SSR.

The grounds for sacking comrade Paulauskas
are unclear.

In my opinion, I've clearly and precisely
expressed the Prosecutor General’s order:

i.e. gross violations against the code

of the Constitution of the USSR,

violations of the law
'On The Prosecutor’s Office of the USSR’

and in relation to his appointment
being made in an unconstitutional way...

These are the grounds.

90 % of the Lithuanian staff

will resign from the Prosecutor’s Office.

Nobody’s irreplaceable.

I am a member of the Presidium
of the Supreme Council of Lithuania,

so I hope that, as we are in Lithuania,
you will allow me to say a few words.

Have I tried to prevent anyone speaking?

On the contrary,
I'd like to tell all comrades...

Please go ahead.

Firstly, I'd like to congratulate
my esteemed friend Paulauskas.

At last, after being stripped of his rank,

although keeping his post as prosecutor,

since he is, after all, a prosecutor,

he has finally been recognized by Moscow

not as a prosecutor of the USSR,

but as a member of the Prosecutor’s Office
of Lithuania.

I hope that comrade Sukharev
will do me the same honour.

Please pass the message on.

In the name of the Presidium
of the Supreme Council

of the Republic of Lithuania,
I regret the USSR Prosecutor's Office

doesn't understand that such matters

can only be solved by political means.

I regret that our guest, comrade Vasilyev
didn't see fit to introduce himself

to the Supreme Council of Lithuania.

It reminds me of the events of 1940.

I'd like to explain to comrade Vasilyev

so that he can tell comrade Sukharev,

that at present he is on the territory

of the sovereign Lithuanian State.

And that the orders
of the USSR Prosecutor General

must be characterised as interference
in the legislature of Lithuania.

They are therefore null and void,
and won't be recognised.

A group from the USSR Prosecutor’s Office
who are here now in this room,

recently came to visit us.

I thought they would behave like guests.

I regret that I’ll have to end my speech
in an unparliamentary fashion:

since I don't dare ask them to clear out,

I will clear out myself.

I’m sure that my colleagues
from the Prosecutor’s Office of Lithuania

will also realise that now is the moment

to return to their desks, and to carry on
working under the leadership

of the legally elected Prosecutor,
namely, Prosecutor Paulauskas.

Landsbergis is a cultured man,

he knows ten languages

the country needs a leader
who is educated, cultured...

Do you really want...

No, you are proud of your nation
if you act...

I believe that the Russian people
are very decent...

but we will never let them come here

and exterminate the memory
of the people... Never.

Lithuania accepts everyone,
it loves and respects everyone...

And we'll thrive in the Union!

We want Gorbachev to take charge,

not Landsbergis,
we don’t need Germans!

We liberated Lithuania, for fuck's sake,

- You liberated Lithuania?
- Liberated Lithuania.

Why didn't you leave?

You should've told us
to leave earlier.

And who built all of this?

We did!

Oh, congratulations!

Oh, aren't you clever!

How am I an "occupier"?

How am I an "occupier"?

Are we to blame for this?

Hitler killed our people too,
so many of our people...

- I fought in the war myself...
- We need to resolve this peacefully...

With goodwill.

Let Lithuania separate,
but we don't need Landsbergis.


Long live Soviet Lithuania!

USSR is the road to slavery,
Lithuania is the road to freedom!

Come down here!



Listen, comrades!

Comrades, don't give in to provocation!

Please calm down!

Wait, I'm talking to you!

Come here!

Grab him!

- Punch him!
- He's quick on the uptake!

Standing here, I realise,

that this is a little island,
where words like

“socialism”, “communism”,

“the Communist Party of the Soviet Union!”
are still respected.

We built everything!

I'll put it this way:
we're not dead yet, good gentlemen!

We didn't come to Lithuania
to make a quick buck,

we aren't fly-by-nights,

we create and defend
the well-being of the people.

You’ll have noticed
that there are troops here.

If we provoke the army,
things might escalate to the point that,

if I were the Minister of Defence

or Prime Minister Ryzhkov,
or the President,

I would leave
the remaining troops in Lithuania

under the control and command
of Prunskienė and Landsbergis.

Let them try to find common ground
with our troops.

And here, in Vilnius,
there are 600 families who are homeless.

I wouldn't be surprised,
if some colonel of my rank

overthrew the government of Landsbergis.

But we won't take responsibility for him.

They thought they could easily oust us,

that the factories would down tools

that workers would take to the streets,

demanding political change.

Incidentally, Mr Brazauskas

used to talk about this all the time.

He would gently hint that
"really we need a change of policy",

thus insinuating
that we needed a change of government.

His comrade-in-arms Juršėnas,
a deputy and an influential communist

in the Supreme Council,

put forward a proposal

as early as March,

or maybe in April, very early on,

a proposal to organise
presidential elections.

Of course, he was counting on
the immense popularity of Brazauskas.

And he even explained, quite candidly,

"it's the only way
of getting rid of Landsbergis".

Wow, look!

That's nothing, don't worry!


Don't worry, they'll soon run out
of that trash they're dropping.

Clear off!

You know what?

The best response

to these litter louts

is to ignore them.

They've been polluting the world
for 70 years now.

And now they're retreating
from all the occupied countries.

They're still polluting the minds
of their own people.

Pathetic behaviour.

It's a pity they're also
making all this racket.

Go home! To Moscow!


Lithuania will be free.

They now demanding
that we revoke the resolutions

of the Supreme Council

and that independent Lithuania
becomes dependent again!


May peace reign in your home.

In yesterday's edition of "Izvestya",

they suggested
that we abandon our principles

but today you can read the words

that are written in our hearts,

words that were set down

650 years ago,

almost 700 years ago,

I'll remind you of them:

"Sooner iron will melt as wax

and water will turn into stone

than we take back our word".

The economic blockade came into effect

on the 18th or 19th of April.

At the same time in the West, in France,

there was a summit going on.

They received this news and as usual

"were extremely concerned".

They expressed their concern and the wish
that Gorbachev wouldn't use troops.

And we tried, that is, I tried,

to introduce into the dictionary,
into political vocabulary,

the term "economic violence",

since everyone was against violence,

i.e. against shooting people.

I talked about both military
and economic violence,

we were being coerced by the blockade,

by the disruption of all economic life,

by the creation of shortages,

so that the people would revolt

and blame Sąjūdis, blame Landsbergis,

and would demand political change,
a change of government etc.

They were pinning their hopes on that.

They're not just cutting off the supply
of oil and gas,

but also other strategic resources,

They're preventing
the normal flow of traffic.

They've blocked the railroad cars.

Lithuanian vehicles aren't allowed
to refuel

outside Lithuania,

in the republics of the Soviet Union.

First of all, it is of utmost importance
for us and the Supreme Council,

to define our actions,

to further address the highest levels

of the Union,

to endorse urgent negotiations

including another check
on our position,

in terms of compromises
and other strategic actions.

Green jerrycans [...]

Never mind.

In fact, the blockade began to fall apart
due to corruption,

corruption in the ranks of the Soviet army
and its administration.

Because they started selling petrol
"under the counter"

and our businesses

and transport networks
started to stock up -

it was expensive, but you could buy it.

And they got bread on the side too.

So we benefited from this corruption.

One of our comrades,
Virgilijus Čepaitis,

came up with an idea
which might have worked,

but we didn't want to risk it,

to completely open the market.

Let's respond to the blockade,
by opening the market:

let anyone bring in goods from wherever,
and sell as much as they want,

without any regulations.

This might've torn the Soviet Union apart.

Allow me to suggest a form of words.

- Simply leave it out.
- Chairman, may I suggest a form of words:

Seeking to implement our intention,
announced on May 16,

to resolve a set of questions
in the statement of 19 May,

The Supreme Council of Lithuania decrees…


I'd like to mention another point.

Does the title of the document name
the participants in the negotiations?

The Republic of Lithuania and the USSR.

That isn't mentioned within the document.

Only the "parties to the negotiations"
are mentioned.

The "Supreme Council
of the Republic of Lithuania",

not just "the Republic of Lithuania".

So I suggest we replace "official"
with "international" negotiations.

- Yes, yes.
- That's an essential change.

We still don't have a single document
which wouldn't raise doubts or queries,

just yesterday at the Supreme Council...

You must do what you want,
but please don't insert things

that will provoke new thoughts
and new motives.

- Chairman...
- If we don't achieve anything by this...

I just want to say one thing.

We must first subject our position
to scrutiny, and then defend it.

I'm personally happy for you defend it,

but I would also like to understand
what's behind...

The parliament hasn't been told,

here, in this circle,
we don't know either.

I can't tell you everything.

I understand, but I can't
just trust you blindly.

If you don't trust me,
then it's pointless me being here [...]

If you don't trust me?

I can trust you and help you,
that's as much as I can do.

What meaning does it add?

This document is almost there.

- What's the point in shoving in new stuff?
- I don't know.

All in all there were
14 versions of this text.

We all came up with our own wording.

And my wording was as follows...

It was rather sly, ambiguous,

that we declare a moratorium,

not on the Act of Independence, of course,

but on it's consequences,

clarifying that we would not pass

any new legislative acts
ensuing from this.

The ones that have already been passed
are fine,

but we won't pass any new acts
for the next 100 days.

So you have a 100 day moratorium
on new acts

related to independence

and only if we enter into

international negotiations.

That is, only if Gorbachev recognises us
as a government.

But that was enough for them,
and they proclaimed to the entire world.

"Lithuania has declared a moratorium".

And he set off to the US
to ask for money,

as if he had already solved
the problem with Lithuania.

We didn’t know it at the time,
but over there,

in closed session,
he was told that,

unless he reached
some kind of agreement with Lithuania,

he would not get any help from America.

They concluded an agreement
on economic cooperation, aid,

credits and so on...
And trade with America...

This meant he could dig himself out

from his hole of bankruptcy,

but only if he could break

the deadlock with Lithuania.

Had we known about this condition,

we could have taken a stronger position,

because he had no other options.

But he tried to show that we had no options
that we had to give in.

Where do we take this?

Let's go!

Over there, ahead of us.


You can give two each.

- Over there?
- One more.

Who should I ask?

Where is this customs post going to stand?

We can put it either there or there.

I don't know where to let them in.

They need to stop there.

We stop them and explain.

Careful, lads.

All get hold of it and carefully
lower it down.

Take hold of the end.

Take hold of the end.

Two of us'll take it.

- Careful.
- Now we’ll take it onto the road.

Ok, let's carry it over there.

Soon the customs officer will arrive,
he'll get things organised.

What are they yelling?

Why do we need all this?

Let me tie it on.

Nobody knows what's going on.

I'm only joking.

- Push!
- Be very careful now, lads!

Bury it deeper…


What do I have to do.

Stop there and don't budge!

D’you understand?
Stop there and don't budge!

Soon they realised,
that they hadn't gained anything.

Nothing had changed for Lithuania:
Lithuania continued to function,

Lithuania was strengthening
its international status,

gaining more and more support,

although without final recognition
of its government.

Although that was being discussed
and was only a matter of time.

On the other hand,
we were choosing our own path...

independence in all aspects:

the year was coming to an end

and the Soviet budget was about to expire;

because we had still been being
financed by the Soviets in March,

we still had these connections:
expenditure, revenue

and we were still using roubles.

And Lithuania began

international negotiations with firms,

about the printing of Lithuanian currency.

Therefore, 1991 would be

a turning point and a blow

to the imperialists in Moscow.

We had been already threatened

by Mr or comrade Maslyukov in Moscow -

Prunskienė informed me about this
when she came back from Moscow.

Maslyukov said that he was going to end
all dealings with Lithuania,

all supplies, including animal fodder,

and she passed on this message,
with the remarkable expression,

"this winter you'll have to
kill all your cattle",

if you are disobedient

and try to exit from the Soviet budget.

Of course they were unable,

or didn't have the capacity
to allow civilized negotiations.

That was one moment.

Another was when a secret decree

was issued in Moscow

by the Ministry of Interior
and internal forces etc.,

stating their obligation...

to keep order
in the capitals of the Soviet republics

in the fight against crime.

They had declared a war on crime,

which included the right for troops

to patrol the capitals

of the Soviet republics,

including Lithuania, of course,

to patrol and inspect
any suspicious flat

without a search warrant,

because Moscow had already
given a priori permission:

"If you suspect anything

you can enter, check
and take necessary measures".

That’s a complete military dictatorship.

It wasn't declared publicly,

but they issued this decree.

Perhaps they wanted us to know

the sort of measures they would take,
if we didn't surrender.

Clear out, clear out!



The internal situation

within the entire Union

and the international situation,

had reached

a critical level

in relation to Saddam Hussein,

to Iraq having taken over Kuwait

and proclaimed that from now on

it’s part of our land,
an internal matter.

Just like the Soviet Union -

it would take over some country and then
it became an internal matter.

Of course, the West didn't agree with that

and gave Saddam Hussein

an ultimatum.

But he was backed up
by the Soviet Union and Gorbachev.

So Gorbachev thought

that his military ventures
against Lithuania

wouldn't be judged too harshly,

because his agreement was needed
for the operation in the Persian Gulf.

And since Gorbachev gave his agreement,
a verbal agreement,

he allowed the Americans
to proceed without any great risk,

although there were
many Soviet troops in Iraq.

And they took to their heels

when the operation commenced,

they didn't support Hussein.

So, Gorbachev gave his agreement,

counting on the fact
that he wouldn't be judged or punished

for aggression against Lithuania.

We won't leave...

If necessary, we’ll get hold of
whatever we need!

Life or death!

I'd rather die than live like this!

- Push that button!
- We'll open the window and tell them.

They won't be able to hear!

Dear comrades!


Please, listen to me!

I am the deputy of the Supreme Council
Birutė Nedzinskienė.

I can only tell you that

we have been debating
nearly all night.

A majority of the deputies approved...

Keep it short!

...approved the lowering of prices.

The government got it wrong.

It should resign!

It should resign!

Why are you standing here?

This is such gibberish!
How can people...

How are people going to feed themselves?

- How many people do you have there?
- The majority now.

- We support you.
- Thank you.

Let her through.

Because now it will be easier for us,
against so many...

If they don't cut prices,
there will be a revolt!

A worker can't afford
to pay such prices!

Of course, the enemy used this situation

to incite people
to overthrow the government.

It’s also remarkable that these attempts
to overthrow,

these protests,

didn't target the government,

which had tried to raise prices,

but the parliament,
which had prevented it from happening.

By the way, in answer to your question -

Prunskienė and the government
didn't have the right to raise prices

because on New Year's eve
in the Supreme Council,

we had passed a short decree
banning price changes

without preliminary discussion,

but they just went ahead anyway.

It was a fait accompli.

And she was delighted about it.

She phoned me early in the morning
on the 7th and said,

"You don't seem too happy?"

I said: "You've made a very bad move,

and we'll have to deal with it."

Well, she just chuckled at that,

and left...

Of course, I phoned Moscow, Gorbachev,

I mean, I sent a telegram -
I have my dispatches to Gorbachev -

because the situation in Lithuania
was getting worse.

I offered to meet him anywhere, anytime,

to prevent further escalation.

Of course, he didn't answer.

They're saying 20 military vehicles.

Let it be 100.

Prunskienė is the only threat to us,
not the vehicles.

Who's more dangerous to correspond with,
Brazauskas or Gorbachev?

I always say Brazauskas.

So many times we had to write, confirm...
This how it is.

Why do we need Gorbachev?
What can he do? Nothing!

A column has set off near the Seimas.

The police must stand
in front of this crowd.

Everybody on this side of the fountain,
please move to the other side.

Government without communists!
We trust Landsbergis.

We can’t surround
the entire Supreme Council.



Don't occupy the other square,
where there'll be another rally.

Many of them aren't bad people,
they've just been misled.

Ignore any taunts or jibes,

ignore them even if they try
to provoke you into a reaction.

Thank you, I have to attend a meeting.

Dear citizens of Vilnius,

and not only Vilnius,

there are people here
from all over Lithuania.

We strongly protest against
an organised, profascist plot.

...workers of Lithuania...
who have gathered here...


On the 10th we received a telegram
from Gorbachev, an ultimatum.

It's also in the public domain,
I can quote.

Gorbachev demanded that we revoke

our illegal
and anti-constitutional actions,

and instead...

accept the supremacy
of the Soviet constitution.

They had already realised

that Lithuania was telling the West,

and that I tried to explain to Bush,

that their accusations about
our unconstitutional acts were false,

because we already had
our own constitution,

and owed no duty
to the constitution of another state.

Thus, we weren't acting unconstitutionally

with regard to the Soviet constitution.

We weren't in the USSR anymore,
we had our own constitution,

so the wording formulated by Gorbachev
or his advisors on this point

--was quite transparent:

it was a demand
to start to obey their constitution again.

This was tantamount to an admission

that their constitution was already void
in Lithuania.

It would have to be readopted.

And we could reply to Comrade Gorbachev,

“We were elected
to return independence to Lithuania,

not to rejoin the Soviet Union,

as you are now demanding.

By recognising your constitution
we would be rejoining your state.

We have no right even to discuss that,

even if we wanted to”.

People, come here, to the side!

The troops are getting ready!

I can tell you,
I served in the army myself.

They don't do such things without a reason.


People, clear the road!


Go, go bravely!

Listen, men...



Three people shot,
one most probably killed,

he fell to the ground.

We tried our best to drag him back,
but we couldn't.

Where do you live?

Gorky Street, 47-58.

Is there a phone there?

They wouldn't let anyone out...
No, there's no phone.

So, the second floor,
run up to the third,

to the Presidium hall
and the press centre

and call an urgent press conference.

They're not allowing anyone to pass,
and they're all standing there...

...armed people

are standing there too...

When I was leaving they were starting,
they were starting...

The tanks started heading
towards the Press house.

Everybody form up in ranks!

It's starting...

It's starting...


In threes!

It's hopeless, men, hopeless.

It's hopeless, but all the same
we must mount a defence.

The town of Panevėžys
is standing by...

From this very moment,
the danger is real.

In 15 minutes' time, I will swear in
all those who are still here,

and from that moment, you'll be soldiers
of the Lithuanian Republic,

with all the consequences that entails,

i.e. the Geneva Conventions will apply,
and if you are taken prisoner,

you can claim combatant status.

Some people here are
60, 70, 80 years old.

They will only hinder our efforts.

If you say, "only cowards are leaving",

they will insist on staying.

During these 15 minutes some of you
may want to pop out and come back...

i.e. those who stay will join the ranks.

Yes, but all the elderly should leave,
according to the law,

not because they're cowards,
but because the law says so.

- How old is too old?
- Listen, even a man of 40,

if he's limping, or missing a leg,

he'll only be a burden.

Time is ticking away.

Men, we have only five minutes left.

Five minutes with a break...

Kaunas is Kaunas.

My son has a sticker that says
"Don't you threaten us".

OK, boys, let's stand for a bit,
relax for a moment, but...

...but the imminent threat
of a new Soviet occupation

obliges me to make this announcement.

As is already known, The Supreme Council
of the Republic of Lithuania

calls the people of Lithuania
to acts of civil disobedience

if a new occupation begins,

if a puppet government is established.

I must explain to you [...]

Soldiers, dress right!


Volunteers of Lithuania,

Dress right!


Men, I must inform you

that we already have some casualties,

and today it is highly likely
that we will have to defend

the Parliament and the Government
of the Republic of Lithuania,

I have requested all those

who understand the risk we face,

and do not wish to stay here,
to leave the building.

All of those who stay and take the oath

will, from that moment on,
become soldiers of Lithuania.

I will ask V. Landsbergis,
Chairman of the Supreme Council,

to say a few words,

and then we will all take the oath.

The coming hours will be decisive;

Lithuania's independence will be won,

or lost once more;

if we lose, we will rise up
again and again

and fight for freedom.

But above all,
we must defend our rights.

You have a choice.

We have already chosen.

Repeat after me:

when I say, "I", each of you
will say your surname.

Raise your right hand.


- With you as my witness...
- With you as my witness...

- I swear.
- I swear

not to spare my strength and my life

not to spare my strength and my life

in defending the State of Lithuania

in defending the State of Lithuania

and its independence.

And its independence.

- I swear...
- I swear...

This political operation...

Of course, they hoped for Lithuania
to be riven by internal dissent.

Burokevičius' party

was not alone

in sending pleading cables:

"Declare presidential rule.

It’s chaos here,
people are in danger,

Sąjūdis government is behaving

This was a pack of lies.

Those were their methods...

As for the ill-fated.

National Salvation Committee of Lithuania,

established by the same communists
and KGB agents,

it proclaimed itself
to be the new supreme power,

since the previous government
had either already unravelled,

or had become impotent,

and so, acting as responsible people,
we will take authority into our own hands,

complete authority,

in order to lead the state and the people

out of this crisis situation,

brought about
by Sąjūdis and Landsbergis.

But this was attempt was unsuccessful too,

although it was fully planned,

and later, other countries

used this salvation committee as a model.

- To the right.
- Where?

Up these stairs at the very top, right?

Ah, I was wondering
where they got their sticks from.

Do you have any more baskets?

It was a planned military operation
that was prepared in Moscow

and even had its own headquarters

with military maps and little flags,

showing the position of different forces
and their planned movement.

And they did move according to the plan

because extra forces were needed:


airborne troops

were sent from Pskov,

from Kaliningrad to Lithuania.

It took a couple of days,

starting on the 4th of January

when Prunskienė's government
illegally decided to raise prices.

Military supplies also formed a part

of their attack strategy.

These supplies included

illegal items,

internationally banned items

such as expanding bullets

which cause

irreversible internal damage

and terrible suffering to the victim.

They used these,

as was verified by the commission set up
by the "Shield" organization.

"Shield" was a pro-democratic group

of military officers.

They came and investigated
and wrote their report.

That’s another very important document.

Those bullets...

You could see that the soldiers' eyes

were glazed over.

One of my doctors said,
"That's pill No.5,

it makes them indifferent
to any obstacle in their way -

be it a woman, a child,
an old person..."




Now let's give them a bit of a fright...

Bloody hell, I told you to break it up...

- Get back, I said!
- Clear out now...

Film them beating
the guy over there,

on the left.

The National Salvation Committee
of Lithuania

is the government of the common folk.

The government of workers, peasants,
public servants.

They probably thought
that the crowd would disperse.


They were very well equipped

and had military superiority.

They fired into the air
or at the ground,

but then started firing straight ahead,
when the crowd didn't disperse.

Tanks were used to crush people.

People should have run away

when they saw the level of violence.

But they did not budge,

they kept blocking the way,

dragged people out from under the wheels,

all the while cursing the attackers
as fascists.

Who was commanding
the military operation?

Vilnius' Commandant Uskhopchik

was present so he got blamed,

and later he was used as a scapegoat,

as if he had given the order.

But a special team was sent

by President Gorbachev himself,

an assault troop called "Alpha",

that only operated on his say-so.

At that moment their leader was.

Colonel Golovatov,

who was later involved
in a very interesting international story.

So Golovatov gave them orders
about what to seize and how to do it:

to seize the buildings by firing at them,

and at the windows,
by bursting in,

and if necessary,
by firing at people too.

The order was "to clear the entrances".

How do you clear the entrances
with crowds of people everywhere?

By saying, "to hell with those people,
kill them".

So they cleared the entrances

to enable them to carry out the order

to take over radio and TV.

Golovatov was in command of "Alpha"

but he had no authority
to order the attack.

He said himself,
"It's nonsense to blame me.

There was a Commander-in-Chief!"

And who was that?




...d'you understand, you bloody lout?

Let's get in front!

Clear out!

I'm not armed!

Why are you doing this?

Get lost!

Go home!

Get lost, I'm telling you!

Go home!

You're worse than animals!

Split up.


Get out of here.





Don't degrade yourselves in front of them!

Holy Mary, Mother of God,

pray for us sinners now,

and at the hour of our death.

Hail Mary, Full of Grace,
The Lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou among women,
blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God,

pray for us sinners now,

and at the hour of our death.

Hail Mary, full of Grace,

The Lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou among women, and
blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God,

pray for us sinners now,

and at the hour of our death.

Hail Mary, Full of Grace,

The Lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou among women, and
blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God,

pray for us sinners now...

Afanasyev is calling from Moscow.

Yuri Nikolaevich,

we have a lot of casualties
that we already know of.

The Chairman is filling him in
on current developments.

As of yet, we are uncertain
about the number of fatalities,

but there are bound to be some.

They've taken over the TV tower

now they’re taking over
the Central Telegraph...

There are lots of ambulances
at the Supreme Council.

I've called...

Lots of ambulances everywhere
not only at the Supreme... Gorbachev's reception room

and asked for him to be informed
immediately about the military action

that has started in the city with tanks,
armoured vehicles and armed troops.

Give me the information!

...approaching the TV tower,

which is being defended by a large crowd.
It's a highly dangerous situation.

I've urgently requested that he halt
the operation,

to prevent bloodshed.

- Do you understand Russian?
- Yes.

I advise you to leave this building.

Your lives are at risk if you stay here.

That night.

Lithuania’s Supreme Council
made an appeal

to governments worldwide:

“The Soviet Union has begun
an undeclared war

against the Republic of Lithuania.

Innocent lives are being lost" and so on.

So this is...

the first confirmation.

People in Moscow tried to spin it

the other way.
"Lithuania has declared war against..."

Lithuania explained its position...

Far from declaring war,
Lithuania was the one being attacked.

But they went claiming

that Lithuania had declared war
against the USSR!

Yes, as if we were complete idiots
and had attacked the USSR...

Somehow we survived

the 13th of January

and managed to stop

further aggression,

and they saw the impasse they were in.

One high-ranking officer in Vilnius

said, off the record, but very vividly,
when asked,

“Why didn't you take the Supreme Council?”

"It would have been a bloodbath".

Put it next to the bus.

Next to the bus.

You have to leave a passage.

- OK...
- People, who's in charge here?

The crowd!

I won't be able to get it
to the militia if you pile stuff up here.

We'll need some more...

...lines from the Bible.

It impressed me deeply and helped me.

I put my faith in God's hands.


look at your hands.

Look into your heart.

If you were powerless,

why are you shielding these killers

with your name?

If you had the power to stop them,

why didn't you?

Where is your country going?

It's heading towards an abyss,
and could drag the whole world into it.

Why would you do that?

Stop the massacre if you can.

A Nobel Peace Prize
M. S. Gorbachev.

My precious motherland,

A land where heroes

sleep in your graves,

The ancient battles

weren't fought in vain!

The songs of praise

were not composed in vain!

The ancient battles

weren't fought in vain!

The songs of praise

were not composed in vain!

And yet Gorbachev didn't dare

to give this command,
to follow through.

He even had
to express his disagreement publicly.

Although the same morning

he had held some discussion
with his aides,

who had persuaded him
that the only way out was for him

to go to Vilnius himself,

and make an appearance at Parliament,

and say that there has been a mistake,

that someone on the spot has got it wrong,

that we regret it, we are sorry,
we will punish the culprits,

and that Lithuania
has the right to independence.

Let's shake hands and depart in peace.

Even though it’s a bloodstained peace,

and it must never happen again.

The aides persuaded him,
he said, “write me a speech”,

and ordered a plane to be made ready.

The aides wrote the speech,

but something happened overnight.

When they brought him the speech,

he put it away in a box,

because he wouldn’t be needing it.

He was forbidden to make it.

It would have looked as if...
It's a pity the blood had been shed -

it would've looked as if,
either directly or indirectly,

he was following our suggestion:

"Don't follow in Stalin’s footsteps.

Stalin’s criminal actions were condemned,

but if you do the right thing, Lithuania
will build you a monument”.

But he didn't want to do that,

or more probably, wasn't allowed to,
the security service stopped it.

Grant to them eternal rest, O Lord!

Let eternal light shine upon them.

Because God is merciful,

and full of grace.


Do not cry.

Do not cry.

Do not be sad.

Today we must shed tears for those

who’ve been fostering lies

and violence for 50 years,

who robbed our homeland of independence.

We needn't cry for those

whom we are laying to rest,

or those whom we cannot lay to rest.

They are our pride.

They are our joy.

Hail Mary, Full of Grace.

The Lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou among women,

blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary,

Mother of God

pray for us sinners now,

and at the hour of our death.


Grant to them eternal rest, O Lord.

Let light perpetual

shine upon them.

It was a complete shambles.

Gorbachev was tossing this way and that,

still unable to decide what to do,

so the deputy minister of Foreign Affairs,
was authorised -

I still have his name somewhere -

to summon the Western ambassadors

including the American ambassador,

and he read from a sheet of paper,

in a trembling voice,

that he was authorised to inform the world

that Gorbachev personally
had nothing to do with it,

he knew nothing about what was going on.

Some local leaders and forces

were to blame.

And those Soviet troops

who had fired
on defenceless people,

had not received any orders

from the highest authorities in the USSR.

After listening to this nonsense,

the American ambassador, Matlock,

very reasonably and modestly asked,

"So you're going to find the guilty men

and then punish them, right?"

Nobody answered, "Right",

because nobody was punished.

On the contrary:
the troops who killed innocent people

were given medals for their feats

in the name of their native land.

- Hello, good afternoon...
- Hello.

The treaty is all-encompassing,

we had many different obstacles,

so it was a very long road.

There were some disagreements
about certain aspects,

but the working groups on both sides
did a thorough job

and so, today Mr Landsbergis and I

added some final touches,

and we believe that the treaty
is ready for signing.

We also have chosen today,
the 29th of July, as the signing day.

I think that the signing of such a treaty

will push the central authorities
of the Union

to get round the table

as soon as possible,
and bash out a treaty

between the Union
and the Republic of Lithuania.

What kind of treaty do you mean?

A bilateral one.

I can add that

the position of Boris Yeltsin,
concerning the 13th of January

and his general approach

is obviously very important
to the whole of Lithuania...

No other leader of a great power

spoke out about January 13

the way the leader of Russia did.

He expressed himself frankly

and according to his conscience.

This is what matters most to me

and this is why Boris Nikolayevich
has my deepest admiration.

Now, dear colleagues, please excuse me...

Boris Nikolayevich and Mr Landsbergis

have agreed to pose together
for a picture for posterity.

Boris Nikolayevich, as President of Russia
will you be holding a press-conference?

- Do I need to?
- Of course.

- Ok, I'll put it on my 'to do' list.
- Use the...

- We'll request it, Boris Nikolayevich.
- Fine.

The treaty we signed with Yeltsin
gave us full recognition.

It stated that,

"We recognise the Russian Federation

as a sovereign state,

based on its documents

of the 12th June 1990,

and Russia recognises us,

according to our resolutions of March 11”.

Later, when the Gorbachevists

started muddying the water,

claiming that during the bloodshed

we weren't yet a recognised state,

I could point to the treaty:
The President of Russia's signature

confirms that we were recognised
on March 11,

and not on the day in September 1990,

when Gorbachev was kind enough

to recognise our sovereignty

on behalf of the Federal Soviet,
of the Federation Council.


In July, 1991, on the eve of

signing the treaty with Yeltsin

we had already agreed all the details,

even the most sensitive ones,

which the negotiators had left
for leaders and Presidents to work out.

There were two disputed points:

the 1920 peace treaty

between Russia and Lithuania

and the Soviet annexation of Lithuania.

They wanted the references removed

but I said, "I can't do that

without the agreement
of my people and my Parliament,

but let's split the difference:

I agree to remove one point
but the other one stays”.

So we removed the point
about the peace treaty of 1920,

and left the one condemning
the annexation,

the unlawful Soviet annexation
of Lithuania,

that took place in 1940.

Then came the solemn moment of signing:

I was surrounded by my delegation
and Yeltsin was surrounded by his,

including big shots
like Khasbulatov and Gaidar,

and suddenly they started butting in,


“there were two stumbling blocks.

So, since one of them has been removed,
why not get rid of the other one too?”

And then I felt as if I'd been trapped.

I couldn't refuse to sign
such an important treaty,

even if they chose to cross something out
at the last minute.

That's what they like to do -

they make last minute changes
to put you in a tight spot.

When I sensed this trap,

I said to Yeltsin,
who was sitting across the table from me,

"Boris Nikolayevich,
we've already agreed this,

and you are a man of your word”.

For some reason I just blurted it out.

And he told them,
"It's out of the question,

we've made an agreement
and we'll stick to it."

The heart of Lithuania.

Freedom for Lithuania

Carry them one by one.
One by one...

Don't sweat it.

This is the radio
of independent Lithuania speaking.

Here is the 5 o'clock news.

Deputies of the Supreme Council
of the Republic of Lithuania

have decided to continue
in special session.

At 18.30 they will discuss an address...

...there has been a coup

which can only be called

a shameful and unlawful act
in the history of our country.

August came.

There was a putsch, a revolt, in Moscow,

and its instigators declared

that power in Lithuania
was back in the hands of

the putschists,

the army was under their command.

The commander-in-chief
of the Baltic region,

General Fyodor Kuzmin from Riga
called me and said,

"from now on, I run the Baltics

and you must

obey my orders".

I said, "I'm sorry,
but we won't obey you,

and you'll be responsible

if you choose the path of aggression."

We already had some
defensive military structures.

Of course, people were ready to fight,

even though...

the battle would have been
purely symbolic.

But we chose to have a political battle.

During the first session of the Parliament

we expressed wholehearted support
for democratic Russia

and its...

legal authority vested in Boris Yeltsin.

We are on Russia's side,

and not on the side of the Kremlin putsch.

Lithuania didn't falter
for a single moment,

and had no intention

of negotiating with the putschists.

They might be able to destroy us,

but not Lithuania.

What was the outcome
of your speech with the chairman?

It's hard to say.

When will the radio and TV
buildings be given back?

When I receive the order.

Thank you.

Leave the street, so they can pass!

Dear people, please move to the sidewalk.

I can see from here

that there's plenty of space.

Get into your vehicles!




They've finally gone!


We learned all the details only later;

most probably, it was agreed
a priori with President Gorbachev,

who went on holiday
on the eve [of the putsch]

although this day was intended

as the dawn of
a new agreement for the Union,

which Gorbachev
had been pinning all his hopes on.

And he just washes his hands of it,
and goes off on holiday.

This had to be interpreted
as his capitulation

in the face of inner challenges

which he was incapable
of coping with.

He had to admit that times had changed,

and that relations had to be different,

and that if he wanted to survive,
he had to lead the Soviet Union

and Russia on the new path,

that Yeltsin was creating.

But it was unbearable for Gorbachev
to cooperate with Yeltsin,

and he couldn't force himself

to stand side by side with Yeltsin.

He was, and still is, inclined

to damn Yeltsin

for the decline and fall [of the Union].

He still doesn't realise
that his own inadequacy

is to blame.

The homeland is calling you,

Lithuania will be free once again...

My dear

free citizens of our free land!

Finally the day dawned,

the day we knew would surely come,

because we believed

in a Higher justice.

I remember three years ago in Vilnius,

in the Cathedral square,
when Sąjūdis was born,

when the Lithuanian anthem

rang out from thousands of hearts

and many of us shed a tear,
especially the elderly who said then,

"Thank you God, for letting me
live to see this day".

But that was three years ago.

Then the barricades and the chains

started to fall away.

It was only the beginning of the road.

But freedom, and faith were already
in our hearts,

and the conviction
that there was no other way.

Today nobody doubts anymore,

that Lithuania is a free,
independent state!

If stalinists, putschists

led by Yanayev or any other dictatorship
had returned,

and Europe had been forced,

or had felt obliged

to recognise this putschist government

for the sake of world peace,

that would have meant curtains

for everybody who opposed them,

including the rebels of Lithuania.

And the West would have to bear with it

or would have asked permission
to visit those who had been arrested,

to check if they were still alive,

or not.

But the putsch had its consequences,

which exist to this day.

Even Yeltsin wasn't able to punish them

because of internal resistance,

i.e. support for the defeated putschists.

They had very strong support,
so Yeltsin compromised

by declaring a kind of amnesty,

although they were traitors.

So they are as strong as ever

in the structures of power,

in influencing policy,

and that is still going on today.

Now they have almost heroic status...

They fought for things
they thought needed to be fought for,

what Gorbachev wasn't able to fight for...

They tried to do it instead of Gorbachev.

Well done, guys!

I request the Chief of Protocol

to escort the delegation
of the Republic of Lithuania

to its place in the General Assembly Hall.

Distinguished delegates,

I have the pleasure of welcoming

the Democratic People's Republic of Korea,
the Republic of Korea,

the Federated States of Micronesia,

Marshall Islands,

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania

as members of the United Nations.

The Assembly will now hear an address

by the President of the Supreme Council
of the Republic of Lithuania,

His Excellency Mr Vytautas Landsbergis.

I request the Chief of Protocol
to escort His Excellency the President.

On behalf of the General Assembly,
I have the honour to welcome

to the United Nations

the President of the Supreme Council
of the Republic of Lithuania,

His Excellency Mr Vytautas Landsbergis,

and to invite him to address the Assembly.

You have the floor, Mr Landsbergis.

The independent states of the world

which founded and fostered the UN

have today welcomed Lithuania
into the family of nations.

So Lithuania, a European state
for eight centuries,

which its neighbour wiped off the map
twice in the last 200 years,

today rises from the ashes,

like the mythical phoenix.

But Lithuania has been reborn
not only from the ashes of WWII,

Lithuania was reborn from the sufferings
and struggle of her people,

from their faith and their labours.

What did our country have faith in
for the last decades,

when crude force and cynical pragmatism

took away the faith of many
in what the world might be?

Our country had faith in fundamentals:
truth and justice.

I can say this:

oppression and lies exist,
but they are temporary,

and falsehood cannot reign for ever.

Did you want to be a politician?

Well, no.

I wanted to be an ordinary person! study music,

to bring up my children,
to have a family,

just to stay out of trouble
and not end up in Siberia.

That was as far as my dreams went.

But why did you choose
to abandon the eternal verities

in favour of the here and now?


that's life.

One of my acquaintances,
a writer of children's books,

has written a few books

about a brown bear cub.

And that cub

also had a philosophical insight,

which he expressed as:

"Everything would be fine,
if it wasn't for this life".

So, we have trouble living life
and we agonise over it.

Was it scary?


It was painful

when we got the news

about people being killed at the TV tower.

And we didn't know how many -
hundreds, even thousands, could be killed,

because there was a huge crowd

and they were determined to stay put,

even at the cost of their lives.

Anybody could have easily said,

"you are to blame".

The aggressor also tried
to put it like that:

“Why didn't you surrender?”

It wasn't just us who didn't surrender -
those people didn't surrender.

If, despite their will

to defend their honour,
we had surrendered,

we would have been traitors,

unworthy of respect or support,

but their hopes for a better world

would have perished too, of course.

And the world - their world
and perhaps the wider world -

would have sunk into despair.

But we fought to defend our hope.

My first political book

was also about hope;
its title is:

"Those Who Found Hope".