Thursday, January 20, 2011

Defenders of Freedom Day - Laisvės gynėjų diena

OK, I didn't get to posting this last week because of other stuff going on in my life, but better late than never. January 13 of this year was the 20th anniversary of an important event in the emerging modern-day Republic of Lithuania.

Yes, Lithuania had declared itself independent of the Soviet Union on March 11, 1990, but of course Moscow didn't recognize that and indeed tried to impose an economic blockade on its wayward "Soviet Socialist Republic." Figuring that they who own the communications media control the message, the Soviets tried to take over the Vilnius TV tower, only to meet with mass opposition. The troops killed 13 unarmed civilians (sometimes given as 14; one more died of a heart attack), the news of the massacre got out to the world anyway, the Soviet troops had to retreat, and subsequently Lithuanians voted hugely for independence in a referendum on February 9.

Iceland's recognition of Lithuania's independence was already five days old at the time of the vote. On September 17, 1991, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia joined the United Nations in their own right. The Soviet Union was crumbling.

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