January events of 1990, 1991 bridged Lithuania even stronger to Azerbaijan – ambassador
Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 18
This week Azerbaijan will mark the 26th anniversary of the January 20 tragedy of 1990 and Lithuanians fully understand people of Azerbaijan, since less than a year after that tragedy, similar events took place in Lithuania, said Valdas Lastauskas, Lithuanian ambassador in Baku, speaking to Trend.
"Twenty-six years ago it became clear that the Soviet Empire was unable to survive any longer, since its foundation was based not on the free will and free choice of people," said the ambassador.
"The tanks in the cities and towns during the peace period since the events in Budapest and Prague, and in Tbilisi in 1989, in Baku in 1990 and in Vilnius in 1991 didn't scare people," he added. "It strengthened people's will to become free and choose the future of the country themselves."
"The Baku events made some impact on Lithuania and encouraged its people to seek independence courageously and consistently," Lastauskas further noted.
"Last week Lithuania marked the 25th anniversary of the deadly dispersal of pro-independence demonstrators in Vilnius by Soviet troops in 1991, one of the catalysts of the breakup of the Soviet Union," he added. "Marches, gatherings, church services, and other events were held across the country on January 13."
The ambassador also said that in order to remember people who sacrificed their lives and to honor those who courageously withstood coming tanks singing national songs and holding Lithuanian flags on Jan. 13, 1991, this day was named Freedom Defenders Day.
The ambassador added that the flower forget-me-not, which he said is a flower for remembering, for reminding and for the freedom, was chosen as a symbol of this day.
"Events of January in 1990 and 1991 even stronger bridged Lithuania and Azerbaijan," noted Lastauskas.
"Those days show us that Lithuanians and Azerbaijanis are the nations of the same tragic fate," said the diplomat. "They also show that both countries can be proud of the courage of their peoples, their strength of mind, their self-sacrifice to put up peaceful resistance to the aggressor and to stand against tanks for the freedom of their motherlands, for the dignity of their nations, for independence."
"That is why today we enjoy achievements of our countries and see wide perspectives for cooperation," Lastauskas added.
Soviet army began military action overnight from Jan. 19 to Jan. 20, 1990 against Azerbaijan without declaring an emergency situation.
An investigation found out that 132 people were killed, 612 were injured, 841 were illegally arrested and hundreds of buildings were destroyed as a result of this perpetration, according to the Prosecutor General's Office of Azerbaijan.
This crime also inflicted huge material damage to the state and its citizens.
Edited by EA