Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Republic of Lithuania
January 13, 2006

In Warsaw Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Antanas Valionis paid tribute to Polish citizens who had supported Lithuania’s striving for independence.

On 12 January during the commemoration of the 15th anniversary of the Freedom Defenders Day in Lithuanian embassy in Warsaw Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs stressed that Poland’s support was a significant contribution to both countries’ accession to the EU and NATO.

“The foundation for what we are now was laid during the January’s events,” Minister Valionis marked.

The eyewitnesses to the events of 1991, the ones who supported Lithuania’s striving to restore an independent state: the Chairman of the Polish Senate Bogdan Borusiewicz, the editor in chief of the daily Gazeta Wyborcza Adam Michnik, businessmen, activists of the Solidarity movement from Warsaw and other Polish cities, who organized actions of protest beside diplomatic representations of the Soviet Union in January 1991 and organized a fund to support Lithuania, gathered to commemorate January 13. The event was attended by journalists of the main Polish dailies, who had covered the events of those days.

During the commemoration Foreign Minister Valionis awarded the Chairman of the Polish Senate Bogdan Borusiewicz, the editor in chief of the daily Gazeta Wyborcza Adam Michnik commemorative medals for contribution to Lithuania’s striving for membership in the European Union and NATO, other guests received the commemorative badges of the Foreign Ministry.

Today Lithuanian embassy in Latvia opened an exhibition of photography of Zinas Kazenas “Lithuania in 1998-1991” in Riga Congress Hall. Latvian Minister of Foreign Affairs Artis Pabriks took part in the opening of the exhibition.

In the evening priests of different confessions – Lutheran, Catholic, Baptist and Orthodox held a Mass for the victims in Riga’s Cathedral. Latvian National Television translated a documentary of Almantas Grikevicius “A Prayer for Lithuania” about tragic events of January 1991.

On 10 January an exhibition of Neringa’s artists was opened in Tartu on the occasion of the Freedom Defenders’ Day on the initiative of Lithuanian embassy in Estonia. Today a meeting with Lithuanian community was organized in Lithuanian embassy in Tallinn. A Mass for Lithuania’s Freedom Defenders was held in Tallinn St. Peter and Paul Cathedral.

Today an exhibition of photographs of the 13th January events was opened and Jonas Misevicius film “January 13 events in Vilnius” was shown in Jugis Baltrušaitis house in Moscow. Gnesins Music Academy quartet played J. S. Bach’s compositions. On 15 January a Mass will be held in Jugis Baltrušaitis house in remembrance of victims.

On 15 January a Mass to commemorate the anniversary of January 13 will be held in St. Mary Catholic church in St. Petersburg. The Mass will be attended by representatives of Lithuanian community, Lithuanian Consulate General, Catholics of St. Petersburg.

Lithuanian community in Kaliningrad commemorated the 15th anniversary of Freedom Defence with a Mass in the hall of the Holy Family parish. After the Mass the members of the community exchanged memories.

On 12 January Belarusian intelligentials, art and government representatives, foreign diplomats accredited in Minsk, state and independent media, members of Lithuanian community gathered in Lithuanian embassy in Minsk to commemorate the tragic events of January 13. A documentary by Regina Stadalnikaite „Lithuania, January 1991“ was shown. The eyewitness to the events, the newsreader of Lithuanian national television Egle Bucelyte shared memories about the last moments of work at the television during the assault. Brothers Bernardians Astijus Kungys, Algirdas Malakauskis ir Ramunas Mizgiris held a Mass for deceased freedom defenders in Minsk Cathedral.

Today a Mass was held in National Shrine of Immaculate Conception in Washington DC. Lithuanian diplomats together with Lithuanian communities of Washington DC and Baltimore commemorated the victims of the tragedy of January 13, 1991.

On 14 January Lithuanian Consulate General in New York invites to a lecture delivered by Prof. Tomas Venclova on the occasion of the anniversary of the Freedom Defenders Day.

Lithuanian embassy in Norway organized the commemoration of the January 13 in Sunday Lithuanian school “Gintaras” in Oslo. Here a book written by Lithuania’s Honorary Consul in Norway Leon Bodd “Lithuania’s Fight for Idependance” was presented. Pupils shared their ant their parents’ memories on the January events, an exhibition of children’s drawings “January 13 in children eyes” was opened.

A commemoration organized by Lithuanian embassy in Berlin was attended by Lithuanian Minister of Agriculture Kazimira Danute Prunskiene, Members of the Seimas Bronius Pauža, Jonas Jagminas, Kazys Starkevicius, Jonas Juozapaitis. A film by Jonas Vaiktus “All Alone” was shown to the guests and the members of Lithuanian community invited to the commemoration.

On 15 January a Mass will be held in St. August Church in Paris. French Lithuanian Community, Lithuanian Honorary Consuls in France will take part in the commemoration of the events of January 13.

On 15 January a Mass will be held in Dublin to commemorate the Freedom Defenders Day. Representatives of Lithuanian community, Lithuanian embassy and the diplomatic corps will gather in St. Andrew’s Church.

January 13 was also commemorated in Japan. A meeting with journalist who covered the fight for independence took place in Lithuanian embassy in Tokyo. The events of January 13 and changes in Lithuania after restoration of independence were discussed at the round table. Japanese journalists shared their impressions about Lithuania’s way to independence and marked unanimously that most Japanese see Lithuania as the initiator of the collapse of the Soviet empire.

A photography exhibition to commemorate the 15th anniversary of Freedom defence was opened today at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Vilnius.

Additional information about the commemoration of the 15th anniversary of Freedom Defence and material about the events of January 13, 1991 from the archives of the Seimas can be found at the web-site of Lithuanian Seimas