- July 13, 2019
Linkevičius: Celebration of Vilnius liberation in Russia is unacceptable
The celebration of the liberation of Vilnius and Kaunas by the Soviets is unacceptable – said Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius in an interview with LRT.
The minister claimed that the liberation of Lithuania from the Nazi occupation did not bring the country freedom but was only a beginning of the new occupation.
“You cannot confuse these two things, however, such confusion can usually be observed in Russia. Obviously, it was a victory over fascism, the Nazis and their ideology. It certainly was a memorable event for the fate of the world,” said the head of Lithuanian diplomacy.
“Unfortunately, this victory did not bring freedom to Lithuania, and these celebrations try to present the situation as if it did. This was another occupation accompanied by deportations, repression and similar actions. That is why for us it is unacceptable to present these events as a feast of the liberation of Vilnius,” emphasized the minister.
On Thursday, July 11th, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued special statements.
“Following the expulsion of the forces of Nazi German by the Soviet army, Soviet occupation structures were established in Lithuania. Repression and deportation were used against Lithuanian citizens. Great damage was done to the Lithuanian society, Lithuanian economy and the environment,” pointed out the Ministry in the statement
The Ministry also stressed that Russia’s decision to celebrate the so-called liberation of Vilnius and Kaunas (as well as other Eastern European cities) by artillery salute and fireworks is unacceptable.
To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Soviet cities and capitals of Eastern Europe, 17 fireworks displays and artillery salutes are planned to take place in Moscow from April 2019 to May 2020.
Russia has already commemorated the anniversary of the liberation of Odessa, Sevastopol, and Minsk. On Saturday, there will be ceremonies related to the liberation of Vilnius, Kaunas, and Tallinn. Celebrations of the anniversary of the liberation of Warsaw are planned for January 17th, 2020, in Czechia — they are scheduled for May 9th.
Translated by Karolina Antos within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.