Vilnius has drawn renewed attention to the history of destruction by unknown in 1991 employees of the checkpoint Medininkai. In this case, the Lithuanian judges sentenced three former fighters of the Riga OMON, accusing them of “military aggression”. Russia considers the charges to be unsubstantiated, moreover, about “aggression” cannot be and speeches, because at the time, Lithuania was still a Union Republic.
Three citizens of Russia, former fighters of the Riga OMON famous Czeslaw Mlynik, Andrey Laktionov and Alexander Ryzhov was sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment in connection with the events in the summer of 1991 at the customs post in Medininkai. Vilnius regional court found them guilty of killing seven people (police and customs). According to the court, the order to attack on the Medininkai gave the commander of the Riot police Mlynnik and Laktionov and Ryzhov did it. Russia has refused to extradite its citizens, so the trial was held in absentia.
“The only country that recognized the independence of Lithuania to the decision of the USSR state Council, was Iceland, but it was no more than an incident”
Prosecutor Saulius Verseckas said that officials were killed during a “military aggression”, and riot police had violated the laws of war, carried out crimes against peace and humanity. “The court satisfied the claim of the Lithuanian Prosecutor General’s office and demanded to collect with condemned 653 850 euros of damage,” said the judge Jolanta Capucine. In addition, they must pay 100 million euros to the relatives of those killed.
As reported by RIA “Novosti”, the arguments of the lawyers, who asked to recognize the defendants innocent due to lack of evidence, the judge had no effect. However, the verdict is not final and subject to appeal in the court of appeal of Lithuania within 20 days.
The Riga OMON was founded in October 1988 by order of the Minister of internal Affairs of the USSR Alexander Vlasov. Initially, a detachment of about 120 soldiers, commanded the Edgar limar, and since 1990 – Czeslaw Mlynnik. In addition to the attack on the checkpoint of his fighters are accused of the Baltic republics in the shooting of a crowd in the centre of Riga in January 1991, and in a series of attacks on other customs posts on the borders of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Business “need to finish”
Post on the Lithuanian-Belarusian border in July 1991, was attacked by unknown, reminds TASS. Killing seven people. To approve the law enforcement agencies of Lithuania, the action was carried out by fighters of the Riga OMON. This is the second process on the events in Medininkai. As the newspaper OPINION, the other a former fighter OMON Konstantin Mikhailov (Nikulin) in 2011, has been sentenced to life imprisonment, and not in absentia. Mikhailov was issued in 2008, the Lithuanian authorities of Latvia, where he lived.
“This court decision is a reflection of the explicit politicization of this process,” – said the Russian Embassy in Vilnius. The Embassy assured that his goal “was not a thorough investigation and exemplary punishment at any cost.” “It is surprising that such sentences are based on questionable evidence base, are in the country, positioning itself as a “model” legal state”, – said the diplomat.
The Embassy urged to pay attention to the fate Mikhailov. “The situation with his health is seriously hindered, it requires emergency medical assistance. Call on the Lithuanian authorities to reconsider the sentence from the standpoint of humanism,” said the Embassy.
Former Deputy Prime Minister of Lithuania Zigmas Vaišvila, who, as a member of its Supreme Council, among others signed in 1990, the act of independence, believes that such processes should be closed for a period of years.
“If there is a criminal case, in any case, you must investigate to the end. I believe that such processes are in principle necessary. I can confirm that the Riga OMON guilty of crimes committed in 1991. However, I do not know what is the fault of individual defendants, because not familiar with the details of the case,” he told the newspaper VIEW.
The law is not retroactive
The former commander of the alpha group, retired Colonel of the FSB Mikhail Golovatov, against which in Vilnius is also in absentia, but in connection with the events of January 1991, believes that the July 1991 current Lithuanian court should not be judged.
“The Lithuanian SSR at the time was part of the Soviet Union on its territory operated by the Soviet army, the KGB and the interior Ministry. Even after the event they were some time on the budget of the USSR and Russia, there was Soviet passports,” golovatov said the newspaper VIEW. The Colonel points to the fact that the law is not retroactive. “In Lithuania, in 2010, adopted amendments to the criminal code, allowing to judge the participants of the events of 1991 for war crimes,” says the former commander of “alpha”.
Sovereignty, which was not
Historian, publicist, Director of Fund “Historical memory” Alexander Dyukov, in turn, believes that the basis of the verdict lies the formal conception, according to which from March 1990 when the Supreme Soviet of the Lithuanian SSR declared independence, Lithuania has become sovereign. Accordingly, points of the Dukes, from the point of view of the Lithuanian court of actions of Soviet security forces after that date, as the actions of “occupying power.” Russia also proceeds from an entirely different principle, namely, that a subject of international law Lithuania was only in September 1991 when the state Council of the Soviet Union confirmed its exit.
“We need to understand that the fact of independence is established not by proclamation, and recognition. After March 1990 the independence of Lithuania was recognized by the USSR, and the only country that recognized the independence of Lithuania to the decision of the USSR state Council, was Iceland, but it was no more than an incident,” said Dyukov newspaper VIEW.
The historian notes that at the time of the attack the independence of Lithuania was not recognised even Iceland. “Furthermore, Lithuanian authorities also do not fully realize their own sovereignty. For example, in late June 1990 at the behest of Moscow, the Supreme Council of Lithuania he also introduced the act of independence hundred-day moratorium,” he added.
According to Dyukov, the actions of those who attacked the checkpoint, in any case can not be considered as a fact, “aggression”, and that this is the basis of the sentence. “First you need to record what those actions are, and then parse was in fact committed crimes or not. Now the decision of the Vilnius court based on a false ideological premise”, – concluded the expert.
Professor HSE Oleg Matveychev believes the events of those days “provocation.” “I’m not sure that these people were involved in this. “It’s like the Ukrainians are now accusing the Russians and the people with St. George ribbons that they staged a massacre in Odessa, and not “the Right sector*”. This story is very dark. Most likely, a provocation was attended by local nationalists who needed to excite the public mind, and all the blame all on the Riga OMON. Same with the story of the Heavenly hundred. When accused of her death “Berkut”, which obviously not involved, evidence of his guilt, – said Matveychev the newspaper VIEW. – So that the Vilnius court I in this case do not believe. Everything connected with Russia, where politically motivated”.
* Organization in respect of which the court accepted entered into legal force decision on liquidation or ban the activities on the grounds stipulated by the Federal law “On countering extremist activity”