January 12 was a quiet and warm Saturday. But the air was so electrified by anxiety that wherever we went and whatever we did, we took our radios with us. All of Lithuania was focusing its attention on the RTV (radio and television) broadcast. Radio stations around the world were talking about the atrocities of the paratroopers yesterday. About the seizure of the Press House and the headquarters of the National Defense Department, and about the truck carrying toys from Vilnius to Panevėžys which had been crushed by a tank.
Waking up early in the morning I rush to turnn on the radio. Is it still working? Thank God, it is. An accordion is still playing. Soon a report comes on: a train coming from Berlin has been blocked. Somebody needs tension and chaos in Lithuania. The people of Vilnius start bringing Thermoses of tea and sandwiches to the passengers on the train.
People are urged to gather at the TV tower. At 10 a.m. a session of the Lithuanian Supreme Council is broadcasted. In his report on the political situa-tion in Lithuania, President Vytautas Landsbergis says: we may be cut off from the world, we will lose communication... Radio stations in Lithuania and around the world report that the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Federation has condemned the use of force in Lithuania.
Over the radio people are asked to bring hot tea and food to the people guarding the Parliament building, the RTV center, and the TV tower. The restaurant „Stikliai" asks that plastic cups be delivered as soon as possible so that hot drinks can be taken to the people keeping vigil. The Opera and Ballet Theater announces that a free performance of the opera „Pilėnai" has been organized for the people who came from all over Lithuania to rescue Vilnius.
Everyone wants to help Lithuania and its leaders in every way possible.
In the evening, the Soviet television program „Vremia" allots an unusually large amount of time to anchorman D.Biriukov, who has just returned from Lithuania. He says that the government has already lost control of the situation in Lithuania. Strikes are taking place, and more and more Lithuanian are joining in. People with opposing views don't have access to the radio, television, or press, and non-Lithuanians are being terrorized.
In response to Biriukov's lies and slanders, the Lithuanian television program „Panorama" announces the phone number of the „Vremia" editorial office. They have to repeat the phone number, as people infuriated with this fabrication start making mass calls.
From the radio and television programs, we find out that the executive committee of the Lithuanian Journalists' Union has assembled in Vilnius to voice their protest against the occupants' actions.
In a resolution adopted by the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania, the USSR's actions in Lithuania are classified as aggression.
At 2 a.m. on January 13, Vilnius is shaken by gunshots from the television tower and the RTV center. This is seen on television and heard on the radio throughout Lithuania.
Lithuanian radio (LR). The music stops abruptly. Radio announcer B.Lukošiūtė:
„We will not be driven out by force..."
LR announcer A. SADUKAS:
„This is Lithuanian radio. This is Lithuanian radio! Citizens of the Republic of Lithuania, a time of trial has come. A great danger has arisen to our homeland and to us, the people. The USSR, with all its force and insidiousness, is encroaching on the sovereignty of Lithuanian and trampling on the freedom and dignity of its people, just as it did in 1940. They are invading our homes, and are attacking government and public buildings. They have come here as well, to our radio..."
From time to time the radio broadcasts the audio portion of Lithuanian TV, as well as reports from the Supreme Council. Audrius Butkevičius, director of the National Defense Department, is on the air:
„...we just had Algirdas Kaušpėdas on the phone from the TV center. The Soviet
tanks are firing blanks, their guns pointed straight at the people. They just did the same thing by the TV tower, but the people aren't scared. They're chanting: „Lithuania! Lithuania!" They're standing around the TV center, holding hands and keeping the soldiers out, just like they're doing at the TV tower. New buses keep arriving, there's a human chain around the tower. I believe that we'll defend these buildings that are so important to us and our Republic. This is an ordinary military hysteria which some of the generals in Lithuania - the traitors of Lithuania like Taurinskas and Naudžiūnas - are trying to take advantage of, as it's one of the actions that they have organized."
At the Supreme Council you can hear the murmur of the crowd, prayers and songs.
LR announcer B. LUKOŠIŪTĖ:
„Dear citizens of the Republic of Lithuania! We're still alive! We're still alive! We're speaking to you from the radio studio of the Republic of Lithuania. You can probably hear the shooting. We're still alive! We're still speaking, we're not going to leave the studio even though the bloodthirsty soldiers have begun their attack..."
LR announcer A.SADUKAS:
„This is radio Lithuania! This it radio Lithuania! There are shots and explosions all around. We're being attacked, we're being attacked! We promise..."
LR announcer B.LUKOŠIŪTĖ:
„We're speaking, we're not leaving this place as long as we're alive. Please calm down. Composure is our strength. We're here, we - radio Lithuania..."
A noise, shots...
LR announcer A.SADUKAS:
„Citizens of the Republic of Lithuania! A time of trial has come. A great danger has arisen to our homeland and to us, the people. The USSR, with all its force and insidiousness, is encroaching on ourfreedom, just as it did in the 1940s..."
LR announcer B.LUKOŠIŪTĖ:
„We're in the studio. This is radio Lithuania... I've locked the door, everyone is signalling me to lock the studio door, and I've locked it. Algis, check it please, I think I've locked it. We're in the studio. This is radio Lithuania..." You can hear shouts in Russian: „Davaj tam atkroj!" („Let's open it over there!")
LR announcer B.LUKOŠIŪTĖ:
„You can hear the shouts, you can hear the screams, they're banging on our door. We're here, we're alive. This is radio Lithuania. We're here, they're banging on our door. People are running and shooting everywhere..."
LR announcer A.SADUKAS:
„We're with you, people of Lithuania. When you hear a strange voice on your radio, be aware that it's another radio station."
LR announcer B.LUKOŠIŪTĖ:
„We'll continue to speak as long as we're alive, as long as we don't get thrown out of here. We're in the studio. Everybody who's working now is standing in front of the window, they're in the appara..."
In the middle of the word the announcer's voice is cut off.
At almost the same time, people are watching L.Tapinas, the chairman of the Board of the RTV Center, on the television:
„As I speak, the Soviet Army is storming the Lithuanian television. I'm addressing the RTV staff members and the people of Vilnius who have come here to defend us. I'm addressing all of Lithuania and all Lithuanians abroad. If there is a Parliament... The entire nation of Lithuania. We're going to defend ourselves. We're going to defend our radio and TV in order to defend our own independence and freedom, Lithuania's independence and freedom... The Soviets are occupying Lithuania! Let the world see what the West's beloved Gorbachev is worth... Lithuania can be... You can shed blood with brute force... Believe, God willing... They're banging on our door. Once you taste freedom you can't turn back... They're banging on the doors all over the place! we will overcome. If not today, then tomorrow. Goodbye..."
The camera switches to Independence Square. The viewers see a crowd chanting „Lithuania!", „Lithuania will be free!" V.Landsbergis speaks from the Parliament building:
„...All members of Parliament, if you can report to the Supreme Council, I ask you to do so. There are quite a few of us here, but let there be as many of us as possible. The ministers are attending to their duties."
Lithuanian TV reporter E. BUČELYTĖ:
„Dear people! Here's the latest news: transmission from radio Lithuania has been cut, but as you can see, the television is still being broadcasted..."
The television screen shows scenes from Independence Square. You can hear prayers, songs.
Lithuanian TV reviewer K.SUKACKAS:
„...The people at our mobile television stations have locked themselves in. Now we're the only ones on the air. We'll broadcast from here as long as we have the power and can do this... As I said before, there's still no danger to the Supreme Council..."
At this time radio Lithuania has already begun transmitting from Kaunas. Journalist J.Šarpnickienė reads an appeal:
„Attention! This is radio Lithuania! This is radio Lithuania! We are notifying you that regular programming of radio Lithuania has been interrupted due to brutal military force. We are informing the people of Lithuania, Europe, and the entire world about this. If you hear silence or unfamiliar voices on the air, it doesn't mean that we've abandoned our goals. The great majority of people in our unarmed state are determined to follow the course indicated on March 11,1990. We are addressing all those who are listening. Violence can subdue us, it can shut our mouths, but nothing can make us renounce freedom and independence!"
The Lithuanian mobile television station broadcasts scenes from Independence Square.
Journalist D. JOKUBĖNIENĖ:
„... The people are reserved and calm. I suppose we were seen here last night, as well as tonight. Ali of us have been here together for three nights. Our children will testify to all of this. And the seed that we've sown in their hearts is sure to live... Our mobile station is working so far. We'll still be able to broadcast from the square. And now let's say a prayer..."
From radio Kaunas the listeners hear Kipras Mašanauskas's patriotic song „Lithuania". „Lithuania, our Lithuania, may you live and be free forever!" Announcements are heard between the words of the song:
„This is radio Kaunas, the last radio station left in Lithuania. As you know, the radio and television in Vilnius have been occupied. We're asking all of you to come to Sitkūnai. It's 18 kilometers from Kaunas to Sitkūnai. We're anxiously waiting for you, and want you to know that you shouid go via Nevėžis - it'll be easierthat way..."
On the LTV screen, viewers see a group of armed paratroopers coming through the corridor towards the camera. The clock reads 2:15 a. m.
Radio Kaunas announces that the road to Sitkūnai via Nevėžis is blocked. People are advised to take other roads. Half an hour after the takeover of Vilnius television, Kaunas television begins broadcasting. Journalist M.Patašius addresses the viewers:
„Dear people of Lithuania! My dear brothers and sisters! The Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, as you are aware, has been taken by the collaborators of our neighboring country. But Lithuania is still alive! This is Kaunas speaking! The Kaunas editorial staff. We were getting ready to air our Sunday morning program „Sekmadienio Rytą" in a few hours, but unfortunately the situation has turned so that we managed to come on the air practically unprepared in 10 or 15 minutes, and we'll stay on the air as long as we can..."
Reporter R.Yla has come to the television studio and is urging people to go to 13 Vaižgantas Street, the transmission center which broadcasts the television program.
Radio Kaunas announces:
„...108 people are wounded and 7 are dead. We've also received information that all people living near 13 Vaižgantas Street are urged to come to the RTV transmission center. The invading tanks are approaching it. We are appealing to the people who have gathered in Vilnius from all over Lithuania and are urging them to resist Jedinstvo's agitation and to stay together. As for those who are near Sitkūnai, we ask you to surround our station on all sides. We've received news that 3 military trucks with 150 paratroopers are approaching. Members of the local government are asking that people do not resist, so that no blood will be shed.
We've also received news that in Vilnius, Parliament is continuing work.
We are asking that radio amateurs broadcast information through their own channels. We also ask that the people gathered at the Supreme Council back 200 meters away from the building, but please do not leave. During the session of the Supreme Council, National Defense Department Director A.Butkevičius announced that groups of armed, plain-clothed people are planning to storm Parliament.
We ask that anyone who can, please come to Vilnius.
We have more accurate news from Vilnius. 11 people have been killed and more than a hundred have been seriously wounded.
lt is quiet in Estonia and Latvia at the moment. Foreign Minister Algirdas Saudargas has been authorized to form a government in exile.
An appeal is read in English.
The Norwegian government has appealed to the UN Security Council for help through the Lithuanian representative in Norway Leon Bod. Polish radio is reporting all of our news.
A meeting is being held at the Supreme Council.
A man is heard on the air, but it is not the voice of the announcer. Slowly piecing together syllables, he reads in Lithuanian:
„Attention! Dear residents of Lithuania. In light of the sudden rise of use of firearms and gas, the beating of the working people, and the increase of public order violations in the republic, it is essential to protect the lives and welfare of the people. So at the request of the National Salvation Committee of Lithuania, a curfew will be imposed in Lithuania beginning January 13 at 6 a.m. All residents are forbidden: to leave their permanent place of residence from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.; to assemble at pickets, meetings, rallies, demonstrations or strikes; to possess or use firearms, cold arms, gas, radio, television, or printing and audio equipment used for copying; to form military organizations which are not provided by the law, or to promote their activities. A special entrance and departure regime to and from one's permanent place of residence, identification checks at places of assembly, and, if need be, inspection of personai belong-ings and transport will be imposed. Major-general Vladimir Nikitovich Uskhopchik has been appointed military commander of Vilnius. We ask you to be quiet and to keep order. The National Salvation Committee. January 13, 1991.
This is followed by the Russian translation. Foreign music is playing. The Lithuanian and Russian texts are read again. Kaunas radio is still working. News bulletins are broadcast in Lithuanian, English, Russian and Polish. lt is announced that a commission of eight people has arrived in Vilnius from Moscow.
At about 3 a.m. Kaunas radio is cut off.
Radio Lithuania continues to broadcast from the Parliament building. Reporters V.Putelis and V.Miciulis, as wen as L.Chornaya, the editor of the newspaper „Soglasije", tell about the situation in Parliament and the work of foreign reporters. Then they read the first international reactions to the events in Lithuania.
The entire world found out about bloody Sunday immediately. The telecast of Kaunas television reached Finland via Tallinn. Germany and other countries saw pictures from Vilnius with the help of a satellite.
Lithuania, 1991.01.13 : documents, testimonies, comments. - Vilnius : State Publishing Center, 1992, p. 78-84.