Russia uses its judiciary to harass Lithuanian jurists who sentenced Russian citizens for involvement in Soviet crimes against protestors in January 1991, as part of its larger narrative war over the Soviet occupation of Lithuania.

The Russian Investigative Committee has since 2018 been holding pre-trial investigations and other proceedings against Lithuanian jurists who oversaw the trials of 67 former Soviet officers for crimes against humanity. These crimes took place in the context of the “January Events” of January 11-13, 1991, when Soviet forces killed 14 Lithuanian civilians and injured 702 following Lithuania’s reaffirmation of its independence in March 1990. Russia uses these judicial proceedings, and concomitant media campaigns, to legitimize the Soviet Union’s half-century occupation of Lithuania and the actions of the Soviet military in the country as the USSR fell apart, as part of a wider narrative war over the Soviet Union’s actions both generally and in the Baltic after World War II.

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Incident Metadata

Date: 2018-present
Country: Lithuania