Disinfo: During January 13th events in Vilnius, Soviet soldiers did not kill any people


In 2016, Lithuania began the trial over January 13th events in Vilnius. Lithuania assumes that people, who died in the clash at that time, were killed by Soviet soldiers.

Russia argues that during the events in Vilnius, Lithuania was part of the Soviet Union and was not an independent state. Respectively, the army carries out official duties according to law. It seeks to ensure public order. Moreover, not one person died due to the actions of Soviet troops.


The case contains historical revisionism and recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the events of January 13th, 1991.

Lithuania restored independence from the USSR in March 1990. Moscow tried to foil the secession with an economic blockade. When that proved ineffective, Soviet troops still garrisoned in the capital Vilnius attacked its TV broadcast tower and sole TV station, killing 14 civilians. The events of the January 13th, 1991, and crimes committed by the USSR troops have been extensively documented. See also BBC reporting from 1991.

This disinformation message is periodically repeated. See a similar disinformation case: Actions of Soviet soldiers at the Vilnius TV tower in 1991 were absolutely legitimate. This message also is linked to the negation of the Soviet occupation of the Baltic States.


  • Reported in: Issue 219
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 04/11/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Lithuania
  • Keywords: January 13, Occupation, Baltic states


Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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