Video: Why Lithuania didn't join the tributes to Mikhail Gorbachev

·1-min read

European leaders marked the death of Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union who is today credited with steering Russia away from communism and towards liberalism.

"Mikhail Gorbachev was a trusted and respected leader. He played a crucial role to end the Cold War and bring down the Iron Curtain," said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

"This legacy is one we will not forget."

Von der Leyen's words were echoed across Western Europe, with tributes quickly pouring in from Berlin, Paris, London, Rome, Madrid, Brussels, Amsterdam and Vienna.

But in Vilnius, the reaction was different.

"Lithuanians will not glorify Gorbachev," said Gabrielius Landsbergis, Lithuania's foreign affairs minister.

"We will never forget the simple fact that his army murdered civilians to prolong his regime's occupation of our country."

Landsbergis appeared to refer to the tragic events of January 1991, which still resonate across Lithuania. That month represented a turning point in the Baltic country's history and its long quest for freedom.

Watch the video above to learn what happened in January 1991.