When I was trying to figure out where I should enter the Seimas building last week, I went around the side by the river — which I have never done. When I came around the corner, I discovered a memorial to January 1991, when Soviet troops tried to take control of the Vilnius television tower and also advanced on the Seimas building. Lithuanians built barricades around the Seimas to protect the newly-democratic parliament. My first trip to independent Lithuania was in July 1992, when I attended a one-month language course. The barricades were still up around the parliament building because former Soviet troops were still on Lithuanian territory. I attended a demonstration in front of the barricades demanding the withdrawal of the troops (which were under Russian control at that point). Seeing the barricades brought back a rush of memories from 1992 and those early years of independence.
May 20, 2012