It had been stated publically for the first time about a year ago: “What really may have happened at Medininkai? Do you remember how Gorbachev at a meeting with George Bush had stated that the Baltic States were to be a non-nuclear zone? Gorbachev had been obligated to remove such weapons from the Baltic States and take them to Belorussia. But had the Lithuanian customs officers been poking their noses into where they shouldn’t have. And who would have escorted such a weapons removal? I have a distinct feeling as to who that might have been… “, the former Riga OMON Commander Cheslov Mlynik had stated his view as to what might have happened that night to a Russian news agency in August last year.
His version was confirmed to “Hot Commentary” by the first head of the Department of National Defense of independent Lithuania Audrius Butkevičius, who stated that the Defense Department intelligence section had received information that a military cargo would be passing that night through the territory controlled by the Medininkai customs post, but didn’t know what this would be concretely.
They had suspected, however, that that this could be nuclear weapons. It was precisely because of this fact that an “operational group” of customs officials had been ordered to set up an “ambush” that night at the hut at Medininkai post No 2, which was located about 900 meters from the main Medininkai customs post, (in 1991 there had been another road going to Belorussia there and a wooden hut had been placed there for use by the customs officials; now neither the hut, nor the road exists and a fence marks the border with Belorussia.) According to the official testimony of the members of this “ambush” group, they had been ordered back from this “ambush” location at about 2 A.M that night and taken back to Vilnius).
As is well known that while testifying at the Medininkai trial then being heard by the Appellate Court, A.Butkevičius had stated that not only his own testimony that he had given after the event to the Prosecutor General‘s Office had disappeared from the Medininkai case file, but also all the intelligence materials that had been collected at that time by the Defense Department intelligence section and given to the Prosecutor’s Office. Among these was that the tracks of an artillery tractor MT-LB had been found at the crime scene after the massacre of the customs officials at the Medininkai post. “What was this artillery tractor MT-LB doing at this customs post?” A. Butkevičius had raised this question during his interview to “Hot Commentary” almost a year ago,
However, the actual circumstances of the Medininkai tragedy apparently had been of little interest either to the prosecutors, or to the judges hearing the Medininkai case. The Vilnius Regional Court had chosen to conduct the Medininkai trial in a proverbial “fire mode”, primarily because the judge heading the three judge panel had been scheduled to shortly go on maternity leave. The Court thus had needed to complete the trial before she would be forced to go on maternity leave. (As a reserve or replacement judge had not been appointed for this trial, if this judge would have had to go on maternity leave before the trial was completed, then in such event it would have had to be retried from the start. The problem had been with the statute of limitation: it was about to run out. Thus the panel of judges in its haste had refused to try to obtain answers to many of the essential questions regarding the killings at Medininkai, (for example: where exactly had these customs officials been shot (inside or outside the customs post facility); if outside, who had then carried them into the facility; this was crucial as the bodies had pierced completely through by the bullets and no bullets had been found inside the facility and there were no markings of bullets hitting the inside walls, floor or ceiling of this facility. But if one was to believe the prosecution’s version that the customs officials were all shot inside the facility, then the question as to where did the bullets disappear had to be answered, together with why were there no bullet marks inside the facility.) The Appellate Court had refused to address any of these questions, saying, “Attorney, we did not consider that!” The Court of Appeals then simply confirmed the Appellate Court’s decision “in the name of the State”, leaving all these essential questions unanswered. We are thus left free to investigate these questions further and to search for answers, in place of those who did not complete their work as they had been obligated to do.
So, what we were able to find out about the possible circumstances of that night?
A subject about which is not spoken loudly:
On the 8-10th days of December, 1987, a meeting had taken place in Washington DC between the highest levels of the governments of the USA and the USSR. The then US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev had signed that day an agreement concerning the complete liquidation of deployed medium-range nuclear missiles, an agreement for the monitoring of nuclear tests and, as a closing statement, an agreement for the severe reduction of strategic nuclear weapons .
According to this agreement, the USSR by June of 1991 had been obligated to destroy 1846 missile complexes, and the Baltic States had to become a non-nuclear zone, that is, all soviet nuclear weapons had to be removed from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. According to various sources, however, the U.S. intelligence services had determined that the Soviet Union had failed to meet its obligations and that as of the summer of 1991, the USSR still had nuclear weapons in Lithuania.
“It had been necessary to prove this fact, because U.S. President Bush had been ready to place evidence as to their location on the table to the head of the USSR Gorbachov during their meeting in Moscow.
Intelligence has also been obtained as to when the soviets intended to transport these nuclear weapons from Lithuania to Belorussia (they would be removed shortly before Michael Gorbachev’s meeting with George Bush). This fact had been desperately needed to be established.
For this reason, a strengthened Lithuanian “operational” force had been sent that day to the vicinity of the Medininkai customs post. Unfortunately that night, the customs officials staffing this post were “all shot without any remorse”. This was the version that officials of the Lithuanian Government had provided to our editorial sources.
Why were these weapons transported by road through the territory of the Medininkų customs post, rather than taken by train?
Here is what we were told by our sources, who had worked with representatives of the US intelligence services at that time and had lent them assistance:
After Lithuania had declared its independence, but until the Putsch that occurred in August, 1991 in Moscow, it had not as yet been recognized either by the US or by most of the other Western countries. During this period, two US intelligence services representatives had secretly come to Lithuania and had requested help in determining how the Soviet Union was carrying out its obligation to remove nuclear weapons from Lithuania. According to US intelligence information, although the USSR had officially declared the Baltic States to already be a non-nuclear zone, the nuclear weapons that had been deployed there by the soviets had still not been removed from Lithuania.
The US intelligence service representatives has asked the Lithuanian Defense Department for assistance in placing x-ray apparatus along two railways, which would be able to scan cargoes being taken from Lithuania to the USSR.
One of the subordinates of the head of the Defense Department, Audrius Butkevičiaus, had installed the x-ray machines at two points along these railway routes using the cover of the Ecology Department.
Details of this US request to install x-ray equipment along these Lithuanian railroad routes had been “leaked” to the Soviet side, however. As there had been only a short time left until the meeting scheduled in Moscow between the Presidents of the US and the USSR, U.S. intelligence had been actively looking for evidence of Soviet non-compliance in Lithuania as the nuclear warheads had not yet been removed from the country. Thus as x-ray apparatus had been installed along the railway routes leading to Belorussia, the only way left to remove them secretly had been by means of overland transport through the territory serviced by the Medininkai customs post.
Where are the photos taken from U.S. satellites?
The information obtained by editorial sources about this version as to how these Soviet nuclear weapons were removed from Lithuania and about the activities of the US intelligence service representatives at that time was confirmed for “Hot Commentary” by the former head of the Department of National Defense Audrius Butkevičius.
What is more, according to A. Butkevičiaus, well after the collapse of the Putsch and the USSR itself and after US and Lithuanian services began to officially and formally cooperate with each other, the US intelligence services at the request of the Lithuanian Department of National Defense, had provided it with satellite imagery photos of the Medininkai massacre.
(Since at that time the US was attempting to follow the movement of nuclear weapons in the USSR, i.e. to determine whether the Soviet Union was meeting its nuclear disarmament obligations, not only had x-ray apparatus been installed along the Lithuanian railroads, but a satellite had been “hung” over the Lithuanian border with Belorussia.
According to A. Butkevičiaus, photos taken by this satellite the night of July 31, 1991 had been received from the US intelligence services by the Lithuanian Department of Defense. These photographs, according to A. Butkevičiaus, were then given to the then leadership of the government’s Supreme Council and to former Prosecutor General Arthur Paulauskas for their closer examination .
These photos are missing, however, from the Medininkai case file. Where have they disappeared? Perhaps they are still stored in the archives of the Ministry of Defense?
But the response of the Department of Defense strategic communications and public relations department after nearly a week-long photo search was: “We hereby inform you that your mentioned photographs are not in the Ministry of Defense archives or other departments.”
And so, this is yet another mystery of the Medininkai case: Where did the photos taken by satellite of Medininkai the night of the massacre disappear, which the US intelligence services had given to the Lithuanian authorities?
This question is also important in another way: Former Communists and “Jedinstveninkai” (pro-soviet supporters both in Lithuania and Russia) have constantly attempted to link the Medininkai killings with the CIA, claiming that this had been a special CIA operation directed against the meeting of President Bush and Party Secretary Gorbachev in Moscow. However, it is precisely the satellite pictures taken of Medininkai on the night of the massacre that had been provided by the U.S. intelligence services to our services. That should cut off similar speculations, and would help identify the real killers.
After the Putsch
As was told by our sources, who had participated in the secret operation with the Americans, the nuclear warheads, which were being transported through the Medininkai customs post, were being removed from the Ukmergė district, where there had been a number of Soviet missile bases.
Whether the nuclear warheads had been transported precisely that night, this question again could be answered by means of the lost satellite photos that had been taken that night. Soviet collaborators, especially those, who have made their nests in the institutions of the independent Lithuania, have made great efforts, however, have them disappear (as, apparently, they have done with other exculpatory evidence in the Medininkai case).
Almost immediately after the Putsch, a representative of the Department of Defense had gone with the two representatives of the US intelligence services to a missile base in the Ukmergė district. The Americans were left to wait in the woods, while the Department of Defense representative went to talk to the Soviet military personnel still at the base in the hope that the situation would perhaps be made more clear.
As the Putsch in Moscow had already collapsed and the hangar in which the nuclear warheads had been stored was empty, the soviet military personnel had allowed the Department of Defense representative to freely explore the facility. There had been a number of paper cartons strewn around the hanger. A Butkevičius’s representative then asked the soviet soldiers if they would allow him to take a few of these boxes. As to them, this was simply scrapped packing material, they allowed him to do so. But the coded information that was written on their labels was very important as these codes made it possible to identify what kind of cargo had been transported from this missile base. For the Americans, this was important information. They found that in these boxes had been the various devices that are used to tie down the nuclear weapons when they are being transported.
What may have happened in Medininkai?
One of the likely versions as to what may have happened in Medininkai is the following:
After the declaration of Lithuania’s independence, the US intelligence services could not publicize their relationship with the new Lithuanian government, since it had not as yet been recognized by anyone in the world and as the US had officially appeared at that time to be attempting to free it from the USSR. Lithuania, however, had greatly interested the US intelligence services as a country through which they could determine how the Soviet Union was carrying out its nuclear disarmament commitments (including the positioning of the nuclear weapons then being brought back from East Germany). Therefore, the U.S. intelligence services had cooperated with Lithuania only informally and this was through the Lithuanian Department of National Defense.
Having intelligence that the Soviet Union had failed to comply with the commitments that it had made in Washington in December 1987 as to nuclear disarmament, the US intelligence services agents had turned for help to the Lithuanian Defense Department, which, at the request of the Americans, installed special x-ray machines along the railroad lines leading to Belorussia.
According to U.S. intelligence information, some type of military cargo was scheduled to be removed to Belorussia on 31 July 1991. What specifically this would involve, the Americans did not know. They suspected, however, that it could be the nuclear warheads. Thus they turned for help to the Lithuanian Defense Department. If it was a nuclear cargo, then American intelligence services agents would need evidence of this (which, during Bush’s and Gorbachev’s meeting would be laid on the table, and that would be especially damaging to the soviet side).
The customs officials had been asked to stop the military cargo that was supposed to pass through the customs post in Medininkai and to check the documentation as to what was being transported.
It also may have been because of this that the customs officer A. Musteikis had brought a camera to work, which had mysteriously disappeared following the Medininkai massacre. But on 12 August 1991, almost two weeks after the massacre, it had somehow ended up with the other shift head of this customs post, R. Kazokevičius, who had been on vacation the night of the Medininkai massacre. He then had turned over a part of the negative film and 10 positive photographs to the General Public Prosecutor’s Office.
What had been photographed in the other photos and where are the rest of the negatives remains an open question, since not the whole developed roll of negatives was presented in the Prosecutor’s case that had been submitted to the Court, only the photographs and that strip of film which had contained the positive photographs. The rest was missing.
Thus, there is the possibility that if the customs officials had attempted to halt this military cargo, the soviet escort may have immediately opened fire on them (such cargoes have orders to travel without stopping and they are always guarded by special, highly professional troops. The locations of the wounds that had been inflicted in the customs officials indicate that they had been shot by highly professional marksmen). The “Aras” official Mindaugas Balavakas had apparently fired back. (This was what most likely had been heard by the gas station operator, but denied by the prosecutors) and had injured one of the attackers (who, according to the Defense Department’s information had then been taken to the Northern Village (soviet military base in Vilnius), but whose blood had been left on a bullet-proof vest left at the scene. This was not investigated further by the investigators examining the crime scene. ‘) According to the type of wounds suffered, customs officers A. Musteikis ir R. Rabavičius and R. Rabavičius had fought back, and highway policeman Mr. Janonis had been shot from three different automatic weapons and with the Nieugodov pistol, which is used only by special services units.
As such military cargoes travel without stopping, “cleaners” are needed after such bloody work to “clean up” the scene of the event. In such case, these could have been the Vilnius OMON and the red Draugovininkai (auxiliary unit)? This would explain how a portion of the weapons taken from the murdered customs officials had come into the possession of the head of the red Draugovininkai (auxiliary unit), p. Vasilenko, now is residing in Ukraine. Perhaps when “cleaning” up the crime scene, p. Vasilenko had become tempted to keep a few of these weapons for himself and when caught later, had pointed a finger at the members of the Riga OMON, who had slept that night at their base.
There is a basis for believing that these soviet forces had been conducting a `covering’ operation that night (Either assisting in the removal of a military cargo under the cover of the OMON forces or they could have actually assisted in transporting such a military cargo, or could have been escorting such a military cargo or they could have been emplaced in ambush positions around the Medininkai customs post to form a defense perimeter. This assumption can be made from the interview that former Riga OMON Commander Mlynik had given to the Russian news media at the beginning of 1992: that he had received on the morning of July 30 a coded telegram from Division Headquarters in Vilnius ordering that he, the Commander of the Riga OMON personally, proceed urgently with his OMON group to Vilnius, that is, to be on the same day by 1700 hours at the Division headquarters in Vilnius, Lithuania, as they will have to bring back from Vilnius to Riga a cargo of weapons. When they arrived, however, they received an unexpected answer: Mlynik was told by the Division staff that the “weapons will be ready only tomorrow.” So that they would not have to go back to Riga and come back early the next morning, he then made an arrangement with the Vilnius OMON Commander that those who were to accompany the arms cargo from Vilnius to Riga would sleep over at the Vilnius OMON base.
Well, and the further official propaganda, which was confirmed on behalf of the State,” you already know.
Who is afraid of the truth?
For the answer as to why the Supreme Court had so easily confirmed that bubble of lies about the Medininkai massacre (allegedly some kind of run-of-the-mill Riga OMON trooper had come to Medininkai, “to have some fun” and committed this crime because “he wanted to return Lithuania to the Soviet Union), one do not need to look far. It is enough to examine the biography of the head of the Supreme Court tribunal, which heard the Medininkai case Vytautas Masiokas: this judge had begun his career in 1982 as a judge of the Lenin District Peoples’ Court of Kaunas. After five years, he was already the President of that Tribunal (32 years later, he is also the President of the Court in “Sovietized” Lithuania?).
Who were those, who in soviet times became judges and especially the Presidents of its courts, and what sort of loyalty were they required to have to the soviet system, the Communist Party and the KGB? The answer is probably clear by itself without any need for any further explanation. It is thus not at all surprising that the former President of the Lenin district People’s Court, now an employee of independent Lithuania, would leave essential questions unanswered in the Medininkai case with an easy hand and would confirm “in the name of the State,” that version, which is most useful for Moscow.
However, not only for Moscow, but also for local soviet collaborators. Which ones? Those politicians, court and law enforcement officials, who, while being entrusted with responsible positions by independent Lithuania, but still not knowing how the processes that had begun in the USSR in 1990 would end, had continued to serve the soviets (we should not forget that the Medininkai massacre took place before the Putsch In Moscow and that the western countries had not yet recognized Lithuania’s independence and that its institutions in Lithuania were still closely associated with the “Center”. For example, the Lithuanian Ministry of the Interior was still getting its employees’ salaries not from the Lithuanian Government, but from Moscow, and the then Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius, as evidenced by the material contained in the Medininkai case, had requested that Moscow supply the Lithuanian government with Kalashnikov automatic weapons so that Lithuania would be able to deal more effectively with increased crime) He had also had created a “green corridor” that night through the territory controlled by the Medininkai customs post.
Just imagine: The Moscow collaborators in the government structures of independent Lithuania, attempt to save Moscow’s “hind-end”, (X-ray machines are positioned along the railroad lines, but it needs to urgently remove the remaining nuclear weapons from the country). Thus they create a “green corridor” through Medininkai, but then there occurs such an excessive event – the customs officers and the policemen protecting them are all shot (because the Lithuanian Department of National Defense at the request of the Americans had asked the customs officials at Medininkai to check a military cargo).
Were these collaborators going to investigate themselves? After all, they had created a “green corridor” (a safe passage for them) and the nuclear weapons were to have crossed the border without any problems (according to the locals, the nuclear weapons, were transported that night and were heavily guarded by the soviet military; when turning from the village of Vepriai onto the main road, all traffic had been closed, soviet soldiers had not allowed any cars to move closer than within the radius of a kilometer). But then this fiasco occurred. What to do? One needed to save not only Moscow, but also oneself. (Since Moscow was able to disclose who of the Lithuanian “independence forces” had helped them during this operation that had ended in such a bloody fashion, they were all vulnerable.
And so as a result, there disappears from the Medininkai file the Lithuanian Department of Defense intelligence material, also the satellite photographs that had been taken that night and given to the Defense Department by the CIA; the prosecution’s eyes also become closed as to the footprints of the artillery tractor MT-LB at the Medininkai massacre site. All the courts (from the Vilnius district court up to the Supreme Court) also pretend to be blind and unable to see neither the cartridges of the Nieugodovo pistol, which was issued only to Soviet special services and the KGB, that had been found at the crime scene, nor the nature of the wounds suffered by the customs officials, who had been shot (according to the specialists, who had examined their trajectories, some of these bullets could have been fired from high perches, such as from the tops of trucks ), nor the fact that no bullets were found in the customs post itself, where the bodies were found with pass-through wounds, and there were no marks on the inside walls of the post where the bullets would have had to hit if all of this had occurred inside the customs post itself.
What is even more interesting is that in 2001, the Russian FSB (sources from the Vilnius OMON, now living in Russia, have informed the editor that the Russian FSB was “measuring the pulse” of the Medininkai case and was directing, who needs to go on “his own-initiative” to Lithuania and what evidence he should give to Lithuanian law enforcement, also who needs to keep quiet) had sent former member of the Vilnius OMON, V. Pužaj, then living in the Tambov district of Russia to the Lithuanian Embassy in Russia, to give evidence that the Medininkai massacre had been the work of the Vilnius and the Riga OMON. On the basis of this evidence, Lithuanian law enforcement put an artificial end to the Medininkai investigation (as there was no evidence as to the involvement of Nikulin, an intelligence memo and two anonymous witnesses were used to prove his guilt).
Since the former President of the People’s Court of the Lenin District has now “confirmed” this Russian FSB “coded telegram” that had been sent through Pužaj, Moscow and its collaborators in Lithuania can now breathe easier: Now that the scapegoat is finally sentenced, the Moscow agents (who had been secretly serving Moscow at the time of independence, mainly because they did know how this independence movement will end and did not want to make a mistakeand then later continued to serve Moscow because they were still open to pressure and exposure because of their earlier services) remain unexposed in Lithuania. They can now say to NATO: “You see, we investigated the Medininkai case, the culprit is sentenced, so your question, about whether the collapse of the USSR is only a fiction, whether all the former activists have successfully infiltrated themselves into responsible posts in an independent Lithuania, whether they are afraid to investigate Medininkai case and themselves become an embarrassment for Russia, all this has no basis. Do not continue to doubt – the Soviet Union has really collapsed, you can trust us, your NATO partners “.
However, it is this erasure of the Medininkai case, knowing what evidence that was so unfavorable to the leadership of the USSR was being looked for in Lithuania by agents of the U.S. secret services, also the fact that the satellite photos, which had been taken that night of Medininkai and obtained at the request of the Lithuanian Department Defense, have disappeared – which fact was confirmed to “Hot commentary” by its former Director Audrius Butkevičius, this allows one to make a fully grounded assumption that the collapse of the USSR was in fact a fiction, that the former Communists, members of the KGB and their marionettes have successfully established themselves in high posts in Lithuania and are carry out a “scorched earth” strategy: “Upon departure, leave nothing for the enemy (in this case, independent Lithuania), everything has to be destroyed”. Thus, they continue to destroy (now for 27 years): its industry, its agriculture, small business, the economy, its institutions of justice and so on. And judging by the outcome of the Medininkai case, they will continue to conduct this “scorched earth” strategy most likely until about 2020. (According to the KGB instruction guide “What to do if the SOVIET UNION collapses”, the Lithuanians should be totally disappointed with their independence by 2020 (then, for example, the former President of the People’s Court of the Lenin District, will be 65 years of age and so that he will still be able to work for a period of time for the “Returnees”).