“I saw that while working in Moscow. I saw the efforts to preserve the imperial union,” Gudaitis said at a Vilnius court hearing on the 13 January 1991 attempted coup on Monday.
At the time, he had been a member of the Supreme Council and a member of the Council’s presidium after Lithuania declared independence from the Soviet Union on 11 March, 1990. Gudaitis was also one of the MPs who worked in Moscow.
“I realized that we had major challenges ahead of us and that peaceful measures would not suffice. We spoke about the scenario of violent seizure of the Supreme Council building – what would happen then. We discussed the possibility of creating a structure that would represent Lithuania in the underground, we knew how Lithuanian partisans worked after the war,” said Gudaitis.
In his words, the Soviet Union’s President Mikhail Gorbachev did not make direct threats of violence against Lithuania, but the MPs realized that the 1991 attempted coup was not possible without his consent.
“This was a unitary structure, everything was in the hands of a single person, such things were not possible without his knowing about them, we all realized this,” Gudaitis said in his testimony.
In its earlier hearings, the Vilnius court has heard the testimony of former Lithuanian leader and Supreme Council Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis, former Lithuanian envoy to Moscow Egidijus Bičkauskas, former director of the National Defense Department Audrius Butkevičius, and others.
The trial is one of the biggest trials in Lithuania’s history in terms of its size and the number of suspects. The trial includes nearly 500 plaintiffs and about 1,000 witnesses. The case consists of 709 volumes, including an indictment of 13 volumes. The defendants are being defended by over 60 lawyers.
In early hours of 13 January 1991, the Soviet Union’s military units attacked the Vilnius Television Tower and the Radio and Television Committee Building, killing 14 unarmed civilians.