Russia after Lithuanian citizens who retracted from serving in Soviet army

The Lithuanian State Security Department has warned its citizens who once refused to serve in the Soviet army in 1990–1991 against travelling to Russia, Belarus and other countries outside the EU and NATO.

“The State Security Department urges the citizens of the Republic of Lithuania who gave ear to the Lithuanian government’s call [in 1990] and refused to serve in the Soviet army to refrain from travels to Russia, Belarus and other countries that are not members of the European Union or NATO. Amid the current international situation, travels to these countries can jeopardize personal safety of the citizens,” quotes the Department’s press release.

Russia has reopened 25-year-old cases that may lead to criminal charges against young people who refused to serve in the Soviet army in 1990-1991, after Lithuania declared independence on March 11, 1990, shows a request for legal assistance received by the Lithuanian Prosecutor General’s Office.

“We have received such request for legal assistance. As the activities, which Russia lists among criminal deeds, is not criminalised in Lithuania, the request for legal assistance will not be processed,” Vilma Mažonė of the Prosecutor General’s Office told news agency BNS.

According to the Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence, 1,562 young people refused forced service in the Soviet army after March 11, 1990. Of them, 67 were taken to Soviet military units by force, 20 were sentenced to jail terms, three faced criminal charges and three died.

Another 1,465 were forced to go into hiding, change their place of residence and leave families to avoid forced service or repressions by the Soviet army or the Soviet authorities.

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