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30th anniversary of Medininkai tragedy

The land we inherited from our ancestors is ours. We call it Lithuania and we want this word to stay for good in the language and the maps of the world. We write and pronounce it together with other equally worthy and revered names of nations and states, we want it to be treated with respect.

Just. Marcinkevičius

 

On the night of 31 July, thirty years ago, border officers came under ambush attack from the hitmen of the Riga Soviet Special Purpose Militia Detachment (rus., OMON). That dreadful night claimed the lives of customs officers Antanas Musteikis, Stanislovas Orlavičius, police unit Aras officers Algimantas Juozakas, Mindaugas Balavakas, traffic police officers Juozas Janonis, Algirdas Kazlauskas and customs officer Ričardas Rabavičius, who died in hospital a few days after the attack. The only survivor of Medininkai massacre and the only live witness of this tragedy is Tomas Šernas.

TOMAS ŠERNAS

‘The re-establishment of Lithuanian customs in the 1990s was a bold and very risky political step. Lithuania wanted to show to the world that it took the path of independence. Customs officers were divided into small units, unarmed, unprotected and without communication. But with the flag of the Republic of Lithuania. This manifestation of independence caused great anger and outrage in our foes and gave the Lithuanian people confidence in their state.

From the book ‘Yesterday was Tomorrow’ by Tomas Šernas.

 

The 30th anniversary of the Medininkai massacre is a continuation of the struggle for freedom and justice. Remembering those that are gone, we cherish their courageous sacrifice and our undying gratitude for the independent Lithuania.

 

RIČARDAS RABAVIČIUS

1970 09 12 – 1991 08 02

Though bread and salt will be no more, the homeland will.

Just. Marcinkevičius

 

                

Defender of Lithuania’s independence, customs officer. From 18 July 1991, he worked as an inspector at Vilnius Customs of the Customs Department of the Republic of Lithuania. In this capacity, he served but 12 days; and it was the fourth time he was then on duty at the Medininkai Customs Post. On 31 July1991, he was seriously injured. On 2 August 1991, Ričardas died from injuries at the hospital. He was only 21 years old.

For his heroism, courage and perseverance in defending the freedom and independence of the Republic of Lithuania, he was awarded posthumously the First Class Order of the Cross of Vytis (now the Grand Cross of the Order of the Cross of Vytis), and the Commemorative Medal of January 13.

STANISLOVAS ORLAVIČIUS

1956 05 17 – 1991 07 31

Every great feat of a nation is for the benefit of all the nations

Stefan Zweig

 

Defender of Lithuania’s independence, customs officer. He went to work for the Lithuanian Customs in 1991, after the January events. From 4 February, he served as an inspector at Vilnius Customs of the Customs Department of the Republic of Lithuania. Stanislovas died on 31 July 1991 in the line of official duty, together with the other officers at the Medininkai Customs Post of the Lithuanian border.  He was 35 years old.

For his heroism, courage and perseverance in defending the freedom and independence of the Republic of Lithuania, he was awarded posthumously the First Class Order of the Cross of Vytis (now the Grand Cross of the Order of the Cross of Vytis), and the Commemorative Medal of January 13.

ANTANAS MUSTEIKIS

1958 01 28 – 1991 07 31

Every small nation becomes great through suffering.

Henrik Ibsen

 

Defender of Lithuania’s independence, customs officer. From 17 December 1990, he worked as an inspector at Vilnius Customs of the Customs Department of the Republic of Lithuania.

On 31 July 1991, he was on duty at the Medininkai Customs Post. Antanas was killed together with the others on that fateful night. He was only 33 years old.

For his heroism, courage and perseverance in defending the freedom and independence of the Republic of Lithuania, he was awarded posthumously the First Class Order of the Cross of Vytis (now the Grand Cross of the Order of the Cross of Vytis), and the Commemorative Medal of January 13.

JUOZAS JANONIS

1962 05 09 – 1991 07 31

You are beautiful, my precious homeland,

The country where heroes rest in graves!

Maironis

Defender of Lithuania’s independence, traffic enforcement officer. From 1987, he served as an inspector at the Road Patrol Battalion of the State Automotive Inspectorate under the Interior Unit of Alytus District. He then moved to work for the Interior Board of Vilnius City, where he was transferred to the traffic police unit M-12. On 31 July 1991, he was on duty at the Medininkai Customs Post. He was only 29 years old.

For his heroism, courage and perseverance in defending the freedom and independence of the Republic of Lithuania, he was awarded posthumously the First Class Order of the Cross of Vytis ,(now the Grand Cross of the Order of the Cross of Vytis), and the Commemorative Medal of January 13.

ALGIMANTAS JUOZAKAS

1969 04 13 – 1991 07 31

Homeland Lithuania, sweeter than health!
only those who have already lost you can see
How much cherished you have to be...

A. Mickevičius

Defender of Lithuania's independence, officer at rapid response team Aras from April 1991. On 31 July 1991, he vas in the line of duty at the Medininkai Customs Post, where he was killed. He was only 22 years old

For his heroism, courage and perseverance in defending the freedom and independence of the Republic of Lithuania, he was awarded posthumously the First Class Order of the Cross of Vytis (now the Grand Cross of the Order of the Cross of Vytis), and the Commemorative Medal of January 13.

MINDAUGAS BALAVAKAS 

 1970 08 23 – 1991 07 31

Where there is light, there will be freedom!

Dr. Jonas Basanavičius

 

Defender of Lithuania’s independence, from February to April 1991, he served as an officer at the Special Purpose Militia Division of the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Lithuania, from April, he worked as a trainee officer at the rapid response team Aras. On 31 July 1991, he was on duty at the Medininkai Customs Post. Mindaugas was killed together with the other officers on duty that night. He was only 21 years old.

For his heroism, courage and perseverance in defending the freedom and independence of the Republic of Lithuania, he was awarded posthumously the First Class Order of the Cross of Vytis (now the Grand Cross of the Order of the Cross of Vytis), and the Commemorative Medal of January 13.

ALGIRDAS KAZLAUSKAS

1949 09 01 – 1991 07 31

I call on you, compatriots, to come together,


living heart to living heart,


to stay alive through darkness of the midnight


and rise again to live and bloom.

 

Bernardas Brazdžionis

 

 

 

Defender of Lithuania’s independence. From 1987, he worked as a traffic officer at the State Automobile Inspectorate. On 31 July 1991, he was on duty at the Medininkai Customs Post. Algirdas was killed together with the other officers on duty that night. He was only 42 years old

For his heroism, courage and perseverance in defending the freedom and independence of the Republic of Lithuania, he was awarded posthumously the First Class Order of the Cross of Vytis (now the Grand Cross of the Order of the Cross of Vytis), and the Commemorative Medal of January 13.

Last updated: 22-07-2021