Mikhail Golovatov, who commanded Alpha during the assault on the television center in Vilnius in 1991, died at the age of 73. In Lithuania, he was sentenced in absentia to 12 years in prison. The former military man did not admit his guilt
The former commander of the Alpha special unit, retired colonel Mikhail Golovatov, who participated in the assault on the TV tower in Vilnius in 1991, died at the age of 72, according to the website of the council of the international association of veterans of this unit.
Clashes between the Soviet military and supporters of Lithuanian independence took place in January 1991— Lithuania declared independence in 1990. The most famous were the clashes near the television center in Vilnius on January 11-13. Then the Soviet military, with the support of the Alpha group stormed the television center, during which 13 supporters of Lithuanian independence were killed and about 700 people were injured.
The Lithuanian prosecutor's office claims that the people who died at the Vilnius TV tower were killed by Soviet soldiers. Participants in the events from the Soviet side pointed out that it was a provocation, and fire was fired at the residents from the roofs of houses.
Golovatov in 1991-1992 commanded the group “A” FSB Special Purpose Center and participated in the assault on the TV tower.
In July 2011, Golovatov was arrested in Vienna. By that time, he was put on the European wanted list at the request of Lithuania as part of the case of the storming of the Vilnius TV tower. But less than a day later, the former military man was released. Austria then stated that it did not have enough data to transfer the suspect to Lithuania. Vienna's decision was criticized in Vilnius and the European Commission.
In March 2019, the Vilnius District Court found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the case of the January events of 1991, former USSR Minister of Defense Dmitry Yazov and Golovatov. The first was sentenced in absentia to ten years in prison, Golovatov— to 12. In February 2020, Yazov, the last surviving marshal of the Soviet Union, died after a long illness.
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Russian authorities declared that the trial in Vilnius was being conducted in violation of the norms of international and Lithuanian criminal law, and the defendants were accused under articles that did not exist during the events of 1991. In 2018, the Investigative Committee of Russia opened a case against Lithuanian prosecutors and judges in connection with the prosecution of innocent people in the case of the events in Vilnius in 1991.
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