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Vytautas Landsbergis, Lithuania's first post-independence leader, says that the modern world is being accustomed to medieval-style international relations where a small-scale nuclear war is permissible.
Vytautas Landsbergis
Vytautas Landsbergis
© DELFI / Andrius Ufartas

"The 21st century world is being prepared to accept and get accustomed to what are perceived as new medieval international relations where conventions and honorable commitments go into the trash basket and the nuclear weapon is shown as a real policy tool of insane people. The elites of nations are being accustomed to the thought that a small-scale nuclear war is permissible," he said when accepting his Freedom Prize on Friday.

In Landsbergis' words, Hitler expected to use a nuclear weapon that was being developed to defend what he saw as the legitimate interests of a "humiliated and diminished" Germany.

"What we see today is nothing new. It is the interests of leaders, not nations, that were raised to the level of a false altar. The modern world's holy wars started from the philosophies of Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin. Russia's leaders, who have been formally changing, have been publicly declaring for 10 to 15 years that they will use all available means to protect their interests, including nuclear ones, even a first strike," he said.

Landsbergis described the Astravyets nuclear power plant that Belarus is building close to its border with Lithuania as "a slaughterhouse" of local people.

The Freedom Prize was established by the Seimas in 2011 to honor individuals and organizations for their role in defending freedom, democracy and human rights and promoting international cooperation for the cause of self-determination and sovereignty of Eastern and Central European nations.

The prize is awarded every year on January 13, the Day of the Defenders of Freedom, when the country commemorates the bloody 1991 Soviet crackdown on its independence drive.

Fourteen civilians were killed and hundreds more were wounded when Soviet troops stormed the TV Tower and the Radio and Television Committee building in Vilnius on that day 26 years ago.

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