[imgt="pics/2013/01/38479_001.jpg", thumb="pics/2013/01/38479_001_t.jpg", w="300", p="right", c=""] January 20, 2013
For two years these masked men dressed in camouflage sparked fear and terror
One of the most strongest and dangerous weapons used by breaking Soviet regime was OMON – Отряд Милиции Особого Назначения (Militsiya Special Purpose Unit). The so called “black berets” were heavily equipped and fanatical protector or the Soviet order. It was under command of Soviet Ministry of Interior, made to combat organized crime and support Soviet Police or Militsiya raids, however from 1990 its tasks became more political and toward against the restoration of the Latvian independence. The actions of this unit became violent and criminal and their actions took life’s both in Latvia and Lithuania. It was OMON who was responsible for attack against Latvian Ministry of Interior on January 20 1991 during the time of the Barricades in Riga. The attack on the night of 20 January still sheds in mystery because of the involvement in so-called “third force” and many details of the history of OMON in Latvia still is quite unclear. Here all the known aspects of this unit and the 20 January event is gathered, knowing that many questions still will be unanswered for some time.
The OMON Riga unit was made in 2 December 1988 under the orders of the Soviet Minister of Interior Vadim Bakatin. It was one first of 5 such units in the Soviet Union. The original unit consisted 148 men 20 of them were officers. The commander was Edgars Limmars while the real leadership was held by militsiya officer Česlvav Miljnik and his deputy Sergej Parfijonov. The working style of the OMON was often brutal; the destruction of the illegal trade places, direct takeover of the proceeds from crime without documentation and the torture of the suspects. However, in the unstable economic situation when crime level was critical the OMON was praised as a brave fighter of the organized crime.
OMON against Latvian independence 1990-1991