Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda presented a special medal to the Bulgarian media expert Maxim Behar for his articlesfrom the dramatic events which happened around January 13, 1991 in Vilnius. Back then Soviet tanks entered Lithuania in an attempt to take back the country, which had seceded from the Soviet Union and declared its independence.
The ceremony took place at the Presidential Palace in Vilnius on the Independence Day of the Republic of Lithuania, 16th of February. Many government officials were present at the ceremony, as well as ambassadors, intellectuals, military men and businessmen.
Maxim Behar arrived in Lithuania from Warsaw, where he was a correspondent in the early 90s, after long disputes with Russian special forces OMON, who initiallydid not let him in the country. He reached the Lithuanian parliament surrounded by Soviet tanks, where he entered on January 13, 1991 as the first foreign journalist to arrive to cover the events. Behar was sending articles and broadcasting to all Bulgarian media, TV headline news began usually with his reports those days. Lithuania was forcibly annexed by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics immediately after the Second World War and subsequently became the first republic to declare its independence immediately after the collapse of the communist empire.
Several years ago the Lithuanian Ambassador in Sofia H.E. Darius Gaydiš learned by chance about this inspiring story and informed the Lithuanian government about it, by sending all publications on the subject. Deeply impressed by this long-forgotten story and his courage and journalistic professionalism,as a result, in January this year, the President of Lithuania signed a special decree awarding Maxim Behar.
“What did not happen 32 years ago in Lithuania is happening today in Ukraine. On the other hand, being a journalist nowis probably much easier and safer. Communications work in real time, transport is much easier, transparency is everywhere. Still, I am convinced that there will be an independent and completely free Ukraine soon, just as there is an independent and free Lithuania today. In these difficult days Luthania is helping Ukraine gratuitously, because it knows well what it is to fight an aggressor”, said Maxim Behar, who is one of the most prominent PR experts in the world today.
“Everyone who has contributed to our independence, our development and success on the path of freedom and market economy should be recognized, and noone should be forgotten. In fact, each one of them is an invaluable friend of Lithuania”, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda said at the award ceremony.
About Maxim Behar:
Maxim Behar is a world-renowned public relations expert, entrepreneur and writer, a Harvard Kennedy graduate. Behar is the founder and CEO of leading PR firm M3 Communications Group, Inc., a partner of the world's leading PR firm - Hill+Knowlton Strategies. He is a past president of the global PR organization (ICCO), and in 2021 was appointed Director of International Development. He is the current President of the World Communication Forum Association based in Davos, Switzerland. He was elected as an International Fellow of the British PR Association PRCA and as a member of the Advisory Board of ENGAGE.EU, one of Europe's most influential universities. He was also inducted into the global PR Hall of Fame in London and has also been awarded with many titles including 'Europe's Best PR Professional' for 2020 and 2022 by PR Week, 'Global Executive of the Year' by The International Stevie Awards and 'Communicator of the Decade' by the Indian Business Communications Association. He is the author of the global bestseller "The Global PR Revolution", which was ranked among the top 100 PR books of all time by Book Authority and also has record sales among new PR books on Amazon. Born and raised in Bulgaria, he considers himself as aglobal citizen.