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Friday, 13 March 2009

18 years ago

Today, 18 years ago in 1990, March 11, Lithuania declared restoration of independence. One of the reasons for that is simple: we lost our Independence rather few times in the past. During the medieval period, Lithuania was one of the largest states in Europe, stretching from the Baltic to the Black Sea. In 1795, Lithuania was absorbed into Russia. It briefly regained independence between the world wars but in 1944 was incorporated into the USSR. Soviets in the 1980s led Lithuania to reassert its identity, and in 1990 formal independence was proclaimed. Moscow sent troops to occupy Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital, but in September 1991 independence was formally granted as the Soviet Union crumbled. In January 1991, the Soviet Army seized the Lithuanian Television, radio and other vital state institutions, which at that time were subordinate only to the laws of Lithuania. Unarmed, peaceful people offered resistance against the army, and 14 people perished in the effort. A referendum was held on the 9th of February, following the tragic January events, in which an absolute majority of the population of Lithuania came out for the restoration of an independent state. On the 11th of February, Iceland's Althing recognised Lithuania's independence de jure. After the unsuccessful August putsch in Moscow, Russia recognised the independence de jure of Lithuania on 6th September. Many other states followed suit immediately afterwards. On the 17th of September 1991, Lithuania became a full member of the United Nations. On the 31st of August 1992, the last Russian soldier left the territory of Lithuania.On May 1st, 2004, Lithuania joined the European Union.

UNSEEN LITHUANIA

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