20 January 2018, Saturday, 22:08

Lithuania’s Independence Day as beacon of hope for unfree nations


Lithuania celebrates the 20th anniversary of reestablishment of its independence today, independence from the Soviet dictatorship, oppression of people and human freedoms.

The festivities start in Vilnius in the morning March 10. As ru.DELFI.lt reports, the government issued 900,000 lits to celebrate the event.

The celebrations start with a special sitting of the parliament and then go on outside. President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite is expected to congratulate the citizens of the country on the 20th anniversary of reestablishment of independence on Independence square. Then she and foreign guests will watch the ceremony of raising the flags of the Baltic states. According to Echo of Moscow radio, a military parade is also planned. Then the Office of the President will host a gala lunch to the honour of the heads of foreign states visiting Lithuania on the occasion of the Anniversary of Independence.

Presidents of Estonia, Latvia, Poland, and Finland will come to congratulate their neighbour. Alyaksandr Lukashenka also received an invitation, but refused to visit Vilnius. Dalia Grybauskaite noted Lukashenka’s refusal wasn’t very important for her. Instead, Stanislau Shushkevich will take part in celebrations. As the charter97.org has already informed, the Lithuanian Seimas invited the first head of independent Belarus to the 20th anniversary of Lithuania’s independence.

Lithuania has received congratulations on occasion of restoration of independence from world’s leaders.

“I am delighted to congratulate each of you on the 20th anniversary of the restoration of Lithuania's independence ,” US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in her video address. “On March 11, 1990, brave Lithuanian patriots voted for independence while the Soviet Army still occupied your country. Thousands of ordinary citizens surrounded the Seimas building for days and weeks on end to protect those inside, as the nation worked to secure its freedom.”

According to Hillary Clinton, it took more than a year and some deaths of protestors before “the authorities in Moscow finally recognized your independence,” Korrespondent.net reports.

President of the United States Barack Obama has also sent his congratulation to the Lithuanians. “The United States stood by you during the Soviet occupation, and we remain a steadfast ally and loyal friend," the US President said.

The US leader stressed that the events of March 11 were pivotal in the return to democratic values in Central and Eastern Europe, Delfi notes.

“At the time, these brave citizens could not foresee the impact of their actions, but they never lost their resolve. They became a beacon of hope to those throughout the world seeking freedom, democracy, and respect for human rights,” the US President said.

We remind that on March 11, 1990, the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithonia signed the Act of the ReEstablishment of the State. Until that moment, Lithuania was occupied by the Soviet Union for the last 50 years. After the Supreme Council declared restoration of independence, the Soviet authorities said the decision contradicted the Constitution. After some actions of protest were organized in Lithuania in January 1991, special military squads and airborne units were brought into the republic. They took a number of strategic sites.

On the night of January 12/13 a column of Soviet tanks moved the center of Vilnius. 14 civilians were killed and 600 injured during storming the TV tower.

Experts note that Lithuania’s main success for 20 years was that the country has remained democratic and joined the EU and NATO.

“Lithuania moves towards democratic consolidation. This is a movement forward. We cannot say the country won’t face problems with democracy, even more experienced countries have problems,” Morta Vidunaite, an expert of the Institute of International Relations and Political Science, notes.