The story of Lithuanian independence, 21 years on

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Pranešk apie klaidą

 Twenty one years ago Lithuania regained its independence by electing a parliament in a democratic way, which announced the re-establishment of the state.

On this day, the highest government of the time, the Supreme Council, started implementing the sovereignty of the state.

History professor Edvardas Gudavicius once stated that “March 11 became the ground for a chain reaction, which destroyed the Soviet Union.”

The “Lietuvos persitvarkymo Sajudis” (Lithuania’s changeover movement, Sajudis) was one of the main forces, driving the country towards the independence.

Professor Vytautas Landsbergis, the leader of the movement, says that it destroyed not only the Berlin wall. “It also destroyed the fear, the syndrome of the slavery, the alienation, the antagonism. It suggested looking at things in a simple and human way instead of a Soviet way.”

The Sajudis movement was established by the country’s intellectual and artistic elite on June 3, 1988. The initial group of the movement was formed by 35 famous Lithuanian academics and artists. 17 of them belonged to the communist party, but the nation believed in its leaders.

According to Landsbergis, Sajudis acted within the permissible borders, but would always cross them at the same time. It remained not split and not overthrown, extending the space for freedom.
 
“Well chosen tactics of non constraint, non armed political fight helped Sajudis to avoid provocations and demolition, and let us strengthen ourselves. (…) Our pretext and cover was the Soviet Union reform programme, stating that we were implementing it more decisively and radically. Gorbachev, the three-coloured Lithuanian flag and the anthem of independent Lithuania was the primary puzzle, where the analysts of KGB would break their necks trying to understand what’s going on,” Landsbergis writes in his book “Luzis prie Baltijos”.

At first, Sajudis declared the goals of cultural resurrection, democratization and economic sovereignty and cooperated with Lithuanian Communist Party. However, tn the end of 1989 on Feb. 16 Sajudis publicly stated that the main goal of the movement was the re-establishment of the independence of Lithuania.

The movement had the support of the masses and on March 25,1989, 31 candidate of Sajudis were elected to the People’s Deputies Congress of the USSR.

In January 1990, a campaign on the election of the Supreme Council of the Lithuanian Soviet Social Republic began. Sajudis nominated their candidates in all election constituencies. Two main political forces ran in the election: Sajudis and the Lithuanian Communist Party. Sajudis stated in their electoral programme that
they aim to “re-establish an independent state of Lithuania immediately and unconditionally.”

Sajudis candidates won 101 mandates out of 141. Their votes determined the passage of the act of the independent state of Lithuania on March 11, 1990.

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