Russia considers Lithuania’s “illegal” independence from Moscow

A Russian lawmaker has called for the abolition of Lithuania’s independence, introducing a bill claiming that the Baltic Republic left the Soviet Union illegally more than three decades ago.

The proposed legislation was presented to Russia’s lower house of parliament, on Wednesday by Yevgeny Fyodorov, a member of the ruling United Russia party.

In March 1990, Lithuania became the first republic to announce its intent to regain its independence from the collapsing Soviet Union, which it had been under its control for five decades after being occupied by the Soviet army in 1940.

The Soviet authorities initially tried to stop the move, demanding its cancellation and the imposition of an economic blockade on the country. Mass protests ensued and the Soviet army invaded the capital, Vilnius.

The State Council of the USSR, headed by its last president, Mikhail Gorbachev, finally adopted the Decree on Lithuania’s Independence on September 6, 1991, at which time the new status of the Baltic Republic was already recognized by 50 countries.

But Fyodorov said the decree was “illegal” because it was adopted by an “unconstitutional body”, which is a violation of the USSR constitution.

He said that under Article 67.1 of the Russian Constitution, the Russian Federation is the legal successor to the USSR on its territory. Therefore, in his opinion, this meant that the recognition of Lithuanian independence by the State Council of the USSR was subject to revocation.

In an explanatory note on the bill, he also said that there had been “no referendum on secession” of Lithuania from the Soviet Union and “no transition period has been set for consideration of all contentious issues”.

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“Just another day in the State Duma … Representative of United Russia Yevgeny Fyodorov introduced a bill to revoke the recognition of Lithuania’s independence,” said Russian observer Francis Skar from Twitter. BBC watching.

“Fyodorov’s views are extreme even by the standards of Russian lawmakers, so I don’t expect this to go anywhere,” added Scar.

However, Fyodorov’s bill comes at a sensitive time for the Baltic states, which are leading NATOUkrainian assistance to the war effort against Russia is concerned about the President Russian President Vladimir Putinfuture intentions.

In March, a former senior Russian officer, Igor Korotchenko, raised the possibility of Moscow’s takeover of the Baltic states on state TV channel Russia-1, in response to NATO’s role in Ukraine.

Lithuania does not share a border with Russia, but with its Baltic neighbors, it was the scene of coalition exercises to prepare for any Russian aggression. Last month , Lithuanian citizens raised nearly $5 million To purchase an advanced military drone for Ukraine.

In June 2015, Fyodorov claimed that Russia’s recognition of the independence of the Baltic states was illegal, prompting an investigation into the case by the Russian Prosecutor General.

Lithuania’s then foreign minister, Linas Linkevicius, called Moscow’s investigation into questioning his country’s legitimacy a “ridiculous provocation.”

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Newsweek has contacted the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for comment.

Lithuanians celebrate in Vilnius on March 11, 1990, after the newly elected parliament voted unanimously to change the name of the Soviet Baltic state to the “Republic of Lithuania”, becoming the first Soviet republic to declare its independence from the Soviet Union. On June 8, 2022, Representative of United Russia Yevgeny Fyodorov introduced a bill claiming that the declaration of independence was illegitimate.

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