Lithuanians – ‘Just give us another 18 years!´
Today, 18 years ago in 1990, March 11, Lithuanian Supreme Soviet declared restoration of independence of Lithuania. During one of meetings historian Prof Bumbliauskas rhetorically observed that for some foreigners it might be confusing the share amount of the National days we celebrate.
One of the reasons for that is simple: we lost our Independence rather few times in the past. But the historian noticed that even though July 6th (the Coronation of our King Mindaugas in 1253), or foundation of the first republic in February 16 in 1918, were crucial for our nation, those dates were not that too important in the context of the history of the World. However, in Prof Bumbliauskas opinion 1990 March 11 had played an important role in the world’s history.
The Polish and the Czech input in ‘breaking the Eastern block’ is unquestionable. The Estonians had begun the National movement before the Lithuanians did. However, the Lithuanians started process of the USSR’s disintegration in March 11, 1990. The Russian Democrats looked up at Lithuania as an example, especially in the events during the August Putsch in Moscow.
The Lithuanians tend to be too pessimistic and critical of Lithuania. However, the Yale Professor Tomas Venclova is much more optimistic. He declared that despite internal problems those last 18 years should be regarded as the most successful period in Lithuania’s 1.000 years history. In this short time we managed to become full fledged members of the Western club.
Just few numbers – in 1990 the Lithuanian GDP was 153 mln Litas, or 36 Litas per person. 1 USD was 4 Litas in 1990. Lithuanian GDP in 2007 was 27.257,1 mln Litas or 28.661 Litas per person. 1 USD is 2.24 LTL today. Well, it is success.
Gorbachev was warning Lithuanians that if we will separate from the USSR we will die from hunger, since we don’t have any mineral recourses. Well, he was right about the mineral resources, however, he forgot about the other resource – the people.
Give it another 18 years of Independence and if Lithuania will be allowed to develop without major interactions from our Eastern neighbour we will achieve the average EU GDP and will be heading to catch up with Scandinavia! Just watch!