Lithuanians – ‘Just give us another 18 years!´

March 11, 2008 at 10:46 pm 8 comments

The Independence Act of March 11, 1990Today, 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! 


Entry filed under: Baltic States, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Northern Europe, Poland, Politics, Russia, Scandinavia.

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8 Comments Add your own

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  • 2. Richardlith  |  March 12, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    The Georgains claim they started the break-up of the USSR, the Armenians and Azerbaijanis do too, the Estonians claim the first declaration of soveriegnty by an SSR’s supreme soviet…. This list goes on, back to prestroika, back to Gorbachev in 1985…..

  • 3. Ruslanas Iržikevičius  |  March 13, 2008 at 11:25 am

    Well, we can go back to 1940, when Lithuanians proclaimed restoring their national state after the Soviets run away and just before the Nazis entered Vilnius…

    However, the fact is that March 11 is the day when a democratically elected body, officially and legally declared countries Independence. It was beginning of the end. Needless to say that the Estonian declaration of sovereignty was very important, but this was not a declaration of Independence, yes the Georgians were active, but it was a grass root movement, which was not materialised in State institutions. For the Gorbachev, with all due respect, if he new what would perestroika evolve into, he would not have started it.

  • 4. Mykolas  |  March 22, 2008 at 6:16 am

    From the perspective of one who has observed Lithuanian progress during the past 18 years, I am impressed with the pace of progress by Lithuanians. And remain very optomistic about the future of Lithuania. Many who live in other countries are perhaps not aware that Lithuania’s population is very well educated. Lithuanian’s have proven time and time again, over the course of centuries, that they are able to take control of given circumstances
    and survive. Even under conditions that were designed and intended to slowly eradicate their culture, language and identity.

    I am reminded of my first visit to Lithuania. It was not long after
    independence was reclaimed. Yes, many seemed to be taken back the sudden realization of the difficult tasks ahead of them.
    Some expressed no optomism. Some were seemingly stuck
    in a state of depression and waiting for the sky to fall on them.
    But others quietly wen’t about the tasks of building a better life
    for their families and themselves.

    As the years slowly passed and desperation was overcome by
    small accomplishments, The pace seemed to quicken and the
    ‘buzzing’ sound of progress was more and more evident.

    Little by little I heard of this person or that person finding a job or starting a small buisness venture. Others have found ways to supplement their incomes in some small but welcomed manner.

    Lithuania’s return to the arena of European economic and political
    affairs is also promising.

    I agree with those who say ” Just wait!…”

    The best is yet to come!

  • 5. Wangbu  |  March 27, 2008 at 7:45 am

    Every starting country starts small,
    Every small country struggles to grow,
    Every growing country pains up to progress!
    Good luck to all Lithuanians in future endeavors towards national development!

  • 6. Vince  |  March 30, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    Another 18 years to wait…We’ll have grey hair when LT will be at the same level as western Europe (that is, if western Europe freezes in time).

  • 7. Ruslanas Iržikevičius  |  March 30, 2008 at 11:15 pm

    Hi Vince,

    I did not realize that you are that old :). The Baltic States will reach the Western EU and of course the Old MS will develop also. This is it is not my, amateur’s prediction.

    This will happen and this is will be a remarkable achievement in itself. Then your kids will move here to live, enjoy the spoils of the Baltic Miracle! Just give as a chance to prove it! (that is to our historical neighbour)

  • 8. bieksia  |  April 7, 2008 at 6:51 am

    Well said Ruslanas!

    (By the way, I made previous posts as ‘Mykolas’ and I wanted to thank you for including my link in your pages. This is now a dead link as I have decided to use the format. I have already placed a link to your ‘Lituanica’ on my new pages. And also have included it in another English language ‘Lithuanian’ website that I maintain.)

    I look forward to reading your future posts. My ‘Kaunaite’ wife is already complaining that I spend too much time reading your Blog…so I have to keep this short. Keep up the good work!
    (Still Mykolas…I use my LT faimly name on the new blog)

    Su pagarba,
    Mykolas J.A.V.


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