March 11 is the Day of Restoration of Independence of Lithuania from the Soviet Union in 1990.
As Mikhail Gorbachev attempted to revive the economy of the Soviet Union, he introduced glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring). Gorbachev´s political agenda went for great and deep changes within the Soviet government, as such, Gorvachev invited the soviet public into open and public discussions unseen before. For the soviet Lithuanian dissidents, and activists, it was a golden opportunity not to be missed, to bring their movements from underground into the public life.
On August 23, 1987 (48th anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact; neutrality pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union signed in Moscow on August 23, 1939), the Lithuanian Liberty League organized the first public protest rally that did not result in arrests.
Encouraged by the non arrests, by mid-1988, a group of 35 intellectuals organized the “Sąjūdis Reform Movement” with the original goal of supporting, discussing, and implementing Gorbachev’s reforms yet short of openly supporting independence from the USSR.
However, Sąjūdis grew in popularity, attracting large crowds to rallies and therefore radicalizing its agenda, taking advantage of Gorvachev´s passiveness.
By 1989, Sąjūdis, not afraid of angering Moscow and causing a violent clampdown, continuously pushed further with its demands: from limited discussions on Gorbachev’s reforms, to demand of greater say in economic decisions, to political autonomy within the Soviet Union.
By the time of the Baltic Way, a human chain spanning over 600 kilometers (370 mi) across the three Baltic states to mark the 50th anniversary of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, full independence was the official goal of Sąjūdis. Parliamentary elections of February 1990 were the first free and democratic elections in Lithuania since World War II. The people overwhelmingly voted for the candidates endorsed by Sąjūdis, even though the movement did not run as a political party. The result was the first post-war non-communist government. During its first assembly on March 11, 1990, the Supreme Soviet of the Lithuanian SSR elected Vytautas Landsbergis as its chairman, changed its name to the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania, and formally declared the re-establishment of the State of Lithuania. The act was approved at 10:44 pm by 124 members of the council.
The last Soviet troops left Lithuania on August 31, 1993 – even earlier than they departed from East Germany.
Lithuania, officially the Republic of Lithuania, is a country in Northern Europe. One of the three Baltic states, it is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, to the east of Sweden and Denmark.