The Bank of Lithuania have issued two new coins which for many Lithuanians, is a very special anniversary in their history as a country overall, that of the celebration of the 25th year of the restoration of its independence from Soviet rule.
This restoration anniversary is recognized as a very separate occasion from Lithuania’s initial day of Independence from Imperial Russian rule originally achieved in 1918 after the collapse of the millennium-old Russian imperial crown with the abdication of Czar Nicholas II in 1917. After a hard-fought war to secure self-rule from the Bolshevik government who succeeded the imperial Russia, the Lithuanians declared their country independent and was recognized by the international powers shortly thereafter. With less than two short decades of self-rule, Lithuania, along with their Baltic neighbors Latvia and Estonia found themselves in a tug-of-war battle between Hitler’s Germany on the one side and the Stalin’s Russia on the other at the beginning of the Second World War. In 1940, Lithuania and the other two Baltic states found themselves wholly occupied by Soviet forces who declared that these three countries had now been “incorporated” into the Soviet Union, much to the opposition of these peoples who could not stave off this permanent invasion. Although Lithuania and the other two Baltic states had been unable to free itself from communist rule, international recognition of their incorporation had never been recognized, especially from that of the United States and Great Britain who had allowed a continued representation of these countries in exile.
Events in the late 1980’s with the succession of Mikhail Gorbachev and his policies of openness and “Glasnost” ushered in the way for the peoples of the Baltic States to think once again about independence. On the 29th August 1989, an unprecedented peaceful political demonstration took place. Approximately two million people joined their hands to form a human chain spanning 675.5 kilometers (419.7 miles) across the three Baltic states -the demonstration was to mark the 50th anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the agreement undertaken by Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia to divide specific territory between the two, and the Baltic States became part of that territory. In an effort to lessen the loss of life, Lithuanians had sought to make political changes through the ballot box rather than on the streets and with the threat of angering armed Soviet soldiers.
Parliamentary elections of February 1990 were eventually agreed to and held, they were the first free and democratic elections since World War II. The people overwhelmingly voted for the candidates endorsed by the pro-freedom movement, even though the movement itself did not form itself as a political party and the result was the first post-war non-communist government. During its first assembly on the 11th March 1990, the-then Supreme Soviet of the Lithuanian SSR elected Vytautas Landsbergis – who became Lithuania’s first post-war and non-communist head of state, and formally changed their name to the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania and at the same time formally declared the re-establishment of the State of Lithuania. The act was approved at 10:44 pm by 124 members of the council while six abstained, there were no votes against. Lithuania enjoys the distinction of the three Baltic States and indeed all of the former Soviet Republics to formally declare their restoration of, or declaration of Independence for the first time. The Lithuanian currency, originally used during the country’s first years of independence, was also reintroduced and made its debut in June 1993 after a nearly 50 year absence.
The coin, produced by the Mint of Lithuania on behalf of the Bank of Lithuania is designed by Rūta Ničajienė and Rytas Jonas Belevičius. The obverse design includes a boat with a sail shaped like the wing of a bird, the Lithuanian Tricolor found on its national flag and a musical fragment of the national anthem. the inscription NEPRIKLAUSOMYBĖS ATKŪRIMAS 25 (RESTORATION OF INDEPENDENCE 25) is arranged in a semicircle. The mintmark of the Mint is seen just below the wing. The reverse features a stylised “Vytis”, the national insignia of Lithuania and the inscription LIETUVA (LITHUANIA) at the top, the denomination €20 or €5 is seen on the left and the year of issue 2015 at the bottom.
|5€||Nordic gold||10 grams||28 mm.||Proof-like||25,000 pieces|
|20€||.925 silver||28.2 grams||38.6 mm.||Proof||4000 pieces|
The Mint of Lithuania have advised that the silver version has already sold out but the Nordic gold examples are still available, for more information on ordering, please visit their webpage at: http://kalykla.lt/atsiskaitymo-budai Information is offered in English and Lithuanian.