The series of coins is dedicated to “Cities and Capitals Liberated by Soviet Troops from German Nazi Invaders” and features Kiev, Minsk, Chisinau, Bucharest, Tallinn, Riga, Belgrade, Warsaw, Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna, Berlin and Prague.
The coin dedicated to Vilnius portrays a statue of Soviet soldiers that used to stand on the Green Bridge in the Lithuanian capital until last summer, when it was removed.
An inscription frames the city’s name between two five-pointed stars with a date, July 13, 1944, when the Red Army entered Vilnius.
Lithuanians maintain that the country was not liberated by the Soviets, but rather one occupying force, Nazi Germany, was pushed out by another, the USSR, which kept the country under occupation until 1990. Tens of thousands of Lithuanians were killed or deported during the repressions that followed.
By issuing such coins, Russia has demonstrated it is not ready to acknowledge the truth about the Soviet occupation of Lithuania, says Rolandas Kačinskas, director of the Political Department at Lithuania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“Lithuania’s Foreign Ministry is aware of the fact and has taken notice of the coins issued by the central bank of Russia. We have no doubts about the role and place of the Red Army in the history of Lithuania,” Kačinskas told BNS Lithuania.
“We know the Russian stance and the issue of the coins proves once again that Russia is not ready for the historic truth about the Soviet occupation,” the diplomat added.