“In the past decade we have seen the Russian Federation leaning on its Soviet past and drawing lessons from the methods of the brutal Stalinist regime. Invasions in Georgia and Ukraine speak for themselves,” Grybauskaitė writes in her article published in the Wall Street Journal.
The Lithuanian president’s comments came on a day that marks the 75th anniversary of the US statement of non-recognition of the Baltic states’ Soviet occupation.
“Today, as 75 years ago, we must stand united: We reject the occupation of Georgian territory, denounce the annexation of Crimea, and categorically deplore Russian military aggression against Ukraine,” Grybauskaitė says.
In her words, “the story of the recent transformation of Lithuania can serve as an example to our Eastern neighbors”.
“The country underwent drastic reforms, found peace with its past, took responsibility for the tragic losses of our nation, and built foundations for the future. Today, prosperous and free Lithuania is proud to be part of the club of thriving democracies,” Grybauskaitė writes.
According to the Lithuanian leader, Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia have also chosen the path of European integration and “no one has the right to question or undermine it”.
“History teaches that coercion, pressure and outright blackmail will serve as an even bigger motivation to persist and achieve these goals. Authoritarian and totalitarian regimes never succeed in taking away the freedoms of the people for long. Our democracies have a moral obligation, a responsibility to support the choice of dignity and democracy, trade and free travel, life in security and prosperity,” Grybauskaitė says.
On July 23, 1940, US Secretary of State Sumner Welles issued an official statement on the non-recognition by the United States of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia’s annexation by the Soviet Union. The US continued with its non-recognition policy throughout the Soviet occupation, and Lithuania’s Embassy operated in Washington.