Russian Duma Considers Draft Bill Revoking Lithuania’s Independence

Dr. E.C. Beuck
The modern skyline of Vilnius, Lithuania, as viewed at dusk from Gediminas' Tower looking north-west.Diliff on Wikimedia Commons

A draft bill was submitted yesterday to the Russian State Duma that has called for the repealing of Russian recognition of the Soviet Union State Council resolution "On Recognising the Independence of the Republic of Lithuania." You read that correctly. A draft bill has been introduced to the Russian State Duma that questions Lithuania's right to exist as a sovereign state.

This drafted bill was introduced by Evgeny Fedorov, a member of Putin's own United Russia party. In the attached explanatory note, Fedorov stated that, as the internationally recognized legal successor of the Soviet Union, Russia has the purview to reconsider this resolution. Fedorov notes that there had been a referendum in Russia during March of 1991 that presented support for the preservation of the Soviet Union as one state, but in September that year Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and the Soviet Union State Council would instead adopt the resolution recognizing the independence of Lithuania. Based on this information, Fedorov asserts that this latter resolution is illegal.

Despite the ramifications for the existence of Lithuania as a state (at least according to Russia) it should be noted that this draft bill is nothing new for Fedorov. Previously in 2015, Fedorov questioned the legitimacy of Lithuania's independence, and along with Anton Romanov, another Duma deputy, submitted a letter to the Russian prosecutor's office to examine the claim that Lithuania's independence was only recognized by an "unconstitutional body."

That being said, it is likely that the timing of this new bill is in reaction to recent events that occurred in Lithuania in May. It was during that period of time that the Lithuanian parliament voted unanimously (128 votes in favor out of a total 128 votes) to recognize Russia's war against Ukraine as a genocide, as its armed forces and hired mercenaries have directly engaged in mass war crimes against the population of Ukraine while in their territory. Specific reference is made to the cities of Borodyanka, Bucha, Hostomel, Irpin, and Mariupol. As to what actions were taken, the announcement is based off a document that suggests that Russia's intent has been to wholly, or in part, destroy the Ukrainian people and break their spirit to resist by targeting for death entire families, abductions of the population, mass rape of its people, and by mocking them and those who were murdered. The parliament of Lithuania concludes in the announcement that a tribunal is needed to address these events, and should be granted power to issue international arrest warrants that are not limited by state immunity granted to heads of state and government officials.

Regardless, being introduced at a time when fighting continues to rage in eastern Ukraine, this action makes clear that Russia will continue to respond any way it can against states that are critical of its violent invasion of Ukraine.

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Holding a PhD in Political Science, I write about current events and on political topics related to international relations, international law, conflict both between and within states, and the interactions between technology and politics.

Washington, DC

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