In 1990, the tiny Soviet Republic of Lithuania declared independence and began restoring the mechanisms of independent government and democracy that had been suppressed by its Soviet invaders for half a century. Lithuania examines the first years of this rebirth in the face of the legacy of the Soviet occupation. In addition to chronicling the lively chain of events leading to and stemming from the declaration of independence, Alexandra Ashbourne studies the essential components of rebirth: the creation of domestic, foreign, and security policies and the revitalization of an independent economy. Drawing from the personal testimony of Lithuanians closely connected to these events, Ashbourne appraises Lithuania's attempts to rejoin the international community and acquire an effective security guarantee. She concludes that the damage caused by fifty years of Soviet domination created obstacles to the process of rebirth, obstacles that are proving difficult and even impossible to overcome. Readers of Lithuania will find its discussions applicable to most former Soviet republics and Eastern Bloc states.
The book will be invaluable to students and scholars of Lithuania, Soviet history, and international political policy.