President of the Republic of Lithuania

Highest Lithuanian state decoration for Boris Yeltsin

2012-08-27

Monday, August 27, Vilnius - President Dalia Grybauskaitė presented a state decoration conferred posthumously on former Russian President Boris Yeltsin to his widow Naina Yeltsin. Boris Yeltsin was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of the Cross of Vytis for his personal contribution to strengthening Lithuanian statehood and promoting bilateral relations between Lithuania and Russia.

The President underlined that Boris Yeltsin had advanced the process of democratic transformation in Russia, changing the mindset of the people and opening the door for the international recognition of the Baltic States.

"As it was breaking away from the Soviet past, the new democratically minded Russia stood capable of evaluating history objectively and recognizing the independence aspirations of the Baltic States. This position was put into action by Boris Yeltsin. Lithuania is grateful to Russia of those days," the President said.

According to the President, Boris Yeltsin was the embodiment of Russia's decision to pursue democracy and freedom and to respect the right of national self-determination. He firmly supported Lithuania on January 13, condemning the use of military force in Vilnius. Boris Yeltsin was a strong advocate of Lithuanian independence.

On 29 July 1991 Boris Yeltsin signed a treaty between Lithuania and Russia on the basic principles of interstate relations, which recognized Lithuania as a sovereign nation and setting forth a commitment to build bilateral relations on the foundations of friendship, good-neighborhood, equality, and mutual benefit in compliance with the universally acknowledged norms of international law.

Boris Yeltsin contributed decisively to the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Lithuania and to the signing of the Lithuanian-Russian border treaty in 1997.

The Grand Cross of the Order of the Cross of Vytis is among the highest ranking state decorations awarded to Lithuanian and foreign leaders as well as citizens for exceptional merits to the Lithuanian state. It was conferred on Boris Yeltsin when Lithuania and Russia marked the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations.

Press Service of the President

Last updated 2012.08.27 13:15

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