Lithuania profile - Timeline

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Winter dawn in VilniusImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, in winter

A chronology of key events

1915 - Lithuania occupied by German troops during World War One.

1918 - Lithuania declares independence.

1920 - Soviet Russia recognises Lithuania's independence under Treaty of Moscow.

1926 - Nationalist Party leader Antanas Smetona seizes power in military coup after left wing wins elections.

1939 - The Soviet Union compels Lithuania to accept Soviet military bases.

Soviet invasion

1940 - Soviet army invades. President Smetona flees. Lithuania incorporated into Soviet Union.

1941 - Thousands of Lithuanians deported to Siberia. Nazis invade Soviet Union and occupy Lithuania.

1944 - Soviet Army returns, presaging further deportations and repression of resistance.

1988 - Group of writers and intellectuals sets up Lithuanian Movement for Reconstruction (Sajudis). Its leaders declare at a mass rally in the capital, Vilnius, that the USSR occupied Lithuania illegally.

Ringaudas Songaila dismissed as Lithuanian Communist Party chief. Replaced by Algirdas Brazauskas.

1989 - Parliament approves declaration of Lithuanian sovereignty, stating that Lithuanian laws take precedence over Soviet ones. The Lithuanian Communist Party breaks away from the Soviet Communist Party and declares support for independence.

Independence struggle

1990 - Sajudis wins majority of seats in parliamentary elections. Its leader, Vytautas Landsbergis, is elected chairman of parliament which declares restoration of independence.

Soviet Union imposes embargo, halting fuel supplies and causing severe economic difficulties. Lithuania agrees to suspend independence, pending talks.

1991 January - As no headway is made in talks with Moscow and the economy faces turmoil, Landsbergis ends suspension of declaration of independence.

Soviet troops fire on civilians outside television tower in Vilnius, killing 13 and injuring several hundred.

1991 February - Referendum sees overwhelming vote in favour of independence.


1991 September - Following failed coup in Moscow the previous month, Soviet Union recognises Lithuania's independence. Lithuania joins UN.

1992 - New constitution introduces presidency. The former Communist Party, renamed Lithuanian Democratic Labour Party, wins more seats than Sajudis in general election. Coalition government formed.

1993 - Algirdas Brazauskas elected president. Lithuania joins Council of Europe. New national currency, the litas, introduced. Soviet troops complete withdrawal.

1994 - Lithuania joins Nato Partnership for Peace programme. Treaty of friendship signed with Poland.

1995 - Lithuania's two largest commercial banks collapse. Political scandal ensues.

1996 - Prime Minister Slezevicius dismissed in the aftermath of banking crisis. General elections bring in centre-right coalition government.

1997 - President Brazauskas visits Russia. Border treaty, cooperation agreement signed.

1998 - Valdas Adamkus, a US citizen who spent nearly 50 years in exile, elected president.

1999 - Controversial contract signed selling a controlling share in Lithuanian state oil company to the American energy group, Williams International. Conservative Prime Minister Rolandas Paksas resigns. Andrius Kubilius becomes prime minister.

2000 - General election returns another centre-right coalition government. Paksas reappointed prime minister, this time as a member of the Liberal Union.

2001 July - Algirdas Brazauskas becomes prime minister following collapse of coalition in squabble over privatisation and other economic reforms. He pledges to work to speed up EU and Nato membership.

2002 November - Nato summit in Prague includes Lithuania on list of countries formally invited to join the alliance.

2002 December - EU summit in Copenhagen formally invites Lithuania to join in 2004.

2003 January - Rolandas Paksas elected president.

2003 May - Lithuanian referendum results in vote in favour of joining EU.

2003 December - Impeachment proceedings begin against President Paksas after parliamentary inquiry concludes that alleged links between his office and Russian organised crime constitute threat to national security.

2004 March - Lithuania joins Nato.

2004 April - Parliament impeaches and dismisses Rolandas Paksas.

EU era begins

2004 May - Lithuania is one of 10 new states to join the EU.

2004 June - Valdas Adamkus re-elected president.

2004 October - Algirdas Brazauskas carries on as prime minister in new coalition following general elections.

2004 November - Lithuania becomes first EU member state to ratify new EU constitution.

2004 December - Reactor one at Ignalina nuclear power station shuts down in line with EU entry requirements. Under the same agreement, the second reactor is to close by 2009.

2005 January - Foreign Minister Valionis admits that he was once an officer in the Soviet KGB reserves. A parliamentary inquiry is launched into his past and into similar allegations against two other senior officials.

2006 May-July - Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas resigns after the Labour Party pulls out of the ruling coalition. Parliament appoints appoints Gediminas Kirkilas.

2008 May - Parliament ratifies EU Lisbon Treaty.

The EU Commission turns down Lithuania's application to join the euro zone on 1 January 2007, citing the country's inflation rate.

2008 April-May - Lithuania threatens to derail EU-Russia partnership talks over energy concerns but drops veto under pressure from other member states.

2008 June - Parliament bans display of Soviet and Nazi symbols. The restrictions are the toughest of any former Soviet state.

Economic crisis

2008 October - The conservative Homeland Union party becomes largest party after parliamentary elections, pushing Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas's Social Democrats into second place.

2008 November - Homeland Union leader Andrius Kubilius appointed prime minister at the head of a centre-right coalition government.

2009 April - National statistics office publishes figures showing that Lithuania's GDP plunged 12.6% in the first quarter of 2009, compared to the same period last year.

2009 May - EU budget commissioner Dalia Grybauskaite, standing as an independent, wins presidential election with more than 68% of the vote.

2009 December - The second reactor at the Ignalina nuclear power station is shut down, in line with Lithuania's EU entry requirements.

2012 December - Social Democrat leader Algirdas Butkevicius becomes prime minister after his party wins parliamentary elections in October. He forms a coalition with the Labour Party and two smaller parties.

2013 July - Lithuania assumes rotating six-month European Union presidency for first time since joining the EU, the first of the Baltic states to do so.

Tensions with Russia

2013 October - Russia halts all dairy imports from Lithuania, amid a row over the Lithuanian EU presidency's efforts to draw Ukraine closer to the EU.

2014 April - Nato steps up military presence in the Baltic states in response to tensions with Russia over the Ukraine crisis.

Lithuania suspends a Russian state TV channel's broadcasts on its territory, accusing it of propaganda.

2014 May - Incumbent Dalia Grybauskaite wins presidential election run-off, the first time in the country's history a president has been elected to two consecutive terms.

2015 January - Lithuania joins the euro zone.

2015 February - Government says it plans to restart military conscription, which ended in 2008, amid growing concerns about Russian assertiveness in the Baltic region.

2015 March - Nato reinforces its presence in the Baltic states and its forces conduct major military drills in the region.

2016 November - Saulius Skvernelis becomes prime minister after his Peasant and Green Union inflicts a surprise defeat on Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius's Social Democrats in parliamentary elections.

2019 June - Financier Gitanas Nauseda wins presidential election with 66.5% of the vote, beating the initial front-runner, conservative former finance minister Ingrida Simonyte.

2020 November - Ingrida Simonyte becomes prime minister at the head of a coalition between the conservative Homeland Union - Lithuanian Christian Democrats and two centrist groups, the Freedom Party and Liberal Movement.

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