On July 29, 1991 a unique treaty was signed between Russia and Lithuania. It was the only treaty between Russia that acknowledged the occupation and annexation of one of the parties by the other, and was signed and negotiated at a time when the Soviet Union still existed. Two weeks after the signing of the treaty a coup took place in Moscow attempting to reinstate the pre-perestroika situation.
Though the treaty can be viewed as a solid example of good governance and good neighborly relations, in the course of time the reality on the ground has become quite different. The relationship between the two countries is complex and often tense, and much affected by Russia’s desire to dominate, in particular with regard to its neighbors, it’s revisionist policy and divisivememory policy.
The representatives of Russia who negotiated the treaty are in many ways different than those who now rule Russia. The question arises whether good- neighborly relations on an equal footing and mutual respect are possible, even when a regime change would occur in Russia. What are the preconditions for such a normalization, and what steps can Lithuania take to prepare the grounds for the moment when the opportunity arises.