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VILNIUS – Vytautas Landsbergis, Lithuania's first post-independence leader, has always been the first head-of-state and will always have the status, which cannot be changed by any laws or machinations, says President Dalia Grybauskaite.
"The professor is a historic personality, a symbol of our independence and the freedom era. He is a person with world recognition and a world-famous name. He has always been the first head-of-state and will continue to be that. Nothing – statuses, laws or machinations – will ever change the person's significance to Lithuania and the fact that he was the first head-of-state," Grybauskaite told journalists on Wednesday when asked whether the time has come to grant Landsbergis the status of head-of-state.
Landsbergis was Lithuania's top-ranking official when the country declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1990, significantly contributing to the collapse of the Soviet Union. He presided over the historic session of the Supreme Council that adopted the Act of March 11 that restored Lithuania's statehood. During Landsbergis' rule, Lithuania managed to resist the Soviet economic blockade and gained international recognition.
The proposal to grant Landsbergis the status of head-of-state and relevant guarantees was discussed by Parliamentary Speaker Viktoras Pranckietis a few months ago, saying this would be a proper gesture for the professor's 85th anniversary he celebrates today.
Landsbergis' grandson, Gabrielius Landsbergis who heads the conservative Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats, then questioned the sincerity of the idea. Pranckietis has not registered a relevant bill.