Political map of Europe & the Mediterranean 06 September 1991 (Baltic Independence): The first Soviet republics to break away were the Baltic states, whose 1940 annexation by the Soviet Union (Occupation of the Baltic states) had never been recognized by the West. Lithuania had declared independence (Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania) in 1990, with international pressure seeing off a Soviet attempt at reconquest (January Events (Lithuania)). In the aftermath of the failed coup attempt (1991 Soviet coup d'etat attempt), the Soviet Union recognized the independence of all three Baltic states: Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.