Political map of Russia & the former Soviet Union 6 September 1991 (Baltic Indepedence): The first republics to break away from the Soviet Union were the Baltic states, whose 1940 annexation (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.