Russia's first post-Soviet leader has been awarded posthumously one of the highest state decorations for his personal contribution to solidifying Lithuania's independence and merits to the development of Lithuanian-Russian inter-state relations.
Yeltsin fought for changes in Russia, supported democracy and freedom, and supported the Baltic states' independence aspirations. Under his leadership, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Lithuania signed the Treaty on the Foundations of Inter-State Relations in 1991, recognizing Lithuania as a sovereign state.
During the 13 January events, Yeltsin strongly supported Lithuania. Together with the heads of the Baltic states, he signed a joint statement in Tallinn, recognizing independence of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Russia and condemning the use of military force.
The Grand Cross of the Order of the Cross of Vytis is a state decoration bestowed upon heads of state and citizens for outstanding merits to the State of Lithuania.