Liudas Mazylis, a professor at Vytautas Magnus University who earlier this year found an original copy of Lithuania's Act of Independence of Feb. 16, 1918 in a German archive, on Monday received a Lithuania's Progress Award.
Liudas Mažylis
© DELFI / Domantas Pipas

"This award is given for the first time in Lithuania and it is highly symbolic that it goes to a scientist who has found a unique document, the February 16 Act," Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said after he presented Mazylis with the award.

"This (discovery) not only caused great joy, but there were also certain commitments on our part, which we are fulfilling today. I congratulate the professor once again and I am glad that he has proven that people can accomplish any goals if they have the enthusiasm and determination," he said.

The newly-instituted 10,000-euro award is given for exceptional results of scientific or research activities that are widely known to the general public in Lithuania.

Public discussions about a progress award started after Mazylis in late March found the Council of Lithuania's resolution proclaiming the restoration of an independent state of Lithuania with Vilnius as its capital, written by hand in Lithuanian and German and with 20 signatures on it, in Berlin's diplomatic archive.

Historians say that five original copies of the document -- three in Lithuanian and one in German and Russian each -- were probably signed on Feb. 16, 1918, but the whereabouts of the others are unknown.

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