In 1997, the residents of the area declared the Republic of Užupis, along with its own flag, currency, president, cabinet of ministers, a constitution written by Romas Lileikis and Thomas Chepaitis, an anthem, and an army (numbering approximately 11 men). They celebrate this independence annually on Užupis Day, which falls on April 1. Artistic endeavours are the main preoccupation of the Republic; the former President of the Republic of Užupis, Romas Lileikis, is himself a poet, musician, and film director.
Artūras Zuokas, a former mayor of Vilnius, lives in Užupis and frequently takes part in the Republic's events. Užupis does not house internet-cafes, kiosks, big malls, or governmental institutions (except Užupian), and there is no embassy to Lithuania.
It is unclear whether the statehood of the Republic, recognized by no government, is intended to be serious, tongue-in-cheek, or a combination of both. The decision to place Užupis Day on April 1 (April Fools' Day) may not be coincidental, emphasizing the importance of humor and non-importance of "serious" political decisions. The flag of the Republic contains a palm of hand in a white background. Each season the palm emblem has another color: Winter - blue, Spring - green, Summer - yellow, Autumn - red.