In an article entitled “Russia and the Baltics: Who is Scaring Whom?” Russian regionalist Vadiim Shtepa writes that this month is the 25th anniversary of Moscow’s efforts to hold the USSR together by using force in Lithuania and Latvia. This instead accelerated the breakup of the Soviet Union by exposing it as a state held together by force alone.
He says: “Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia played a leading role in the liquidation of the Soviet empire, above all by insisting on the denunciation of the secret protocols of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact by which Stalin and Hitler divided up Eastern Europe…The democratic Russia of 1991 willingly recognized the independence of the Baltic countries,but present-day Russia has evolved in the direction of the former Soviet imperial worldview. Now Putin declares that the disintegration of the USSR was ‘the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century.’”
This view is becoming “mainstream” thinking in Moscow, with Putin and his supporters viewing “all the rest of the post-Soviet countries not as really independent state but as some kind of political misunderstanding which by accident” appeared on the map. “And if they insist on their independence, Russia will begin to treat them in a hostile way up to and including using military force against them” as in Georgia and Ukraine.
The Baltic countries, however, by joining NATO in 2004 “have turned out to be beyond reach” and “possibly therefore they generate particular hostility among the restorers of empire” who know that they cannot act against the three the way they have elsewhere lest Russia find itself in a conflict with “the most important military alliance on the planet.”
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Picture source: www.eurasiareview.com