Regrettable Baltic Split

It has now been confirmed that Vaira Vike-Freiberga of Latvia will be the only one of the three Baltic Presidents to attend the May 9th celebrations in Moscow marking the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II.

Arnold Ruutel of Estonia and Valdas Adamkus of Lithuania have decided to stay at home.

One can well understand the difficulties they are having with the Moscow celebration. For them, what happened 60 years ago was that one occupation was replaced with another. In a way, that day was the day that sealed their dark fate during the nearly a quarter of a century of Soviet occupation that followed.

And things have certainly not been made easier by Russian insistence that they weren’t really occupied, but that there was some voluntary element in their incorporation into the Soviet Union. The controversy over the Stalin-Ribbentropp agreement of August 1939, which really paved the way for WWII by dividing up Eastern Europe between the dictators, is as fierce as ever.

Nevertheless, I think the Estonian and Lithuanian Presidents are making their country a disfavour by not going to Moscow. They will make themselves too easy a target for those in Russia already eager to smear down the record of the Baltic countries during that very difficul period of their history.

We’ll see what the reaction will be. But I think it would have been better if they all would have gone.

Hats off for President Vike-Freiberga, who now on her own will have to explain the position of the three Baltic countries when European and world leaders meet in Moscow.

7 Responses to Regrettable Baltic Split

  1. Anonymous skriver:

    Unfortunately the three states didn’t get rid of much by the defeat of Hitler. There was one obstacle left, Stalin. So it’s understandable if they choose another day to celebrate their freedom and victory.

    Celebrating victory in WW2 while at the same time commemorating the sad time to come may be a little tricky. The Russian attitude is perhaps still a bit out of track.

  2. AndersJ skriver:

    This is, indeed, a mistake – but an expected one, given the sensitiveness of the issue and the policies of the past 15 years on the part of the Baltic states.

    In informally announcing to renege on the 1939 Stalin-Ribbentrop agreement in January this year, Russia has already done quite a bit to ease remaining tensions between the countries. The Baltic states should do their share as well.

    The danger here lie not only in the pure symbolic value of the move, but in internal Russian politics. For Russians, the victory over Nazi Germany meant the victory over fascism, not the victory of communism and the Soviet Union. The failure of former Soviet Union members to recognize the symbolic value of that victory can easily and credibly be interpreted as a downright hostile move – furter worsening a relationship strained by the treatment of the large Russian speaking minorities in all three states.

    Perhaps other states should make try to move the Baltic states to a more conciliatory position on the issue.

  3. Simon Petrus skriver:

    The Baltic states won their freedom in 1991 not in 1945. Therefore it is very logical that the presidents of Estonia and Lithuania do not want to participate in a party directed by Putin who is everything but a true fighter for freedom.

  4. Slartibartfast skriver:

    I totally agree with Simon.

  5. Blogbluddle skriver:

    Ignoring historical, cultural and religous differences to meet one common goal, the EU, seems a little naive but is in accordance with Swedish internal affairs, where the goal is mass-immigration of all cultures and colors. From this marxist backyard Carl Bildt seems to find strength.

  6. AndersJ skriver:

    Dear Simon and Blogbuddle.

    This is the perennial conflict between ideology and realpolitik. Of course there are strong reasons for the Baltic states to balk at the prospect of participating in such a celebration. The question is, rather, is the political price for refusing such an invitation worth the fleeting populistic appeal it may have internally?

    I hardly think so, let alone the fact that it further alienates the strong Russian minority.

  7. El Loco skriver:

    The Baltic Sea is very clear on my map and handpainted in blue colour
    and mentioned as Mare Balticum but when I follow the line of the sea only Sweden is sorounding it. So where are the Baltic States mentioned in the article? I don´t even know if Sweden as a whole is a
    federal republic today and not a Kingdom. Or if both exists side by side. The maps I can find on the net
    doesn´t mention anythnig about this.

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