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Essay, Sep/Oct 1994
Carl Bildt

Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia should be watched closely as barometers of Russia's progress toward better relations with the West. Besides their strategic borders with Russia, these nations have been the historical harbingers of Moscow's intentions abroad, as their early revolts presaged the collapse of the Soviet empire. The Baltic states are still subject to a "demographic occupation" by postwar Russian immigrants, even if Russian soldiers have finally left. For those in Moscow who still harbor designs on the "near abroad," a greedy eye will focus on these newly independent nations first. Western nations, particularly the United States, must steel their resolve and preserve the place of the Baltic states in the new Europe.

Essay, Apr 1966
V. Stanley Vardys

The Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which had been independent between the two world wars, were annexed by the Kremlin in June of 1940, during the dramatic days when Paris fell to the Germans, and became republics of the Soviet Union. In thus reversing the course of modern Baltic history, Moscow separated the Baltic countries not only from Western Europe, toward which they had been oriented in international politics, but also from the nations of Central and Eastern Europe with which they shared most of their social and cultural characteristics. At present one of the main Communist propaganda themes aimed at the postwar generation of Baits is that the independence of their parents was a historical mistake, a deviation from their manifest destiny to be part of Russia. In the Soviet view, Baltic countries should not be independent; their national survival and progress can be assured only by the Leninist nationality policy of the U.S.S.R. Under Khrushchev, the goal of this policy was to establish melting-pot conditions for "the creation of a single nation with a single native [Russian] language."[i] Khrushchev's successors have continued to pursue this objective.

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