Will Russia Invade The Baltics? | NowThis World
Instead of occupation – &# 171; incorporation&# 187 ;? Reaction in the Baltics to Putin’s terminological balancing act
The article by Russian President Vladimir Putin on the reasons for the outbreak of World War II is disputed by experts from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania
Vladimir Putin’s article “75 Years of the Great Victory: Shared Responsibility to History and the Future” was published in the US-published magazine “The National Interest” on June 19, and then in Russian on the website Kremlin.ru
The publication continues to provoke lively discussions by both Russian and foreign experts. One of the most discussed was a fragment of an article in which the Russian president called the annexation of the Baltic countries, which occurred as a result of the Soviet-German treaty, known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, “incorporation”: “In the fall of 1939, solving our military-strategic, defensive tasks, The Soviet Union began the process of incorporation of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Their entry into the USSR was implemented on a contractual basis, with the consent of the elected authorities. This corresponded to the norms of international and state law of that time … The Baltic republics within the USSR retained their authorities, language, had representation in the Soviet higher state structures “.
The entry of Soviet troops into Latvia. June 17, 1940
Experts from the Baltic states, in an interview with the correspondent of the Russian service of “Voice of America”, expressed their attitude to the article in “The National Interest” and to the following interview of Vladimir Putin on the TV channel “Russia – 1”, where, in particular, regrets were expressed about about the fact that during the secession from the USSR, the national republics “dragged along” territorial “gifts from the Russian people”.
Estonia: “Of course, Vladimir Putin does not care about our history”
Estonian political scientist Carmo Tuyur (Karmo Tuur) calls Putin’s article “a crude information operation”, the main idea of which is that “the big guys should meet, rub everything with each other and agree on the future world order.”.
“The idea is very simple – if we do not meet and agree, we will not be able to avoid war,” the Estonian expert said in an interview with the Voice of America Russian Service..
Karmo Tuyuru seemed especially cynical when he said that the “incorporation” of the three Baltic states into the USSR “corresponded to the norms of international and state law of that time.”.
“It says that international law is a method of formalizing a relationship, and how we, the big players decide, is how international law will be interpreted,” he explains..
In the opinion of the Voice of America interlocutor, the entire paragraph mentioning the “incorporation” of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania was needed by Vladimir Putin “as a cynical example of how to act.” Namely: “The main thing is to do it, and then we will arrange it properly, and no one will condemn the winners. That is, speaking of the Baltic states, they actually meant Abkhazia, Crimea, Syria and “other Donbass”. Like, if we need it, then the “Big Five” (permanent members of the UN Security Council) should come to an agreement among themselves, and thus our own national interests will be protected, a big war will not happen, and, in criminal language, “everything will be covered and covered” “.
The article by the Russian president appeared a few days after June 14, when the peoples of the Baltic countries celebrate the anniversary of the Stalinist deportation of their fellow countrymen to Siberia. Karmo Tuyur considers this to be a simple coincidence: “Of course, Vladimir Putin does not care about our history, about our memory, and in general he does nothing for the peoples of our countries. It was not for this that all this was written and published. Of course, it was not meant that shortly before publication we had a memorable date, but the expectation was that the article would be published before the victory parade and voting for amendments to the Constitution. This is such a single patriotic package that Vladimir Putin is now promoting in order to get the result he needs to reset himself, ”the Estonian political scientist is convinced..
Latvia: “We haven’t heard anything new”
“Pro-Kremlin historians have been trying for many years to explain to us the legitimacy of the annexation of the Baltic countries to the Soviet Union in 1940. And, in fact, everything that is stated in this article is the sum of the concepts that we have heard and read over the past ten years, “a leading researcher of the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the University of Latvia began his commentary for the Russian service of the Voice of America. Kaspars Zellis (Kaspars Zellis).
After the publication of the article, where he reflected his vision of the causes of the outbreak of World War II and its consequences, the Russian leader gave a lengthy interview to the Russia-1 TV channel, where, in fact, he made territorial claims to some countries of the “post-Soviet space”: “If the republic entered into the USSR, – said Putin, – but received in her baggage a huge amount of Russian lands, traditional Russian historical territories, and then decided to leave this Union, then I would leave, with what I came ”.
Kaspars Zellers believes that Latvia and Estonia, on the contrary, have become part of the “homeland of world socialism”, having suffered territorial losses. For example, Abrensky district, which was annexed by the RSFSR at the end of World War II. “And Latvia did not receive this territory back after secession from the Soviet Union,” the Latvian historian recalls. And he adds that this remark about “territorial gifts” from Russia, most likely, was addressed to the Ukrainians and contained an allusion to “the return of Crimea to its native harbor.” And to a much lesser extent, this meant Putin’s scandalous phrase about “dead donkey ears” in response to the alleged claims of Estonians to the territory known as the Pytalovsky district of the Pskov region.
Like his Estonian counterpart, Kaspars Zellers does not think that publishing an article in The National Interest immediately after the anniversary of the deportation of the Baltic peoples was the intention of Putin and his administration. “Talk about this article, which will present the Russian concept of European politics before World War II, went on at the beginning of the year. And I think this article should have appeared by May 9th. But due to the coronavirus and the cancellation of the celebration of Victory Day in the Russian Federation, this article was moved closer to June 24, that is, to the day to which the victory parade was postponed, “Zellis said..
And he notes that the article of the Russian president about the Second World War did not cause any noticeable response in Latvian society. “Because we have not heard anything new that we would not have been used to hearing from the Russian Federation over the past 20 years. If we talk about the reaction of the official circles, there was a note from our Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which expressed disagreement with this Russian concept, voiced by Vladimir Putin, ”notes Kaspars Zellis.
The statement of the Latvian Foreign Ministry mentioned by the Voice of America interlocutor, in particular, reads: “The Baltic countries were occupied and annexed illegally, with the use of threats and military provocations. The USSR violated its obligations established in international treaties and carried out an act of aggression “.
At the same time, according to a leading researcher at the University of Latvia, the article by the Russian president should not be underestimated. “It is a kind of reaction to the resolutions that were adopted last year in the European Union on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. And once again emphasizes Russia’s lonely view of those events. In fact, this is an attempt to rehabilitate the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, to evade responsibility for the outbreak of World War II and discredit those states that do not share this concept, presenting them as revanchist, pro-fascist, and so on, ”sums up Kaspars Zellis.
Lithuania: “Such a balancing act of concepts is intended for the Western reader”
Director of the Center for Research on Genocide and Resistance of Lithuanian People Teresa Birute-Burauskaite (Teresė Birutė Burauskaitė) believes that the word “incorporation” used by Vladimir Putin is intended to divert public attention from the fact of the occupation and annexation of the Baltic countries. “If you look at the term“ incorporation ”in the dictionary, it means union, inclusion, or amicable affiliation. And from this article it follows that for some reason we ourselves have decided that it is better for us to become a part of a neighboring state. This is a very interesting interpretation, especially considering that Mr. Putin is now pretending to be a historian. To be honest, I don’t know if it is a generally accepted practice for the leaders of states to act as arbiters in the historical past not only of their country, but of the entire continent, “- ironically Ms. Burauskaite.
The interlocutor of the Russian service “Voice of America” admits that she has not yet had time to read the entire article by Vladimir Putin on the reasons that led to the Second World War. Nevertheless, the main idea of the part concerning the “incorporation” of Lithuania into the USSR is that only the “political elite” allegedly resisted this process. The middle bourgeoisie, according to Russian propaganda, reacted indifferently to this, but the “working class and peasantry” allegedly welcomed “the long-awaited entry into the Union of Indestructible Republics of the Free”.
At the same time, the director of the Center for Research on Genocide and Resistance of Lithuanian Citizens notes that among those who were deported to Siberia after the implementation of what “corresponded to the norms of international and state law of that time”, at least 10% of the Lithuanian working class and about 20 % of peasants were loaded with their family members into freight cars and sent across the Urals.
By the way, unlike Karmo Tuyur, Teresa Birute-Burauskaite does not consider it a coincidence that Putin’s article came out immediately after another anniversary of the Stalinist deportation of the Baltic peoples. “It’s very hard to believe that this is an accident,” she notes. – Especially, considering that such accidents are somehow not visible in Putin’s activities. Yes, he reacts to something impulsively, but he said before that he was interested in this period of our history..
Of course, he does not write these articles himself – this is not the result of “one night’s work”, as students have before the exam. There are very tightly cobbled together phrases. Our political scientists say that it was written for internal use in Russia, but terms such as “incorporation” or phrases that the Lithuanians retained their positions in power when this “incorporation” took place, and that the national language was retained. And in general, the article uses such a balancing act of concepts that it seems to me that it is intended for a Western reader, ”believes the director of the Center for Research on Genocide and Resistance of Lithuanian People.
And he explains that the argumentation of the article is calculated on the fact that the citizens of Western countries may not like that their taxes go to support those new NATO members whose ancestors entered the USSR “on a contractual basis, with the consent of the elected authorities.”.
“I think that it was written with the expectation of precisely such people who, politely speaking, do not really delve into the essence of the matter. They are easier to manipulate, and they lend themselves to propaganda, which then affects the election results, “sums up Teresa Birute-Burauskaite.
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