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Tag: Baltic states

Sovereignty kills. Lessons learnt from the war

An interview with Andrey Makarychev, a visiting professor at the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies at the University of Tartu in Estonia. Interviewer: Maciej Makulski

MACIEJ MAKULSKI: Would you agree that the region has lost a sort of stability and predictability that it has enjoyed for over 30 years (with significant turbulence though in 2008 and 2014)? Or was it only an illusion of stability in which people wanted to believe?

ANDREY MAKARYCHEV: Of course, the security landscape in this part of Europe has drastically and dramatically changed. I think the changes are very much related to the fact that we, in Europe, have lost many of the illusions that were inherited from a relatively peaceful and very liberal mindset from the beginning of the 1990s. First of all, this relates to the way we understand security. There were many expectations that security would transform from its military version into something softer and more related to issues such as people’s well-being, environmental protection and climate change, etc.

September 29, 2022 - Andrey Makarychev Maciej Makulski

The unfin(n)ished story of the Baltic alliance

From the region’s perspective, the 1922 Warsaw Accord between Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Poland was a significant step in strengthening geopolitical interests and safeguarding against Russian aggression. Unfortunately, the agreement ultimately failed. This year’s ratification by Finland’s parliament of its application to join NATO can be seen as a final step in this process that began over 100 years ago.

The most promising and – to a certain degree – surprising declaration made by Finland on its interest in joining the NATO Alliance immediately reminded me of the so-called Warsaw Accord. This treaty was drafted 100 years ago on March 17th 1922 and embodied the initiative of a Baltic alliance between Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Poland. Anti-Soviet in nature, cooperation ultimately failed due to reservations expressed by Helsinki. In the summer of 1922 the Finnish parliament – Eduskunta – decided not to ratify the pact. A century later, on May 17th 2022, 188 out of 200 Finnish MPs voted on accession to NATO. The story has come full circle. A story which deserves to be told.

September 29, 2022 - Grzegorz Szymborski

What would Sweden and Finland joining NATO mean for the Baltics?

By invading Ukraine, Vladimir Putin wanted to change Europe’s security architecture and stop the expansion of NATO. Instead, Sweden and Finland, traditionally non-aligned countries, are now considering to join the alliance. Their membership would have a major impact on the security of the Baltic states.

May 11, 2022 - Andrius Balčiūnas LRT

Resign and rule: Latvia’s local elections analysed

The low voter turnout and inconclusive results in the Latvian municipal elections are likely to be repeated in next year’s general election.

July 13, 2021 - Samuel Kramer

We are still searching for our strategy with Russia

An interview with Linas Linkevičius, a Lithuanian politician and diplomat and former foreign minister (2012–2020). Interviewers: Adam Reichardt and Maciej Makulski

April 11, 2021 - Adam Reichardt Linas Linkevičius Maciej Makulski

The Baltic states. Three peas in a pod?

The three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are often together associated as a bloc, with a similar history, culture and politics. While there are some commonalities among the three countries, there are also some key characteristics that make them quite different from each other.

From the outside, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are usually viewed as one – “the Baltics”. However, their fates have only been intertwined during the last century. Prior to the end of the First World War, Lithuania had been closely connected with Poland, while Estonians and Latvians had been under Baltic German domination for seven centuries, no matter whether the ruling power was Sweden, Poland or Russia. Lithuanian and Latvian are the two surviving Baltic languages, whereas Estonian belongs to a completely different language family, together with Finnish and Hungarian.

April 11, 2021 - Andres Kasekamp

The Baltic phoenix

The dissolution of the Soviet Union resulted in defragmenting of the world map into fifteen pieces – most of which were new entities. However, three of them somehow seemed particularly familiar – Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, jointly known as the Baltic states. Their re-emergence in Europe created many legal questions as they all began to claim renewal of their previous statehoods existing in 1918-1940.

Anti-Soviet tendencies on the Baltic coast exploded at the time of Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika. The desire for independence and the struggle for historical truth in the Baltic republics spawned social movements which emphasised the statehoods of the Baltic states, deprived as the result of the USSR’s invasion in 1940.

April 11, 2021 - Grzegorz Szymborski

Russians in Estonia. We are not “them”, we are “us”

Access to good education, healthcare, social welfare and general public services has all contributed to the often difficult process of better integrating mostly older generations of Russian-speakers into Estonian society. The relative ease of conducting everyday life, the security of state support and the prospect of a European future for their children have bound Russians with Estonia over the last three decades.

Estonia’s Russian-speaking community became irritated by a recent speech of the Estonian president, Kersti Kaljulaid, on Estonia’s Independence Day on February 24th, where she emphatically called on fellow citizens “with a different cultural and linguistic background” to understand “(us), Estonians”. The way she chose to address Russian-speakers and other non-ethnic Estonians living in the country – paraphrased as “you, who are different, need to understand us, Estonians” – signifies the lack of understanding in the president’s office of the sensitivities of “the Russian question” from the perspective of Russian-speakers.

April 11, 2021 - Kristina Kallas

Latvia prepares for big step in LGBTQ+ rights

The issue of granting parental rights to same-sex partners has become the most important fight for equality in modern day Latvia. As parliament prepares to decide on key amendments to the country’s constitution, Latvians are struggling to understand that their freedom should not infringe on the freedom of others.

No one embodies the individual and collective fight for one's liberties and freedom in modern-day Latvia as much as Evita Goša. When her fiancée found out she was not entitled to a ten-day paid leave usually granted to fathers of new-borns, she petitioned the Constitutional Court of Latvia which agreed to hear the case.

April 11, 2021 - Ričards Umbraško

Image of ‘digital Baltics’ cracks under weight of pandemic

Despite being lauded as a digital posterchild, Estonia’s e-governance fell short during the COVID-19 crisis. Its Baltic neighbours, Latvia and Lithuania, fared no better.

March 11, 2021 - Keegan McBride

What Ratas’ removal means for Estonia

The resignation of Prime Minister Ratas and his government comes after accusations of corruption within the Centre Party. Politics in Estonia is entering a phase rarely seen before in its modern history.

January 26, 2021 - Samuel Kramer

Conservatives seal victory in Lithuania’s run-off elections

The second round of Lithuania's general election took place on Sunday with the results showing a win for the conservative Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats.

October 27, 2020 - LRT English and Baltic News Service

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