The Baltic States and Russia in the Context of the Ukrainian Crisis

457
DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2019-63-9-61-68

R. Simonyan (sim@isras.ru),
Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO-University), The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, 76, Vernadskogo Prosp., Moscow, 119454, Russian Federation
 

Acknowledgements. The reported study was funded by MGIMO-University, project number 1921-01-01 (“Sociocultural phenomenon of frontier in the post-Soviet space: mass consciousness, ethno-cultural and religious identities, social practices”). 


Abstract. The crisis in relations between Russia and Ukraine still has a huge impact on the state of the world community. In particular, most sensitive to the events in Ukraine are Russia’s neighbors, – first of all, the Baltic States, which have recently gained political independence. In the historical memory of the Baltic peoples, the incorporation of 1940 and the subsequent Stalin’s repressions are preserved. The fear of the “big neighbor” is supplemented by genetic fear of disappearance from the world map typical for small ethnic groups. The situation is complicated by the presence of more than 300 thousands Russian-speaking residents in Latvia and Estonia, who are deprived of civil rights as “non-citizens”. At the same time, there are regions in these countries where the Russian-speaking population dominates, and the titular ethnic groups are a minority. In Latvia it is Latgale, where Russian-speaking make up more than half of the population, in Estonia – IDA-Virumaa with more than 80%. In the sphere of foreign policy of the Baltic States, the events in Ukraine confirmed the validity of the anti-Russian rhetoric of these countries’ ruling circles and gave an additional impulse to the promotion of new anti-Russian initiatives. There are two trends in domestic policy with a view to the Ukrainian crisis. National radical groups seek to take advantage of the political situation to reduce the influence of the Russian-speaking Diaspora. The attempts of its assimilation are activated, first of all, in the prohibition of the Russian language in the sphere of education. The most moderate part of the establishment is trying to correct the vices of the existing ethnic policy in order to avoid the growth of interethnic tension in societies, to minimize the risk of internal conflicts, taking into account, among other things, the historical experience and the factor of a transition period of the “great Eastern neighbor”. To a large extent, it is this dialectic that will determine the foreseeable future in the policy of the Baltic countries.

Keywords: Ukrainian crisis, foreign and domestic policy of the Baltic States, Russian Diaspora 


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For citation:
Simonyan R. The Baltic States and Russia in the Context of the Ukrainian Crisis . World Eonomy and International Relations, 2019, vol. 63, no. 9, pp. 61-68. https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2019-63-9-61-68



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