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

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

R. Simonyan (,
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 


1. Waltz K. Theory of International Politics. McGraw Hill, New York, 1979. 252 p.

2. Vorotnikov V. Vneshnyaya politika gosudarstv Baltii v nachale XXI veka [Foreign policy of the Baltic States at the beginning of the XXI century]. Moscow, Aspekt Press, 2015. 272 p.

3. Žalys V. Lietuvos diplomatijos istorija (1925–1940).Vilnius, Versus Aureus, 2007. 128 p. [Žalys V. History of Lithuanian diplomacy (In Lit.)].Vilnius, Versus Aureus, 2007. 128 p.]

4. Simonyan R.Kh. Rol’ Baltiiskogo regiona v sokhranenii sotsiokul’turnoi tselostnosti kontinenta [The role of the Baltic region in preserving the socio-cultural integrity of the continent]. Contemporary Europe, 2014, no. 3, pp. 64-76.

5. Tammik A. Impeeriumid lagunevad pikk. Eesti Paevaleht, Tallinn, 08.12.2001. [Tammik A. Empire disappear for a long time. Estonian daily newspaper, Tallinn, 08.12.2001. (In Est.)]

6. Kuhn U. Deter and Engage: Making the Case for Harmel 2.0 as NATO’s New Strategy. New Perspectives. Interdisciplinary Journal of Central & East European Politics and International Relations, 2015, vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 128-142.

7. Jankauskas K. Nuomoniu lietuvių. Lietuvos rytas, Vilnius, 27.12.2014. [Jankauskas K. The opinion of Lithuanians. Morning Lithuania, Vilnius, 27.12.2014. (In Lit.)]

8. Khudenko S. Rossiya zhelaet nam dobra [Russia wishes us well]. Subbota, Riga, 26.09.2014. pp. 5-6.

9. Saar A. Socioloogid teavitab teid. Postimees, Tallinn, 28.03.2014. [Saar A. Sociologists report. Postman, Tallinn, 28.03.2014. (In Est.)]

10. Butkevičus A. Žvilgsnio lietuvių. Lietuvos rytas, Vilnius, 27.09.2014. [Butkevičus A. In the opinion of Lithuanians. Morning Lithuania, Vilnius, 27.09.2014. (In Lit.)]

11. Dmitriev S. Kommentarii k referendumu v Krymu [Comments on the referendum in Crimea]. Litovskii kur’er, 23.06.2016.

12. Brzezinski Z. The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives (Updated with a New Epilogue). New York, Basic Books, 2016. 223 p.

13. Belkovskii C. Ubit’ effektivnykh menedzherov kak klass. Poka oni okonchatel’no ne ubili Rossiyu. [Kill effective managers as a class. Until they finally killed Russia]. Moskovskii komsomolets, 09.03.2010.

14. Simonyan R.Kh. Rossiiskie ekonomicheskie reformy 1990-kh gg.: psikhologicheskie aspekty [Russian economic reforms of the 1990s: psychological aspects]. Psikhologicheskii zhurnal, 2013, no. 3. pp. 60-71.

15. Simonyan R.Kh. O nekotorykh sotsial’no-demograficheskikh rezul’tatakh ekonomicheskikh reform 1990-kh gg. v Rossii [On some socio-demographic results of economic reforms of the 1990s in Russia]. Sotsiologiya vlasti, 2010, no. 5, pp. 15-28.

16. Time for conflicting assessments. An Interview With J. Urbanowicz. News today, Riga, 17.10.2014. (In Russ.)

17. Simonyan R.Kh. Rossiya i Evrosoyuz: Baltiiskii potentsial ekonomicheskoi integratsii [Russia and the European Union: the Baltic potential for economic integration]. Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya, 2011, 4, pp. 48-60.

18. Āboltiņa S. Valstij jabut vienotal. Latvijas Avize, Riga, 26.03.2014. [Aboltina S. Nation must be united. Latvian Newspaper, Riga, 26.03.2014. (In Lat.)]

19. Strauma L. Problemy i perspektivy integratsii. Interv’yu [Problems and prospects of integration. Interview]. Telegraf, Riga, 07.04.2014.

20. Yoko Alender: It’s time to stop treating Russians as civil occupiers (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 02.09.2018).

21. Drent M., Hedriks R., Zandee D. New threats, new EU and NATO responses. Netherlands Institute of international relations, 2015, July. Available at: (accessed 02.09.2018). 

Registered in System SCIENCE INDEX

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.

Comments (0)

No comments

Add comment






Dear authors! Please note that in the VAK List of peer-reviewed scientific journals, in which the main scientific results of dissertations for the degree of candidate and doctor of sciences should be published for the “MEMO Journal” the following specialties are recorded:
economic sciences:
5.2.5. World Economy.
5.2.1. Economic Theory
5.2.3. Regional and Branch Economics
political sciences:
5.5.4. International Relations
5.5.1. History and Theory of Politics
5.5.2. Political Institutions, Processes, Technologies


Current Issue
2024, vol. 68, No. 7
Topical Themes of the Issue:
  • The Supporting Structure of Global Security
  • Institutional Features of the Fourth Energy Transition
  • The Evolution of Modern German Christian Democracy
  • The Monarchies of the Persian Gulf and Central Asia
Submit an Article
The Editorial Board invites authors to write analytical articles on the following topics:
  • changes in the processes of globalization in modern conditions
  • formation of the new world order
  • shifts in civilization at the stage of transition to a digital society

The editors are also interested in publishing synthesis articles / scientific reviews revealing the main trends in the development of certain regions of the world - Latin America, Africa, South Asia, etc.