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Good Neighbourliness in the European Legal Context. Editors: Dimitry Kochenov and Elena Basheska. Good Neighbourliness in the European Legal Context provides the first detailed assessment of the essence and application of the principle of good neighbourly relations in the European legal context, illustrating its findings by a multi-faceted array of studies dedicated to the functioning of good neighbourly relations in a number of key fields of EU law. The main claim put forward in this book is that the principle of good neighbourly relations came to occupy a vital place in the Europan legal context, underpinning the very essence of the integration exercise.

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The History

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Cancel Save. The now more nation-conscious Latvians were however much more wary of their traditional other , the Baltic Germans, who had more reasons to look to Hitler for protection. Thus, the Baltic German minority came to be feared and distrusted with regards to the maintenance of Latvian independence after Hitler's rise to power. After all, Riga was not that far from Dantzig, and the Sudeten Germans had not needed so much vexations as Latvia's Germans to call for irredenta with the Third Reich. This is why the Baltic Russians were not regarded as a real threat yet, and why its role in defining Latvian nationalism was kept to a minimum until The year of marked a pivotal moment in Latvian national history in two senses.

By this treaty, Hitler got rid of Latvia's internal other, which could after a while lead to an existentialist crisis in the form of Sartre's reflections on memory in Huis Clos.

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If Latvia's other no longer existed, against who was this nation going to define itself against internally? Stalin made sure that this identity crisis did not happen, and quickly swept all dualities or hesitations on who was Latvia's internal and external other.


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As has been seen in the precedent chapter, the events that will now be accounted did not constitute a turning point in itself, as some historians have described it, but rather the continuation and amplification, due to historical factors, of the process of re-definition of Latvianness against its others. However, the importance of Latvia's Soviet years should not be understated either. Following the German-Soviet pact, the Soviet Union quickly moved, in a combination of power-projection, agitation and provocation, to end the Baltic States' independence.

Following this treaty's re-arrangement, the USSR's sphere of interest had been extended to Lithuania. In order to counter the threat of both Germany and Soviet Russia, the three Baltic States had therefore at last moved into a sort of alliance to protect their independence, but that was not sufficient.

A campaign of terror and dekulakisation typical of the s Soviet Union followed, with peasants as the main target, and led to the deportation of 20, Latvians, and the killing of 1, others This ruthlessness made Latvian nationalists understand that their warnings against Soviet Russia had not been wrong but also, retrospectively, that Soviet Russia rather than Germany had threatened most the independence of Latvia.

Although the Latvians were still wary of the growing threat of Nazi Germany, they now had an immediate and main enemy, that is the USSR, which had territorially claimed its heritage from Tsarist Russia. The experience of deportations was a powerful mobilising experience for ordinary Latvians who by now had been won over by Latvian nationalism , and obviously comforted them in the idea that their other , their enemy was now mainly Soviet Russia, in other words, the USSR.

A Legal and Political Assessment of the Baltic States' Accession to the EU

The experience of the WWII could have been a catalyst for a remobilisation against both Germany and the Germans, particularly as the Wehrmacht quickly occupied Latvia and repressed its inhabitants. However, as was the case in many occupied countries at the time, Latvians split on this issue, and many went into collaboration with the Germans. Moreover, there was no consensus among the nationalist leaders about the definition of their other , their national enemy against whom they had to define themselves. This sort of revelations, encouraged by German propaganda, continued to lessen the duality of perception of the other, and encouraged its realignment against Russia as a State entity.

By , however, this realignment was far from over. The end of this realignment in fact came in the last years of Stalin's leadership, as the Red Army re-asserted control in Latvia. From that moment, the campaign of terror and de-kulakisation was re-initiated and amplified. Considering the impact of wars and catastrophes of this type in terms of crystallising national identity, this terror process had a huge impact on the development of the Latvian national sentiment for years to come. Retrospectively, this proposition is erroneous. Stalin's terror in this period was not a genocide, but rather the direct and indirect systematic mass-killing of a class , not an ethnie , within Latvia.

However, the fact that this terror campaign did not happen simultaneously with the rest of the Soviet Union, reinforced the sentiment of injustice and crime in the eyes of Latvian nationalists and the Latvian population — who at least in the Daugavpils area could get some news of the situation in neighbouring Pskov, for example. This therefore helped to crystallise a latent Latvian nationalism against this new other which, for the first time in Latvian-Russian relations history, had become its sole enemy.

The examiner might have noticed the relative lack of attention given to the role of the Baltic Russian community in shaping the development of Latvian nationalism, and therefore the building of the Latvian nation. As has been seen however, until the late s, the country's Russians had played no role in this development, except maybe in , when parts of the Russian nationalist groups formed a coalition with Latvian nationalists with very little results, however. In any case, the Baltic Russians thus far had played no role as the other.

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This uneventful relation was to end during the period of Soviet occupation. Firstly, Latvia in the post-war years was the theatre of a massive immigration from Russified areas of the Soviet empire to the small republic. The obvious result of this, particularly in the period following World War II, was a rise in shortages, and following the USSR's discriminative policies in favour of Russians, priority was given to these Russophones in terms of housing, jobs, access to economic privileges, etc.

This trend quickly became totally irreversible, and the result was not only the gradual growth of the Russians over the Latvians whose fertility was already rapidly declining, thereby threatening their being as a nation, but also the establishment of a control regime in the Republic, in which a Russian ethnic group was closed and was to be permanently segregating against Latvian nationals.

Russification was probably the biggest factor in the making of an internal other in the form of Latvia's Russians. Coming from a state of total independence to that of extreme subordination to Moscow, Latvians saw Russian replace Latvian as the language of government, Latvian government officials being replaced by Russian ones in the LSSR, particularly after the anti-national communism purge of , and their own language being submitted to multiple vexations. While such a statement is right when considering most parts of the Soviet Union, historical evidence suggests that the Baltic States did not fit their description.

The mistake that some scholars specialised in this area during this period have committed is their lack of attention to the reaction of people, which in this case could be scientifically reflected not only in the amount and nature of dissent activities, but also in the behaviour of the Republics' Communist parties. The most indisputable clues come from the attitudes of the Latvian CP and its organs, whose internationalism and rejection of nationalism is beyond question.

There were many occasions in which these expressed fears towards the Russophone fluxes. Therefore, Latvian nationalism did evolve by that time by giving the USSR, and therefore Russia as a State entity, the unenviable status as sole other , but also by crystallising its definition of self-identity against the newly arrived Baltic Russians. The period that will now be looked at is quite typical of Alter's explanations of the rise of the Risorgimento nationalism followed by its gradual replacement by a more integral nationalism Their demise as others after therefore cannot be accounted for solely on the base of vexations endured during Soviet occupation.

The first thing to be said about Latvia's second Risorgimento might first appear as a digression.

The Baltic States : the national self-determination of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania

However, it is crucial to understand the nature of the s nationalist movement to pursue investigations into Latvian nation-building. In fact, because Latvians were already nationally self-conscious, they did not need mobilisation to the same extent, for example, in Belarus, and this explains the success of the Popular Fronts in the Baltics as opposed to their relative failure in Central Asia or Belarus. Thus, the founding members of the first openly nationalist organisation, Helsinki, were not members of the national elites, but students in their majority When these leaders were arrested and subject to Soviet repression in , the movement had already attracted a mass-following, only by hear-say, and the death of Helsinki as a result did not announce the end of a dissident movement in Latvia, particularly as Gorbachev's Perestroika was now allowing the remaining dissidents to express themselves more freely.

Nevertheless, the Front's leaders came to have a very important role, as they tried to channel the aspirations of the masses, and most importantly, as they tried to make a nationalist movement respectable in the Soviet Union. For this to happen, the Baltic Russians could not serve as an other. As a result, most militants and the LTF leadership understood that there was a need to win the Russians over. Because of these tactics, as well as because of the non-credibility of the reactionary Interfront , most Russians were quickly won over or persuaded to neutrality, and they became circumstantial allies in the fight for Latvian independence rather than others against whom Latvia defined itself.

It is here interesting to come back to Russia as a national entity. However, If Russia, like the Baltic Russians, was not the other , its role was actually important with regards the success of the Baltic movement. In fact, after the rise of the LTF came the rise of what could be called the Young Russians movement, led by Yeltsin, and who at the time stuck to a same Risorgimento vision of Russian national development. Having the same interest as the Baltic Fronts, the Russia led by Yeltsin, far from being an other , became an ally once power was acquired by the Russian presidency.

Here again, Russia's role has been very important perhaps more than that of Latvia's Russians , but not as the other. Russia, like the Baltic Rusisans, had become a circumstantial ally that helped Latvia acquire its independence in It is now useful to come back to the post period in order to define Latvia's relationship with these two entities and debunk a few other myths. The fact is that, once independence was acquired, Latvia's relations with Russia and its Baltic Russians quickly deteriorated, though this poisoning relation remained within acceptable limits there was never any threat of massive unrest as there was in Moldova, for example.

The aim of this part will be to account for these changes and their scope. In terms of Latvia's relations with its Russian Community, relations deteriorated almost immediately after independence. Although, retrospectively, Lieven overstated the radical nature of the nationalising LNNK, it is certain that its rise ended the harmony period between the two communities. Those Russians then were excluded from citizenship, according to a strict international legality if the occupation of Latvia had been unlawful and had not respected international regulations concerning occupation behaviours, then the Russians who had arrived in Latvia as a result of this occupation were not to be considered as citizens — under the international laws of occupation no migration to the occupied territories were legal.

If the presence of these Russians was unlawful, then they were to be considered as either aliens and therefore transferred massively to their country of origin which was not possible for a variety of reasons , or as emigrants whose right to become citizens was to be given through a process of naturalisation by the Latvian government.

Until that moment, they remained excluded from many parts of Latvia's Social Contract. In this perspective, it is important to explain why such a strategy was chosen.

The Baltic States : the national self-determination of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania | DIGAR

This was not the case in the short-term, of course, but Latvian nationalists had learnt the lessons from the inter-war period, and knew that it was impossible to make predictions about the national and international atmosphere for more than ten years… After all, who in would have predicted the events of the ss?

The US policy of non-recognition shaped an international political and legal axis that supported the pursuits of various movements, both in exile and at home, in trying to liberate the Baltic nations. Firstly, when the US adopted this position, it encouraged other Western democracies to do the same. Without the Sumner Welles declaration, it would have been unlikely that the UK, France, Canada or Australia would have treated the matter as unambiguously, especially during the Cold War. Secondly, the non-recognition policy guaranteed that the diplomatic representations of the occupied Baltic states retained their status as members of the diplomatic corps in the US.

The Latvian and Lithuanian embassies in Washington continued their activity until the collapse of the Soviet Union in Although the Republic of Estonia unfortunately had not had the time to establish an embassy in the US capital, the main consulate in New York, led by Ernst Jaakson, fulfilled the role of a diplomatic representation. We can only imagine what an uncomfortable and constantly annoying thorn in the side of the Soviet authorities was the status of the Baltic representatives in the Washington diplomatic corps.

It was a consistent public reminder that the status of the Baltic states in the Soviet empire was the result of devious and predatory activities to borrow the style of Sumner Welles.