Will Baltic Nations Face Geopolitical Loneliness as Consistent Critics of the Kremlin?

Loss of the United Kingdom (UK) that is steadily upholding a strict position towards the Kremlin is indicated as one of the outcomes of Brexit in the international public domain, allegedly, this gap in the European Union (EU)…

Loss of the United Kingdom (UK) that is steadily upholding a strict position towards the Kremlin is indicated as one of the outcomes of Brexit in the international public domain, allegedly, this gap in the European Union (EU) shall be taken by Poland, Sweden, Romania and Baltic States. In any case they could open a bottle of champagne in Moscow to celebrate Brexit, because it weakened possibilities of the West to resist the Kremlin.    
On the other hand, Moscow understands very well that sanctions declared against it will start to throttle after a decade, in 2024, as it happened in former Yugoslavia. In relation to this we can see a competition of three potential vectors of development in Russia – Russia as a separate, special state to itself; Russia is Eurasia, thus empire and Russia as part of the West.
To this end appointment of Dmitry Kozak, the former Vice-minister, an experienced geopolitical manager (in Moldova he managed to ‘reconcile’ Unites States, EU and Moscow for tactical reasons) to the position of Assistant director of the President administration of Russia, who will also be responsible for ‘supervision’ of separatist eastern Ukraine (instead of Vladislav Surkov). Although D. Kozak faithfully serves to the President of Russia, he is one of his environment, whose children live in the West and he also considers himself as a Western-type manager.
We can foresee a tendency that this manger will try to ‘reconcile’ Moscow with the West also at the expense of Eastern Europe. Therefore, a political class of Russia has been attacking the West for some time already.
One consequence of these attacks is return of the Russian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), where representatives from 47 democratic countries have meetings and vote for solutions. Pyotr Tolstoy, deputy of the Russian Duma, was elected a Vice-chairman of the Assembly, although he had called this organization a circus and accused it of oaky Anti-Soviet Propaganda. Public media of Russia called the election a victory against Russophobes from the Baltic States and Ukraine.   
Actually, the Baltic States constantly opposed, representatives of the delegations of Lithuania and Latvia Emmanuelis Zingeris and Marija Golubeva pointed out decisions of the European Court of Human Rights ignored by Russia (for instance, refusal to produce explanations regarding anti-gay purges in Chechnya), Aggression of Moscow against Georgia and Ukraine, violation of democracy (according to the data of Human right organization , currently in Russia there are 312 political prisoners), presence of the elected deputies in the annexed Crimea in the Russian delegation. It didn’t work.     
E.Zingeris in his interview to the radio channel Svoboda  (https://www.svoboda.org/a/30408613.html) reminded that membership of Russia in the PAEC was not even disputed even after Russian tanks ‘visited’ eastern Ukraine 5 years ago, its authorities were just suspended. Moscow, being insulted for sanctions, stopped its participation in activities of the Assembly. It also reminded that de facto there is not a single representative of the opposition in the Russian delegation, although according to the regulation it should be at least two. Nonetheless, some of the well-wishers from delegations of other countries, gave their arguments that let Russians participate, at least they will be able to ask Russians questions. Up to now it has not been working. According to E. Zingeris, instead of answers we have gloomy silence and the impression is that Russians try to determine the habits of the Russian Duma but not a democratic structure. 
In the international public domain there are a lot of speeches about preparation of part of Western elite to make a deal with Moscow, where the situation in Crimea and eastern Ukraine encumbers. V. Putin already in 2014 told as if Ukrainians were not able to establish statehood and could be only satellites (everybody knows whose). Moscow skilfully shows discord and then in the international domain announces ‘remember, we told that…’.This scenario is still verified in Ukraine; if it succeeds, nobody would hinder ‘to go forward’, especially the Baltic States and Poland constantly support the European vector of Ukrainians.  
A sentence from the last V.Putin and Alexander Lukashenko negotiation session in Sochi that got into the public reports is very interesting in these terms. “Delaying’ the plane with delegation of the government for quite a long time the President of Russia had a chance to meet a colleague from Belarus face to face in Sochi and also could discuss neighbouring countries and what policy should be upheld in respect to them.  Neither neighbours nor content of policy were particularized, however it is obvious that both sets were suggested not from the side of Belarus. After finally the Russian delegation reached the place of negotiations and after they were over, their participants played ice hockey. The combined team that was made of Presidents of Russia and Belarus won overwhelmingly – 3:4. Publicist Ilya Milstein commented this (graniru.org/Politics/World/Europe/Belarus/m.278288.html) as a harsh allusion about potentially projected collective ‘invitations’ to consolidate in the style of the ‘Kremlin’ – with choking in a ‘brotherly’ embrace. The same as not long ago in Crimea, eastern Ukraine, previously in Czezhenia, Baltic States and ‘further’ up to the former Warsaw treaty block inclusive.
Moscow ‘remembered’ that Polish declined to Russophobes and Anti-Semitism for a reason. Now Warsaw (as many times before) became the main power resisting against expansion of the Kremlin, so it’s logical to try demoralize its society, trying also to sabotage support of Warsaw to the pursues of the democratic goals of the Belarus nation.
During XII forum “Europe-Ukraine’ held in Poland, Riashev at the beginning of February Małgorzata Gosiewska, Deputy Marshal of the Sejm of Poland, noted that now it is not possible to find a settlement with Russia and Kiev in eastern Ukraine defends peace of the West and values of Europe. To the draft of the statement  ‘On falsification of historical memory and history’ regarding attempts of Russia to distort the history of World War II, adopted by the Estonian Parliament on 29 January, the Russian Embassy replied that attempts to describe the Soviet Union as the main initiator of World War II are profane. A knock to a knock. This year might be hot in a geopolitical sense.   
Usually history more or less repeats. According to Jochen Böhler, a historian who is managing the Department of History of Eastern Europe of  Jena University (www.svoboda.org/a/30422421.html), after World War I the West was not very interested in poorly developed Eastern Europe, according to his assessment. In 2005 during a visit in Latvia the President of USA George Bush Junior, called Yalta conference agreements (04-11/02/1945) that determined post-war destiny of the Baltic States as the biggest injustice in the history. The West demonstrated inexcusable weakness and short-sightedness when they gave Eastern Europe to Yosif Stalin.
In our region a conflict for the influence between the West and Russia is in the first plan, however with different algorithm of operation – EU is acting by using political-diplomatic tools, Moscow demonstrates power and tactical psychological blackmail – the Russian delegation was returned to the PAEC in order to recover the fees that Russia stopped paying when the former General Secretary Thorbjørn Jagland wrestled with a problem how the organization can survive without almost 100 million US dollars that Russia did not pay.
J.Böhler in the current confrontation (ordinary) regarding a new division of Europe sees more parallels with the situation after World War I but not II and this is dangerous if we remember a thesis of the same historian that then attention of the West drawn towards our region was very poor. Under current circumstances geopolitical management ignoring democratic principles can contribute to the deficit of attention (Business as usual). It may happen that in the background of current geopolitical pressure only the most persistent allies of the Baltic Nations might be able to retain consistency.   
Arūnas Spraunius

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