Rewriting the rules on data-sharing with non-NATO members Sweden and Finland would maximize the usefulness of these insights. Delivered Thursday. The predecessors of the modern Balts lived in a large swathe of territory south of the Finno-Ugric tribes, stretching west from territory that is now part of central Russia to the mouth of the Vistula River in modern-day Poland. Watch the conversation or read the condensed transcript. The command structure is like a bowl of spaghetti. For its part, Washington has made a series of policy choices over the last few years that can be summed Show moreup as tough on Beijing, even seeking to contain the rise of the worlds second-biggest economy. He would later be assassinated, but the political entity he created would endure. Putin still fumes over the Baltics decision to join NATO, seeing it as a betrayal of Western promises. He did not offer details. Australia was a brief exception to this support of Baltic independence: in 1974, the Labor government of Australia did recognize Soviet dominion, but this decision was reversed by the next Australian Parliament. For the geographic region, see, "Baltics" redirects here. , Possible threats to energy security include, firstly, a major risk of energy supply disruption. Although this may give the Kremlin clues about sources, methods, and targeting, the benefits in terms of deterrence, political will, and societal resilience are much greater. These two non-NATO countries have close military ties with each other as well as NATO. Even within NATO, there are inner and outer circles. By one estimate from Harvard University, more than 130,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed or severely wounded, in addition to the deaths of more than 7,000 Ukrainian civilians. There is also frequent cooperation in foreign and security policy, defence, energy, and transportation. It starts with the Wests attitude to Russia. The three states have the highest productivity of the former constituent republics of the Soviet Union. Russian rule would extend over the Baltics until the early 20th century. As World War I came to a close, Lithuania declared independence and Latvia formed a provisional government. Putins threat to respond to NATO with military-technical measures could easily involve the deployment of medium-range missiles, perhaps even nuclear-armed weapons, in Russias Kaliningrad exclave. The vast majority of ethnic Estonians, Latvians, and Lithuanians live within the borders of their respective states. Clerc, Louis; Glover, Nikolas; Jordan, Paul, eds. Click + to receive email alerts when new stories are published on. It is therefore time to plug the gaping holes in air and missile defense as well as intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities. Pop. Such inconveniences and costs are the price of securityand of freedom. "From Empire to Independence: The Curious Case of the Baltic States 1917-1922." This let Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians preserve a high degree of Europe-oriented national identity. All of these issues involving NATO and the Baltic littoral states are coming to a head in the current standoff with Russia. What will another year of war look like? Among the animals that inhabit the region are elk, boar, roe deer, wolves, hares, and badgers. Throughout the 1990s privatization accelerated, national currencies were reintroduced, and non-Russian foreign investment increased. The Baltic region is not rich in natural resources. At least formally, most Western democracies never considered the three Baltic states to be constituent parts of the Soviet Union. Shortly after attaining independence, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania abandoned the Russian ruble in favour of new domestic currencies (the kroon, lats, and litas, respectively), which, as they strengthened, greatly improved foreign trade. Forests cover over half the landmass of Estonia, Devonian sandstone cliffs in Gauja National Park, Latvia's largest and oldest national park, Jgala waterfall is the highest natural waterfall in Estonia, Gastilionys cliffs in Kauno Marios Regional Park near Kaunas, View from the Bilioniai forthill in Lithuania, Sand dunes of the Curonian Spit near Nida, which are the highest drifting sand dunes in Europe (UNESCO World Heritage Site). Eva-Maria Liimets, Estonia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, hopes a NATO meeting in June will "make permanent decisions" about how to strengthen Baltic security. 5,841,000. The Baltic States would remain Soviet republics of the USSR for more than 40 years. All three became NATO members on 29 March 2004, and joined the EU on 1 May 2004. Access unmatched financial data, news and content in a highly-customised workflow experience on desktop, web and mobile. FPsRavi Agrawalsat down with U.S. Trade RepresentativeKatherine Tai, the Biden administrations top official tasked with mapping out and implementing the White Houses trade policy. Once Russia has completed its conquest of Ukraine, that question will acquire . Each country guards its national decision-making jealously. On 23 August 1989, the Baltic Way, a two-million-strong human chain, stretched for 600km from Tallinn to Vilnius. After the end of the Cold War, NATO added 14 more members from 1999 to 2020. Despite fresh salvos of Western sanctions, Tehran and Moscow are buddying up on defense ties. This also poses a threat to energy security of the Baltic states, because slows down the renewable energy consumption and lead to low rates of energy efficiency.. Military mobilitythe vital business of moving large numbers of troops and equipmentis patchy too. Russia was preparing an invasion of NATO countries, including the Baltic states, Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said in an interview with Voice of America on March 2. All three countries are members of NATO, the European Union, the Eurozone, and the OECD.  Finally, the low technological enhancement results in slow adaptation of new technologies, such as construction and use of renewable sources of energy. Author of. ", "The Annexation of the Baltic States and Its Effect on the Development of Law Prohibiting Forcible Seizure of Territory", "These Names AccuseNominal List of Latvians Deported to Soviet Russia", "Communism and Crimes against Humanity in the Baltic states", "Murder of the Jews of the Baltic States", "Country Profiles: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania", "U.S.-Baltic Relations: Celebrating 85 Years of Friendship", Annexed Baltic States: Envoys Hold On to Lonely U.S. Postings, "The intersection of Ethnic Nationalism and People Power Tactics in the Baltic States", "Swedish political attitudes towards Baltic independence in the short twentieth century", "Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia: Co-operation among the Baltic States", "Macroeconomic Legal Trends in the EU11 Countries", "Building methodology, assessing the risks: the case of energy security in the Baltic States", "The Baltic states should adopt the self-defence pinpricks doctrine: the "accumulation of events" threshold as a deterrent to Russian hybrid warfare", "Pilsonbas un migrcijas lietu prvalde Kda 404", "POPULATION BY SEX, ETHNIC NATIONALITY AND COUNTY, 1 JANUARY. Despite its extensive agriculture, the Baltic region remains more than one-third forested. Between the 10th and 13th centuries, the Baltic peoples came under siege from all directions. So unused to being challenged, the United States has become so filled with anxiety over China that sober responses are becoming nearly impossible. Fifteen years ago, NATO opened its doors to the Baltic states. For example, there is the British-U.S. intelligence-sharing agreement, which also includes the other so-called Five Eyes: Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Therefore, the diversification of suppliers is needed.  This change was a result of the Baltic German elite adopting terms derived from Baltisch to refer to themselves.. By the l8th century, however, Russia began seizing territory in the Baltics. In 1385, through marriage to a Polish queen, the Lithuanian crown merged with that of Poland. All Baltic states are now part of NATO and the European Union. The Estonians are a Finnic people, which means that they are strongly related to the Finns, as is their language, Estonian. Germany has backed the two Nord Stream natural gas pipelines along the Baltic seabed. NATO as an integral structure will cease to exist." That would lead to a "fundamental collapse of the West" with some countries even willing to accept missile strikes on Poland and the Baltic . In fact, glacial deposits in the form of eskers, moraines, and drumlins occur in profusion and tend to disrupt the drainage pattern, which results in frequent flooding.  Therefore, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania play a significant role not only in consuming, but also in distribution of Russian energy fuels extracting transaction fees. The Baltic countries were more interested in gaining access to the rest of the European market. All three Baltic countries are classified as high-income economies by the World Bank and maintain a very high Human Development Index. Jessica Chen Weiss, formerly a senior advisor for policy planning at the State Department under the Biden administration, makes the case that the United States is becoming consumed by competition with China, a strategy that could lead to dangerous conflict. Battle of Grunwald by Jan Matejko. The Soviets attempted to prevent these countries from seceding through economic blockades. Years of cost-cutting, timidity, and wishful thinking by NATO governments make it harder. Latvia performed the best according to all indicators. Between 1940 and 1953, the Soviet government deported more than 200,000 people from the Baltics to remote locations in the Soviet Union. These three countries each have their own distinct language and culture, however, their histories often overlap. Sarotte said it depends on how permanent is defined, but that it is clear that a larger NATO presence in the east will happen, and will endure., In the view of Pabriks, the Latvian defense minister, NATOs new approach to the Baltics should mean much more capabilities, a classical strong presence in the region and also support to our national armies. If Russia does not like the prospect of a more powerful NATO, he said, then it can always choose to not threaten its neighbors., After Russias Ukraine Invasion, Baltics Push for Permanent NATO Presence. The best way to increase the internal and external credibility of defense is to practice using difficult scenarios in real time. Delivered Monday-Saturday. The Baltic States also had to develop new laws and constitutions so that they could make themselves into democratic states. In addition, Bulgaria and Poland have expelled two and three Russians respectively, prompting Moscow to show the door to two Bulgarians and five Poles. Area 67,612 square miles (175,116 square km). What followed after the Baltic States regained their independence was economic turmoil, as these countries tried to transition their economies to capitalism. Our editors will review what youve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Commenting on this and other recent articles is just one benefit of a Foreign Policy subscription. The Russian president got many things wrong about invading Ukrainebut not everything. Timbering and fisheries enjoy modest success. During the Middle Ages, the Baltic peoples were divided into at least eight distinguishable groups. The rise of American-made chatbots has kicked off a flurry of Chinese activity. A Polish exercise last year, despite making generous assumptions, ended with Polish forces being slaughtered in five days and the Russians poised to take Warsaw. Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia the Baltic countries located in north-eastern Europe are now members of the EU and NATO. In 1941, Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union. Albania. VILNIUS, April 23 (Reuters) - Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia on Friday joined a fast-growing list of NATO and EU members demanding the removal of Russian diplomats for alleged spying, in actions that have infuriated Moscow and look certain to provoke further retaliation. Repressions, executions and mass deportations followed after that in the Baltics. Nobody in Polandor, for that matter, anyone else involved in the regions securitywould claim privately that defenses against Russia are adequate. "We are aware of the fact that the Russian tanks, which are currently burning in Ukraine, were intended for a large-scale invasion of NATO countries, including Estonia . Watch the conversation or read the condensed transcript. In all three countries, Baltic partisans, known colloquially as the Forest Brothers, Latvian national partisans, and Lithuanian partisans, waged unsuccessful guerrilla warfare against the Soviet occupation for the next eight years in a bid to regain their nations' independence. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins. , Estonia usually was the best performing country in terms of energy security, but new assessment shows that even though Estonia has the highest share of renewables in the energy production, its energy economy has been still characterized by high rates of carbon intensity. Join the conversation on this and other recent Foreign Policy articles when you subscribe now. Your guide to the most important world stories of the day. Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania each adopted the euro as its common currency in 2011, 2014, and 2015, respectively. While every effort has been made to follow citation style rules, there may be some discrepancies. Download the new FP mobile app to read anytime, anywhere. Indeed, the Baltic Sea lies mostly to the east of Germany, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. The Baltic states have been sounding the alarm since the 1990s. It is bordered by Belarus to the south and east, Latvia to the north, Poland to the south, and a part of East Prussia to the southwest, which is now controlled by Russia. Unlike Ukraine, they had joined NATO in the early 2000s, and now enjoy the. The coup failed, and in September, the independence of the Baltic States was recognized by most countries. It is also related to the now near-extinct Livonian language spoken as a second language by a few dozen people in Latvia. Estonia fought a successful war of independence against Soviet Russia in 19181920. Private farms were confiscated, and farmers were made to join the collective farms. Especially, the high share of renewables were introduced to the energy production of Latvia, that can be explained by the state's geographical location and favorable natural conditions. Even to this day, most of the three countries' adult population can understand and speak some Russian, especially so the elderly people who went to school during the Soviet rule. But the inducements encourage U.S. companies to invest only at homenot elsewhere. Now, Jews comprise just 0.2% of the Latvian population.  After World War I, the new sovereign states that emerged on the east coast of the Baltic Sea Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Finland became known as the Baltic states. The Baltic states have historically been in many different spheres of influence, from Danish over Swedish and PolishLithuanian, to German (Hansa and Holy Roman Empire), and before independence in the Russian sphere of influence. Daniel Milo, senior adviser at Bratislava-based policy institute GLOBSEC, said the combined moves suggested greater self-confidence on the part of the Central Europeans and could have implications for areas such an energy cooperation, where the region has until now been heavily dependent on Russia. Latvia is sandwiched between Estonia to the north and Lithuania to the south. In autumn 2022, Estonia like other Baltic countries, restricted travel over its land borders from Russia. They diversified their oil import suppliers due to shutdown of Druzhba gas pipeline in 2006 and increased the share of renewable sources in total energy production with the help of the EU policies. Its capital, Vilnius, is at the forefront of Western support for Kiev. Denmark has upended its previous defense posture, which discounted any need for territorial and regional defense. Planners are given many months to ensure that everything goes smoothly. Russia borders Latvia to the east, and the Baltic Sea is to the west. Speaks French, Russian and (rusty) German and Polish. No country in the region has enough of these defensive systems, and some have none. Delivered Wednesday. During the Baltic struggle for independence 19891992, a personal friendship developed between the (at that time unrecognized) Baltic ministers of foreign affairs and the Nordic ministers of foreign affairs. NATO is a military alliance of twenty-eight European and two North American countries that constitutes a system of collective defense.The process of joining the alliance is governed by Article 10 of the North Atlantic Treaty, which allows for the invitation of "other European States" only and by subsequent agreements.Countries wishing to join must meet certain requirements and complete a multi . For everyone living around the Baltic Sea, it will be better to find their shortcomings early and fix them than to wait until the enemy is at the gates. Shortly thereafter, the parliaments of the three Baltic States proclaimed the independence of their respective countries. The default username below has been generated using the first name and last initial on your FP subscriber account. The challenge is how to address Baltic security concerns while avoiding steps that would lead to a more unstable situation with Russia in the future. Across the Baltic Sea, Sweden and Finland have also been boosting their spending. standing, Ukrainians are determined to keep fighting, and the West has so far stayed resolute in its support of Ukraine. Is that what is going to satisfy (Baltic) security concerns? Plesch asked in an interview with VOA. In fact, in 1236, a chieftain named Mindaugas managed to unite some of the Lithuanian tribes into one political entity. The Baltic States were subsequently admitted to the United Nations. The Baltic states are inhabited by several ethnic minorities: in Latvia: 33.0% (including 25.4% Russian, 3.3% Belarusian, 2.2% Ukrainian, and 2.1% Polish), in Estonia: 27.6% and in Lithuania: 12.2% (including 5.6% Polish and 4.5% Russian).. Like Ukraine, the three Baltic states Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia were once part of the Soviet Union. The Baltic states and Poland play their part too: Their defense budgets exceed the minimum 2 percent of GDP mandated by NATO. bleak warnings of the Baltic states about President . Russian cyberattacks and sub-threshold warfare are already evident; Sweden, for example, is worried by mysterious drone flights. This article covers the history of the region from antiquity to the post-Soviet period. Only FP subscribers can submit questions for FP Live interviews. The Latvians also were considerably Germanized, and the majority of both the Estonians and the Latvians belong to the Lutheran church. That reflects a much deeper issue: Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, NATO has been an organization designed for peace, not war. Regional security in the Baltic Sea has been a problem for much longer than the current standoff with Russia. So-called peoples governments were subsequently installed in the three countries. Omissions? Both Western and Eastern Christianity had been introduced by the end of the first millennium. As the Russian military buildup around Ukraine raises fears of a broader East-West security crisis, NATO allies are hastening to bolster the Baltic states defenses while non-NATO members Sweden and Finland are tightening their ties with the alliance. Aside from the Baltic Sea to the west, the Baltic States are bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the east by Russia, to the southeast by Belarus, and to the southwest by territory belonging to Belarus and Poland. The Latvians and Lithuanians, linguistically and culturally related to each other, are Baltic Indo-European people. In June 1940, the Red Army occupied all of the territory of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, and installed new, pro-Soviet puppet governments. International Encyclopedia of the First World War, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Baltic_states&oldid=1142637920, Bottom-up regional groups within the European Union, Articles containing Lithuanian-language text, Articles containing Latvian-language text, Articles containing Estonian-language text, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles with unsourced statements from January 2023, Articles with unsourced statements from September 2020, Articles with unsourced statements from February 2023, Articles with unsourced statements from August 2016, Wikipedia articles in need of updating from August 2020, All Wikipedia articles in need of updating, Articles containing Swedish-language text, Articles containing Russian-language text, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License 3.0. However, in June 1940 they were invaded and occupied by the Soviet.  During the occupation the Nazi authorities carried out ghettoisations and mass killings of the Jewish populations in Lithuania and Latvia.  Since World War II the term has typically been used to group the three countries Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. By Lara Jakes March 7, 2022 VILNIUS, Lithuania Demanding assurances that the Baltic States will not become Russia's next battleground, Lithuania's president firmly told America's top diplomat. There are also about 4,000 NATO troops in the Baltic States. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, the Baltic states struggled to make a transition to a market economy from the system of Soviet national planning that had been in place since the end of World War II. There is no common maritime strategy, though control of the Baltic Sea in a crisis will determine what happens on land. Washington is right to counter Iran's brutality at home and abroad, but that shouldn't stop it from engaging with an adversary to preserve regional peace. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. Even if Moscow holds onto territory, the war has wrecked its future. , Even now being a part of the European Union, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are still considered as the most vulnerable EU member states in the energy sphere. , As a part of the EU from 2004, Baltic states must comply with the EU's regulations in energy, environmental and security spheres. Troops were withdrawn from the region (starting from Lithuania) from August 1993. However, those agreements can be regarded in significant part as null and void given Russian actions, Plesch said. The countries joined the Western military alliance in 2004 but are connected to the rest of European NATO countries by only a narrow corridor, which lies between the heavily armed Russian exclave of Kaliningrad and Russia-allied Belarus. The Baltic States openly pursued Nato membership, following the signing of the Baltic Charter of . That caused a furor in Polandbut the brickbats should have been bouquets. Explore the benefits included in your subscription. The Estonian (and Livonian) peoples, who are considered Finnic peoples, speak languages of the Finno-Ugric family and constitute the core of the southern branch of the Baltic Finns.  Over 190,000 Lithuanian Jews, nearly 95% of Lithuania's pre-war Jewish community, and 66,000 Latvian Jews were murdered. One of the easier steps would be to align the regions security objectives by compiling and publishing a common threat assessment. Russian President Vladimir Putin has demanded NATO withdraw all outside forces from the region and commit to Sweden and Finland never being allowed to join. All three countries are member states of the European Union, and the Eurozone. Watchthe conversation onFP Live, the magazines forum for live journalism, orreada condensed transcript. Before WWII, Estonians made up 88% of the population, but between 1945 and 1989, their percentage of the population dropped to just 61%. Urmas Reinsalu. In 2016, we deployed four multinational battlegroups or "enhanced forward presence" to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. Initially, attempts to Russify the Baltic peoples were overt, but later they were moderated as Russian immigration soared and the sheer weight of the immigrant numbers simply served to promote this objective in less-blatant ways. What can we glean from the current state of play on the battlefield? The Balts came to settle large portions of modern-day Russia, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, and northern Poland. The area that now constitutes the Baltic States was first inhabited by Finno-Ugric tribes. Apart from the indigenous languages, German was the dominant language in Estonia and Latvia in academics, professional life, and upper society from the 13th century until World War I. Estonians are Finnic people, together with the nearby Finns. , After the First World War (19141918) the term "Baltic states" came to refer to countries by the Baltic Sea that had gained independence from the former Russian Empire. Compared with other regional groupings in Europe, such as the Nordic Council or Visegrd Group, Baltic cooperation is rather limited. Join in-depth conversations and interact with foreign-policy experts with. The capital and largest city of Estonia is Talinn, which is located on the countrys northern coast, on the Gulf of Finland. The world over, countries are embarking on ambitious projects of industrial policy. Soldiers of a Nato battlegroup at a ceremony marking the fifth anniversary of Nato's enhanced presence in the eastern part of the alliance in Rukla, Lithuania, on February 9th, 2022. Rinkvis wants a permanent NATO presence on the alliances eastern flank. Artis Pabriks, Latvia's Minister of Defense, tells VOA that if Russia does not like NATO expansion, then Moscow can stop threatening its smaller neighbors. Military, All Baltic states are now part of NATO and the European Union. Estonia and northern part of Latvia were ceded by Sweden, and incorporated into the Russian Empire at the end of the Great Northern War in 1721, while most of the territory of what is now Lithuania came under Russian rule after the Third Partition of PolishLithuanian Commonwealth in 1795. NATO is an Alliance that consists of 30 independent member countries. Some emphasise that the events in Lithuania differed from the other two countries, with Smetona having different motivations as well as securing power eight years before any such events in Latvia or Estonia took place. After the Baltic states had restored their independence, integration with Western Europe became a major strategic goal. For example, a Polish exercise last year, despite making generous assumptions about their access to advanced weaponry, ended with Polish forces being slaughtered in five days and the Russians poised to take Warsaw. Sending this force to the alliance's most exposed members in Eastern Europe, even though NATO has no intention of taking part in the war, is a powerful, tangible indicator of NATO's commitment . Create an FP account to save articles to read later and in the FP mobile app. Around this time, Poles eclipsed Russians as the largest minority in Lithuania. The assumption is that in a crisis, this spaghetti will spontaneously straighten under the pressure of events and thanks to U.S. leadership. Cue the protests from other parts of the globe: A chorus of nations are accusing Washington of fostering unfair competition. Covered the break-up of the Soviet Union in the 1990s. Fact: NATO has taken defensive and proportionate steps in response to a changed security environment.In response to Russia's use of military force against its neighbours, Allies requested a greater NATO presence in the Baltic region. The climate is cool and damp, with greater rainfall in the interior uplands than along the coast. Its original members were Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal . Many think that NATOs presence in the region has gone far enough already. Please follow our comment guidelines, stay on topic, and be civil, courteous, and respectful of others beliefs. Combined, Poland plus the Nordic countries and three Baltic states have a greater GDP than Russias. NATO established a plan to defend the Baltic states after the Russian annexation of the Crimea in . Albania, the Czech Republic, Iceland, Italy, Montenegro, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain contribute to the Canadian-led battlegroup in Latvia; Belgium, the Czech Republic, Iceland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Norway provide contributions to the German-led battlegroup in Lithuania; Denmark, France and Iceland contribute to the UK-led Three more members joined between 1952 and 1955, and a fourth new member joined in 1982.  The three governments engage in intergovernmental and parliamentary cooperation. By the end of the 18th century, all Baltic territory became part of the Russian Empire. https://www.britannica.com/place/Baltic-states, Stanford Libraries - The Baltic Way - The Baltic States 19182018, Research and Development Corporation - The Baltic States and NATO Membership, The Heritage Foundation - The Baltic States: The United States Must Be Prepared to Fulfill Its NATO Treaty Obligations, Baltic states - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up), Russians place flowers at burnt out tanks in Baltic cities, In Baltics, Poland, grassroots groups strive to help Ukraine, Baltic leaders: Olympic boycott possible if Russians compete.