Foreign PolicyForeign Policy

Russian Aggression Has the Baltics on Edge

By Kristaps Andrejsons

11 Jan 2022 · 5 min read

It has been a turbulent few months in the Baltics. If you know history, it shouldn’t be surprising that Baltic publics are worried about Russia and the tumult in the post-Soviet region. The Baltics—Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania—were occupied by first the Russian Empire and then, after a brief period of independence between the world wars, the Soviet Union. Revanchists in Moscow have clung on to the idea that they have a right to the Baltic states, even after more than 30 years of independence.

The migrant crisis sparked by the Russian-backed dictator Aleksandr Lukashenko on the Belarusian borders (especially with Poland but with Lithuania and Latvia, too), the potential of escalation of conflict in Ukraine, and even the chaos and brutal crackdown happening in Kazakhstan right now serve as a grim reminder that “business as usual” just isn’t a valid survival strategy for the Baltic states at this point. Focusing on collective security in the region, taking threats seriously, and taking care of military budgets are necessities.

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