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The Baltic states celebrate the 100th anniversary of their independence (DIEEEA20-2018)

This year 2018, after a century of struggles to preserve its national identity, the Baltic region celebrates the declaration of independence of the republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Declaring independence is not the same as achieving sovereignty, especially when we speak of small states with very powerful neighbors. Tallinn, Riga and Vilna were capitals of Soviet republics integrated into the USSR for just over half of the centenary we celebrate. The celebrations maybe that is why they are being so especially important.

It is not easy to understand the singular relevance that the Baltic republics have given to these centenarians without taking into account their history, their present political, social, demographic, cultural reality and the threat that Russian revisionism supposes for their full sovereignty. For centuries, Danes, Germans, Swedes, Poles and Russians have dominated Baltic republics. However, national sentiment, cultural identity and desire for independence have not been diluted despite external pressures.

One can only explain the transcendence that the Baltic republics have given to these celebrations by putting them in context. The Russification, the ethnic diversity of the population and its distribution, the situation of non-citizens, the demographic problems associated with depopulation and aging, the positioning of public opinion, the language policy and the insecurity generated by the renewed Russian assertiveness are points that necessarily be considered.


Author:  Andrés González Martín


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