Thursday, February 13, 2020

Baltic Countries Will Always Be at or Near the Top of Russians’ Enemies List, Volkov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, February 6 – The three Baltic countries, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, will always be at or near the top of Russians’ lists of countries unfriendly to Russia, Denis Volkov, the deputy director of Levada Center (

            There are several reasons for this, the pollster says. “The simplest” is that Russian television presents a negative view of the Baltic countries, in part because that is what the Kremlin wants and in part because Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have acted at various points in history in ways difficult for Russians to see as anything but anti-Russian.

            But a more important reason for Russian attitudes toward the Baltic countries is that “the trauma of the disintegration of the Soviet Union has never gone anywhere although among the younger generation this is not as strongly expressed. Nonetheless, it all the same remains” and plays a role in defining attitudes toward the CIS and the Baltic countries.

            The Balts especially are viewed by Russians as having “betrayed the common task. We did so much for them, and they are ungrateful and have run off to the West and the EU.” These three places used to depend on the USSR but now they depend on the EU.” And Russians resent this.

            Those both in Russia and even in the Baltic countries who think there can be a fundamental change of heart among Russians fail to understand how deeply this sense of betrayal is rooted in how most people in the Russian Federation view the Baltic nations and their roles past and present.

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