Thursday, July 23, 2015

Annexations Real and Imaginary

                Kerry pointed out that “this document means more than a temporary gesture” and that as evidence of this, “from 1940 until the complete restoration of the independence of the Baltic states, the flags of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania for a half century flew in Washington” at the US Department of State.
            He stressed that the US and the Baltic countries “share an attachment to democratic values and the security of borders” and that they share as well a commitment to “the territorial integrity of sovereign states.” And he welcomed the fact that the three Baltic countries are members of NATO and the EU and supporters of “a peaceful, united and free Europe.”
                Given Russia’s forcible annexation of Crimea last year, it is no surprise that Russian officials and commentators have gone out of their way to insist as their Soviet predecessors did that the Baltic countries were never occupied and even that the recovery of their de facto independence was illegitimate.

            But today, in what is surely not a coincidence but an intentional effort to muddy the waters of history both of 1940 and 2014, Sergey Naryshkin, speaker of the Russian State Duma, declared that between 1941 and 2014, Crimea was “peacefully annexed by Ukraine” (

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