Tuesday, September 19, 2017

‘For Russia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania Should Not Exist,’ Russian Expert on Baltic Region Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, September 19 – Nikolay Mezhevich, a St. Petersburg professor who heads the Russian Association of Baltic Research, says that “for Russia the [three Baltic] countries should not exist” and that there are no prospects for an improvement in relations because the Baltic regimes can function only as anti-Russian actors.

            In an interview with Rubaltic’s Aleksandr Nosovich following a conference at the Kant Baltic Federal University in Kaliningrad on relations between Russia and Poland, Mezhevich says that relations with Warsaw while bad now can improve but those with the Baltic countries never can (rubaltic.ru/article/politika-i-obshchestvo/19092017-s-polshey-u-rossii-vozmozhny-khoroshie-otnosheniya-s-litvoy-net-/).

                Russians and Poles, he continues, have “a common mentality: they are similar people with a common understanding of life. “But “with Lithuania, normalization is impossible,” in any case, Mezhevich says, he does not expect to live to see it.  That is because Vilnius like Riga and Tallinn can only exist by blaming Russia for all of their own shortcomings. 

            Asked by Nosovich what the “optimal” Russian policy toward the Baltic countries should be, the St. Petersburg professor is blunt: “There are no such countries. For Russia, there are no such countries. Legally, they exist, but we do not maintain any economic or political contacts with them.” The Baltics are thus “a dead zone, a Chernobyl.” 

            He nonetheless opposes breaking diplomatic relations with them. “Why given them that happiness?” Mezhevich asks rhetorically. “They are always dreaming about this. But the presence of diplomatic ties does not mean that me should develop any contacts with them because in these countries already nothing will change.”

            Regardless of who wins elections in any of them, “the political regimes [of the three] are set in stone once and for all and will not change. Any Baltic politician who falls into the System will instantly be ‘worked over’” until he fits in with that reality. This is clear in Lithuania and Estonia, “and in Latvia it will be the same.”

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