The West is using the myth of the Russian threat to justify its military buildup in the Baltic states, which, for their part, support that myth, Mikhail Remizov, President of the National Strategy Institute, told EADaily on March 10.
“The Baltic states have few export products, with the ‘Russian threat’ being the key one. This is the cornerstone of their place in the world and their role in the global affairs. This role is not big, but they ‘sing for their supper’ and will not give it to anyone. Therefore, they have always exaggerated and used ‘the Russian threat.’ Now, it is well sold, as there is demand for it. Consequently, they have increased the supply too,” Remizov said. The West, the United States, first, explains its military buildup in Europe and the expansion of its transatlantic ties with ‘the Russian threat.’
The political analyst sees a number of real risks in the relations of Russia and the Baltic States, including the problem of Kaliningrad and the infringement of the rights of the local Russian-speaking population. “If they on the other side really decide to play on tensions, the situation in the region may become very tense,” he said.
Mikhail Remizov commended also on the probability of the Crimean and Donbass scenarios in any of the Baltic States – the Western media like speaking about it. Earlier, EADaily reported that BBC’s film “World War Three: Inside the War Room” has attracted public attention, as it demonstrates a hypothetical situation when a rebellion of the “Latgale separatists” in Daugavpils, a town in Latvia, triggers a nuclear war. The Russian-speaking organizations were outraged with the fact that the film tells about the residents of Daugavpils and the Russians of Latvia as aggressors, terrorists that trigger the WWIII.
Remizov said that the problem of the Russians in the Baltic States is absolutely realistic, as their rights are regularly infringed, but it is impossible to settle this problem through territorial self-determination. This issue requires “soft power.” “The Baltic States are NATO member-states. There has not been any serious movement for self-determination. There was a wave of fight for the rights of the Russian schools in Latvia, but activists had to stand back. Although the movement was large-scale, it faced crackdown. Therefore, there are no territorial claims from the local Russian population that has been deprived of any opportunity for mobilization,” Remizov said.
However, he said, Moscow has problems there. “To prevent speculations on the territorial revisionism, Moscow must wage an open, clear, consistent and persistent policy when it comes to the protection of the rights of the Russians in the Baltics with the help of other mechanisms. The example of Crimea was ambiguous. As a state, we totally ignored the rights and interests of the Russian population of Ukraine in general and Crimea in particular. And then, at a particular moment, we protected those rights through territorial self-determination and tough actions,” he said. The political analyst believes that the rights of the Russians in the Baltic States should be protected using economic and diplomatic pressure, and establishing direct relations with the local Russian communities.
Remizov believes that the West may play the inter-ethnic card and spark a conflict involving the Russian population in the one of the Baltic States, though it is little probable.
“I think such an option is not impossible, but the Kaliningrad issue, a situation when serious obstacles are created for the transit to the Kaliningrad region, is what can really spark serious conflict” Remizov said.
For conclusion, he said, the relations of Russia and the Baltic States have some real tense points, but escalation of these conflicts depends on the Baltic States and the United States that has a high influence in the given region.