The Russian Association of Baltic Studies has hosted debates on social-and-economic and political development of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, their relations with EU, Russia and the United States. The debates proved quite heated, the event participants told EADaily.
The event featured the traditional interest of Russia to Baltic States and the fact that Russian experts have to comment constantly on various problems in Moscow’s dialogue with Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. President of the Association, Professor of International Relations Department at St. Petersburg State University Nikolay Mezhevich, Professor of Pskov State University Andrey Manakov and Professor of Economic and Social Geography Department at Institute of Earth Sciences at St. Petersburg State University Dmitry Zhitin opened the event. Participating in the debates were Vice President of the Russian Geographical Society, Professor Vladimir Kolosov, Head of the Scientific and Editorial Board of the Russian Association of Baltic Studies, Professor Gennady Fedorov, Deputy Head of Center for Baltics and CIS at Russian Institute of Strategic Studies Oksana Petrovskaya, Head of Center for British Studies at European Institute at Russian Academy of Sciences Yelena Ananyeva, senior research fellow at Center for European Studies at Russian Academy of Sciences Vladimir Olenchenko, Associate Professor at International Relations Department at St. Petersburg State University Natalya Yeremina, post-graduate student at Pskov State University Pavel Suvorkov, and others.
Demographic forecasts for Baltic states for 2030 and 2050 were the key issues on agenda. Those present highlighted the economic factor of development in Baltic States that have forced away from these countries not only ethnic Russians but also representatives of the “titular” nation. “Second, now and in the future, migration factor affects the population dynamics. The problem is that young people at 20-40 years migrate from these countries. Third, according to forecasts, the population in all the three countries will decrease by thirty and more percentage by 2025…Fourth, the given states have stuck on the idea of deterring Russia and are ready to remain a buffer zone. That is why, they greatly depend on financial aid of U.S., which they receive due to the NATO bases deployed in their territories. Lithuania and Latvia are European leaders by military expenditures. Fifth, social ties have decreased and weakened in those states, which always predetermines social degradation,” Natalya Yeremina said.