Corum's essay explains that to understand what is happening in Russia, one must look at the main confrontation points between the West and Putin, which begin with the three Baltic States. The three Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are not well known to most Western leaders or academics, but these small countries are a special place to understand modern Russia and its politics. The Baltic republics were not only under Soviet domination, like so many of the new East European NATO allies, but they were part of the USSR from 1940 to 1991. They had to learn Russian (all the people today over 40 are generally fluent in Russian) and the older generation had to serve in the Soviet military. The Baltic States populations believe, for very good reason, that they face an existential threat from Russia, a nation that intensely resents the fall of the Soviet Empire and whose leaders are working to restore a new version of the Soviet Empire in which the Baltic States and all former republics will have a place clearly subordinate to Russian interests. This chapter will examine the view of Russia and the Putin government from the perspective of the Baltic States and focus on the key areas of friction between the Baltic States and Russia.


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pp. 127-146
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