The Baltic States' Relations with Russia


raspad, ethnic politics, territorial disputes, Russia, Baltic states

How to Cite

Matthews, C. (2020). The Baltic States’ Relations with Russia. Global Insight: A Journal of Critical Human Science and Culture, 1, 21–30.


The Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania) have had cold relations with Russia since they were under the control of tsarist Russia. After about only 20 years of independence, the Baltic states were involuntary absorbed into the Soviet Union. This paper examines the history behind the relationship between the Baltic states and the Soviet Union throughout the twentieth century and how the relationship grew colder in the post-Soviet era by examining a combination of scholarly journal articles and informative web articles that detail recent facts and events pertaining to the Baltic states and Russia. One of the primary causes of tensions is the fact that the Baltic states sought integration with Western Europe, rather than pursue closer ties to Russia and the former Soviet states. Today, the result of the negative relationship between the Baltics and Russia are demonstrated by discriminatory policies towards ethnic Russians residing in the Baltics and a series of territorial disputes and hostilities. The goal of the discriminatory policies is to promote a sense of "Baltic unity," or nationalism among ethnic Estonians, Latvians, and Lithuanians, while discouraging practicing Russian language and culture. The territorial disputes primarily pertain to Estonia for several reasons: Estonia lost a piece of land to Russia in the Soviet era; and the invasion of Crimea had a significant impact on Estonian concerns about their own national security. Ethnic politics and territorial disputes continue to concern the Baltic states about future Russian aggression.