Understanding the Baltic States
Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania since 1991
A comprehensive account of the history, politics and growing strategic significance of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania since independence in 1991.
This book addresses a crucial question: the contribution of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to the historic dissolution of the USSR in 1991, which in turn led to regained independence for the Baltic States in that year. This is an important history, relating to the interplay between divisions and tensions at the heart of the USSR and the growing Baltic independence movements.
It also has great contemporary significance as a result of Russia’s February 2022 invasion of the Ukraine. To justify this act, Vladimir Putin has explicitly promoted a ‘Greater Russian’ version of history, including a dangerously inaccurate narrative of what occurred in the Baltics in 1991. He also continues to threaten military action against the Baltic states, all of which are members of NATO.
The contributors—who include Brendan Simms, Vladislav Zubok, Andrew Wilson, Mart Kuldkepp, Bridget Kendall, Kristina Spohr, Kaarel Piirimäe and Neil Taylor— analyse the struggles of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to secure their independence, and set out how Moscow is propagating fake history, as well as engaging in destabilising measures and cyber-attacks, to undermine these countries’ hard-won freedom. This indispensable volume addresses head-on the biggest geopolitical challenge facing the world today: responding to Russian military adventurism.
Charles Clarke is Visiting Professor at Lancaster University and King’s College London, and a former MP (1997–2010), having served as chairman of the Labour Party, secretary of state for education, and home secretary. He consults on international education reform and co-leads the Baltic Geopolitics Programme, University of Cambridge.