Tag Archives: Russian foreign policy

The Lost Latvian Land – Abrene

The District of Jaunlatgale. The highlighted areas were annexed by Russia

The District of Jaunlatgale. The highlighted areas were annexed by Russia

On March 1 2014  Russia invaded the sovereign Ukrainian territory – Crimea. A “referendum” was held and after the “plea from the Crimean people” the Crimean province was annexed by Russia. A 19th century style act that shocked the modern world. Russia stated that Crimea was originally a Russian territory that was vainly transferred to Ukrainian SSR on 1954 by Nikita Khrushchev. However, Russia has forgotten similar events on 1944-1945 when Russia illegitimately annexed part of Latvian and Estonian border territories.  Same technique was used- both countries were occupied, there were “requests from locals” a “plebiscite”  and after that the lands were added to Russian Federal Soviet Socialist Republic. What seemed as simple administrative action for Stalinist government as the soviet republics were sovereign only on paper, turned out as tragedy as these lands stayed within the Russian Federation. With no real hope to return them back and if returned it would cost millions to invest in these lands ravaged by the soviet power.

The lost land Latvian land today is known as Abrene district although before World War 2 it was called Jaunnlatgale (New Latgale) district that also included large areas of modern-day Balvi district. During 9-12th centuries these territories were inhabited by Latgalian tribes who lived as far of west from the river Velikaya, Mudava in Latvian. On 13th century during the Baltic crusades  Duke of Pskov Mstislav Rostislavich and local Latgalian rulers fought wars for this border area. On 1224 the Abrene castle district was taken over by Bishop Albert of Riga and later added to Riga Archbishopric, part of the Livonian Confederation.  On 1431 Pskov Duchy started to wage wars to gain this land. A well fortified fortress of Vyshgorodok was built within occupied parishes of Kacēni and Augšpils. On 1461-1464 while Livonia was caught up in internal rivalry the whole Abrene region was taken over by Pskov and forced locals to give up their catholic faith. On 1481 the Grand Duke of Moscow Ivan III also claimed this land. On 1581 during the Livonian war the fortress of Vyshgorodok was captured by Polish-Lithuanian troops. After  the end of the Livonian war the easter part of Abrene region was gained back by Russia.

Until 1772 the much of the Abrene district was part of Poland-Lithuania. After the first partition of Poland the territory was added to the province of Pskov. Later on 1802 it was added to the province of Vitebsk that included Latgale and was part of Ludza district a distinctive Latvian town. Philologists August Johann Gottfried Bielenstein and Kārlis Mīlenbahs, conducting linguistic field research in the area in the late 19th and early 20th century, found that many people, called “Russian Latvians” by the local Russians, still spoke the High Latvian dialect. So these territories although  borderlands had not lost its connection with Latvians and Latgale region that on On 1917 December 14 the districts of Dinaburg (Daugavpils), Ludsen (Ludza), Rositten (Rēzekne) was added to province of Vidzeme.

When the Republic of Latvia was proclaimed its claimed territories were the provinces of Courland and Semigallia  and province of Vidzeme including Latgale. During the War for Freedom on December 1918 Latvia was invaded by the Bolsheviks and the local Latvian soviet government was installed. However, on spring- summer 1919 Bolsheviks were chased away from Riga and controlled only Latgale. After Latvian armed forces defeated the Army of Bermont on November 1919, it was essential to liberate Latgale as Estonia had already signed  peace treaty with the Soviet Russia. On December 1919 both Latvian and Polish armies in joint offensive attacked the Bolsheviks. Most part of Latgale was liberated and the Latvian army headed towards far eastern parts of Latgale. On January 14 1920 the city of Pytalovo was captured by Latgalian Partisan corps. Town first appeared in 18th century and gain its importance after it became the railway station to a railway branch on route to Daugavpils. All parts of Latgale were liberated. On February  1 1920 Latvia and Soviet Russia signed ceasefire.

Some fighting at  Vyshgorodok or Augšpils still went on after the ceasefire. The village was taken by Latvian army. Krasnoye, Glushkova and Pokrovskoye were also taken but were given back to Russia. The whole spring were spent on talks on peace agreement. Soviets were reluctant to give up Pytalova the important railroad route both for trade and army means. However, Latvians were stubborn to return it and in memorandum to the Paris Peace conference on June 10 where it was stated that Latvian inhabited borders stretches to rail station of Pytalova. Soviets were caught up in war with Poland and decided to give up their claims on it. However, Soviets managed to regain another Latvian captured rural center Drysa (Verkhnyadzvinsk) a Belarussian town with Latvian minority of 400 people. On August 11 1920 the Peace Agreement with Soviet Russia was finally signed. The northern part of Ludza district and western part of Ostrova together with Pytalova was added to Latvia. Soviet Russia recognized Latvian sovereignty and promised to not threaten its   independence for “eternal times”. Ott0 von Bismark said that any agreement with Russia its not worth the paper it is written. Bismark talked about treacherous Russian Imperial diplomacy as it turned out nothing has much changed since then.

School in Abrene

School in Abrene

On June 1924 12 northern parishes of Ludza district were separated and included into new Jaunlatgale district. Pytalovo was renamed as Jaunlatgale (New Latgale). On 1933 Jaunnlatgale received citizenship rights. The city had district administration, state land inspection, school inspection, doctor and border area chairman office. Latvian and Russian schools. According to the national census of 1935 the six later lost Latvian parishes, had small percent of Latvians. Augšpils had 4,31%, Gauri 4,36%, Kacēni 16,91%, Linava 4,63%, Purvmala 32% and the city of Jaunlatgle 38%. Majority were Russians or Great Russians as they were called then, Belarusians,  and Jews. Some Latvians settled there to gain new farming lands, some were families of the border guards. Despite the high Russian majority no tense ethnic conflict never occurred, Russians had their own school and gymnasium.  On 1938 the city of Jaunlatgale was renamed to Abrene.

The coat of arms of Abrene

The coat of arms of Abrene

On June 15 1940 Soviet NKVD special forces attacked the Latvian border station Maslenki within Abrene region. 3 border guards and  2 civilians were killed and may taken hostage. The raid was used as pretext for the Soviet Union to force the Latvian government to allow the entry of the soviet troops. On June 17 1940 Latvia was occupied and later annexed. Abrene remained within the Latvian SSR. On Summer 1941 Nazi German army took over the town. Local Jews were murdered.  Abene was included in special German Ostland province within Latvia part of it. On June 1944 the city and surrounding areas were taken by the Soviet Army.

With much part of Latvia including Riga still in German hands, the Latvian soviet government was moved from Moscow to Daugavpils. And after “proposal” from the Soviet government, on August 22 the Presidium of the Supreme Council of LSSR “asked” the   Soviet government to separate known areas with Russian majority. The areas were the parishes of Purvmala, Linava, Kacēni, Upmale, Gauri un Augšpils. On October 5-6 1944 the LSSR SC Presidium approved “the will of the people” within these areas. There however, where no sources that proves there was at least an opinion poll held within these war-torn areas about joining Russian Federal Soviet Socialist Republic.  Instead right after Latvian SSR government moved to  Riga, two delegations of  the local Russian representatives asked the Latvian government to keep local population within the Latvian borders. This was not approved. Most of the Abrene administration was replaced with Russian and Belarusian partisans and functionaries. Soon the old Russian and Latvian inhabitants either moved away to Latvian part or were deported. Population was replaced with immigrants from Russia and other areas. As for 2002 census

 This act is violation of even Soviet law (the 1936 constitution then in force required that changes in internal borders be confirmed by the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, not the Presidium). Though the official documents transfer 1075.31 square kilometers, 1293.6 square kilometers were actually transferred. According to census of 2002 690 people calling themselves Latvians resides in Pskov district.

According to the Latvian Constitution the borders of Latvia are according to Peace Treaty of 1920. On the Declaration of  the Restoration of independence on May 4 1990 that restored the power of the Latvian constitution intended to follow the terms of the peace treaty. However, in January 1991 in bilateral relations agreement with Russian Federation (with USSR still in existence), Russian side rejected the reference to 1920 peace treaty. As Russia do not recognize that Latvia was illegally occupied and annexed on 1940 and sees no continuation between 1918-1940 Latvia and present day Latvia, the question became frozen.  On 2005 when Latvia negotiated with Russia on the border agreement, the president of Russia Vladimir Putin called the Latvian claims on Abrene as the ” against the spirit of Europe.”  And also remarked that instead of Abrene Latvia will receive the ears of a dead donkey. However on July 2008 Russia transfered 174 km² area of land to China.

On April 29, 2005, Latvia announced that it would sign an interpretative declaration in conjunction with the proposed border agreement with Russia, noting that the border agreement would in no way affect “the legal rights of the Latvian state and its citizens” under the 1920 treaty. As a consequence, Russia scrapped the border agreement, as it saw this as attempt to prolong debate on Abrene. Despite the heated protests from far right movements on 2007 the border agreement was signed making no open references to the 1920 treaty. It was moral and legal failure for Latvia.

Estonia is in similar situation as Latvia. On the same time as Abrene, Soviet Union took 2.500 km² large area of Veru and Pesteri districts from Estonia. The areas it gave it up the same way as to Latvia with a border agreement. Estonia lost Ivanogord the suburb of city of Narva and the city of Petseri (Pechori). Russia canceled the border treaty with Estonia on 2005 because of references to the soviet occupation. On February 2014 Estonia signed the border agreement similarly to Latvia giving up its claims on occupation and lost lands.

Can we ever gain these lands back and is its worth it? First such thing seems to impossible with the present land grabbing Russian government who shows no respect to international laws or treaties proving the Otto von Bismark statement that its pointless to  believe that Russia will fulfill its signed treaties. If situation in Russia changes, with modern government and if the locals within these districts wishes to join Latvia with a referendum then its possible. But the recourses and the burden will be great, as these areas needs to be adjusted to Latvian and EU laws and structures. And the large Russian majority in these regions will increase the overall Russian speaking minority. They cannot get Latvian citizenship automatically according to laws and their social situation may force them to move to Riga to look for better job. With this all the rejoining Abrene with Latvia seems more a fantasy. But its a another of thousand reminders that Russia cannot be trusted in international affairs. Its interprets the treaties and laws according to their own, they feel no hesitation to break the treaties they signed, but accuses others of “breaking” them. And if Russia is caught right-handed of breaking laws and treaties it will always say – you did it first!   From a country unable to abide even to its own Constitution  we cannot expect nothing more. Abrene or Jaunlagale or Pytalova is a clear example of the century long injustice within Russian external politics.

Sources:

http://www.pytalovo.ellink.ru/history2.htm

http://www.historia.lv/alfabets/A/AB/abrene/raksti/andersons.htm

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Latvian Foreign Policy 1921-1940

The Main Building of the Latvian Foreign Ministry

The Main Building of the Latvian Foreign Ministry

After Latvia was internationally recognized by all major powers in 1921, it was ready for its own part in the world diplomatic arena. The diplomacy in the twenties and thirties was complicated and double sided. There were hopes and talks about regional unity, international assistance in case of invasion and even calls for disarmament. However, the old imperial interests, national ethnic issues and revisionism by some countries made this impossible. Latvia as a small country had to find a way to keep their sovereignty  in these uncertain times.

Latvia was in full of support of the so called Versailles system, a system based on Paris peace conference. The Versailles system allowed Baltic States to be independent and added new countries in the Eastern Europe. However, this was done at the expense of collapsed empires of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russian Empire. The heirs of these empires the Veinmar republic, Hungary and the Soviet Union were looking for revision and revenge. That was one of the main reasons of the failure of the Versailles system.

The first conception of the Latvian foreign policy was designed by Zigfrīds Anna Meierovics. He was the first Foreign minister and desired to ensure mutual solidarity between the Baltic States to keep the Soviet Russia off. The potential allies were seen as the Great Britain and France. Also for the sake of the stability good relations needed to make with Germany and the Soviet Russia – the ex enemies. The first period of the foreign policy was the “vertical line” that was based on forming the Baltic Union. After 1925 the line went horizontal and was based on making common ground with the Soviet Union and Germany.  The main concern for the Latvian diplomats was to find ways for solid external security.

Latvian attempts at forming the Baltic Union was rather unsuccessful. The mutual defense fact between Latvia and Estonia signed on November 1 1923 was the only real achievement. The main reason for the failure of the Baltic Union talks was the conflict with Lithuania and Poland. In 1920 Poland had captured the city of Vilnius, that Lithuanians regarded as their historic capital. Lithuania was unable to get it back and the Vilnius region became the official part of Poland. The tensions between the two states continued throughout the two decades. Poland was against the small Baltic Union and Lithuania was against the big Baltic Union together with Poland.

Germany and the Soviet Union were also against the Baltic Union and did everything to prevent it. Soviet Union regularly boosted the Vilnious question to prevent forming the union with Poland in the lead. Soviets signed separate pacts between all three Baltic countries to weaken their position. Lithuania was also playing a highly dangerous game by regarding the Germany and the Soviet Union as their allies since they both were against Poland. So they had to balance between them both.

Germany prevented the Baltic states from initiating the Eastern Lockarno Pact. The Lockarno conference made the Western German borders inviolable making illegitimate to change them. Poland and The Baltic states wanted to the same with the Eastern German borders. The plan however failed making it possible for the Germans to manipulate with the Polish and Lithuanian borders in the future.

The League of Nations proved to be ineffective from the very start. Latvian delegation actively pushed to add more changes that would empower the national sovereignty. The Geneva Protocol for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes was intended to find solutions for international conflicts in a peaceful way. The rights of the invaded nation and the aggressor was set out in this paper. However,  it failed to reach majority support. The protocol of 1928 that issued the forming of the international jury  for solving diplomatic conflicts was only supported by 23 countries.

The disarmament conferences failed due to the lack of support from the US and USSR. The pact of Paris in 1928 called to cancel war as a diplomatic solution. But, since of the lack of the aggressor definition and no institutions that should monitor the fulfillment of the pact it was again very useless. Moscow made Baltic States and Poland and Romania to sign a protocol that would ensure that the Pact of Paris comes to an effect with the Soviet Union before it comes in full international effect. Soviet Union tried to play the role of peacemaker by signing non-aggression pact with each Baltic State in 1932. However, on 1940 Soviet Union without hesitation broke every agreement they signed.

All the international treaties that Latvia signed guaranteed its full sovereignty only in paper. In reality Latvia was in constant danger. While Latvia was placing too much hope on Great Britain and France, their interest in defending the Latvian sovereignty was not so high. For some time the stabilizing factor was the German trade interests with Latvia and bad relations with Poland that kept the Moscow further.

On September 12 1934 all three Baltic States with new authoritarian regimes in each (Lithuania abolished democracy in 1926, Latvia and Estonia in 1934) finally signed the Baltic Union Pact. All three states agreed to make tighter diplomatic contacts and form meetings. The Vilnious question was treated as specific problem only for Lithuania.

On July 1934 France and the Soviet Union both proposed an Eastern Pact. The pact included guarantees for USSR, Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Finland and the Baltic States. France should guarantee the Eastern Pact, but Soviet Union the Lockarno pact. Estonia and Latvia both supported the pact. However, the pact never came to reality.

The international situation in mid-thirties changed. The new German Nazi leadership signed non-aggression pact with Poland, the Soviet Union was enforcing heavy militarization while calling for more peace conferences. Latvia was forced to use neutrality politics and try to find common peaceful grounds with Germany and Soviet Union. Such policy was unstable and regularly shifting. From 1935 to 1938 Latvia was more pro-soviet, but after the Munchen conference Latvia was pro-German.

Latvian Foreign Minister Vilhelms Munters was elected as an impermanent member of the council of the League of Nations.  It was an honor, however the League of Nation was heading for a breakdown.  Failures to stop Italian and Japanese aggressions. In 1938 Latvia made a mistake by stepping away from the principles of the collective security of the League of Nations. By not recognizing the 16th point that was the only guarantee for Latvia in case of invasion. This foul step was dictated by the growing pressure of the Soviet Union. Latvian neutrality was a delusion because Latvia could not make anyone to accept it.

All major countries in 1938-1939 head for the abolition of the world peace. Great Britain and France payed a heavy price for WWI and feared that a new one will destroy its imperial status. However, the British-French methods of appeasement only boosted the German ambitions. The nazi aggressive foreign policy could have been effectively stopped already in 1936 when Germany was still very weak. Allowing the occupation of the Rheinland on 1936, and silently watching the Austrian Anschluss was a prime mistake. Hitler was now sure that the French and British will fulfill his every wish in order to keep peace. After Munich conference and the annexation of Memel from Lithuania his ambitions went further to Poland. Meanwhile Soviet Union was watching this with joy. All the proposed peace conferences have been just the guise to keep the Eastern Europe apart. In reality Soviet Union was waiting for the new world war that in their minds would initiate the worldwide socialist revolution. When Germany came in conflict with the Poland and UK and France was looking for the Soviet support, Soviets instead pushed for agreement with Germany. And that would cause war.

Latvia had signed a non-aggression pacts with Germany and the Soviet Union. When allies tried to make talks with the Soviets, Latvia was strictly against the allied- soviet agreement. Moscow proposed that the invaded nation may be directly supported even without its permission. Soviets even designed so called event of indirect  invasion that would also need the Soviet support. Understandably this would mean that the Soviet Union may occupy Latvia for every small reason.

Since Stalin from the very start had wished to sign an agreement with the Nazi Germany, the talks with the allies were just a cover up and tool to blackmail Germans. The Molotov-Ribentrop pact signed on 23 August 1939 effectively canceled the Latvian sovereignty. Ribbentrop had a disagreement with Stalin about Latvia. Germans wished to divide Latvia and add Courland to German sphere of interest. Stalin with anger replayed until the Germans withdraw this demand no further talks can continue. Ribbentrop phoned Hitler and he agreed to give whole Latvia to Stalin.

After the WWII broke out, Latvia was in a grave situation. UK and France were far away, Poland was invaded from both sides. As the Soviet Union was gathering enormous forces at the border Latvia had to submit to the Soviet demands. On 10 October 1939 Latvia signed mutual assistance pact  with the Soviet Union, together with Lithuania and Estonia. Latvia allowed to host the Soviet garrisons and gave part of their sovereignty away. Latvia was aware of the secret protocols but hoped that the Soviets would keep them as a satellite state with some freedom. Finland who rejected the Soviet demands was invaded. Interestingly enough even Germans also thought that the Baltic states will not be annexed, just kept as Soviet satellites.

On June 1940 one by one the Baltic states were occupied. The hopeless situation with Soviet troops already inside the Baltic governments was forced to surrender. Twenty years work of keeping the national sovereignty failed.  The imperialistic interests prevailed over ideas of peace and international rights. This is the lesson that the Latvian modern diplomats must learn: never get in isolation, never rely only on treaties and sound promises. And report to the whole world if the country ever falls into danger.

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Karaganov Doctrine

This site has already discussed the influence of Russia on Latvia and its integration policy.  The Russian language referendum, the success of the Harmony Center party and growing power of Russian media is clearly visible in Latvia. This site has stated that this the part of Russian long-standing policy to use Russian minorities in the Baltic states for its geopolitical goals. Russian minority in Latvia has been used as  tool to affect Latvian politics and EU politics as whole. And this strategy has been successful. The roots of this strategy comes from 1992. when Russian foreign policy expert and Vladimir Putin’s adviser Sergey Karaganov published an article in journal “Diplomacy Herald”. The article published  on 15, and 30, November  Nr. 21-22, was latter nicknamed “Karaganov Doctrine”. Although it’s not an official document its is guideline for Russian foreign policy written by Vladimir Putin’s adviser and top 100 worlds most influential men named by journal Foreign Policy and The Prospect. Here is the translation of the famous publication in English. More about Mr. Karaganov on Karaganov.Ru.

The doctrine came out 20 years ago, when Russia was looking for new foreign policy. Many things were stated there were according to the strategical outlook of those times. However the general foreign policy of Russia has been very close to conception made by Karaganov. It’s recommended to read the whole text completely to understand how Russia has been trying to restore former glory of the Soviet Union by using Russian minorities as the “strings of influence”.

                              On Russia focused people interest defending issues in “close borderlands”

Sergey Karaganov, Europe institute deputy director. Diplomatičeskij Vestņik (Diplomacy Herald) Nr. 21-22. 15.-30. November, 1992.

This issue has not been fully worked out. Therefore I present you some thesis.

  For start few a  notes about, what A. V. Kortunov stated in his speech. First. We have entered a new age when new states forms or reintegrates. Historical this period in individual regions went for hundreds of years. We are in the beginning of this period. And when they say that we have pulled trough with fairly few conflicts, I remember famous British strategist Lawrence Fridman. He said when Tito was gone, all talked that Yugoslavia will collapse.  After that we thought we were wrong. But it came out that it’s simply happened 10 years later.

  It’s clearly seen that we have entered in such period of history, that our country and other countries gone trough in XVII Century, some in Middle ages. And in present moment the best instrument of  social and political analysis  are not the books of our writers but the research of history. Many interesting things can be found there. This argument needs to be considered the background for our analysis of the present.

With Russian speaking population connected policy problems (later I will linger for social and political arguments of this question) cannot be addressed without whole political context of Russia. Separate policy is not possible and thinking without united policy is useless. We must at once start to address important and not so favorable questions, that has been asked by speakers before me.

  On what should Russia focus in relations with other members of the Commonwealth of the Independent States? In Caucasus there is unrest  and will be unrest in future as long as general Yermolov will not get there. Soon the unrest will appear in Central Asia where all the borders has been drawn artificially, and where states as such may not survive. The question will Russia itself can survive, and will in the grounds of Russia a violence will occur (this also a historical regularity, although many say no, I think yes). And many other common questions.

What should we do? There is three versions of policy. First – radical democratic policy – the strengthening of the independent states and our full abandonment from them. That is not a bad solution, but it’s not real. The strengthening of such structure is not possible, for as the A. V. Kortunov rightfully indicated the majority of these states will not survive.   Also the situation will constantly change and we have to work to hold them together. Our present policy that was focused on strengthening the statehood of our neighbors ( I treat all states as equal, Russia is in common situation), brought to situation that we started to give away our armed forces to anyone. From international legal and present day philosophy aspect we did it completely legally. I have no right and I cannot say any objection against our steps, except one morally political. We have entered a historical period where arms cannot be given to unstable countries or countries with inside conflicts. Thanks to arms gave away principle in Moldova,  Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan there is thousands of unwanted victims, and we await of burning of all their tanks. In some points not all them will be burned as they will shoot for long time ahead.

The second way – reintegration. It will be normal neo – imperial way. It’s a tough course, although in long perspective it will be at least less bloody and more effective. But, its not real. For this we lack resources and political will. We are tired. Also the world will not let us to do it. I am not talking the moral side of the use of force in reintegration.

 Finally a third course – regulation, which goal is former USSR reintegration in more or less confederate frames. In every way we must understand one thing – Russia will had to play active post-imperial role. If we gave up it, than history itself will force it on us with crowds of refugees, the explosions of chemical factories and so on. I do not really agree with M. A. Hrustalov,  I personally  would not like meddle in Central Asia , although  I treat the culture of Asian people with deepest respect. But going away from them, as we did a year ago will not succeed. A storm of events will bring us back if the Uzbekistan will start to collapse and disintegrate, also the Kazakhstan and others. If we in this region with help of Kazakhstan will not play active post-imperial role, preventing conflicts and protecting national minorities, than sooner or later it will bring us in and we will not escape from it. After 10 years it will be hell burning in there. The Islamic Fundamentalism is horrifying. But, it will be much worse when there will be zone of unstable states. I think we must understand one point: Russia must go back to its traditional role – buy up local leaders, send troops to rescue someone. This job is not thankful, but this what the history has brought us to and its partly our own fault.

  Now about the strategy regarding Russians. No strategy, no matter how much we speak about it, is not and will not be as long as we will not make a decision taking system in national security. Although I know that A.V. Kozirev (Russian Foreign Minster in those times) does not like to mention Gromyko (famous Soviet foreign minister) I would like that he will become him in not as foreign policy, but in such manner that whole national security strategy needs to put under control. If it will not be done we will achieve nothing. We are weak country, our possibilities are limited and we have no right wasting them.

 And now about the protection of the Russian speakers. From political viewpoint the raising of this question is disputable, but from moral grounds its simply amoral. How can we defend Russian speakers, how can we determine them? Amoral for its smells like racism. But the main thing is not the amorality, but the simple impracticability. If we defend Russian speakers, than willingly or unwillingly we will allow the discrimination of other minorities. I heard that in Central Asia minorities closely watch each other and understands that if one minority gets discriminated, than others will follow. I think that the conception of Russia’s foreign policy on Russian speakers  must be based on defending the human and minority rights in all parts of former USSR.

  But before I start to discus this question I want to point out to something different. Russian speakers – its not only passive, but great active of Russia. First, everything must be done to keep Russian speakers in those regions where they live right now. Not only because we cannot afford to welcome a large crowds of refugees, but also because we must leave there a strings of influence with a further perspective. Dealing with economical advantage, Russia at once must start large expansion of investments, using the large debts that the republics are fed up with. We must by enterprises and take them under our control in such way establishing a powerful political enclave, that will be a foundation for our political influence including the protection of the Russian speakers.

The second task: the protection of the Russian language: support to schools, press, Russian speaking televisions and so on. We must do so in Russia that we will continue to teach the elites of the former republics of USSR, with thought that they will serve our interests. For the present time is otherwise: we close down the schools, limit the number of listeners, not forgetting to ask money, from already poor republics. In such way we risk loosing the whole generation that would accommodate us with good links the channels of influence. It easily understood that we must strengthen our cadres in the army and in higher Russian military schools we must educate the members of the  military elites from the close foreign countries.

  And now about the protection of the Russian speakers. I already said that slogan “the protection of the rights of the Russian speakers” is not determined from the political and moral side. Its needed to protect this contingent, but its must be done under the slogan of the defending the human and national minority rights. We must start with political strings, as it’s already been done in Estonia and Latvia. Its our mistake that missed those processes that already begun there (with that I mean the abuse of human rights). The precedent is made there, that if we bear with it and not suppress it at its seed will move to Russia. If we do not achieve any variant of compromise, then sooner or later, similar question will raise in other republics. I explain: if we allow everyone to break the “zero citizenship” giving law, then we will open the Pandoras Box that will revenge on us even after 20 years.

By the times regions and countries will change and every one of them basing on the precedent could not give citizen rights to the minorities.

The economical sanctions, that are accepted by international society are pretty effective, but its implication must be considered separately in every occurrence.

  And lastly about the use of force. There is a thesis that use of force can’t achieve nothing. I as historian and the expert of international relations can say that you cannot achieve anything by force, but in this situation that we enter sadly many things will be decided by the use of force. I am not saying that we must fully support the use of force. I think that there is no greater nonsense than shouting about using bombs. Its makes no sense. But we must understand that if we want to keep stability we must relive the factor of disincentive use of force against the  enemy. I have no doubts in that. Only the proper instruments must be found for it.

Really horrific episode occurred in Benderi, Ukraine. Not only because a thousand people were killed there, but also because the first time in the territory of the former USSR a crime against human rights was made. It will bite on us, that this crime went unpunished.

Now about the technique of using force. If we use the force with rights of the strongest it will be horrific. We need legitimacy. Not only because the whole world step against us, but also because we, if there will be no external control,  will easily step over the verge of impunity. Right now the public opinion and the order of the international organization, must be focused on that so Russia and other subjects of CIS  could have legal rights to use power in limited ways. Certainly we must consider about dividing the ESO in two zones. It would gave us chance of legitimacy. The West no longer will help us. They are moving away from us in fast temps and we can longer reckon with their peace protecting attempts. We must think about for ourselves. In one EDSO side there will be West, Central and Eastern Europe including Yugoslavia. There peace can be preserved by NATO and EU. NATO will take this offer with great pleasure! For we also could be involved there as observers. In other zone (Russia and the CIS) it must be achieved that such role would be given to Russia, but under international control, the international observers must be there, so that the use of army would be discussed if the armed force would exceed its powers, this fact would be internationally condemned. Unilateral actions that we are invited to, threatens to empower isolation.

There is not much solutions, but they must be used. In the end we are not such a tired nation.

Original source here.

Translation was made from Latvian translation from original language by Bruno Javoišs. From http://www.tautasforums.lv/?p=4497

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