Gangsters and…

Gazeta Wyborcza quotes Latvian politician Artis Pabriks speaking at a conference dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the Baltic Chain:

[Russia] has responded to the EU sanctions so as to damage small countries. The majority in our countries is in solidarity with the fight for Ukrainian liberty. However, people are not ready to make sacrifices. Moscow has imposed the embargo [on EU food imports] to stoke these sentiments.

I did not mention Latvia but I thought that Lithuania with its well-developed dairy business was possibly being punished for misbehavior:

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Kremlin’s primary target are those two countries [Poland and Lithuania] with their firm pro-Ukrainian stance, since they critically depend on Russia for their agricultural exports.

The article is interesting for other opinions as well, including of course Adam Michnik’s, such as this: Russian FM Lavrov’s negotiating principle is “what’s mine is mine; what’s yours… we can talk about it.” Reportedly, Russian gangsters put it more bluntly: “What is mine is mine. What is yours is also mine.”


  1. I imagine Putin and his crew have a particular loathing for the Baltic States. They show that ex-Soviet republics can succeed by not taking the “Eurasian” route. The Twitter feed of the Estonian president Toomas Hendrik Ilves contains some pungent criticism of Moscow.

    Likewise, Poland provides an obvious alternative political model for Ukraine to follow. Similar size, some shared history.

    • Agreed. BTW Poland is virtually monoethnic and ethnic divisions in Ukraine have been exaggerated as the ongoing war is showing. It seems that half of the Ukrainian volunteers are Russian speakers from Southern or Eastern Ukraine.

  2. The other reason I suspect the Baltic States drive Russia mad is the utter indifference of the population (at least in Lithuania) to Russia and their Soviet history. At least Ukraine and Kazakhstan define themselves in some ways as *not* Russian and look to manage aspects of their Soviet past, but the Baltics are just indifferent, as if it never happened. They simply don’t care about Russia. That’s gotta hurt.

    • True about Lithuania – their number one problem seems to be the Polish minority, which is not helping Baltic unity – but Latvia cannot afford to be quite indifferent because of its ethnic mix.

  3. Dear Mr Newman

    What is the difference between government and organised crime?

    One is illegal.


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