Russia wants to restore its influence in Baltic states by 2030, strategy documents show

26 April, 05:45 PM
Flags of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia (Photo:News Easter Europe)

Flags of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia (Photo:News Easter Europe)

The Russian government developed a long-term strategy in 2021 to use “soft power” to leverage Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, several media outlets reported on April 26, referring to documents obtained by a consortium of international journalists.

Lithuanian broadcaster LRT reported that the Kremlin’s main goals are to use pro-Russian forces and organizations in the countries for their own interests, prevent the strengthening of NATO’s influence in the region, and thwart the construction of new NATO military bases.

The documents were drafted by the Office of Interregional and Cultural Relations, led by Dmitry Kozak, the deputy head of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s administration.

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The Kremlin developed separate strategies for Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, and the goals covered three periods: 2022, 2025, and 2030, though some of the strategies coincided.

In particular, the Russians planned:

  • to “restore relations” between Russia and the Baltic states
  • to form a “soft power” network of organizations advocating cooperation with Russia
  • to prevent the militarization of the countries and the construction of new NATO military bases on their territory
  • to recruit Baltic businessmen with promises to open the Russian market if their countries changed policies towards Moscow
  • to preserve “common historical memory” and Soviet monuments.

The priorities also included a strong effort to promote the Russian language in education.  Russia’s strategy in Latvia, for instance, was aimed at recognizing Russian as the state language and involving the country in political alliances with Moscow, the journalists said.

Russia was unhappy with the reaction of the countries following its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, including the active participation of the Baltic states in NATO, the increase of allied troops the countries, the introduction of sanctions, and the expansion of trade with the West.

After reviewing the strategy documents, former Estonian President, Toomas Henrik Ilves, believes the Kremlin has an “out-of-touch understanding of the reality” and just doesn’t understand what’s happening in the Baltic states,” he told Yahoo News.

Earlier European and U.S. journalists, citing leaked documents, reported that the Kremlin wanted to seize Belarus by 2030 and planned to turn Moldova into a Russian satellite.

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