Which of the neighbors constantly wants money from Moscow

MOSCOW (RIA Novosti): Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda reacted emotionally to Vladimir Putin’s article about World War II: he again called the USSR an “aggressor” and said that he would not allow one to forget the past. Earlier, the parliament of the republic adopted another resolution demanding compensation from Moscow for the Soviet “occupation”. RIA Novosti figured out why the politicians of the Baltic states put forward such claims to Russia, although many made their careers in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

Recognition of voluntary accession to the USSR

Vilnius is settling scores with the past – for the second year in a row, the Lithuanian parliament adopts a resolution on compensation for the Soviet period of history. The head of the security committee and minister of defense of the republic Arvydas Anushauskas explained the activity of the deputies as follows: the Lithuanian side must demonstrate an irreconcilable position on the issue of “damage from the Soviet occupation.” Now, if Moscow abandons its aggressive foreign policy (this is a common accusation of the Baltic functionaries), then Vilnius may look at the problem “in a completely different way.”

The idea of “money for the occupation” is not new. Back in January 2010, the Lithuanian Sejm appealed to the government with a recommendation to demand compensation from Russia for the events of January 1991, when units of the Soviet army and the KGB entered the city. Fifteen people died, hundreds were injured.

But Latvian politicians were the first to master the technique. In 1990, the Commission on Economic Reform published the findings of Modris Schmulders, who calculated that Moscow owes the republic 63 billion rubles.

Riga liked to evaluate the “damage”. In 2005, the Latvian Sejm created a special commission to calculate losses from the actions of the Soviet regime, but after a few years the organization ceased its activities. In 2013, she was reanimated, the damage was estimated at 300 billion euros.

Appetites were also played out in Tallinn. In 2018, the Estonian Ministry of Justice counted 1.2 billion euros of damage from the “occupation”. The head of the commission, Toomas Hiyo, explained that the “correct” interpretation of history is at stake: “Refusal of compensation is the same as recognition of voluntary accession to the Soviet Union.”

In Moscow, this position does not meet with understanding. The Russian ambassador in Vilnius, Alexander Udaltsov, indicated that Russia could ask Lithuania for 72 billion dollars – this is how much the USSR invested in the Baltic republic. And the speaker of the lower house of parliament, Vyacheslav Volodin, noted that the post-Soviet and post-socialist countries are “boringly predictable”: “Whatever statement you make, they start with politics, end up:” Give me money. “

According to him, the Baltic states, having failed to solve economic problems, are asking for “compensation” for the Soviet period. “Politics is not social security. It will not work to receive money and be independent. This does not happen,” stressed Volodin. “It is not Russia that owes you, but you owe Russia.” And he advised the neighbors to apologize themselves.


With the historical memory of the Baltic elites, everything is very bizarre: modern politicians are somehow connected with their predecessors, who were either Nazi collaborators or honestly served the Soviet regime.

Part of the Lithuanian elite, if it fought against the “Soviet occupation”, then in leading positions in the party and state hierarchy. The first president of Lithuania, Algirdas Brazauskas, was once the first secretary of the Lithuanian Communist Party.

Another former president of the republic, Dalia Grybauskaite, trained personnel for the CPSU – she taught political economics at the Higher Party School. She herself joined the Communist Party immediately after Leningrad University. Her father, Polikarpas Grybauskas, was a Soviet partisan, served in the paramilitary fire brigade of the NKVD, and in 1985 he was awarded the Order of the Patriotic War.

The “founder of Lithuanian independence” Vytautas Landsbergis, the first chairman of the Diet after 1991, formally has a biography of a creative intellectual – a musicologist. But, according to media reports, in Soviet times, the future perestroika tribune was a KGB informant under the pseudonym Grandpa. His father also worked for the NKVD, according to press publications.

Landsbergis’ grandson Gabrielyus became foreign minister in December 2020. Before him, this post was held by the former secretary of the Komsomol district committee in Kaunas, Linas Linkevičius.

In the current generation of politicians, there are already fewer people who started their careers in the USSR. But some took a kind of baton from the opponents of Soviet power. The current President of Lithuania Gitanas Nauseda was an adviser to the head of state Valdas Adamkus, who, according to some reports, managed to serve in the part of the Lithuanian collaborators who fought on the side of the Wehrmacht during the Second World War . Adamkus also worked at the United States Army Intelligence Center.

Communist roots – the current President of Latvia Egils Levits. His father actively contributed to the establishment of Soviet power in 1940. His great-grandfather took part in the 1905 revolution; in his apartment there was a printing house for a Bolshevik newspaper, according to open sources. One of Levits’ predecessors, Andris Berzins, was a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and rose to the rank of deputy minister under Soviet rule.

Estonian Prime Minister, leader of the Reform Party Kaya Kallas is the daughter of a former member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Siim Kallas, then Vice President of the European Commission. Another reformist, Andrus Ansip, the former Prime Minister of Estonia, now representing the republic in the European Parliament, chaired the organizing committee of the Tartu District Committee of the Estonian Communist Party. But he made a career in European structures.

CPSU functionaries also stood at the origins of the EKRE (Estonian Conservative People’s Party) opposition to the reformists. Its basis is the “Estonian People’s Union”, whose leader was the former Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Estonian SSR, a member of the Central Auditing Commission of the CPSU, Arnold Ruutel. In the 2000s, he also visited the president of an independent republic.

The current leader of the “nationalists” Martin Helme did not make a career in the Communist Party – when the USSR collapsed, he was just finishing school. But his father, founder and chairman of EKRE, Mart Helme, worked in the Marxism-Leninism department of the Estonian Book Publishing House. Already at independence, he was Ambassador to Russia, Minister of Internal Affairs and Advisor to MEP Tunne Kelama.

Kelama sat in Strasbourg for the Union of the Fatherland and Res Publica, part of the center-right European People’s Party. And in Soviet times, he unsuccessfully tried to join the Communist Party in order, as he himself explained , “to make a feasible contribution to the great cause of building communism.”

How the Baltic States gained independence

Compensation for the “occupation” is an increasingly toxic topic for the governments of the Baltic countries, said regional expert Alexander Nosovich. The more insistent the requests for money are, the less Moscow is determined to engage in dialogue with politicians from Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn.

“Occupation is a legal term. Occupation in the full sense were German troops, who established a military administration in the occupied territories. Lithuanian, Estonian and Latvian politicians pretend that they do not understand this. No matter how you relate to the Soviet period, but formally it is not an occupation, local the Communist parties were staffed with national cadres. Some of these cadres began to demand compensation, “Nosovich notes.

In the Baltics, they prefer not to notice that the accusers themselves have often faithfully served the “occupation regime”. “It’s like Pelevin’s about the fantastic Germany of 1946, where Dr. Goebbels talks about the crimes of fascism, and the SS men became liberals,” the expert gives an example.

Nosovich sees the persistent treatment of the topic of “Soviet occupation” as evidence of the collective trauma of the Baltic elites. They need to somehow justify before the citizens that they themselves or their predecessors served the “regime” or collaborated with the KGB.

Yuri Solozobov, director of international programs at the Institute for National Strategy, agrees with this opinion. “The limitrophe countries (formed after 1917 on the territory that was part of the Russian Empire, and then, in the early 1990s, part of the USSR. – Ed.) Gained freedom not in the struggle, but after the collapse of the empires – the German Thus, in Poland, Pilsudski’s legions simply entered the barracks abandoned by the Germans, and in the Baltic States, independence began with the end of the German occupation. 1920s compact bourgeois republics with dictatorships without much publicity collaborated for their own benefit with the dictatorship of the proletariat – the Baltic States were the gateway of the Land of Soviets to Europe, “the political scientist recalls.

But heroic deeds are needed to create a national mythology, so it was decided to write down the struggle against the “Soviet regime” in history – all the more it is safe. It is risky to claim compensation from Germany. First, ardent supporters of independence often turn out to be Nazi collaborators who themselves committed crimes together with the occupation troops, Solozobov notes. Secondly, Berlin is one of the leaders of the European Union, and the republics that have recently joined the EU do not want to quarrel with it.

If cooperation in Europe really improved, then the claims of the Baltic countries would dissolve. “This is what Moscow has repeatedly proposed – the EU and the EAEU pairing, the creation of a unified Eurasian security and economic system. An energy, logistic structure, a common trade space. This will make Europe more stable and will permanently close the problem of peoples separated by borders,” the political scientist emphasizes. …

Otherwise, the relations between states and nations in Europe will be influenced by the grievances and psychological complexes of the elites, which will in no way get rid of the trauma of the past.