Tallinn, Estonia AGF

Baltic Dread

News media nowadays are rife with speculation about whether – if not when – US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will divide the world between them. The people of Estonia and the other Baltic states now fear being consigned to Russia’s sphere of influence yet again.

TALLINN – News media nowadays are rife with speculation about whether – if not when – US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will divide the world between them. We in Estonia and the other Baltic states now fear being consigned to Russia’s sphere of influence once more. Indeed, for many Baltic citizens, suppressed visions of torture, deportations, and flight – all experiences from our recent history – are once again bursting into our consciousness.

In the Baltics, we know well the feeling that our country is part of some great global game of money and manipulation. We haven’t forgotten the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and the other secret protocols by which Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler in 1939 altered the fate of our countries almost overnight. How could we? Just a year later, the Soviet Union’s secret police began arresting and killing our parents and grandparents.

We also have another dark memory of that time: collaboration and appeasement. Like anyone who has lived through occupation, violent regimes, and brutal wars, we know that trust, so long to develop, can be thrown away in an instant. It is so easy for immoral individuals to be bribed into betrayal.

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