08 Jun 2010

The Baltic-Russian History Controversy: From War to Diplomacy

Viktor Makarov

Download Publication


It is routine for countries to send their heads of state to participate in important celebrations in neighbouring states, but there was nothing routine about the Latvian and Estonian presidents going to Moscow to take part in Victory Day events on May 9.

These pragmatic moves towards rapprochement on both sides cannot bridge the genuine gap of identity and historical memory between Russians and the Balts overnight, but they could bring closer reconciliation over history a little closer. Much effort will be required for both societies to stop stereotyping each other, avoid blowing up perceived differences and learn to live with the real ones. Now that even Russia and Poland are groping their way towards reconciliation, it is not inconceivable that the Balts and Russians do the same.

The author of this Commentary, Viktor Makarov, is an Adenauer Fellow and visiting Researcher at the EU-Russia Centre in Brussels.