Baltic press on Russia

Ria Novosti Press
Russian News
Information Agency
January 25, 2008


Several publications responded to a statement by the Russian Armed Forces Chief of General Staff Yury Baluyevsky on Russia’s right to a pre-emptive nuclear strike. Their authors are expressing discontent with the West, which is avoiding a tough conversation with Moscow. “For the first time since NATO’s eastward expansion, Russia has so openly threatened the world with nuclear weapons… The game started by some Western political circles in 1996-1997, which amounted to endless concessions to Russia at the expense of East European countries, has come to its logical conclusion: global policy is dictated by Russia rather than the West.” (Parnu Postimees, January 22)

Experts are interpreting the Russian-Bulgarian agreement to build the South Stream gas pipeline as one more bilateral agreement behind the backs of small EU countries. “The agreement is demonstrating a new trend – bilateral deals are being viewed as important for all of Europe… Will the time come when Estonia, a EU member, will be asked questions about energy policy?”
(Postimees, January 22)


The press notes that the Russian-Bulgarian agreement on the South Stream gas pipeline, signed in Sofia, may wreck EU efforts to build an alternative Nabucco pipeline and will considerably enhance Gazprom’s domineering role in supplying Europe with gas. Gazprom had to make serious concessions, but they will allow it to leave behind America and its pipeline projects in the region.” (Telegraf, January 21) “The more the construction of Nabucco is delayed, the easier it will be for Gazprom to toughen its grip on south-eastern Europe and other Balkan countries.” (Dienas bizness, January 17) “A number of energy agreements will turn Bulgaria into a Trojan Horse of the Putin oligarchy in the European Union.” (Lavijas avize, January 18)

The Russian language media are criticizing the initiative of some Saeima deputies that have urged their colleagues to speed up the assessment of damage inflicted on Latvia during the years of “Soviet occupation.” “Financial claims to Russia will destroy the opportunity for potential friendship between the two countries… Today’s Russia is not liable for the U.S.S.R. and not responsible for Stalin’s crimes.” (Vesti-segodnya, January 17) “Bulgaria… has made it clear what advantages a country can gain if it conducts pragmatic dialogue with Russia and does not show Russophobic attitudes.” (Vesti-segodnya, January 21)


Some publications carry expert estimates showing that Lithuania’s economic connections with Russia and other CIS countries will help it avoid the crisis triggered by the negative trends in the U.S. economy. “Paradoxical, but dependence on so much-disliked Russia may save Lithuania from the impending crisis… The U.S. crisis is certainly bad news but the Lithuanian market is much more influenced by the CIS market, where our exports are rapidly growing. Nobody predicts gloomy days for the Russian economy.” (Respublika, January 16)

The press is writing about the spectacular success of Russian films in Lithuania. “The past year was the year of the revival of Russian movies in Lithuania. Never before have 16 films been shown for the first time on a commercial basis.” (Vaidas, January 18)

At the same time, some authors claim that Russia is making life difficult for Baltic musicians. “Today, it is easier to be a Russian from Britain than from, say, Lithuania, in order to get into the Russian market. Russia has a tacit ban on Baltic performers.” (Delfi, January 16)