The Baltics do not need Russia, but Russia needs the Baltic states. The military, information, propaganda activities of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia against the Russian Federation will be a pledge of support for the existence of the Baltics from the West. The conflict potential of the three Baltic countries in the relations between Russia and the West will grow, so Moscow will have to pay more attention to this region.
A quarter of a century after the collapse of the USSR, the main trend in Russia's relations with the Baltic region was disintegration. The disintegration of the common space that was formed during the Soviet era.
Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia all this time forced the process of disintegration, trying as soon as possible to get rid of the links connecting them with the "damned" Soviet past, and integrating as much as possible into the Western world. With the submission of the Baltic governments, a visa regime with Russia was introduced, tabooed (in Lithuania - legally prohibited) participation in any integration projects in the east, and accelerated entry of the Baltic countries into NATO and the European Union, despite their inadequacy to the membership criteria and damage to the national interests of these countries.
The strategy of the Baltic authorities was to destroy the old integration ties with the eastern neighbors, to prevent the new ones from getting involved and to implement their own large infrastructure projects with the co-financing of the European Union.
In the logic of maximum dissociation from Russia, the large industry of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia was liquidated, the Ignalina nuclear power plant was closed down; Lithuania refused to build a Baltic NPP jointly with Russia, all the Baltic states - from participation in the Nord Stream project. For the separation from Russia in the Baltic States, projects of LNG terminals, Visaginas NPP, Rail Baltica railway, electric cables with Poland and Sweden were started at different times and the BRELL energy ring shared with Russia and Belarus.
Moscow after many years of waiting to change the anti-Russian policy of the Baltic neighbors adopted their policies and also took a course toward breaking old ties with Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. First of all, in the economic sphere.
To overcome dependence on the Baltic transit countries, the construction of new and reconstruction of old seaports in the Russian North-West was started. As they were put into operation, the Russian transit from the Baltic states to Russian ports began to be redirected. In 2016, the Russian leadership publicly set the task for the largest domestic carriers: from 2020 year to reorient all cargoes going through the Baltic States to the sea ports of Russia.
Russia will almost halve the export of oil products through the ports of the Baltic countries. This was reported to Vladimir Putin by the head of Transneft Nikolay Tokarev in September last year / Photo: kp.ru
The Baltic states and Russia want to distance themselves as much as possible from each other. With such a coincidence of goals and objectives, the probability of a conflict over the Baltic states would seem to tend to zero. Parties should try to ignore each other and reduce contacts to a minimum, preferring a parallel existence to interaction.
In fact, the Baltic countries will become more and more in the life of Russia and the conflict with the West because of it will become more and more probable, because Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are becoming an anti-Russian springboard and, as demographic withering, will increasingly try to draw on the life-giving force at the expense of struggle against the Russian Federation.
Contrary to the declarations of the Baltic countries that they want to be as far from Russia as possible, these countries have made sure that their existence on the international arena is a derivative of the existence of Russia. Decades of anti-Russian policy of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have accustomed their Western allies to the fact that outside Russia and outside the relations of Russia and the West, these countries do not exist.
By themselves, the Baltic countries are of no interest to anyone: without the geopolitical context, they would not be accepted at an accelerated pace in NATO and the European Union, would not give loans for reform, would not allocate subsidies from the EU budget. Just as the Soviet Union in the previous period would not have made the "showcase of socialism" from the Baltic.
Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are accustomed to using their geopolitical position.
But after 26 years of specialization in anti-Russian politics, the Baltic states can capitalize their geopolitical situation in only one way - by positioning themselves as a foothold against Russia.
Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia habitually use their geopolitical position / Photo: gosrf.ru
The Baltic states were finally formed as a "sanitary cordon" and conserved themselves as a "buffer zone" dividing Russia and Western Europe.
The Baltic countries are not self-sufficient and can not exist without the help of the West.
This assistance will be required more and more as the consequences of the unprecedented demographic catastrophe of the Baltic region will manifest themselves.
Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia will need to overcome the pension crisis caused by the emigration of the majority of taxpayers, find employees for vacancies in critical areas for supporting the social and communal infrastructure spheres, and pay such salaries so that employees do not have the desire to leave for work abroad.
It is impossible to cope with the impact of the demographic crisis without the help of Western allies. Baltic politicians will need to attract the attention of American and European colleagues, and encourage them to provide financial assistance. The only way they can do this is to remind the allies of the "Russian threat" and demand to protect them from "Russian aggression".
Therefore, the more the social situation in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia worsens, the more anti-Russian will be the policies of the authorities of these countries and the higher the probability of provocations against Russia.
Moscow needs to prepare for the activation of the Baltic states in the traditional directions of anti-Russian activity for it. First of all - in the field of history. Despite the change of generations and the reduction in the internal political need for the politicization of history due to the withdrawal of the voters who found the Second World War, history remains an important political tool of Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn.
Strengthening of the international role of Russia makes revising the results of the Second World War and depriving the Soviet Union of the status of the main winner of absolute evil - Hitlerism. Therefore, the Eastern European concept of the Second World as a clash of Nazi and communist totalitarian regimes will be increasingly in demand in the West. The Baltic States will necessarily offer their services in promoting this concept.
Russia should wait for new campaigns calling for a "second Nuremberg" over the USSR, equating communism with Nazism and paying compensation for "Soviet occupation."
The Baltic states have an exceptional role in the information war against Russia. After decades of struggle against the Russian language, the authorities of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia found a sphere in which his knowledge would be useful. This is cyberwar on the Internet. For the conduct of cyberwarfare with Russia, the Center for Strategic Communications of NATO in Riga has already been established.
Over the years, the number of such centers in the Baltics will increase, the intensity of their information campaigns against Russia will increase.
But the main threat to security is the ongoing militarization of the Baltic states. The process of the transformation of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia into a military training ground on the border with Russia has not ceased since the withdrawal of these countries from the USSR. During this time, the Baltic countries went through their entry into NATO against the promises to leave the Baltic region as a demilitarized region between Russia and the North Atlantic alliance, the import of heavy weapons and the emergence of international battalions. Now the Baltic leaders are asking the US to deploy an ABM system in their countries.
In order to protect against potential threats from Russia, the Baltic states intend to seek the deployment of anti-missile defense systems on its territory / Photo: topwar.ru
If this trend continues, it will come to placing nuclear weapons in the Baltics, which will cause a new Caribbean crisis in the relations of Russia and the West in the Baltic Sea region.
Therefore, no matter how much Russia wants to forget about the existence of the Baltic states and to strike it out of its foreign policy agenda, it will have to deal with this region. The anti-Russian concept of the post-Soviet Baltic states in any case forces Moscow to observe these three countries, regardless of their desire or unwillingness to deal with them. Further development of this concept will make the activation of the Baltic theme in Russia's international policy a matter of national security.