Interviewed in a Vilnius daily, Russian Duma Chairman Gennady Seleznev warned that Russia’s relations with the Baltic states will depend on their attitude toward NATO. Regarding other outstanding issues, Seleznev said that Russia has "no unsolvable problems" with Lithuania; objected to "discrimination against Russians" in Latvia; and condemned Estonia for a "consistently anti-Russian course and mass-scale oppression" of Russians and of Orthodox believers. He warned that Russia will retaliate economically. (Ekho Litvy, April 5, cited by Itar-Tass and Interfax, April 6)
The Russian Foreign Ministry’s Baltic affairs division chief, identified as Sergei Prikhodko, drew similar distinctions in a statement yesterday. He said that Russia "might be satisfied with its relations with Lithuania;" that "the list of major differences with Latvia is not increasing;" but that relations with Estonia are deteriorating because of its "openly slighting Russia’s interests as a great country," "consistently anti-Russian foreign policy," and treatment of "the Russian-speaking population." Prikhodko, too, warned that Russia would use nonmilitary "pressure levers" to promote its interests. (Interfax, April 8)
The statements evidence a tactic of differentiation in Moscow’s policy toward the Baltic states. It hopes to splinter Baltic solidarity by singling out one of the countries as the current main adversary, maintaining uncertainty in another, and appearing to propitiate a third. The close parallelism of the two statements reflects a consensus between the Foreign Ministry and the Duma on following the policy of differentiation in the region.
Moldovan Democracy Hangs in the Balance.