Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 92

Jointly condemned the “unwarranted economic and political pressures” exercised by Russia on Latvia, Presidents Lennart Meri of Estonia and Valdas Adamkus of Lithuania met yesterday with their Latvian counterpart Guntis Ulmanis in Latvia’s capital Riga. They described those pressures as potentially endangering regional and European stability, though “failing to affect the solidarity of the Baltic states.” The presidents reaffirmed their countries’ common goal to join the European Union and NATO. At the same time, they urged Russia to contribute to regional stability through a policy consistent with the spirit of European interstate relations.

Summing up the presidents’ decisions, Ulmanis announced that they would continue urging Russia to “stop intimidating Latvia” politically or economically. Each of the three countries will shortly set up a committee of historians to assess the extermination, deportation and persecution of Baltic states citizens during the Nazi and Soviet occupations. The assessments will also seek to clarify the role of Baltic military units, such as the Latvian Legion, which fought the Red Army in 1943-45. (BNS, Russian agencies, May 12)

In Moscow on the same day, President Boris Yeltsin described the policy toward Latvia as one of the successes of Russia’s foreign policy overall. In remarks to the Russian Foreign Ministry’s hierarchy (see Russia section above), Yeltsin maintained that “Russia’s firm position in defending the rights of our compatriots in Latvia is bearing fruit…. It has demonstrated that Russia can use civilized forms of leverage in promoting its interests and the rights of its compatriots abroad.” This comment seems to suggest that the Kremlin perceives its continuing anti-Latvian campaign as effective and potentially repeatable elsewhere.