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Russian Influence Fades in the Baltics

Jun 10, 2016 | 09:15 GMT
Russian Influence Fades in the Baltics
Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have a newfound latitude in their relations with Russia.
(ILMARS ZNOTINS/AFP/Getty Images)

Competition between Russia and the West over the Baltic region is not new. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania occupy a strategic location in the flat borderlands of northeastern Europe, making them attractive to powers with regional ambitions. Attempts to control them began in the Middle Ages, with a period of Scandinavian domination in which Sweden and Denmark took prominent roles. By the end of the 18th century, the Baltic states were swept into the growing Russian Empire. Their subordination was briefly broken by a short period of independence in the early 20th century, before Nazi Germany invaded during World War II. Not long after, the region was annexed into the Soviet Union. After regaining independence in 1990 just prior to the Soviet Union's collapse, the three nations entered a new phase: integrating with the West. It culminated with each of the Baltic states joining the European Union and NATO in 2004....

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