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The War Nerd / April 28, 2011
By Gary Brecher

Years ago I got an angry email from somebody claiming to be in one of the Baltic militaries. Whoever he was, he wrote in grammatically perfect English so he just had to be from Northern Europe. We can’t talk English so good as what them Germans and Swedes can, not nohow. I don’t know whether he really was a military man, but he seemed to know what he was talking about.

He was mad at the way the three Baltic countries, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, were being pushed by NATO to turn their militaries into “boutique armies.” He wanted me to write about the way NATO was forcing all three small countries to turn their armed forces into specialized units that would be useless for defending the homeland.

I checked it out and it was clear that NATO was putting pressure on the Baltic countries to take on specialized, non-combat roles in the alliance. The NATO plan for the Baltics was for Latvia to specialize in NBC (Nuclear/Biological/Chemical) decontamination, Lithuania to focus on military medical care, and Estonia to do minesweeping and bomb detection. The official argument pushing all this specialization was that the last thing NATO needs is a “toy army” with its own separate air force of a half-dozen planes, navy with two or three ships, and army with one tank unit. The idea is that in an alliance composed of a few huge countries, several middle-sized powers and a dozen-odd tiny ethnic enclaves, the best thing the little ethnic enclaves could do for the group is take on some of the more technical jobs and leave combat to the big boys.

If you’re sitting at a NATO desk in Brussels or trying to line up your forces in the Pentagon, that makes perfect sense. If you’re hunched nervously at the edge of the Baltic Sea, with Mother Russia holding huge military exercises a few miles inland, it’s not such a cheering concept. If the three Baltic countries let their armies get turned into auxiliary units for NATO, basically give up any notion of defending their home countries, they’re putting absolute trust in a squabbling, slow, bureaucratic mess.

Baltic Map: You see the problem.

And organizations have long memories. NATO can’t help remembering that the Baltic countries used to be part of the USSR, so losing them wouldn’t even disturb the orginal NATO map. Would NATO go to war with Russia for Estonia, a country of 1.3 million people? It might, but if you’re in Estonia, you can’t help remembering how pundits in London and Paris around 1938 wrote columns titled “Do You Want to Die for Danzig?” Danzig being the port hub of the Polish Corridor, another patch of Baltic real estate that’s vanished with the come and go that just won’t stop happening in that part of the world.

That kind of paranoia—I mean, the sensible kind—would lead you to keep your little “toy armies,” on the theory that even a toy army might have some deterrent power by running the budget of a Russian re-invasion of the Baltics up too high for the Kremlin accounting department to sign off on. Of course, NATO’s counter would be, “Come on, Estonia’s tiny army is going to stop the Russians? Look what happened to Georgia! They were supposed to be one of the toughter little toy armies, a real little terrier of an army, but they crumpled when the Russians went into Ossetia.”

Baltic landscape: Perfect tank country

But I’m not so convinced by that argument. It was true circa 1945, when every surviving army in Europe was using all its power non-stop. If there’s one thing you can say about military power since 1945, it’s that you never see that kind of all-out warfare. Not since Nagasaki. Nukes are the classic example: not one fired in anger, as they say, since Nagasaki. So the fact that the Russian army could roll through the Baltics any time it wanted to doesn’t mean that they will, or are even thinking about it. Any capacity for resistance matters now, when countries budget their use of force like diabetics counting glucose.

In the end, two of the Baltic countries went along with NATO’s plans. Latvia agreed to specialize in NBC counterwarfare and Estonia accepted the job as NATO’s minesweepers and bomb detectors. I’m not surprised Estonia went for that; Estonia’s always been a pretty nice, peaceable place from what I’ve read, and it’s so damn tiny that they don’t have much choice but to trust in NATO. Latvia’s more of a surprise. There was a Latvian family in our neighborhood named Kanasevics, I think that’s the way they spelled it, and every summer the kids went off to Latvian Camp to get indoctrinated in the glory of being Latvian and their sacred duty to free the homeland from the filthy communist Russkies. Judging by them, I always thought Latvians were nationalist maniacs, but maybe that was just the ones who immigrated to California. You get that sometimes: It’s the tribe members who emigrate who raise their kids to be 300% ethnic diehards, whereas the people still actually living in the homeland are more interested in having a decent life and getting a better car.

The one country that didn’t settle was Lithuania. I honestly don’t know if they made the right decision, but I can’t help thinking, Good fer them! Lithuania was all slotted in by NATO planners to be their military-medicine specialists—another nice clean non-combat role. But the Lithuanian Army, from what I hear, just wasn’t having it. The proudest unit in their armed forces is the Iron Wolf Motorized Brigade.

By all accounts it’s a quality unit, tough and mobile. Each battalion in the Brigade is named after one of those medieval Lithuanian princes with the totally unpronounceable names, like the King Mindaugas Battalion.

I do have one piece of advice for the King Mindaugas Battalion, though: Fix the English translation of your Battalion motto, “OH LORD HELP US – IT IS THE HONOUR AND FREEDOM OF THE HOMELAND WE DEFEND!” I know you guys speak more grammatical English than I do, but I got what you might call the native’s ear for tone here, and take it from me, “Oh Lord help us!” is not the best war cry you could come up with, especially if you follow it up with “It is the honor and freedom of the homeland we defend.” That sorta makes people think it’s crazy to hope for victory when it’s that damn homeland you’re fighting for. That might be true when your neighbor is Russia and the homeland consists of totally flat plains just made to order for a tank-rich invader, but you don’t have to go advertising it. Military slogans are no time to be honest anyway. If they were, most of the countries in the world would have to get “Who are we kidding?” translated into the national language and embroidered on the flag.

The name, by the way, comes from a really cool legend, one of those legends you get where the tribal boss has a dream with a magical animal that tells him where to build their new home:

Grand Duke, Gediminas, was on a hunting trip in the forests of Šventaragis valley around the mouth of the River Vilnia. When night fell, the party, feeling tired after a long and successful hunt, decided to set up camp and spend the night there. While he was asleep, Gediminas had an unusual dream in which he saw an iron wolf at the top of the mountain where he had killed an European bison that day. The iron wolf was standing on the top of a hill with its head raised proudly towards the moon, howling as loud as a hundred wolves. Awakened by the rays of the rising sun, the Duke remembered his strange dream and consulted the pagan priest Lizdeika about it. The latter interpreted the dream as follows: ‘Let that happen to the Ruler and the Lithuanian State what was fated to happen!’ He told the Duke that the dream was a direction to found a city among these hills. The howling of the wolf, explained the priest, represented the fame of the future city: that city will be the capital of Lithuanian lands, and its reputation would spread far and wide, as far as the howling of the mysterious wolf…’ So the Grand Duke of Lithuania, obeying the will of gods, immediately started to build the future capital, and took it the name – Vilnius – from the stream of the rapid Vilnia.

This Grand Duke Gediminas lived in the late 1200s, but he’s still consulting a pagan priest. That’s pretty cool too, and reminded me that it took an outright crusade, a full-on invasion of Christians in armor, proto-SS guys like the Swordbrothers and Teutonic Knights, to convince the Lithuanians that the Prince of Peace was the way to go, if you wanted to continue breathing. But the Crusades against the Lithuanians just plain failed, and the Lithuanians finally turned Catholic on their own. The Iron Wolves from the west couldn’t make them kneel.

They’re a strange breed, Lithuanians. I didn’t know much about them until I was checking this stuff out, and it blew me away to read that their language is about as close to ancient Sanskrit as you can get now. Who’s the Aryan now, Adolf?

It’s not easy coming up with a plausible military organization for three tiny countries on Russia’s Western border. All I know is that military history is a series of nasty surprises, and it might be a good idea to have a decent-sized, flexible land force whose primary mission is homeland defense. It’s hard getting the brass to see that, though, and not just in the Baltics. I still remember how annoyed the USAF was, after 9/ll, when people insisted it start patrolling US airspace. They all but said, “That’s not our job!”

I just can’t help thinking that by turning Estonia’s and Latvia’s armed forces into specialty boutiques, NATO just neutralized two armies for the price of a promise. That’s a good deal in any era. And Lithuania made a good deal by making a counter-offer to NATO that amounted to saying, “How about this: We keep our core professional infantry unit just like it is?”

There’s no simple answer to this one. If you want to see a very good discussion between a western historian and a bunch of angry Baltic soldiers over how these three countries should think about home defense, check out this website.
They know a lot more about it than I do, and they don’t sound too sure themselves. Well, that’s one hard lesson of military history: Who said there’s always a good answer? Plenty of times the answer is, “Whatever you do, you’ll be exterminated.” Ask the Old Prussians from up in that neighborhood. They’re so gone nobody even knows how they talked. And the new Prussians, THE Prussians, who replaced them? Wiped Off the Map.

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Add your own

  • 1. -  |  April 28th, 2011 at 10:33 am

    quick note-check your title 🙂 minor misprint you may want to fix

  • 2. arras  |  April 28th, 2011 at 10:36 am

    It is the same story all over ex-Warsaw Pact countries. Now of course proud new NATO members. Perhaps with exception of Poland which is just too big.

    Their armed forces were turned in to little expedition forces ready to molest goat shepherds for Uncle Joe in some God forgotten oil rich corner of the World. And building runways for his planes.

    That is all those “armies” can do. For defending their homes and families totally useless.

  • 3. furioso  |  April 28th, 2011 at 10:42 am

    awesome awesome awesome article! I love the pagan Balts!

  • 4. Fissile  |  April 28th, 2011 at 10:42 am

    The article title says “Balkan Armies”, but the story is about “Baltic Armies”.

    The only thing the two places have in common is that they are both in Europe.

    The Balkans: (often referred to as the Balkan Peninsula, although the two are not coterminous) is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe. The region takes its name from the Balkan Mountains, which run through the center of Bulgaria into eastern Serbia. The region has a combined area of 550,000 km2 (212,000 sq mi) and a population of 55 million people.

    The Baltics: a collective name for Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

  • 5. abc123  |  April 28th, 2011 at 10:51 am

    We have a similar problem in Sweden. An absurd number of fighter jets (120 compared to Norway’s 57) drain the resources of the rest of the military. This decision is of course the result of the manufacturers lobbying.

    Finland is an example of the opposite, they have really made the right decisions not to have to lose any more territory to Russia.

    “where he had killed an European bison that day”

    It’s “a European”, we do speak better English than Americans. 🙂

  • 6. PJ  |  April 28th, 2011 at 10:53 am

    Interesting. As you say, the real answer is probably that the Baltic states are at the mercy of Russia no matter what they do. But at least the Lithuanians might get some glorious-last-stand stories out of it by keeping their toy army.

    Now that you’ve done some of the research already, how about a followup article on the Baltic Crusades, or Lithuania’s exploits in the 14th and 15th centuries?

  • 7. Michal  |  April 28th, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Definitely no easy answer to this one, but whatever decision the Baltic armies make, I hope it’s the right one.

    Living in Czechia (former Czechoslovakia) I can totally understand why they wouldn’t want to put their faith in western allies, however it simultaneously seems to me that whatever the level of discipline, training or equipment within these armies, they will never, ever be able to stand up to the Ruskies in a regular fight.

    I can see sense in maintaining an infantry force and accompanying trained conscript reserves, since it’s trained infantrymen who could be best used in guerilla warfare, but maintaining anything bigger, more mechanized than that? I have my doubts.

  • 8. Alok  |  April 28th, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Really? They’re still planning for Russian tank invasion?? In 2011.

    Gimme a break.

    Putin’s very good when it comes to beating down countries a hundredth of Russia’s size, but taking on NATO is waaaay out of his league.

    Besides, NATO’s real threats lie across the mediterranean.

    Sort of explains the current Libya-capades.

  • 9. Strahlungsamt  |  April 28th, 2011 at 11:37 am

    If you want to see the kind of help the DHS and NATO are bringing to Estonia, first read this article from the Man.

    Then read these articles about the Sniffex, phoney dowsing rods they sold off to the (not too bright) Estonians.

  • 10. Strahlungsamt  |  April 28th, 2011 at 11:47 am

    The only reasons the Baltic states even exist is so that America could “save” them from the evil Bolscheviks. Those non-countries didn’t even exist pre-1918. They are part and parcel of the Russian Empire and will hopefully be reintegrated back in the future.
    Also, read this nice article about how Lithuania had the Jews nicely packaged when Uncle Adolf rode into town.

    I’ve been to Latvia. Totally fucked up country. The entire population speaks Russian but every single sign is in Latvian only. Not even an English or German translation anywhere. You have two groups who hate each other worse than Northern Ireland Catholics and Protestants.

    The place is a dump and the Latvians have no culture of their own. Every name seems to be either German, Polish, Swedish or Russian with an ‘s’ tagged onto the end. Most unoriginal people ever. All I could think of was when is Russia going to roll the tanks in and take their country back. 2/3rds of the population might just thank them.

    Only good thing, the babes are among the hottest on the planet.

  • 11. Timur  |  April 28th, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    YEah, I wonder whether the warnerd has read about YDNA HAPLOGROUP research.
    3 Ironies.
    1) Russkies are closest to Indo aryans in being HAplogroup R1a and having most recent common ancestor 3000 years before present.
    2) Germans are actually R1b which is I guess the centum branch of the indoeuropean languages.
    3) Hitler was e1b1b which is AFRICAN ydna and probably originated from a saphidic jewish ancestor!

  • 12. Grün  |  April 28th, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Good for you, Lithuania. Nato knows these countries have ethnonationalist tendencies, which could have economic and ideological reverberations farther West, thus Nato would like to put them in a dependent position. If Nato accomplished that objective and then Russia invaded, Nato would look awfully, awfully bad – so I guess Nato does plan to protect them.

    I don’t think that will ever happen, though. Intense US-Russian disagreement or conflict seems like a loser for both, unless it’s by proxy. (I’m not sure Nato could bomb Serbia today; notice what a state Russia was in when that happened, whereas today it might provide serious money/materiel to Serbia.) I think that when both sides posess hot hot fire on a stick, as in nuclear missiles, the incentive to fuck around and get cute is damned limited. I think there are signals, implicit and/or explicit, about what would be kind of uncool and what would be TOTALLY uncool, and what would happen – and the incentives for coming to rough agreement are pretty damn effective, even on a relatively agressive and dauntless type of people like the Russians.

    Lithuania may risk cooling relations with Nato, but whatever. If I ruled Lithuania I would be recognizing that 50 years of Soviet rule, though probably much worse than Tsarist rule, is not the end of the world. Just look at the American-dominated France, England, Germany: those peoples are now colonized by high-fertility foreigners, and all these Western European tribes face a fair likelihood of domestic war and extirpation, especially from 2040 and onward; some (Ireland, Switzerland) a little less so than others. So if Lithuania were my kingdom, I would counsel myself: hmmm, moving us from say a 10% to a 20% chance of Russian domination sometime this century is not the only aversive possibility to weigh.

  • 13. Eddie  |  April 28th, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    If anyone have failed to notice the cost benefit analysis for any occupying army is horrendously bad. You might say what you want about the Russians but stupid they are not.

    It’s not like they have not been paying attention. Taking and holding any territory for too long, especially territory that people care about will cost you way more then the whole business will ever be worth.

    Just ask the Americans who dropped six million tons of bombs on Vietnam, almost three times as many as were dropped in Germany and Japan together in WWII. Defoliated vast stretches of jungle, killed countless Vietnamese and achieved what?

    Here is my recipe for winning a defensive war. Hardly anything original or particularly hard to figure out.

    First, never resist the enemy on your border. Instead let the enemy come to you. Although on the way you might want to resist enough for him to commit some unspeakable acts of atrocities. Remember sometimes the enemy needs encouragement to engage civilian targets but coxed enough and he will.

    Then fight him guerilla style in urban areas with small groups holding strong local support.

    If you follow the above advice, any enemy no matter how tenacious will in the end give up and leave. Sometimes like in the case of Yugoslavia this will cost you 10 percent of the population, but hey, you got to break some eggs to make an omelette.

  • 14. foo2  |  April 28th, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    1) Russkies are closest to Indo aryans in being HAplogroup R1a

    The closest to Indo-Aryans (Indo = India, Aryan == Hindi word for any from the about 1000 North Indian tribes and sub castes), well, the closest to them are any populations that used same/similar holy books. So the holy Hindu religious texts, the Vedas/Eddas are similar to the Norwegien holy books, the “Eddas”), so ancient Norway is close.

    Russia is nowhere near, the Mongol genetics are in a huge part of the Russian population anyway.

  • 15. Grün  |  April 28th, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    > The only reasons the Baltic states even exist is so that America could “save” them from the evil Bolscheviks. Those non-countries didn’t even exist pre-1918. They are part and parcel of the Russian Empire and will hopefully be reintegrated back in the future.

    I’ve got news, America did save them from evil bolsheviks. But America was not terribly dedicated to anti-bolshevism. England and France wanted to invade Russia but owed their balls to the US, with interest, after breaking the bank on the Great War. Russia was prostrated and the Reds and Whites were dueling with an ounce of energy each, so the invasion would have been trivial. But Wilson was hung up on the potential for guerrillas, who would force him to bloody his tule tippet by responding with state terror.

    But that piece of niceness didn’t turn out very well. It permitted the civil war to rage on, it brewed the ’21 and ’32 anthropogenic famines, and it plied fascism into all of East and Central Europe – which would have been a good(ish though not spotless), defensive movement if not for Hitler’s decisions.

    I think the Baltics are pretty damn glad that they weren’t involved in the ’21 and ’32 famines, the Red Terror, and so forth.

  • 16. abc123  |  April 28th, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Strahlungsamt: Hopefully, in the near future, Russia and all your imperial aspirations will die once and for all. You can sit around in Moscow and masturbate at the thought of having once been a great power while every nation you’ve occupied (and still do) becomes independent and renounce you.

    Let’s face it, this you call democracy isn’t exactly very stable and it will probably not last.

    And just for the record, everyone, every single sane person in every single sane country hate Russia and the Russian people.

  • 17. Nor Word  |  April 28th, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Yep, NATO is just bein’ mean. Them’s tactical and strategery genusesesses have it right once again.

    Well, ‘ceptin that bit about any forces stationed in Marzipan and Vodka Smuggling Land being out-flanked, cut off, and destroyed in the first half hour of any conflict with our dear friends in the Soviet, uh… Russian Confederation. I’m sure ol’ Vlad wouldn’t have a problem with a B-2 squadron and a few Tornado Wings 38 seconds away from his industrial heartland, either.

  • 18. Blue  |  April 28th, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    >I’ve been to Latvia. Totally fucked up country. The entire population speaks Russian but every single sign is in Latvian only.

    The only place in Latvia people speak Russian is Riga, the largest city, which was packed by the soviets with colonists, when they sent half the population of Latvia to Siberia.

    >The place is a dump and the Latvians have no culture of their own.

    You have obviously never met many Latvians, like so many douche-bags who go to Riga to drink, you have been to the bar district in Riga looking a post soviet Russians, a nihilist bunch to be sure, they “love” mother russia, but wouldn’t want to live there.

    The real Latvians are still half pagan, the city empties every weekend and all the Latvians go to the countryside to their cottages and cabins. If you make friends with real Latvians they invite you to their cottage, that is where the culture is.

    > Every name seems to be either German, Polish, Swedish or Russian with an ‘s’ tagged onto the end.

    Latvians did not have last names until the late 19th century. The Tsarist government insisted that the census record last names so the German and Russian nobles who ran the place had to give everyone last names. One particularly mischievous noble, irritated at the task, gave everyone in his territory Italian last names.

  • 19. former  |  April 28th, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    These days, why own when you can rent?

  • 20. thats life  |  April 28th, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Sucks to be auxiliary…

  • 21. egslim  |  April 28th, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    How much is NATO’s guarantee of the Baltic states worth?

    I don’t know the answer to that.

    There was some talk about Georgia joining NATO. That didn’t happen, but I doubt it would have made any difference. Regardless of treaty-obligations I can’t see the US go to war with Russia over a small country in the Caucasus.
    Western Europe during the Cold War was different, because with its large population and advanced economy it was pivotal to the balance between East and West.
    The Baltic states are somewhere in between in their importance to the US.

  • 22. az  |  April 28th, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Haha what’s with the crazy Le Russophobes in the comment section?

    “The real Latvians are still half pagan, the city empties every weekend and all the Latvians go to the countryside to their cottages and cabins. If you make friends with real Latvians they invite you to their cottage, that is where the culture is.”

    I hope this dude knows that this “culture” was introduced by the Evil Empire in the 60’s and 70s when they decided to start giving out rural allotments (dachas) to urban dwellers en masse.

    I swear though, petty Eastern European fascism is the funniest fascism in the world today, at least better than the stupid German fascism and tragic Russian fascism. They’re the Little Axis to the Little Entente.

  • 23. Nick Nolan  |  April 28th, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    I wonder if this is what will happen if Finland joins to NATO.

    Currently Finland has cadre army of 16,500 and standard readiness strength is 34,700, but Finns have over 350,000 reservists.

    If Finland joins to NATO, it means almost surely that Finnish army turns into professional army and conscription is discontinued to save money.

    Finland has over 1000 km border with Russia. It would be really hard to defend using small army without reserve. If Finland woudl be under attack, defending Finland with NATO forces would be logistically very difficult. Finland is mostly forests, swamps and lakes. Typical infantry that NATO can offer would be next to useless and very hard to move to position after conflict begins.

  • 24. wengler  |  April 28th, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    Why would Russia roll into Tallinn or Riga with tanks when they could attack and shutdown their internet(already happened) costing their heavily internet-based economies countless billions of dollars? Or simply shut off the oil and natural gas pipelines like they did to Ukraine?

    The US is bleeding off its crippled middle class’s accrued benefits through pointless unwinnable conflicts in the energy-rich countries while Russia and China laugh on the sidelines. They are thinking strategically while the US acts tactically with every segment of its society conforming to the new 5-year plan- the quarterly report.

    If I were in the Baltics I would urge my government to adopt some form of civilian-based defense like in Switzerland. Their natural territory won’t protect them but neither will a token army. Either that or develop some nuclear weapons.

  • 25. Michal  |  April 28th, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    @ no. 10

    Yeah right, they didn’t exist, like the caucasian and central asian nations didn’t exist, right? They just showed up out of nowhere, of all the years in 1918, just demanding independence like that. I guess the Finns never existed either. Guess they made up their entire language, too!

    All the people speak Russian? Really? After decades of colonization, the Ruskies make up (according to 2010 census) no more than 5% of population. Who are the remaining 95% of people, Ruskies in denial?

    Fucking Russophiles and all the tag-along bolsheviks make me sick as hell.

    Damnit why am I even replying to obvious trolls.

  • 26. geeez  |  April 28th, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    this ain’t hard.

    if your a small country bordered by an autocratic, big country who’d like to achieve Anchluss with your country’s big ethnic minority, the only way to put up a sustained fight is good ole-fashion Sun Tzu/Mao-type guerilla warfare updated for the 21st century with cell phone IEDs.

    Though the odds of a conventional, total war is near zero, ya know what? The Baltic States would be thrown to the Russians if push came to shove. No oil. Joe Six Pack doesn’t know the difference between a Russian and Latvian and America has had a bad habit of throwing Eastern European countries under the bus over the past 80 years.

  • 27. Jesse the Scout  |  April 28th, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    Ya know… talking about Georgia, maybe that’s the idea. Georgia got cocky because they thought they had some big dogs behind them when they started yipping at Russia. Some mouthy Georgian politician made a bad call and the country got its shit ruined. I still recall a lot of grumbling about how the US got rickrolled when Russia spanked our little mini proxy while we wrung our hands and tried to get permission from our mom to do something.

    Maybe they’re concerned about one of these little Baltic guys getting feisty one day and doing the same if they have their own little armored battalions. Get in a dispute with Russia over something piddly and figure, “hey, Europe’s got our back”. Next thing you know NATO’s in the Georgia situation: do we back our guy even when HE started it or do we let Russia gobble them up? It’s lose-lose, and realistically this IS how big wars get started. So make sure the yippie dog can’t yip and avoid a lot of future pain perhaps?

  • 28. I lol'd  |  April 28th, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    To all people who commented here before me:

    You are all retards!

  • 29. aleke  |  April 28th, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    Lookit all the dumb fuck petty fascists, pining for the Baltic retard homelands. Lol there is absolutely no future for the Baltic people as lil eichmanns, might as well submit to the dictatorship of the proletariat, rather than the dictatorship of the dorrito, ya dumb cretins

  • 30. aUPfinn  |  April 28th, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    @Nick Nolan,
    The Finns ultimately lost the war against the Soviets at he outset of WWII but they were able to defend their country and retain their national identity despite the enormous odds against them. The United States and other allied countries as well as Nazi Germany did loan some money and equipment to Finland late in the war but most of it came too late to do much good. After two years of ferocious guerrrila combat the Finns opted for a negotiated peace treaty in which the Soviets kept the lands they managed to occuppy and Finland was made to pay punishishing war reparations in exchange for national soveriegnty. Ultimately Finland is the only nation that paid off all of its war debts to the United States , as well as the Soviet Union. Mr. Brecher should do a story on The Winter War, theres alot of good material there.

  • 31. Yoh Xi Hung  |  April 28th, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    … article on technicals!!!!! 🙂

  • 32. Operation Eagle Guardian  |  April 28th, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    “Eagle Guardian is a NATO regional defence scheme drawn up in early 2010 to defend the Baltic states and Poland against an attack by Russia.”

  • 33. Tris  |  April 28th, 2011 at 9:14 pm


    War Nerd on the Winter War:

  • 34. Homer Erotic  |  April 28th, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    Technically there are only two ethnic Baltic nations, Latvia and Lithuania. Estonia (across the North Sea from Finland) is a member of the non-Indo-European Finno-Ugric ethnic group along with Finland and Hungary.

  • 35. pimp of the Balkans  |  April 28th, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    Ha ha, wow, that’s a ridiculous looking shoulder patch… like a robotic peg-leg Pete.

    I know Lithuania’s not a real country, right, but couldn’t they even spring 50 bucks for something less daft? This one’s less ‘scary iron wolf brigade’ and more ‘kid brother’s super-secret samurai dog robot army’.

  • 36. Parl  |  April 29th, 2011 at 12:18 am

    Oh please. Russia is the boogeyman and is going to jump up from under your bed and get you in your jammies!!! When are you people going to stop with this crap? How stupid do you have to be to believe this?

    The only source of tension to begin with is Baltic fascism, their inviting NATO onto Russia’s borders and mistreatment of Russian minority. And jet, Russia does nothing, not because it couldn’t (NATO’s guarantees are empty promises), but because it’s not its style.

    In the Cold War Finland had a well thought out, credible army. But more than that it was safe because it didn’t try to give Moscow crap every 2 minutes, but actually behaved like an adult. Try that sometime, when you are not hiding under NATO skirt, kiddies.

  • 37. subzero  |  April 29th, 2011 at 1:30 am

    They should try to tame real wolves and put them in armor. That’d be way cool and also scary.

  • 38. K  |  April 29th, 2011 at 2:02 am

    @13: as things stand, Russia never has needed “encouragement to engage civilian targets”. In 1939, the Baltic states surrended to them and what did they get in return in 1940? Most of the officers were simply shot and the rest of the armies were drafted to fight the Germans later – and if you survived that, you still could sent to Gulag while the returning “liberators” were raping and pillaging through your countryside. Even a suicide doesn’t seem so bad an option when compared to surrendering to Russians.

  • 39. K  |  April 29th, 2011 at 2:11 am

    link above shows another cool map that history nerds might enjoy

  • 40. kalamona  |  April 29th, 2011 at 3:45 am


    May i recommend you the history of Europe _before_ Peter the Great? Hell, Lithuania were even a major player!
    (sic transit…)

    Besides… in a full fledge conflict between the “west” and Russia, the baltic states have no chance at all, their military doctrine as far as i know consist 3 major elements:
    – delaying actions against invading forces (every minute counts!)
    – the evacuation of their government to safetly, forming a government in exile
    – low-profile guerilla warfare

    Lithuania differs from the other two: they have low russian population compared to Estonia and Latvia (well, they are fucked – many, many possible collaborators), they have a common border with Poland, and a (slim) possibility to defend the (southern part) of the country – and it seems, they want to try it.

    By the way, in the meantime, it sems, that the russians are prepairing against a “western” attack (f.e. last time joint exercise in/with Belarus)

    Of course, right now the chance for a western-russian conflict are very low – and hopefully they will remain that way.

  • 41. H.P. Baxxter  |  April 29th, 2011 at 4:39 am

    You think the new NATO members ares screwed? How about the neutral EU microstates? An article on Malta, perhaps, just to get the Californian perspective….

  • 42. Scott Locklin  |  April 29th, 2011 at 5:03 am

    Fun fact: I’m reading some 8th century Anglo Saxon manuscripts. Estonians, Lithuanians and Latvians were all distinct nations then, as now. Apparently, the Anglos were bent out of shape they didn’t have any beer there, but they liked the mead.

  • 43. Jack Boot  |  April 29th, 2011 at 7:17 am

    Any conceivable Baltic conventional force would be nothing more than a speed bump for the Russian Army.

    The only sure way for small countries (the Baltics, Poland, Taiwan, Canada, etc) to protect themselves from large, overbearing neighbours is to go nuclear.

    Wait; hear me out! A force of, say, 10 nuclear-tipped cruise missiles on disguised, mobile launchers would be a superb deterrent. To paraphrase that Texan warning sign: “There’s nothing in here worth your capital city!”

  • 44. freeman  |  April 29th, 2011 at 7:55 am

    Eddie in post #13 got it right.
    Geeez in post #26 just added to it.
    A strong army can beat a weak one in the short run, but it can’t defeat a smart guerilla army in the long run
    (not without killing off the entire population, and -these days especially- that tends to cause problems when other countries decide they don’t really want that type of neighbor on the planet)>

    Don’t put defense of your homeland in the hands of other countries politicians.
    They sell out their own people in a heartbeat, let alone someone else’s.
    Take care of your own business.
    It’s the whole point of our 2nd amendment.

  • 45. darthfader  |  April 29th, 2011 at 7:59 am

    Fuck the fucking Baltic states forever.

  • 46. K  |  April 29th, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Actually, a previous War Nerd column gave me (as an Estonian – yeah, sorry you Russophile guys, I’m not able to feel guilty for being born as a “fascist”) a clear picture what our partisan warfare would have to look like. No use for tanks, no need for killing Russian civilians – hey, the Russian police does better job at that anyway and no one cares. Rather we should infiltrate Siberia (what an irony, indeed) and start blowing up their gas and oil facilities. Now that’s an idea, thank you IRA!

  • 47. Eddie  |  April 29th, 2011 at 11:28 am


    The Swiss being a perceptive people have put this exact strategy in practice. In fact their system stipulates that soldiers keep their own personal equipment, including all weapons at home.

    Also it helps that the terrain lends itself extremely well to guerrilla warfare. The whole experience in fact is probably quite enjoyable.

    You hike or ski depending on the season through the breathtaking landscape, and take potshots, place IEDs and fire missiles on advancing enemy supply vehicles through the valley.

    Hell I wish my vacations where that nice.

  • 48. H.P. Baxxter  |  April 29th, 2011 at 11:52 am

    Why do we have to choose between the Baltics and Russia? I love them both. Their people as so much more real than the pampered dagos west of the Rhine.

  • 49. poiso  |  April 29th, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Quite a bit of myths on Finland in WW2. First of all, Finland during WW2 was an Axis country. All allies were enemies, including US and GB – not just USSR. The so called “help” from Sweden was limited to mainly accepting young children as refugees, as well as very limited military assistance – Sweden remained acutely aware that USSR’s real target in attacking Finland was access to Sweden, but political realities of war stopped it from actively helping.

    Main assistance came from Germany, as a result of some slick politicking even in the end of the war.

    That said, Finland adopted the correct path to remaining independent in spite of being a part of Molotov-Ribbentrop (and was the only country featured in the pact that retained its full independence). Understand that you will eventually lose against Soviet Russia and Red Army, but make that loss to expensive both time- and manpower wise that even Stalin will balk and opt for peace before independence is lost.

    In this regard, Baltics probably don’t stand much of a chance unless they all group up and pool resources together, and even so, they have strategic problem of Kaliningrad. In case of Finland, all Russia really wanted was breathing room around Leningrad and some promising nickel mines in the north, as well as border with Norway. This allowed Finland to cede some territory, and generally satisfy Stalin enough so he didn’t press the assault no matter the cost.

    And if you look at wikipedia, the cost has been on a rather epic scale for russian side in spite of massive disparity in both man- and technical power. Which is what won the independence, in spite of losing both winter war and WW2.

  • 50. freeman  |  April 29th, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Yes, Eddie, you nailed it.
    The Swiss have exactly the right idea.
    Their civil defense is second to none.
    Even a total nuking wouldn’t knock out their mountain fortresses. Virtually their entire population is part of their military.
    Nobody could occupy them.

    We (the US) COULD be in the same position.
    We have 2 oceans that would have to be crossed to attack us by conventional means. Virtually impossible. There are multiple rifles per capita, so that even if an entire
    army was allowed to land, they wouldn’t last long.

    Unfortunately, the powers-that-be went for nuke buildup rather than protection/preservation of the population, leaving us all at the mercy of the other guy’s nukes. (Granted, we could throw
    plenty of nukes at them, but small consolation to anyone who died of the initial attack or who survives the aftermath
    (survival without any supplies/infrastructure would suck).
    The government’s only concern is how they’d collect taxes after it was over.

    If we went with the Swiss model, we’d be safe from virtually any attack, even an all-out nuke war, and it would cost far less than what we have now. (I think we could manage without the mandatory government service, slavery to the state is not really any better than slavery to an individual -and harder to overcome. Besides, I’d haved LOVED my time in the military if it was based on the Swiss model…as would almost
    everyone else I know.

    Of course, if our military/defense was based on the Swiss model, we wouldn’t be playing policeman/empire-building all over the world and enriching those who have their money in defense stocks etc…something that doesn’t cover anyone I’ve known in my entire lifetime.
    General Smedley Butler: “War is a racket”
    That’s the truth.

  • 51. Gogo  |  April 29th, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    K at #46, you do understand that gas and oil from Siberia is what keeps you warm during winters, do you? If you start blowing up Siberian oil facilities, Russia may decide they don’t have enough gas/oil to be supplied to eSStonia and after a couple of months without gas, heat and electricity you’ll be begging, on your knees, to be a part of the Russian Empire again. No need for the invasion.

    Cutting energy supplies to the West may happen anyway, due to the natural resource depletion – read up on the “peak oil” sometime. Actually, the Russian are really stupid to exchange something so precious as hydrocarbons for something so worthle$$ as cut pieces of paper.

  • 52. Zed  |  April 29th, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    There are few facts:

    1.Baltic states were always someone’s colonies-German, Swedish, Russian or Polish..and now NATO’s. Whining about Russian “threat” is ridiculous, since in order to have your independence threatened you have to be independent first.

    2.Only Baltic state that had some history of actual statehood is Lithuania, although very short, and was later absorbed by Poland.

    3.Baltic peoples were mostly peasant servants of Teutonic overlord, who created first cities in the region and introduced literacy to natives. Some cities in Estonia, like Tartu (originally Juriev), were part of Kievan Russian state.They were not “oppressed” by Russians more than other overlords in the region. Russians were present in the Baltic region long before Soviet Union. Local Balts never had absolute ethnic majority in their own lands, since the time of Teutonic knights.

    4.Russia got Baltic (together with Finland) territories mostly from Sweden, former colonial power in the region.

    5.Baltic states were formed in 1918, as buffer states against Soviet Union. White Russian armies used Estonia as base for attacking Petrograd. They were disarmed by Estonian government. Local Germans together with White Russians tried to create their own Baltic autonomy, but were ethnically cleansed by locals.

    6.While they like to talk how anticommunist they are, Balts were very active in creating Soviet Union and Bolshevik government. Most aggressive red fighters were “Red Latvian Riflemen”, who were most important formation of Trotsky’s army. On other hand millions of Russians fought on anticommunist side, and their attempts were blocked by Balts and Poles government and their petty nationalism.
    Actually Balts feared more nationalist White than Red Russians.

    7.Soviet Union IS NOT SAME THING AS RUSSIA. USSR was ideological country, that tried to expand it’s own ideology as much as possible. Modern Russia is not a communist country, and Imperial Russia was not communist country as well.

    8.Fear of some Russian invasion is ridiculous, since Balts voluntarily give up their sovereignty to NATO and West, and they follow orders from Brussels. NATO, USSR, EU what’s the difference? The difference is that “new masta” is much more richer and glamorous than “old masta”.

    9.Through antirussian paranoia and fantasies, Balts(and portion of Finns) try to establish some kind of national identity and cohesion. Since their cities and culture were created by foreign (mostly German or Swedish)overlords, they have great inferiority complex towards these nations. To suppress that inferiority complex, they created superiority complex towards Russians (who had misfortune to be poorer than these nations), in order to feel better about themselves.

  • 53. super390  |  April 29th, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    War Nerd is almost reaching a very important point. What NATO is doing to the Baltic Republics, it’s doing to all its European members. All of them since 1955 have been entangled in the Pentagon bureaucracy, turned into extensions of the US order of battle. We didn’t exploit it in Vietnam, even the Brits wouldn’t make that mistake. But DeGaulle perhaps saw what was coming and declared independence.

    Now the US puts severe pressure on the rest of NATO to assist its preferred invasions (meaning not Libya). It also threatened to pull NATO HQ out of Brussels when the Belgian govt refused to sign an America-only exception to its new law calling for the extradition of war criminals. It twisted the NATO treaty to get Euros to occupy Afghanistan when it was too busy with Iraq, then refused to let Turkey use that same clause when the Israelis shot up their aid ship. NATO has abandoned its legal mission to defend democracies from Communism.

    This all has happened before. It’s the story of the Delian League, an anti-Persian alliance that Athens perverted into its own arm of imperial conquest because it controlled the League’s treasury and navy.

    Bad enough that in all the democracies the voters have no real say in foreign policy, but even the elites of Europe have given up their sovereign rights to Washington.

    I guess that explains the irony that American right-wingers denounce Europe as Communist, atheist, Satanic and Islamic just because they give out 5 weeks of paid vacation time and free medical care, yet never call for America to simply pull out of the “anti-Communist” alliance for such affronts. They’ve figured it out: NATO is the cover for the creeping US occupation of Europe. Without us, Europeans would have to realize their need for security overwhelms their stupid financial feuds and do what the US did when it replaced the Articles with the Constitution: create a real state with a real foreign policy that might challenge the American empire. Instead, removed from any say in foreign policy, Euro-voters waste their time blaming each other for the effects of a failed financial ideology imported from Wall Street. It’s great to be the hegemon, even a bankrupt one.

  • 54. K  |  April 30th, 2011 at 1:15 am

    @52: yes, you got that right the West is both richer, stronger and much less agressive, which is why it makes more sense to being friends with them than wannabe agressive senile power who barely considers us humans, let alone independent nations. You Russians really know how to make friends, don’t you. As for other points – tell these stories about your imperial glory to the Chinese, they would be certainly amused.

  • 55. Zed  |  April 30th, 2011 at 4:41 am

    @52, where do you get that West is “less aggressive”? This is plain nonsense, after collapse of Soviet Union, West have quadrupled it’s military operations, and expanded military bases around the globe. Check “Timeline of United States military operations” and compare it to Russian ones, you would be quite surprised.
    West hardly consider you as “independent”, as we can see from main article; and you are to West as Manchukuo was to Japan.

    And where do you get idea that Russia is “aggressive”? There are no Russian troops on your soil, and Russia accepted independence of Baltic states. But soon after that, you give up you independence to NATO and EU to “protect” you from the country that allowed your independence in the first place. But as I said, sole purpose of Baltic states existence is to be springboard against Russia for other countries interests, not because you truly wanted to be independent (like Finland for example).

    As for Imperial Russia, this state has not done nothing to Balts, that Germans, Poles or Swedes have not done before to them.
    Balts participated in creation of Soviet Union, so it’s plain nonsense to accuse only Russians for crimes of that state, which was not national state, but ideological one.

  • 56. irflx  |  April 30th, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Guys, leave the Balts alone. All ethinic groups, no matter how small, see themselves as the “chosen” people, and there is nothing wrong with that. Those of us that come from the larger nations have had our proud moments in history. They haven’t. Let’s not belittle their ambitions and let them have their chance.

  • 57. poiso  |  April 30th, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    54: In general, West is MUCH more aggressive then USSR ever was. One look at the map shows the reality – even during best times for USSR, NATO essentially has a full encirclement from Alaska and Japan to Turkey, to Europe to Canada. This policy was aggressively enforced throughout Cold War.

    A great example is in aerial reconnaissance operations: US had it’s U2 planes fly over USSR daily breaking all conceivable border agreements. If that isn’t aggressive, nothing is.

    Russia on the other hand has a serious attitude problem drawing from Stalin’s philosophy: “It’s better to be feared then liked”. Sadly, this principle persists in its foreign policy, making it appear far more aggressive then it actually is, especially when you’re a small country on their border. In this regard, Baltic knee-jerk reaction to surrender to NATO isn’t that foolish. If Russia is going to want you to fear it, why not just align with the other devil who is at least pretending to want to be liked rather then feared.

    Even if in reality, both just end up using you, at least one of them makes you feel good about being essentially fucked over.

  • 58. Restell  |  May 1st, 2011 at 6:24 am


    Europeans would have to realize their need for security overwhelms their stupid financial feuds and do what the US did when it replaced the Articles with the Constitution: create a real state with a real foreign policy that might challenge the American empire. Instead, removed from any say in foreign policy, Euro-voters waste their time blaming each other for the effects of a failed financial ideology imported from Wall Street. It’s great to be the hegemon, even a bankrupt one.

    ‘A real state’? You’re haranguing Euro powers for ‘giving up their sovereignty’ to Washington, what on god’s green earth do you think the EU is? It’s the biggest and most hare-brained surrender of national sovereignty ever seen. Those ‘stupid financial feuds’ you gloss over are the very reason your proposal is ridiculous on its face.

    Please explain how a country that doesn’t issue its own currency can decide its own financial/economic policy. Guess what, it can’t. It’s pushing on a pull door. And that’s exactly what every Eurozone country is doing now, and the reason why the zone is going to lose a few members in the very near future.

    ‘European defense’ is a pipedream, always has been, always will be. Every couple years since the Berlin Wall fell the European powers have all troop out for a big photo op and declaration about how this time it’s really for real, we’re finally gonna get off the American military teat, and bla bla bla, and the next year, boom, it’s ‘Whaaa, we can’t bomb Libya right with our puny little planes, send us more AC-130s.’

    Everybody wants to come to the party, but nobody wants to pay the piper. Euro countries aren’t going to give up defense policy sovereignty to a bunch of otherwise unemployable poli sci grads in Brussels for some mythic ‘Euro-Army’, nor should they, and what they especially aren’t going to do is cough up any funds to pay for it.

  • 59. poiso  |  May 1st, 2011 at 11:15 am

    No offense to the 58, but when French/Brit/Germans REALLY want to subjugate a nation, they do it. Look up Ivory Coast for latest example.
    The foolishness of US has lied in having the most powerful military in the world, and using it like it does. It’s far better used either as deterrent or as force projection tool. To use it as a conqueror for distant and very desolate lands is costly, and drains US resources.
    In a way, US has become the victim of its own greatness, and is now following in the footsteps of USSR – death by overly taxing military spending.

    At the same time, with USSR’s collapse and Russian massive economic tie-ins to EU as well as rise of China, Europe no longer needs “US military teat” for defence. The real global threat is now lies in economic force projection, at which EU and US are enemies and the main reason for EU’s existence is to allow member countries to pool resources and be able to compete with US, Japan and China on economic front. In this regard, pan-European defence starts sounding far more realistic, which is why US should do anything (and is doing everything it can) in its power to prevent it from ever becoming reality.

  • 60. nampa1  |  May 1st, 2011 at 11:23 am

    The zenith of Baltic economic and social accomplishments occurred under the Soviet Union. When the Soviets rolled in to prevent a German invasion, the upper-class Balts resisted, so they were imprisoned/exiled–standard operating procedure for the early 20th Century. After independence, the right-wing Balts took over and never forgave the Russians for turning their manners into collective farms.
    Post-Soviet Baltics is a shambles and those countries wont even allow the Russians living there for decades to vote.
    Frankly, the real defect from Soviet influence stems from the apparent failure of its culture to de-politicize, de-racialize the populace. People in the West don’t entertain such early 20th-Century nationalist fantasies. Our pop-culture was much more effective in that way.

  • 61. Asehpe  |  May 1st, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Russian Baltophobes, check.

    Burps of imperialism, check.

    Manifest destiny, ‘these are our lands no matter what the natives say,’ check.

    Hell, for a bunch of small countries with very few resources, they do cause a splash, don’t they? The Russians juuust can’t forgive them for wanting to leave their family.

    No matter how much they claim they don’t like the Balts and don’t care about them, one can clearly see they do because they keep writing about them.

    Fox and grapes all over. Every offense against the Balts just shows how deeply the Russians were hurt in their pride when the Balts decided their ‘liberators’ weren’t worth living together with any longer. And to think the Russians think they were right when they rebelled against the Tatar yoke… but ah, not the Balts. Nooo, the Balts were crazy, of course… Aaand they were helped by American interests… And NATO this and the EU that and blahblahblah, anything, except admitting the Balts had good reasons to leave them.

    ‘Persecuting’ the Russian minority? Yeah, right. Like the Russians persecuting the Tatars in Tatarstan? In their own homeland?

    One way to see how ‘persecuted’ the Russian minority in the Baltic countries is is just to ask them if they’d like to go back to Russia. ‘Mother Russia loooves you! Come back into the motherland! Leave those bad, bad, bad Balts alone to be stifled by the Euros in their pockets, to suffer in that Schengen disaster area… Come, Mother Russia will kiss your wounds and wipe your tears and you’ll feel like a good Russian again!’ Do they? Nope. They stay right where they are — because most of them know they have it better in their Baltic states than they ever would in Big Ol’ Rodina.

    It’s not even clear that Russia will be able to hold the Caucasus. Hell, even Tatarstan doesn’t look like a safe bet for another thousand years of the Russian yoke. And if Tatarstan ever goes… what will happen to Mari El or Komi Mu?…

    Oh, sure the Russians could retake the Baltics if NATO wasn’t there. That much is obvious. The funny thing is: they would, because no matter how much they say those countries are bad, the Russians want them. Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia: we think they’re big piles of horse shit, but we want that shit! We want to wallow in that shit, oink oink! It’s our shit! After all, what would Russia be without shit?

    There’s nothing so much like the fox and the grapes as a Russian talking about the Baltics. Or what metaphor did Krylov steal from La Fontaine to represent envy again?

  • 62. poiso  |  May 1st, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    Dear 61, has it ever occurred to you that we in EU, even those of us who supported you very much (read: Finland > Estonia supporters and Poland > Lithuania supporters) view you mainly as serfs?

    Look at what role you have in EU: provider of cheap gastarbeiter workforce that is easy to exploit, cheap booze and hookers on quick Tallinn visits on those Baltic cruises.
    Oh and those ridiculously polluting burning rock power plants in Narva. But thanks for selling cheap electricity from them, while poisoning the shit out of your own drinking water with solid exhaust field so big, you can see it from the Moon with no magnification.

    You can blame Russia for your woes all you want, reality is Baltic countries are simply too small, and stuck in between very big interests to ever be truly independent. As a result, you’ll always be someone’s serfs – the only difference is that now you got to choose which behemoth to serve.

  • 63. luuletaja  |  May 2nd, 2011 at 5:25 am

    Facts about Military

    1. Estonian military expenditure in Euros is bigger than Latvian or Lithuanian while respective populations are 1.34 mil for Estonia and 2,25 mil for Latvia and 3.33 mil for Lithuania.

    2. Estonia has conscription and growing reserve army with voluntary Estonian Defence League, emulating the Finnish military with Swedish influences, Latvia and Lithuania have stopped conscription and have professorial corps, with 4200 and 14500 armed forces members respectively.
    For comparison Estonia has 4200 professionals in Military plus 20000 Estonian Defence League members, some of whom have been sent to Kosovo and Bosnia for peacekeeping missions. (Half of it resembles National Guard for Americans and the other half are Boy Scouts and Girls) The full reserve is 200k people and they get calls to training once every 3-5 years.

    3. Estonian infantry fights in and around Helmand and while minesweepers and cargo teams support the coalition elsewhere while Lithuanians are building up Chaghcharan in the province of Ghor with a special forces contingent in Kandahar and Latvians are training Afghans in Kunar province.

    Conclusion, if anything then the Latvians are somewhat “giving up”, Estonian and Lithuanians still have plans to defend themselves, even if only mostly delaying enemy actions until NATO forces arrive.

    Facts about Population.
    The Russian minority in the territory of Baltic states before the Second World War was always a very small and rather diverse group, including Old-Believers, Russian aristocrats and others while never exceeding EVEN 2% with the exception of Riga city where Russian workers were hired starting from the beginning of 1900’s and the areas which nowadays lie in Russia and where mixed populations existed.

    Today, the Russian speaking populations that are without the citizenship usually don’t want to take the Latvian or Estonian passport even when they can, because they would have to pay the visa fees like all other EU citizens when entering Russia, therefore, it is better for them to stay neutral and visit whole EU and Russia without any problems, with the only restriction being not able to vote on National and EU Parliament members (but able to on local elections)
    The amount of people in such situation is 96k in Estonia and 326k in Latvia and declining every year.

  • 64. Asehpe  |  May 2nd, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    Dear poiso (61),

    (a) I’m not a Balt, I’m Brazilian.

    (b) Of course EU citizens don’t think much of Balts (‘viewing as serfs’ is obviously an exaggeration). Nobody expected anything different, frankly. The point is: it’s much better than it was under the Russian yoke. It was clearly a step forward. Look at Estonia now, with free WiFi connections everywere, and compare it with what it was under Brezhnev (which you can still see in the Russian enclaves in Narva and Kõhtla-Järve).

    (c) Good thing you mention Narva. The Russians did a good job there, now didn’t they? It will take forever to undo that. Why not look at Pärnu or Tartu instead?…

    (d) The Baltic countries are small, and they do have problems inherent to them. But Russia has added new problems that weren’t there to begin with, and has made the ones that were there before worse.

    (e) Of course the Balts will always be someone’s client (‘serf’ is soo much Russian mentality). But of course they’ll choose the better boss. Russia is obviously the bad boss: just look at the bad job it did. If you were a Balt, what would you prefer? Answer: of course the EU and the USA.

    Which is my point. The EU and the USA are always better than Russia if you have to choose a new boss. (The very fact you, like so many of your compatriots, call them ‘serfs’, shows why they should indeed prefer other bosses. You’re just too некультурные ;-))

  • 65. Asehpe  |  May 2nd, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    Aitah, Luuletaja! Sa ütlesid midagi olulist. Aga mul on vähe probleeme sellega.

    First of all, of course without NATO none of the forces in the Baltic states could resist a Russian invasion. (I think someone noted in the ERR news website that the Russians could be in Tallinn in a couple of days if they wanted.) So the question (which the War Nerd doesn’t want to answer) is whether it’s better to have all-purpose military forces in each Baltic country, or to specialize and trust NATO to come as quickly as possible in case of invasion.

    I agree the Latvians are somewhat ‘giving up’; I think it must be their economic problems (because of Dombrovskis’ heroic effort to keep the lat stable, so much had to be given up, there are people saying that the government is practicing ‘genocide’ in their own population…). And it’s a pity: their tradition was cerainly very warlike (see the strielniki).

    On local Russians: you’re right about Estonia, but I think there were quite a few Russians in the Latvian countriside (especially Latgale) long before Soviet times. In fact, Russians were 12% of the population already in the 1930’s (according to the Latvijas Statistika website). And they don’t live only in Riga: they’re a majority in all the bigger city (in Daugavpils, in Latgale, they’re an overwhelming majority: only about 18% of the population is Latvian). If I’m not mistaken, the biggest city with a Latvian majority (of a little more than 50%) is Liepāja.

  • 66. Typhoon  |  May 3rd, 2011 at 12:51 am

    The problem of uncivilized Russian will go away in a few generations once the last remaining Russian male finishes drinking himself to death.

    The remaining Russian females meanwhile having decamped en masse to civilized Europe, N America, China, and Japan to turn tricks.

  • 67. poiso  |  May 3rd, 2011 at 3:20 am

    1. I’m a finn who has family in Russia (look up what winter war did to us karelians).

    2. Essentially all of Eastern Europe is set to be serfs. You may dance around this as much as you want, but it’s a fact clearly visible to anyone who digs in a bit. It’s visible in:
    a. Education. Eastern Europe, unlike Western trains mainly “shitty manual job”-style workers who go to work in the West.
    b. Problem filling certain fields of work with work force: It’s an old fact that difficult-to-fill spots like nurses, builders, etc in Eastern Europe are generally not local – they come from Russia or non-EU Eastern Europe. At the same time same professions in Western Europe are filled with gastarbeiters from Eastern Europe.

    Links of serfhood are directly visible if you follow the money – estonians mainly go to work here in Finland, lithuanians in Poland. poles can be found in Germany and UK, etc.

    3. The reason why I mentioned Narva is because I had direct family work on upgrading those power plants to be in line with EU norms. Essentially entire town is russian-speaking, except for extremely racist top management of the said plant, who tend to live in the small town some 60 km to the west of Narva. The sheer levels of racism hit me when I visiting the plant, because even as we (here in Finland) are current viewed as somewhat backwards and racist because of our recent polls results (and admittedly, for a reason), there is no comparison. Estonians are extremely racist towards russians – I can vouch for this as a first-hand witness.

    In a way it was quite funny as well, because as a finn I always got a first-class “better then us locals” treatment in Estonia as we bring a lot of money via tourism as well as most local profitable companies and employers having at least finnish ties, and are often owned by finns. And then when I tried to speak russian instead of english or finnish with them, as essentially every estonian over 20 speaks it fluently even though many will never admit it because of racism, estonians got “deer in the headlights” look and simply did not know how to treat me – as a first class citizen finn, or as subhuman trash russian. It was both hilarious and profoundly sad at the same time.

    P.S. Concept of “serfdom” is European in origin, having evolved from Roman slavery in European Middle Ages. Russia adopted serfdom as it slowly spread from remains of the Roman Empire. The term itself is directly tied to concept of feudalism, which is very applicable to modern Baltic states which are independent, but are essentially forced to follow other bigger interests in things like foreign policy.

  • 68. Asehpe  |  May 3rd, 2011 at 6:54 pm


    (yksi) your name certainly suggesteed a Finno-Ugric origin; Karelia was my first guess.

    (kaksi) I don’t “dance around” anything. Since you won’t give up the word “serfs” (clearly Russian influence on you), I will use it: serfs who can select their boss will want the best boss. Russia is not the best boss: the EU and the USA are the best bosses. Therefore they move away from Russia and towards the EU and USA. That’s what they did, that’s what they should do, that makes a lot of sense, and nothing of what you said changes this point.

    (kolme) Narva became essentially Russian-speaking because of Russian policy preventing displaced Estonians from returning after WWII — there were many Estonians there before that. I understand the reason why you mentioned Narva was not that, but this is the reason why I mention Narva: as an example of the kind of thing Russians did that made all of Eastern Europe move away from them and towards the EU/USA as quickly as they should. And they were correct in doing so.

    (neljä) There is a reason why Estonians are, as you put it, “extremely racist” towards Russians (despite the fact that Russians live better in Estonia than in Russia itself). I hope you take that reason into account when you try to understand their reaction. You see, it’s not as if the Estonians simply held a contest and selected Russia randomly as the country whose residents they would dislike the most — nooo, other things happened that led to this state of affairs.

    (viisi) Trying to speak Russian to Estonians who suffered under an occupation that you Finns fought the Winter War to prevent and having negative reactions surprises you? Really? Would you also be surprised if Poles, 20 years after WWII, also disliked foreigners who spoke German — especially in areas that had strong Germanic populations before, like Schlesien? Does that really surprise you? In this case you’re really historically naive.

    Now, compare this with the level of xenophobia that Russians exhibit even at peoples who were their “friendly allies” (remember good ol’ дружба народов?) like the Kazakhs or the Tadjiks. Compare it with all these claims that Finno-Ugrians (maybe even your relatives in Karelia?) are trying to “de-stabilize the Russian state”, which is a good reason why they should be persecuted culturally and their Republics should be given even less autonomy (even the name ‘Republic’, some say, should be removed because it sounds ‘too proud’).

    (kuusi) Russia didn’t invent serfdom, but it certainly took to it and was the last one to give it up. Which is what explains why everybody under the Russian yoke tried to leave it: Russia kept alive primitive customs that other European nations gave up, like serfdom. The fact that you are so comfortable with serfdom (as long as you’re not the serf, of course — though Finnland clearly is no master in this world) shows how this can affect people negatively.

    In sum: you clealry don’t like Estonians, and I don’t want you to change your opinion: they are a small people and clearly will never be the bosses in Europe, as you keep repeating (as if I were denying it! you totally miss my point…). But I do believe they’re making the right choice. Russians hurt them badly; it’s quite understandable that they’re angry at the Russians, happy to be free from them, and glad to be part of (or “serf of”, as you call it) the West. That is:

    (a) understandable; and
    (b) justified.

    That’s all.

  • 69. Asehpe  |  May 3rd, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    67 (Typhoon):

    Russians are not “uncivilized”: they actually have a great, admirable culture (say with me: Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Chekhov, Berdyaev, Akhmatova, Tsvetaeva, Pasternak…). And even though alcoholism is a serious problem in Russia, there are so many highly qualified, highly trained Russian intellectuals and technicians that I can say there’s a lot, but really a lot, more to Russians than simply this cliché of ‘drunkards drinking themselves to death’.

    My wife is Russian; my daughter is Russian. Russian is the language we speak at home. I have family in Russia, people who I respect and love: hard-working, reliable people. Please let’s not believe in clichés.

    The Russians have been unlucky to have had some of the worst forms of government in Europe, and this has had its effects on them. They are also quick at getting angry, and often for the wrong reasons; something that their government exploits as much as possible. But these are more the result of unlucky historical circumstances like never-ending authoritarian rule. As people, as individuals, taken one by one, Russians are just as good as any other people you’d care to mention. I speak from personal experience here.

  • 70. poiso  |  May 4th, 2011 at 5:42 am

    Ashio: you have several MAJOR errors in your claims. Let’s start with factual error and go from there:

    1. Russia was not the last country to abandon serfdom (you can even consult wikipedia and its sources on that). Incidentally it was among the last to actually adopt serfdom.

    2. Russians in general are among the least-racist people I have met, and having worked for a long time at my local university as an assistant for exchange students in addition to extensive travel, I’ve met people from more then half of countries on the globe, and had to share living quarters with engineer students from Pakistan (easternmost) to people from western Mexico (westernmost) and a lot in between, so I have significant amount of experience with the issue.

    Soviet Union, and its heritage is very visible in Russian’s attitudes, and one of the chief cornerstones of it was the concept of internationalism, which essentially made racism both illegal and extremely anti-government even when US still hasn’t had the big black uprisings.
    The greatest example was the black kids born in USSR after Moscow olympics, i.e. half-black children from visiting athletes and moscovite white mothers. Russians called them “children of olympics” and were often quite proud of them as it apparently showed their tolerance. Contrast that against, for example, essentially systemic racism of US system against black people, clearly visible in everything from education to jail population.

    While Russia has become significantly more racist after the fall of USSR, which caused many of the better concepts that came with USSR, such as internationalism, get lumped together with the failed variation of communism as “bad”, it’s still a very tolerant environment in general when compared to similar attitudes in the West.

    3. The reason why Estonia is currently a better place to live then Russia is influx of foreign, mainly finnish, capital into its economy after its independence. It essentially started as a country with great infrastructure (built by soviets), power plants generating several times the power needed for the country (as they were supposed to supply parts of St. Petersburg), etc. This was also noticeable weakness when credit crunch hit, as people there lost a lot more then in Russia when cheap credit dried up. Baltic countries were the single biggest losers of credit crunch in EU, and Latvia is still struggling with it, 3 years after it started.

    On a last note, I don’t “hate”, or even “dislike” estonians in general. My grandfather’s close (female) friend is an estonian, and I have visited her several times during her lifetime. Her family are some of the nicest people I know. That said, I severely dislike the open racism present in modern Estonia, which often borders on absurd. As someone whose home country has gone through a similar attempts of annexation, the fear- and history-fueled hate and racism towards russians is present in Finland, but it’s relatively tame. In Estonia it’s completely open, and Estonians are actually proud of it – down to the point of trying to convict former anti-nazi fighters to prison time for war crimes (essentially fighting on USSR’s side), while glorifying their own WW2 pro-nazi “independence fighters” as if Wermacht was going to give Estonia independence if it crushed USSR.

    It’s the sheer absurdity of such attempts to twist history that gets me riled the most. I like to think that blurbs like that were a prerogative of USSR and it’s friends before, and it shows that estonians have, unfortunately, not graduated from that age to a more European level of acceptance of history, with it’s bad parts. If there’s one thing that us finns have learned about history, is that first step to conquer your history is to accept it along with your own faults as well as enemy states’ faults rather then deny your faults and glorify even your war criminals as heroes. Estonians in particular, and Balts in general are in open, collective USSR-style denial with no end in sight. And while a superpower may get away with such acts relatively unscythed (example: Japan), small countries are unlikely to. Instead they will just piss off those who they rage against, while getting no sympathy, and often condemnation from the mainland EU (as Latvia got when their nazi “independence fighter” glorification grew big enough to go over reporting threshold in Germany).

  • 71. Typhoon  |  May 4th, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    69. Asehpe | May 3rd, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    Russians are not “uncivilized”: they actually have a great, admirable culture (say with me: Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Chekhov, Berdyaev, Akhmatova, Tsvetaeva, Pasternak…). And even though alcoholism is a serious problem in Russia, there are so many highly qualified, highly trained Russian intellectuals and technicians that I can say there’s a lot, but really a lot, more to Russians than simply this cliché of ‘drunkards drinking themselves to death’.

    My wife is Russian; my daughter is Russian. Russian is the language we speak at home. I have family in Russia, people who I respect and love: hard-working, reliable people. Please let’s not believe in clichés.

    The Russians have been unlucky to have had some of the worst forms of government in Europe, and this has had its effects on them. They are also quick at getting angry, and often for the wrong reasons; something that their government exploits as much as possible. But these are more the result of unlucky historical circumstances like never-ending authoritarian rule. As people, as individuals, taken one by one, Russians are just as good as any other people you’d care to mention. I speak from personal experience here.


    There have certainly been and are very bright and capable Russians. The problem is that they are an ever shrinking minority.

    A kleptocratic government run by ex-KGB thugs and gangsters with assassination the preferred method of dealing with dissent.

    Repression and corruption is endemic.

    A false and deluded sense of manifest destiny.
    Russia has historically proven incapable of managing itself, yet presumes to not only have something to offer it’s far more advanced and civilized Baltic and other European neighbours, but perpetually wants to run their affairs – typically by force.

    I don’t recall the last time I bought something labelled “Made in Russia”.

    As for your Russian wife, well that is a corollary to my second previous observation.

  • 72. Asehpe  |  May 7th, 2011 at 12:41 am

    Ah, poiso! You should at least read the Wikipedia articles you advise…

    So, let’s see where you got it wrong. Again.

    (yksi) Russia was the last country to abolish serfdom in Europe (that’s probably what you missed in my last post). After the French revolution, Serfdom existed only in Russia and Austria. Russia gave it up in 1861. Well in keeping with Russia’s tradition of being among the last to adopt non-authoritarian ideas.

    (kaksi) According to the number of attacks against foreigners, especially those from former “friendly” ex-Soviet people, Russia is #1 in Europe in xenophobia (closely followed by Serbia). It doesn’t matter what the official ideology, Soviet or neo-Soviet, was or is: the point is what actually happens. For foreign residents, there is no more dangerous country in Europe than Russia. Period.

    As individuals, there are many enlightened Russians (my wife is a good example). As a whole, however, Russians are, in comparison with Europeans, much more:

    (a) homophobic: anti-gay crime and anti-gay demonstrations abound there (as in all ex-Communist countries);
    (b) racist: in my extensive visits to this country, I met only a handful of people who didn’t believe Blacks were inferior. The usual comment I heard about the Americans electing Obama — “they chose a monkey!” — is a good illustration.
    (c) superstitious: the Americans are very supersitious (UFOs, ESP, Roswell, etc.), more than I would like; but the Russians, ah!… it’s so funny to see so-called “atheists” in Russia, educated in the old Communist credo, still obeying all kinds of little restrictions based on supersititiuos beliefs, or believing in UFOs, or claiming in full seriousness that Vanga’s prophecies “will become true!”, etc. etc. etc.

    (kolme) As my wife tells me — and she was born and educated with the “soviet heritage” you talk about — all the internationalism and “open-mindedness” present in the official dogma, and endlessly repeated in official discourse, had nothing to do with actual beliefs. Case in point, which she tells me: feminism and equal rights for women. Clearly the situation of women improved with communism: nobody denies that. But the official discourse claimed full equality; yet nobody ever saw a female First Secretary… My wife tells me how the “glass ceiling” was taken for granted, how even very highly skilled and educated women knew that some jobs “were not for them”… Even simply the attitude of men towards women: my wife tells me she never had the level of respect she enjoys now in the Netherlands, where she lives. (She was recently reminded of the level of Russian sexism when she went to the Caucasus with a female friend to do some mountain climbing. The groups of treated them with disrespect, mocked them, sollicited sexual favors, etc… Her comment: such a thing never happened to me when I went camping in the Netherlands, or mountain-climbing in Germany…)

    So, poiso: what the Soviet government said, and what Russians actually did or believed, are very different things. Just look how the old doctrine of дружба народов disappeared completely after the end of the Soviet Union!… Ah, the Russians were friends with the Latvians! With the Estonians! With the малые народы, like the Mari, the Komi, the Tatars, the Chuvash… Now, look how friendly they are. Look how quickly the official discourse of “one Soviet people” disappeared, leaving few if any trace of its previous existence in contemporary political discourse.

    (neljä) It doesn’t matter what the reason is for Estonia to be a better place to live. That is not my point, poiso. My point is, again:

    The Estonians abandoned their Russian masters and went to the EU, NATO and the US — and they were right in doing so, because these are much better bosses than the Russians ever were

    I hope you’ll notice this now? And will stop challeging points I didn’t make?

    Estonia is a better place to live than Russia. You may dance around it and “explain it away” if you want, but this is a fact, and it’s not going to change just because you obviously don’t like it. It shows that the Estonians were right in leaving Russia. All the so-called “infra-structure” would not have given them the same quality of life — if the USSR had continued to exist as it was before Gorbachev.

    In other words (I’m really hoping you’ll notice this is the only I’m making), the Estonians were right in abandoning the USSR and going to Europe, to NATO and the US.

    Estonian “racism”, as you call it, has good reasons to exist (Narva is only one example of the kind of things Russians did to them). Compare it with Russian racism towards their old “compatriots” of the Soviet Union: people who did nothing against Russians, who never “invaded” or “occupied” or anything, like the Kazahks, the Tadjiks… Estonian anti-Russian feelings have a lot to grow before they become comparable to Russian xenophobia against their “old Soviet friends”. Just compare the number of foreigners killed in Moscow alone by nationalist groups, with the number of Russians killed by similar groups in all of Estonia.

    I like what you said about history. Let me repeat your words:

    If there’s one thing that us finns have learned about history, is that first step to conquer your history is to accept it along with your own faults as well as enemy states’ faults rather then deny your faults and glorify even your war criminals as heroes.

    Let me hope Russia will hear your words, stop the revisionist phase that it entered, and someday face Stalin’s crimes without feeling the desperate need to justify him. Since Russia, much more than the Baltic states, has now fetishized its own history, given medals to war criminals (not even from WWII — from the Chechen war!), and dismissed as “anti-Russian” any attempts to discuss the problems, intricacies and difficulties of Soviet and Russian history, they should give the Baltic states the example.

    There’s some hope: Putin acknowledgez Katyn, at last. He still had to claim the Poles did other bad things to him (one doesn’t accept one’s crimes by mentioning other people’s and trying to ‘relativize’; it makes any “I’m sorry”‘s sound hollow); but he did it. Let’s hope more is to follow.

  • 73. Asehpe  |  May 7th, 2011 at 12:48 am

    Typhon, I agree completely with respect to the Russian government. As for the Russian people, however… If their high-skilled technicians and highly cultivated intellectuals are diminshing in number, this is not the fault of the people, since nothing genetic happened with Russians to make them any less capable of educating themselves than they were before. No — it’s the government, its endemic corruption, its attempts at diverting attention from real problems to imaginary ones.

    If this kind of government existed in the US, or in any European country, I’m sure it would have a similar effect there.

    Don’t confuse Germans with Nazis, Americans with Republicans, Turks with Ottomans. Russians are one thing; Putin’s “managed democracy” and its endemic corruption are something else. The Russian people has had the bad luck of living under some of the worst kinds of government in human history; this certainly took its toil. As individuals, however, they’re not better or worse than any other individuals I’ve met: Americans, Dutch, French, Germans, and Brazilians (my native people).

    It’s their government, Typhon, not the people. Russians are, and always were, as good a people as any other you’d care to mention.

  • 74. London John  |  May 10th, 2011 at 4:19 am

    When serfdom was dying out in Europe, it was re-imposed in Eastern Europe. The “Second Serfdom” was to raise grain as a cash crop to sell to post-feudal western Europe. It wasn’t just in Russia – the Polish Princes Radziwill were large scale serfmasters, for example.
    There’s a bit of symmetry that the Russian Empire and the United States both abolished serfdom/slavery in the same decade then advanced towards the Pacific destroying the indigenous tribes they encountered. In the Russian case these people seem to be the main objects of Russian racism today.
    As for whether NATO would defend the Baltic republics against Russia: in Britain we’ve only heard of these nationalities previously when followed by the words “SS unit”, so we don’t really give a toss, but in NATO we’re “serfs” of the US, so I guess it just depends on the kicking and screaming of Latvian-Americans etc.

  • 75. BDV  |  May 11th, 2011 at 6:52 am

    The Lithuanians have other reasons to keep a semblance of a functional army in place. First, the possibility of the White Russian tail to wag the Russian dog (do YOU know what crazy ideea will cross Lukashenko’s skull tomorrow?)
    Second, Russia is not the only larger country in the region to occupy (parts of) Lithuania in the last century.

  • 76. Carpenter  |  May 12th, 2011 at 8:53 am

    “is about as close to ancient Sanskrit as you can get now. Who’s the Aryan now, Adolf?” –You have really bought into the U.S./Soviet propaganda about the Third Reich, haven’t you? FYI Adolf Hitler often had East European dignitaries as guests in his mountain estate. He appreciated the Czech people especially. Hitler had nothing at all against the Latvians, and if communist-lover Roosevelt hadn’t strangled Japan’s economy by blocking their oil imports and freezing their assets in the U.S., to provoke a war that would give him an excuse to hand over Europe to the Soviets, then Latvia’s SS soldiers would be taking part in the annual victory parade down central Berlin today. The Balts teamed up with the Germans to throw out the mostly Jewish commissars from their nations, and they did so with an entusiasm that made Jews around the world curse them as evil anti-Semites.

  • 77. Asehpe  |  May 12th, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    Carpenter, looks like you don’t really know what you’re talking about. The Reichskommissariat Ostland was not going to be very nice to Latvians, Estonians, and Lithuanians: these were to be placed back in their natural situation as farmers, and tons of Aryans from Aryan Deutschland were to come take their places in the cities. Maybe the Latvian-SS would parade in Berlin (if the race laws were a bit relaxed, what with the war being won and everything), but their children wouldn’t be there to see them parade: they’d be collecting beets for the ‘Ryans.

  • 78. Roland  |  June 28th, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    If you’re a puny state facing potential threats from a major power, why bother with conventional defense at all? You could bankrupt yourself and still never build a proper defense.

    And why entangle yourself with alliances with other major powers? Let’s face it, those other major powers just want to use you for their own purposes.

    No, for the small state with big security issues, the key is to go nuclear. Even a small number of deliverable thermonuclear warheads would pose a significant deterrent to a great power, and at much more modest cost to the minor power who builds them.

    The Baltic republics could transform themselves from petty auxiliaries, into the very bulwark of NATO. “Y’all go home now, we got this whole bear thing under control,” is what the Atomic Baltics could tell the USA, UK, etc.

    Fuck the Non-Proliferation Treaty. That miserable scrap of paper does nothing, but protect the incumbent nuclear major powers. Fuck those incumbents, too.

    The world needs a large number of minor nuclear powers.

  • 79. Ed  |  July 20th, 2011 at 10:21 am

    I don’t know about EST and Lit, but most part of Latvia isn’t perfect tank country, country side is close to that in Belgium Ardenes forest area, where famous The Battle of Bulge took place, except a lot of natural and man created swamps(russians was poor specialist in field of land artificial irrigation and ruin a lot of lands), plus due the fact of population of Latvia decreased in big numbers (at least 1 million russian solders/NCO/CO and there families members leave Latvia after 1991 plus at least original 300000 of civilian population(number of persons which was unfindable when government doing population check(EU requirement) in beginning of this year, may be bigger in fact because some who lived already somewhere in EU check in as residents due to poor management of this event) leave for better life in EU, Canada, Australia, US, plus low birth rate, thanks to this country side is almost empty 500 villages exist only on paper, at least 25 small towns is alive only on paper as well, most agriculture fields in last 20 years is became brush/wood area or was abdomen which is nightmare for thanks as far I know, yes there are exceptions, but those are few, no good quality roads (our beloved government lowered building standards. maxim period of time which is designed to stay first class highway in shape before repairing is 5 years, maximum lifetime is 10 year, builders warranty is only 2 years) plus due to lack of funding to develop whole road structure( Big thanks goes to EU which is biggest payer for roads in Latvia today) Officials manage to keep main roads to main cities in decent order only, country roads is close to what you can see in Africa’s poor countries. About Latvian army, please show me in which NATO army you can be CO with only High school education(National defence academy didn’t have university like status at least 8 years). About Russian aggression, russian army has problem to press sufficient number of recruit in service (army need around 100000 young man a year, problem is that this numbers is the same of number of young man in age of 18, which include dope users, criminals and young man with physical and mental dysfunctions (these groups are at least 40%) and remember some of them go to college too, so russian army has no needed man power to attack, and remember these young man has to guard borders of there motherland which are huge, fight in Chechen and Georgia . By the way Russian military industry second year in row manage to fail to provide ordered numbers of armament while managing taking money from government for this non existing services and goods. 🙂 Personally I don’t worries about them. Continue about our ”great” army, what do you say if CO proportion to NCO/Privates are 1:1 or somewhere 2:1, and army has at least 8 generals, remember biggest unit is battalion in reality, yes there are “infantry brigade“ in Adaži, but it has maxi below 50% of personal and in fact look like battalion. Adaži also has big army proving ground which is best place for tanks in Latvia by the way. If you ask why Baltic states is in NATO, reason is simple, this is the best place to put radars to provide security for EU from accidental/intentional attack/lunch of russian/Chinese? atomic forces. About auxiliary unit jobs, Latvian are not capability to take other roles due to low quality of man power (health, mindset, education level) For example when recently started education course to achieve software developer professional qualification certificate, most of my younger colleges has one or another chronic sickness of any kind, are regular smokers and or addicted to regular use of alcoholic beverages from childhood( this all begin at age of 11 for most of them), thanks gods drugs are to expensive for them to use.

  • 80. amazonka  |  July 25th, 2012 at 4:03 am

    if you care to know what language Prussians spoke, then I’ll tell you: it’s Baltic language of Indo-European language family. the same Sanskrit stuff you mention in regard to Lithuanians. Prussians used the oldest version of the language, Lithuanians might be seen as a newer development of the same language and Latvian is the newest version of it, still retaining many resamblances to Lithuanian and Prussian forms. Estonian – in it’s regard – is from finno-ugric language family, something completely different.

  • 81. Latvian  |  August 7th, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    What a nice orchestra of obvious Russian chauvinists and worried imperialists here. And that pathetic inferiority complex – such a reckless, blind hate to everyone who has escaped the iron embraces of “Mother Russia”. It’s useful though, it’s good demonstration of reality to liberals and suicidal pacifists, who advocates Russia and Russians have changed.

    PS Don’t worry about safety of Baltic people, we have survived many centuries being cursed to live by side of Russia and will survive many more. On the bright side – we don’t have poisonous snakes or spiders, also no disastrous tornadoes or floods. If we had Canada as our neighbor in addition, wouldn’t that be too much Paradise, huh? 🙂

  • 82. Gintas  |  September 22nd, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Apparently some people assume that the Russians have always been big chunks of the Baltic population:

    If you ignorant people haven’t realized, the Baltic’s were under Imperial Russia’s control for some time which the ethnic languages were surpressed and Russian influence and culture forced through.

    Now, lets say the Baltics were invaded right now. They’d be taken, fast.

    Lets say each of the Baltic States had nuclear power, Russia would cut their Mother Russia ftw crap, and wouldnt want to invade.

    If The Baltics had a week’s intelligence in advance, it could hold off the russians for a bit, in which the Finns could come in (God bless dem Finns)

    In all, I am a American Lithuanian who loves America and Lithuania. Lietuva will not be taken again, ever.

  • 83. salope amateur  |  December 21st, 2013 at 4:15 am

    You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be really something that I think I would never understand.
    It seems too complex and extremely broad for me.
    I’m looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!

  • 84. Muriel  |  September 8th, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    Today I’m plwying Call of Duty gaing community.
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