Russian History

Article excerpt


Your lighthearted editorial "Airbrushing history" (Saturday) touched on a very serious problem, namely, the intentional alteration of the past for political purposes. One cannot praise highly enough George Orwell's famous passage from "1984" that "who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past." But the despot's concept of history cannot claim unlimited acceptance when it comes in conflict with the interests of other countries. A case in point is Russia's relations with the Baltic States.

When, at the end of World War I, Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians withdrew from the crumbling czarist empire, declared their independence and successfully defended themselves against Russian forces, they concluded peace treaties in 1920 that saw Russia renounce sovereignty over the Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian people and territory.

These solemn promises were broken in 1939 by the secret protocol to the notorious Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. Soon, under the threat of war, military bases for Soviet troops in the Baltic States were established.

Thereafter, under flimsy pretexts, unhindered access for Soviet forces was demanded, followed by unconstitutional and fraudulent parliamentary elections which finally led to the accession of the Baltic States as constituent republics into the Soviet Union. …