Baltic Way
Friday, 22 August 2014 22:52

The Baltic disease

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A well-organized liberation movement in the Baltic countries was a major headache for Moscow, and not only because the Soviet Union did not want to repeal the secret protocols between Nazi Germany and Soviet Union, but also because the movement had spread in a more virulent form to other republics all over the Soviet Union.

The Soviets called it "the Baltic disease."

Moscow understood that if the Baltics go, so goes the Soviet Union.

The Soviet authorities in Moscow responded to the Baltic Way with intense rhetoric.

On the day of the protest, Pravda published an editorial titled "Only the Facts." It was a collection of quotes from pro-independence activists intended to show the unacceptable anti-Soviet nature of their work.

Three days after the event the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union issued a “declaration on the situation in the Soviet Baltic republics”. It was read during the opening twenty minutes of Vremya, the main evening news program on Soviet television. The Baltic Way was referred to as "nationalist hysteria."

The declaration stated:

"Matters have gone far. There is a serious threat to the fate of the Baltic peoples. People should know the abyss into which they are being pushed by their nationalistic leaders. Should they achieve their goals, the possible consequences could be catastrophic to these nations. A question could arise as to their very existence."

The appeal to the Baltic people illustrated that Moscow believed it still had a significant audience in this reagion, while in fact the opposite was true. There were very few communists left in the Baltics, especially in Lithuania, and local party organizations were dying.

Despite Gorbachev's attempts to keep the unity of the Soviet Union intact, the empire was starting to split up.




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