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The Baltic Revolution: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the Path to Independence

Overview

Concealed behind the Iron Curtain, and dominated by Soviet Russia for half a century, the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have now emerged to the attention of the world as free and independent nations. As the new republics fight for political and economic viability, Anatol Lieven, the only western journalist permanently based in the Baltic during the struggle for independence, presents an intimate and engaging portrait of their history and culture, from their ancient origins to the present day. He ...
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Overview

Concealed behind the Iron Curtain, and dominated by Soviet Russia for half a century, the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have now emerged to the attention of the world as free and independent nations. As the new republics fight for political and economic viability, Anatol Lieven, the only western journalist permanently based in the Baltic during the struggle for independence, presents an intimate and engaging portrait of their history and culture, from their ancient origins to the present day. He explores the characteristics and personalities of the Baltic peoples, their religious and national differences, their relations with Russia and with the West, and their prospects for the future. The book opens with two highly entertaining chapters on the early history of the Baltic peoples, their conquest by the Christians, the evolution of the Lithuanian empire, the union with Poland, and the experience of the Baltic provinces under the Russian Empire. It then looks at the countries' first struggle for independence in 1918, the failure of democracy and the establishment of authoritarian regimes, and the Soviet annexation of the Baltic in 1940. Lieven draws a revealing portrait of the class structure of the Baltic states and the ethnic tensions that existed between the Germans, Jews, Poles and Russians who have lived there. Drawing on a wide range of sources in several languages, including interviews, newspaper accounts and his own observation, he describes and analyses the reawakening of cultural self-awareness during the late 1980s. The final section of the book examines the tumultuous years of nationalist struggle (1987-92), the constitutions of the new republics, and the results of their first free elections - in autumn 1992. Lieven comments provocatively on the fragile new order, the demolition of the Soviet economies, and the possibilities for democracy and Westernization, or for ethnic conflict and nationalist dictatorship. His sensitive, passion
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Lieven, the only western journalist permanently based in the Baltic during the struggle for independence, presents a thoroughly informed and perceptive portrait of their history and culture, from their ancient origins to the present day. He explores the characteristics and personalities of the Baltic peoples, their religious and national differences, their relations with Russia and the West, and their prospects for the future. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300060782
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/1994
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 504
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.12 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgements
Introduction
A Note on Names and Spellings
1 The Shape of the Land 1
Marsh and Forest 1
The Man-Made Landscape 6
The Baltic Cities 9
Peasant Peoples 17
2 Surviving the Centuries 38
The Ancient Baltic Peoples 38
The Christian Conquest 42
The Lithuanian Empire and the Union with Poland 46
The Baltic Provinces under the Russian Empire 49
3 Independence Won and Lost, 1918-40 54
The First Struggle for Independence 57
Economic and Social Consolidation 61
The Failure of Parliamentary Democracy, 1920-34 64
The Roots of Authoritarianism 69
Orphans of Versailles: Baltic Diplomacy, 1918-40 75
4 The Troglodyte International: The Soviet Impact on the Baltic 82
Conquest and 'Revolution' 84
The German Occupation 86
Resistance: The 'Forest Brothers' 87
Stalinism, Normalization, Stagnation 92
The Soviet Establishment: Past, Present and Future? 99
The Dissidents 103
5 Imagined Nations: Cycles of Cultural Rebirth 109
Folklore and Nationalism 110
The Creation of Language 117
Myth is History and History as Myth 118
Cultural Politics in the Reborn States 125
6 Lost Atlantises: The Half-Forgotten Nationalities of the Baltic 131
An Area of Mixed Settlement 131
The Baltic Germans 133
The Jerusalem of Lithuania 139
The Frontier of Poland 158
7 The Baltic Russians 174
A Question of Identity 175
The Baltic Russians through History 181
The List Stand of the Soviet Union 188
Defending the Legacy of Peter: The Soviet and Russian Military Presence 201
Kaliningrad and the Kaliningrad Question 209
8 The Independence Movements and their Successors, 1987-92 214
A Confusion of Terms 214
Rise of the National Movements, 1987-90 219
'Be Realistic: Ask the Impossible': The Declarations of Independence, 1990 230
The 'Bloody Events': January to August 1991 244
The Fragmentation of Politics and the Difficulties of Government: Lithuania 255
Ethnic Estonian Politics, 1990-92 274
Ethnic Latvian Politics, 1990-92 289
The Baltic Independence Movements and the Baltic Russians 302
9 Building on Ruins: The Recreation of the New States 316
The Baltic, Year Zero 316
Achieving Military Control 319
Industry and Energy 329
Privatization and Corruption 337
In the Scissors: Baltic Agriculture 347
The New Currencies 355
Banking on Chaos 362
The Church 366
Peoples Divided 368
Conclusion: The West and the Baltic States 374
Notes 385
Appendix 1: Historical Chronology, 3500 BC-1985 AD 421
Appendix 2: Contemporary Chronology 1985-92 426
Appendix 3: Baltic Demography and Geography 432
Appendix 4: The Soviet Baltic Economies on the Eve of the National Revolutions (1989-90) 435
Appendix 5: Biographical Guide to Political Figures 1988-92 437
Index 446
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