Ethnic Russians in the Baltic states and Russia's foreign policy
Bales, Brian Blake
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Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, ethnic Russians living in the former republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have alleged that their civil and human rights are being violated. The issue has generated a great deal of concern from both progressive and conservative elements within the Russian government. Although Russia has vital military and economic interests in the Baltic region, and the human rights problem could possibly play into the hands of those who would use the issue as a pretext for maintaining a military presence in the area, this thesis will examine the possibility that the human rights agenda is not so much a cover for geostrategic interests as it is a political problem that facilitates the Russian foreign policy for keeping a foothold in the Baltic States. The situation may also represent a beneficial condition for the Russian military who have been pressing for support of a foreign policy that would discontinue the withdrawal of Russian troops from the Baltics, retain a Russian military presence in the area, and address their interests and concerns.
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