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Russia, the Former Soviet Republics, and Europe Since 1989Transformation and Tragedy$
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Katherine Graney

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190055080

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190055080.001.0001

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The Baltic States

The Baltic States

Successful “Return to Europe”

(p.171) 7 The Baltic States
Russia, the Former Soviet Republics, and Europe Since 1989

Katherine Graney

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the successful “return to Europe” by the three Baltic states, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. It details how they presented European gatekeepers in the EU and NATO with expertly shaped historical and cultural-civilizational narratives that cast the Baltic states as “essentially European” states that had been “captured” by the alien Soviet Union in 1939, hence worthy of “rejoining” a European community they had been unjustly severed from. Skilled leadership and high levels of human development and national unity also helped ease the Baltic return to Europe. The chapter discusses the Baltics’ key role in pushing for an expanded understanding of Europe that would encompass other ex-Soviet states like Ukraine and Georgia, while denying Europeanness to Russia, which is seen as a threat to Europe. Case studies of each of the three Baltic states detail their specific Europeanization processes since 1989.

Keywords:   return to Europe, Soviet captivity narratives, politics of history, World War II, European enlargement, Eastern Partnership (EAP)

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