78th anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
Germany and the Soviet Union signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, a 10-year guarantee of non-belligerence, on 24 August 1939. In a secret supplementary protocol Estonia and Latvia were assigned to the Soviet sphere of influence and Lithuania to the German sphere. This chapter in the history of the Baltic states still moves commentators today.
Respect for the Baltic states
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung shows understanding for the sensitivities of the Baltic states, pointing out that their feeling of being under threat from Putin was long ignored:
“The warnings of the Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians were only taken seriously across the board after the Kremlin itself furnished proof that many of their predicted scenarios were accurate in Ukraine. The fact that Nato now has a constant military presence in the Baltic region is an appropriate and moderate reaction to this. … On the other hand it would be a mistake to see the Baltic countries only as states in need of protection. They are not problematic cases but members of the EU and Nato that play a more constructive and active role in these organisations than many of the older members.”
Sacrifices are called for on the front
Thirty years ago on the anniversary of the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact spontaneous protests broke out in Lithuania, which later turned into the country's independence movement. Lietuvos žinios commemorates the protesters:
“A few organisers, a few dozen dissidents and around a thousand participants displayed more far-sightedness back then than many of today's politicians. Politicians who pitch pensioners and soldiers against each other because in the name of freedom social justice is being sacrificed - and that refers also to the defence spending that we have promised our allies. But that's the way it is when you live on the front.”