Dmitry Medvedev: Russia would like normal relations with Baltic States

  • 2015-06-14
  • George East/TBT staff, Vilnius

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said during a press conference on June 11, 2015, the Kremlin would like strong relations with Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. 

Medvedev, however, added the Baltic States are “not interested” in pursuing improved relations due to “political reasons.” 

During the conference, which hosted international press representatives, Medvedev claimed since Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia regained their independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, there has “not been normal relations” between the three countries and Russia. 

“I cannot say I’m happy about this situation,” said Medvedev. “We have spent 25 years [trying to normalise the political situation between Russia and the Baltic States] to no avail. 

“This is not our fault,” the former Russian President insisted. “Of course we would like normal, productive and advanced relations with the Baltic States.

“If we have been successful in developing good relations with many other European countries, then unfortunately, we cannot say this about the Baltic States.” 

Medvedev also suggested there are “Soviet-era phobias” which remain in the three Baltic countries, and this has been exploited by their governments to create an enemy out of Russia. 

“The easiest political governance method is the creation of an enemy, [and] this always seems to work,” continued Medvedev. “If you live next to a large nation like Russia, which is a nuclear power, why would you not exploit this theme, especially when you still carry Soviet-era phobias?”

Following its annexation of Crimea in March 2014 and its involvement in the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, of all three Baltic leaders, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite has been the most vocal of the Kremlin's actions.

In November 2014, Grybauskaite described Russia under President Vladimir Putin as a “terrorist state.” 

Most recently, she called for an extension of the European Union’s imposed sanctions on the Russian Federation.

The sanctions were imposed following Russia's actions in Eastern Ukraine during summer 2014. 

“There are really no reasons why the European policy direction should be changed,” said Grybauskaite. “On the contrary, the military escalation continues and the Minsk Agreements are practically not implemented. 

“That’s the basis for the extension of the sanctions for a longer period.”

A decision whether to extend the sanctions will be made at a summit of EU leaders in Brussels on June 25-26, 2015.