27 March 2007

Borderlands (III)

Well, today is the day -- the Republic of Latvia and the Russian Federation in the persons of Kalvītis and Fradkov have signed the Border Agreement. Opinions vary (my previous posts about the issue are here and here), but all I have to say today is that this is a day to think about the abrenieši -- the people who lived in the area severed from Latvia, and their descendants, who are real people losing something real today... something they built, a physical place, now lost in rhetoric and legally yet further from Europe (whatever that is), a place that was raped, "cleansed," and basically decimated by Russia (Soviet Russia, the USSR). At All About Latvia, Aleks offers a translation of the notes of a spy.

RIA-Novosti, at least, is getting friendlier.

The image is of the town seal.

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Blogger Frank Partisan said...

Do you feel in cold war mode?

28 March, 2007 05:54  
Blogger Unknown said...

Is your government offer any benefits to the Abranese? Maybe EU passports or something of the sort?

28 March, 2007 08:11  
Blogger Pēteris Cedriņš said...

Many abrenieši are in Latvia, having been driven out in the 1940s and replaced by Russians (I mean Russians by nationality, not ethnicity). Almost all abrenieši were citizens of Latvia, regardless of their ethnicity -- today, all citizens of Latvia are also EU citizens. It's Latvia that compensates those who lost their land, not Russia. They would like additional compensation, and the Prime Minister said that we could consider that. But it will be Latvia that compensates them -- not the largest country in the world, which just has to steal this sliver of land as part of its incessant effort to deny its history.

29 March, 2007 11:04  
Blogger Jens-Olaf said...

I agree, Peteris, in Estonia it will happen soon too. But giving away your legal claims (Estonia even not really claimed it) it is not aprreciated in EU-Europe. They take it for granted. That's the way how they can treat small countries only. What did Thatcher with the Argentinians by the way? For five minutes I am in cold war mode.

29 March, 2007 16:09  
Blogger Unknown said...

See, I am Romanian, and we have the same trauma with the Moldavians - majority Romanians but massively russificated during Soviet times. Now they're an independent republic but can't escape the Kremlin authority because of a frozen conflict very similar to the ones in Georgia. And the EU doesn't seem too eager at all to give a membership perspective to Moldova, despite our efforts. It was pretty tough once we became a EU member to impose visas to the Moldavians. The public opinion in both countries was very critical about it.

30 March, 2007 09:36  
Blogger Pēteris Cedriņš said...

Thanks to all of you for your comments!

Transatlantic -- Abrene couldn't be compared to Moldova or even Transnistria; it has never had any existence whatsoever of its own.

By the way, I don't know if you know this, but the so-called PMR is a creation of some of the same people who tried to crush Latvia in 1991 -- failing to develop a little Stalinist paradise here, they were sent down there.

General Lebedev unmasked the head of Transnistria's KGB as a person wanted here on criminal charges, living under an assumed name.

My friend Pēters Vecrumba put a lot of effort into editing the Transnistria articles at Wikipedia, where the "battle" is still underway, but I gave up and he seems to have given up, too -- the person quoted as calling the Transnistrian referendum fair, for example, Viktor Alksnis, is persona non grata in Latvia because of his advocacy of a bloodbath back in 1991.

30 March, 2007 11:25  

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