An "Abnormal Situation"

11th meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs Council has resumed its work in Maastricht, Holland earlier this week. Major questions will be discussed in the course of the two-day meeting. They will range from accepting a Strategic document concerning a fight against dangers of the XXI century proposed by Russia and USA, to discussing several OSCE reforms.
However, Russian delegation did not plan to focus strictly on global problems while in Holland.  Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Igor Ivanov has pointed out a rather abnormal situation of Russian people in Baltic countries.
Ivanov has termed such situation in the Baltic region to be a vivid example of “a systematic violation of those rules outlined in the Charter of European defense” as well as other documents of OSCE.
According to RIA “Novosti”, Ivanov also mentioned significant worsening of the overall situation in terms of transportation and people’s interpersonal communication. “Unfortunately, the situation is getting worse,” claimed Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs. “The same countries that once were completely open for traveling are now tightening security at their borders.”

The Minister has also noted the following, “It becomes more obvious that new dividing lines are being drawn in Europe as a result of violating an important OSCE principle. If we are truly creating an All-European territory, this problem needs to be resolved in the nearest future. OSCE possess all the required abilities.”
Actually, such statements have been foreseen by members of the Organization. It is good, of course, that Ivanov has once again pointed it all out. It should be noted however that Moscow has been talking about Russians’ existence in the Baltic region for more than a year—and with no results…
Two years ago, for instance, Russia insisted on letting the Defense and Europe negotiations Organization to continue its mission in Latvia and Estonia. Russia has several times emphasized the importance of the mission due to a tremendous amount of unsolved questions regarding nationality. Latvia and Estonia have not yet simplified a process of naturalization, especially for older people. Moscow also expressed its uneasy attitude towards a fact that OSCE does not provide a chance for Nazi collaborators to justify themselves.
What was the result? The mission ended in January of 2002 because OSCE regarded Latvia’s and Estonia’s human rights situation to be perfectly fine. In reality however, neither one of these problems has been solved.
Unfortunately, nobody guarantees that the situation will change for the better as a result of this week’s meeting in Maastricht, Holland. It appears more obvious that the current situation might actually change for the worse. Latvian and Estonian authorities are certain of Europe’s tender attitudes towards Baltic countries. Obviously, nobody is going to restrain those countries especially after they joined NATO and EU. Therefore, Russia’s suggestions will most likely be ignored, once again.

Vasily Bubnov

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Author`s name Andrey Mikhailov