Moscow & Lithuania: A Showdown?

An article in The Moscow Times caught my eye yesterday. I’ve been reading a lot about Russia lately, not just in this Russian history course but in other courses as well. With every reading something becomes more and more apparent: Russia has a bit of an attitude when it comes to international relations.

I get it; history shows that their path to the present wasn’t exactly a walk in the park. They are often on the defensive and find themselves with few allies that truly have their back. But isn’t it time they drop the innocent, “I don’t know what you’re talking about” act? The following excerpt from the article displays this:

“Titov (Russia’s deputy foreign minister) said that speculation about Lithuania responding with border restrictions is an attempt to create the impression that it is the “victim of some imaginary outside pressure” and accused Lithuanian carriers of violating customs rules more and more often…”

The language alone gives off a feeling of arrogance. They are belittling the actions of Lithuania in an attempt to discredit them. And certainly Russia doesn’t have a history of inflicting “outside pressure” on its neighbors, does it?  Oh, wait….

Maybe Lithuania really is making something out of nothing and Russia is completely guilt-free of the interference in Lithuanian trade of which they are being accused.  But as a historian I was taught to learn from the past, and in this case the past is on the side of Lithuania.

2 thoughts on “Moscow & Lithuania: A Showdown?

  1. Russia’s diplomAtic language usually leaves much to be desired and is often the cause of even greater friction. There are long-running tensions from the Polish-Lithuanian kingdom invading Russia to the Soviet (Russian) conquest of Lithuania in the last century. One of the many chronic problems between them today is border security and the speed (or lack of it) at border crossings for commercial goods.

  2. Historically, I can understand where Lithuania would be wary of Russia. During both tsarist and Soviet times, Lithuania was annexed by Russia, and forced to assimilate to Russia’s language and culture (admittedly, my family is Lithuanian, so I may be biased). I have talked to Lithuanians who immigrated to the United States during Soviet times, and they told me about attending Russian schools, and not being able to learn their country’s language.
    Maybe one day, Russia and Lithuania will mend their relationship, but until then, Russia needs to acknowledge that Lithuania will not be quick to forgive.

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