Meaning of BALTIC STATES, HISTORY OF in English

history of the area from prehistoric times to the present. Additional reading Clarence A. Manning, The Forgotten Republics (1952, reprinted 1971), is a historical survey of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Arvids Ziedonis et al. (eds.), Baltic History (1974), covers diverse topics from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. A more detailed work on early history is Walther Kirchner, The Rise of the Baltic Question (1954, reprinted 1970). For medieval history, see William Urban, The Baltic Crusade (1975), and The Livonian Crusade (1981); and Eric Christiansen, The Northern Crusades: The Baltic and the Catholic Frontier, 11001525 (1980).Studies of diplomacy include Pertti Luntinen, The Baltic Question, 19031908 (1975); John Hiden, The Baltic States and Weimar Ostpolitik (1987); Albert N. Tarulis, American-Baltic Relations, 19181922: The Struggle Over Recognition (1965); and Hugh I. Rogers, Search for Security: A Study in Baltic Diplomacy, 19201934 (1975). Royal Institute of International Affairs, The Baltic States: A Survey of the Political and Economic Structure and the Foreign Relations of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania (1938, reprinted 1970), covers the first period of independence, with the chronology continued in Izidors Vizulis, The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939: The Baltic Case (1990); and Bronis J. Kaslas, The Baltic Nations: The Quest for Regional Integration and Political Liberty: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Poland (1976).Works on modern history include Edward C. Thaden (ed.), Russification in the Baltic Provinces and Finland, 18551914 (1981); Aleksander Loit (ed.), National Movements in the Baltic Countries During the 19th Century (1985); Stanley W. Page, The Formation of the Baltic States: A Study of the Effects of Great Power Politics Upon the Emergence of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia (1959, reissued 1970); V. Stanley Vardys and Romuald J. Misiunas (eds.), The Baltic States in Peace and War, 19171945 (1978); Georg von Rauch, The Baltic States: The Years of Independence: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, 19171940 (1974, originally published in German, 1970); Romuald J. Misiunas and Rein Taagepera, The Baltic States, Years of Dependence, 19401980 (1983), providing, with the two preceding works, a comprehensive history; and, on the Soviet annexation, John A. Swettenham, The Tragedy of the Baltic States (1952, reprinted 1981); August Rei, The Drama of the Baltic Peoples (1970), by the last president of independent prewar Estonia; and Izidors Vizulis, Nations Under Duress: The Baltic States (1985). Problems of minorities and nationalism are the subject of Edward Allworth (ed.), Nationality Group Survival in Multi-Ethnic States: Shifting Support Patterns in the Soviet Baltic Region (1977); and George W. Simmonds (ed.), Nationalism in the USSR & Eastern Europe in the Era of Brezhnev & Kosygin (1977). A comprehensive survey of the Baltic scene during the period 19401987 is presented in Dietrich Andre Loeber, V. Stanley Vardys, and Laurence P.a. Kitching (eds.), Regional Identity Under Soviet Rule: The Case of the Baltic States (1990).Walter C. Clemens, Jr., Baltic Independence and Russian Empire (1991), is an introduction to contemporary politics, with a certain emphasis on Estonia. A survey of independence movements is presented in Andres Kng, A Dream of Freedom: Four Decades of National Survival Versus Russian Imperialism in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, 19401980 (1980); and Jan Arveds Trapans (ed.), Toward Independence: The Baltic Popular Movements (1991). Research on history, politics, culture, and economics is found in such periodicals as Baltic and Scandinavian Countries (quarterly); and Journal of Baltic Studies (quarterly). The establishment of independence and the 20th century The collapse of the German and Russian empires during World War I allowed the Baltic peoples to establish independent states. The road to independence was similar in all three. In November 1917, at the time of the Bolshevik Revolution in Petrograd (now St. Petersburg), all of Lithuania and most of Latvia were under German military occupation. Estonia and the eastern part of Latvia were still under Russian control. In 1918, while the Baltic homelands were under German occupation, national councils declared independence and established governments. The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk of March 3, 1918, ceded Russian rights to the entire Baltic area to Germany, which sought to organize puppet states in the region. Germany recognized the independence of the Duchy of Courland on March 15, 1918; of the Kingdom of Lithuania on March 23, 1918; and of the remainder of the region on Sept. 22, 1918. The Balts, however, sought genuine independence. The German collapse in late 1918 was followed by attempts to reestablish Russian control through the imposition of Soviet regimes. The new national governments managed to survive the threat from the east as well as from other quarters. In 1920 the Soviets concluded peace treaties recognizing independent Baltic states. By 1922 all three states had become recognized members of the international community of states. Estonian liberation On April 12, 1917, the Russian provisional government, which had replaced the tsar during the February Revolution, allowed all ethnic Estonian regions to be administratively united into a single autonomous province. In June, elections to the Estonian National Council (Maapev) took place. After the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, the Maapev decided to break away from Russia. The Bolsheviks, however, managed briefly to install an administration in Estonia, but it fled in February 1918 when the Germans renewed their advance. On February 24, the Maapev declared Estonia's independence and formed a provisional government that collapsed the following day when German troops entered Tallinn. The Estonian provisional government renewed its activity after the German collapse in November 1918 but was immediately faced with a Soviet invasion. A Soviet Estonian government was established on Nov. 29, 1918. The provisional government, however, managed to withstand the Soviet attack with the aid of a British naval squadron and a Finnish volunteer force. By the end of February 1919 all of Estonia had been cleared of the Soviets. The Soviet Estonian government was dissolved in January 1920. Soon afterward, on Feb. 2, 1920, Soviet Russia signed a treaty of peace with Estonia recognizing Estonian independence. The economy The Baltic economy was quickly integrated into the Soviet national economic planning system in the immediate post-World War II period. Covering less than 1 percent of the former U.S.S.R.'s land area and accounting for less than 3 percent of its population, the region still managed to account for just over 3 percent of total national income for much of the Soviet period. After the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, the dilemma confronting the newly independent Baltic states was how to maintain a measure of economic growth while extricating their industrial production from a long-standing dependence on traditionally undervalued resources obtained from newly independent states of the former U.S.S.R., themselves facing similar difficulties. The essence of Soviet central planning was a measure of regional specialization in industrial production and economies of scale in output. Thus, the Baltic region produced more than twice its per capita share of electric motors, machine tools, and radio receivers. The latter were produced exclusively in Latvia and accounted for more than one-sixth of the total Soviet output. The Baltic region is not rich in natural resources. Manufacturing industries traditionally were based on agriculture, forestry, and fishing. Mineral and energy resources upon which modern industrial economies are dependent are mostly imported. Energy resources are illustrative of the general situation. Estonian oil shales and some potential for harnessing hydroelectric power are the principal regional energy resources. During the Soviet era, substantial investment was made to develop the oil shales and hydroelectric power sites for energy production. But regional resources contributed in only a small way toward meeting the regional demand for energy. In the early 1990s oil, natural gas, and coal from the former U.S.S.R. satisfied more than two-thirds of the Baltic region's energy requirements. For most of the post-World War II period, all sources of energy in the U.S.S.R. were undervalued, but supplies were sufficient to meet domestic demand as well as a growing export market. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russia and Belarus, the main sources of energy for the Baltic region, themselves faced energy supply shortages. Until the nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl, in Ukraine, in 1986, the Soviet nuclear power industry was planned to develop very swiftly, especially in regions such as the Baltic where other energy resources are limited. In the wake of the Chernobyl disaster, nowhere was the future of nuclear energy viewed with equanimity, although the one major installation in the Baltic region, at Ignalina in Lithuania, continued to operate. Dependence upon imported oil, natural gas, and coal, to say nothing of other industrial raw materials, was thus expected to continue, as were the higher prices for energy, to be paid in convertible hard currency. While the Baltic region has few comparative advantages in terms of its natural resource base, it does possess a well-educated, entrepreneurially oriented work force. Rates of labour productivity consistently ranked among the highest during the Soviet period, and goods produced in the Baltic region were in demand elsewhere in the U.S.S.R. because of their comparatively high quality. Before the collapse of the U.S.S.R. the region accounted for a disproportionate share of joint-venture agreements with foreign firms, to some degree a measure of Baltic entrepreneurship and Western perception of market potential. Historic affinities and continuing good relations with Scandinavian countries offered some scope for trade and technology transfer to assist in the disengagement from the former U.S.S.R. Trade opportunities existed as well in the new market economies of eastern Europe, but this region had its own serious economic development problems, not least of which was weak domestic currencies. As of the early 1990s each of the Baltic states had made significant progress toward privatization and the adoption of market principles, including proposals for the introduction of their own currencies. Progress across the region, however, was not everywhere the same. Estonia had moved furthest, with Lithuania lagging behind Latvia. Public opinion polls conducted before the demise of the U.S.S.R. regarding attitudes toward private sector activities and cooperatives revealed a similar ordering of the degree of positive response among the three states. Lithuania had been less receptive to foreign investment than elsewhere in the Baltic region and thus not surprisingly had received less. This was in part attributable to more restrictive laws regarding ownership of land by foreigners. To be sure, the radical transformation of a system of production and exchange created over half a century according to socialist principles is difficult. But the shift to a market economy was expected to be less problematic than repairing the serious environmental damage that this system of production occasioned. Throughout the Baltic region Soviet urbanization and industrialization bequeathed a degraded environment. Most cities lacked adequate sewage treatment facilities, even the largest, Riga. Industrial effluent from, for example, cellulose and polymer factories along the Western Dvina and its tributary streams was inadequately treated and added to the pollution from the city of Riga, all of which ended up in the seriously polluted Gulf of Riga. Agricultural pollutantsfertilizers, herbicides, and pesticidescontributed to this problem. Degraded landscapes were also common to the sizable Soviet military bases and training areas located throughout the Baltic region. These and other examples of environmental degradation were of widespread public concern. The amelioration of environmental degradation was expected to exact an economic price that the newly independent states could ill afford. Nor were all sources of pollution affecting the Baltic region within its political jurisdiction. Substantial amounts of water- and airborne pollution originated in factories located in the adjoining states of Belarus and Russia. The transnational pollution hazard is considerable, as the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986 attests. James H. Bater The land Geology, relief, and drainage The Baltic region is a part of the great East European Plain, which stretches across much of western and eastern Europe to the Ural Mountains. The geology of the region is mostly made up of sandstone, shale, and limestone formations, and the landscape everywhere bears mute testimony to the impact of the glacial era. Glacial deposits in the form of eskers, moraines, and drumlins occur in profusion. These features have served to disrupt the drainage pattern, and large areas of land are prone to flooding. There are more than 7,000 lakes throughout the Baltic region and countless peat bogs, swamps, and marshes. A multitude of rivers cross the region before reaching the Baltic Sea, the principal ones being the Neman and Western Dvina. The coastal zone also has been influenced by the last Pleistocene glaciation. Owing to variations in the level of the Baltic Sea produced by the melting of the ice cap, there are pronounced differences in coastal zone landscape from north to south. The northern part of the Estonian coastline along the Gulf of Finland is characterized by a limestone escarpment a short distance from the shoreline. In the extreme northeastern part, the Pandivere Upland reaches 545 feet (166 metres) in elevation. To the south and west the coastal zone is much less dramatic in appearance. The few hills are less prominent, and extensive sand bars, lagoons, and sand dunes characterize the shoreline. The brackish and now heavily polluted Gulf of Riga is the dominant feature of this part of the region's coastal zone. Inland, few areas reach even 1,000 feet in elevation, Suur Munamgi at 1,043 feet being the notable exception. While some districts such as the uplands of Livonia and Kurzeme have picturesque Alpine terrain, these districts are also exceptional. In general, elevations throughout the Baltic region are less than 500 feet above sea level. Climate Over most of the region, annual rainfall varies between 22 and 28 inches (550 and 700 millimetres) and generally increases from the coastal zone to the upland districts of the interior. The prevailing temperatures are moderate by the standards of European Russia and in general improve from north to south and from east to west across the Baltic region. January mean temperatures range from 19 F (-7 C) to 28 F (-2 C), while July brings temperatures in the 61 F (16 C) to 64 F (18 C) range. On balance, the climate is far from pleasant, owing to winter dampness, late springs, and wet autumns. The people The Latvian and Lithuanian peoples speak languages belonging to the Baltic branch of the Indo-European family and are commonly known as Balts. This name is derived from the Baltic Sea and has been in use since the middle of the 19th century. The Balts have long lived on the southeastern shores of the Baltic Sea and have included, besides Lithuanians and Latvians (Letts), several other peoples now extinctsuch as the Prussians, who were Germanized at the beginning of the 18th century; the Curonians (Kurs), who were Lettonized in the 16th century; and the Semigallians (Zemgals) and Selonians, who were assimilated by the Latvians and to a lesser extent by the Lithuanians by the 14th century. The eastern Baltic tribes, scattered throughout what are now Belarus and the western part of Russia, were Slavicized after the northward expansion of the Slavs between the 7th and 14th centuries. Estonians speak a language belonging to the Finno-Ugric group of the Uralic family and constitute the core of the southern branch of the Baltic Finns, the other members of this group being the Livs and Votes. Culturally, the Estonians were strongly influenced by the Germans, and traces of the original Finnish culture have been preserved only in folklore. The Latvians also were considerably Germanized, and the majority of both the Estonians and Latvians belong to the Lutheran church. Most Lithuanians, historically long associated with Poland, are Roman Catholic. The vast majority of ethnic Estonians, Latvians, and Lithuanians live within the borders of their respective states. Ninety-five percent or more of the population of each state claim their own native language as their first language. Given the huge scale of Russian immigration into the Baltic states in general and its impact on the populations of Latvia and Estonia in particular, this high level of native language as first language is indeed significant. Other citizens of the former U.S.S.R. emigrated to the Baltic region during the post-World War II industrialization drive, but none had the impact of the Russians. Aside from manning in large part the sizable Soviet military bases in the Baltic, by the late 1980s Russians had assumed many of the senior positions in government and most of the key administrative posts. A large number of highly skilled graduates of Baltic technical and university programs were assigned positions outside the region by Soviet authorities. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of less skilled Russians flooded into the region to take jobs in the many new large industrial enterprises. Thus, throughout all sectors of the Baltic economy, including the professions, and even to a degree in the larger agricultural enterprises, there was a significant Russian presence. Attempts to Russify the Baltic peoples were common in the 1950s but in later years moderated somewhat. The sheer weight of the immigrant numbers simply served to promote this objective in less overt ways. With independence in 1991 each of the Baltic states was in a position to impose controls over immigration from the former U.S.S.R. However, within the Baltic region prevailing ethnic balance and demographic trends differed. In the early 1990s the titular nationalities in Lithuania and Estonia account for about four-fifths and three-fifths of the total populations, respectively. The situation was especially serious in Latvia, where ethnic Latvians comprised little more than half of the total population. Even with strict controls over immigration, the demographic consequences of past immigration patterns were not likely to change very quickly.

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