Baltic Development and Engagement with the Commonwealth of Independent States   [open pdf - 63KB]

"This paper describes how the Baltic States have developed since independence and how they can help democracy develop in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) after joining the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). After enlargement of the EU and NATO in 2004, both organizations will border Russia and other countries of the CIS. Therefore, for the closest neighbors of Russia, who are going to be NATO and EU members, it is necessary to start thinking about cooperation with the CIS in terms of security. These closest neighbors are the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. The main reason for Baltic cooperation with the CIS is to promote common human values (e.g., human rights, rule of law, free speech, freedom of worship, equal justice, respect for women, religious and ethnic tolerance, respect for private property, and limits on the absolute power of the state) in countries that lack them, and to build security in the region. It is not enough to just have good defense forces that can protect a homeland; something else is required. This "something else" is based on the previously mentioned values and includes political and economic freedom, peaceful relations with other states, respect for human dignity, and democracy. Many scholars have researched these topics and most of them agree that peace can be achieved between neighboring countries if they follow democracy. On a daily basis people associate democracy with common human values. In this essay, the author focuses on the importance of democratization in this region. Other topics addressed include the history of the Baltic states, role of the Armed Forces in developing democracy, security in the Baltic Sea region after joining NATO and the EU, Russian and Belarusian political development, Russian speakers in the Baltics, Kaliningrad, border agreements with Russia, transnational threats, and the Baltic states' cooperation with the CIS."

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