The Baltic Way Today

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Power Vertical Podcast Ep. 41

Three decades ago this week, an estimated two million people joined hands to form a human chain spanning 675 kilometers across the three Baltic states.

The Baltic Way demonstrations marked the 50th anniversary of the secret protocols of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the infamous backroom deal between Hitler and Stalin to divide Europe between them - which facilitated the Soviet occupation of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

Beyond being visually impressive and emotionally moving, the Baltic Way transformed the idea of Baltic independence from the impossible to the inevitable. It also did something more universal: it signaled that the era of imperial powers lording over small nations was no longer acceptable.

You can even say that the Baltic Way helped establish the norms that would form the basis for the rules-and-values based international order that would come into force after the Cold War. In many ways, the post-Cold War order was born on August 23, 1989. But with that world order under attack, what is the legacy of the Baltic Way three decades on?

Joining Brian Whitmore on the 41st episode of the Power Vertical podcast are CEPA's Donald N. Jensen along with special guests Johannes Kert, a member of the Estonian parliament and a former Commander of the Estonian Defense Forces, and Karl Altau, Director of the Joint Baltic-American Committee.


August 23, 2019