Watch: «Ungrateful Baltics» myth exploded

Take note – story published 6 years ago

There is a ridiculous but persistent myth that the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia never had it as good as when they were occupied by the Soviet Union for half a century. 

Totalitarianism was a small price to pay for the security of a job for life and being relieved of the onerous task of choosing your own destiny, so the myth goes.

Absurd though it seems to most people, the myth retains a certain currency in Russia, perhaps as a means of avoiding responsibility for some of the crimes perpetrated on occupied soil.

What's more, the Baltic states are also regarded as being somehow "ungrateful" for being "allowed" to leave the crumbling Soviet system -- which diminishes the efforts made during the independence struggles and reduces Baltic independence to little more than a surprise gift from a benevolent patron.

But that myth has now been comprehensively blown apart in a study by a Latvian historian, reports Estonia's ERR News citing latest information from the East StratCom task force.

The study (available online and in English) by Gatis Krūmiņš was originally published last year and shows that the Baltic states would almost certainly have been far wealthier had they not been forcibly incorporated into the USSR.

"Spending of all the profit generated in the economy outside the territory of the Baltic countries and the simultaneous disproportionate military expenditures from the revenue generated in the Baltics largely explains the year-to-year increase in the socio-economic underdevelopment in comparison with other developed Western countries; the inhabitants of the Baltic States were able to match these countries in terms of quality of life prior to the Soviet occupation," says Krūmiņš.

In the case of Latvia, Krūmiņš calculated that a total of 24,684 billion rubles was spent from the USSR budget in Latvia, while 40,645 billion went to the state budget of the USSR. The situation was similar in Estonia and Lithuania.

In the video below, Krūmiņš outlines his work and general conclusions.

You can find a detailed and fascinating record of recent attempts to disseminate the "ungrateful Balts" myth as well as a few other in THIS LIST.  

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