Ambassadors to German paper: Baltic states not former Soviet republics (26)
The ambassadors of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia asked the online news portal of German paper Die Zeit to stop referring to the Baltic states as former Soviet republics.
The letter was prompted by the so-called Soviet Legacy column on the German news portal Zeit Online. The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry said on Friday that the portal had responded to the message, promising to stop using the concept that is inaccurate in the sense of international law.
In their letter to the German portal, the ambassadors of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia noted that the Baltic states never joined the Soviet Union voluntarily, but were occupied and annexed, while the majority of Western democracies, including Germany, never recognized the annexation of the Baltic countries.
The letter also stated that the Baltic countries had not been created from scratch in the early 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but on the contrary restored their independence that had been severed by Soviet rule, declaring the continuity of their statehood. Therefore, the Baltic states were not successors of the Soviet Union's statehood and rights, and consequently they could not be politically defined as former Soviet republics.
The misnomer is very common in the German-speaking countries and often used to describe any territory formerly part of the Soviet Union.