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A graphic of a map showing Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

Russia’s efforts to weaken NATO’s eastern flank

A Latvian Case Study

January 2020, Number 10.01

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he wishes the Soviet Union had not collapsed. For Putin and many Russians, this was a geopolitical disaster that removed Eastern Europe from Russian hegemony. The fact that the Baltic countries and the states in the former Soviet zone of influence in east-central Europe now belong to NATO annoys the Russian leadership. The Kremlin has been bombarding them with fake news, accusing them of fascism and hoping to find a weak point in the structure of the Alliance. NATO’s eastern flank is not homogenous, especially when it comes to the Baltic states.

But which of the three countries is most vulnerable? A quantitative analysis of a few indexes helps to answer this question. The European Quality of Government Index for 2017, which focuses on the public’s perception of corruption and the quality of government services, ranks Estonia 90th among the 202 regions in Europe surveyed, Lithuania 114th, and Latvia 142nd. In another indicator, the Human Development Index, Estonia again is positioned best among the Baltic states (30th), followed by Lithuania (35th) and Latvia (41st)...

Excerpt from Rosław Jezewski, “A Latvian Case Study,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues 10, No. 1, 2020: 56-63.

CDR Rosław Jeżewski, a graduate of PASS 2016, serves as the Senior Specialist, Regional Cooperation and Operations, SHAPE, Poland Ministry of Defense.

This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.