Baltics Boycott Victory Celebrations


Russia traditionally celebrates the end of World War II on May 9, one day after Western Europe, with military parades in Moscow’s Red Square. The embassies of the Baltic States and Spain were among the EU countries that did not send representatives to the events, reported the EU Observer. According to the Observer’s sources, the Baltic states were the only ones boycotting the event for political motives. The Lithuanian Ambassador to Russia Eitvydas Bajarūnas placed flowers on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow on May 8 instead.

The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry stated that “Participation in militaristic May 9 events in Moscow would be a legitim[iz]ation of Russia’s aggressive policies and acquiescence to the Kremlin’s historical revisionism, as well as it would be inconsistent [with Lithuania’s position] in view of Russia’s recent escalation at Ukraine’s border.” According to the Ministry, the events are a way to showcase its military might and militaristic poltics. The Baltic states maintain that the war did not end for them in 1945, as the three countries remained under the occupation of the Soviet Union for another four decades.

Relations between EU members and Moscow have been tense due to the Russian government’s alleged attempt on the life of Alexei Navalny, currently the highest-profile opposition figure. Moreover, a number of EU countries have recently expelled Russian diplomats in solidarity with the Czech Republic which accused Russian spies of blowing up an arms depot in its territory in 2014. According to the  EU Observer, the fact the Czech ambassador was present at the victory events indicates Prague wanting to mend ties with Moscow.

With news from