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Podcast: Baltic Memory And Russian Denial

  • Brian Whitmore

A woman in Tallinn lights candles during a gathering in memory of Estonians deported to Siberia.

A woman in Tallinn lights candles during a gathering in memory of Estonians deported to Siberia.

Seventy-five years ago this week, an ethnic cleansing campaign began.

Three-quarters of a century ago, tens of thousands of people were uprooted from their homes, their lives, and their families.

On June 14, 1941 -- less than two years after the Soviet Union signed a secret pact with Nazi Germany to carve up Europe and one year after the U.S.S.R. invaded the Baltic states -- the mass deportations of Estonians, Latvians, and Lithuanians began.

More than 40,000 people, a quarter of them children, were rounded up at gunpoint, stuffed into cattle cars, and forcefully exiled to Siberia.

Among the deportees were the three nations' best and brightest; their top political, business, and civic leaders.

Fewer than half returned home alive.

The anniversary of the Baltic deportations was solemnly marked this week in Tallinn, Riga, and Vilnius as well as in Europe and North America.

But in Moscow, this dark chapter of World War II has been tossed into the historical memory hole.

On this week's Power Vertical Podcast we discuss the legacy of the deportations and the struggle over history between Russia and the Baltic states.

Joining me are Agnia Grigas, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and author of the books Beyond Crimea: The New Russian Empire and The Politics Of Energy And Memory Between The Baltic States and Russia; Maria Malksoo, a senior research fellow in International Relations at the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies at Tartu University and author of the book The Politics Of Becoming European; and Vello Pettai, a professor of Comparative Politics at the Johan Skytte Institute and co-author of the book Transitional And Retrospective Justice In The Baltic States.

Enjoy...

Listen to or download the podcast above or subscribe to The Power Vertical Podcast on iTunes.

About This Blog

The Power Vertical is a blog written especially for Russia wonks and obsessive Kremlin watchers by Brian Whitmore. It offers Brian's personal take on emerging and developing trends in Russian politics, shining a spotlight on the high-stakes power struggles, machinations, and clashing interests that shape Kremlin policy today. Check out The Power Vertical Facebook page or

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