2018 marks the 100th anniversary of independence for the Baltic states: Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia. But their neighbors along their eastern border, Imperial Russia, made that independence extremely difficult.
Fast forward to today — the Baltics are now vibrant independent nations. But anxiety is also in the air because Russia is starting to flex its muscles once more. So, will Russia try anything by way of strong-arming the Baltic states once again?
Looking back on their history, the two areas’ climax hit in 1918. As World War I raged on, the Baltics were just declaring their independence before Russia invaded Latvia. This happened, in part, to Vladimir Lenin establishing the Soviet Communist Party, which later became the USSR. The Baltics were occupied by either them, or the Nazi party through World War II, until the fall of the USSR in the late 1990s. The Baltics became free once again, but always had a wary eye on Russia.
The lead to a complicated question of citizenship — as they had to decide who were legal citizens at the time of independence. This lead to what, some consider, discrimination against ethnic Russians living in the Baltics. Putin has publicly stated its his intention to protect them, leading many to specify whether Russia will try to invade again.