The Unintended Consequence of the Struggle for Independence: The transition to democracy in the Baltic Countries
Title: The Unintended Consequence of the Struggle for Independence: The transition to democracy in the Baltic Countries
Author: ROSSI, Federico Matías
Series/Number: EUI SPS; COSMOS; 2012/11
External link: http://www.eui.eu/Projects/cosmos/Home.aspx
The Baltic countries' struggle was for independence more than any other thing. The achievement of democracy was a by-product of the secessionist project of increasing autonomy from Moscow. A possible explanation for this could be that representative democracy became an implicit and obvious ideal regime for the elites and local populations. As for the successes of the independence movements in the Baltic countries, five crucial events paved the way for independence as the only exit strategy for the Baltic SSRs. First, Gorbachev promoted the mobilization of civil society, expecting support for his reform program, but miscalculating the relevance of nationalism for the Soviet Republics. Second, after mobilization had become widespread, Gorbachev lost the opportunity to build the USSR as a confederation because he refused to accept that the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was illegal. Third, this issue, plus the failure of attempts to repress mobilizations, led to increased unification among all the mobilized sectors, in turn leading to a two-million-strong human chain protest. Fourth, the first multiparty elections in the Baltic countries saw a clear majority support the pro-independence groups, allowing for a quick and institutionalized process of secession. Finally, after the failed coup against Gorbachev the project of a voluntary federation collapsed, making independence a de jure fact since the correlation of power favoured Yeltsin's decentralization model.
Subject: democratization; secessionist movement; human rights organization; Popular Fronts; Catholic Church; USSR; Estonia; Latvia; Lithuania
Type of Access: openAccess