Comparative Politics and Government of the Baltic States: by Daunis Auers (auth.)

By Daunis Auers (auth.)

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The result was that the ‘Supreme Soviet won the battle of the institutions [as the basis for future parliaments], but the [popular fronts] gradually adopted most of the policies of the Congresses, and hence of the radical groups’ (Norgaard and Johannsen, 1999, p. 24). This blizzard of nationalist activity and the drive to independence left many Russian speakers in the Baltic states ‘surprised, confused and antagonised’ (Trapans, 1991, p. 6). They began organising into anti-reform 38 Comparative Politics and Government groups led by ‘Intermovements’ (known as the Intermovement in Estonia, Interfront in Latvia and Yedinstvo (Unity) in Lithuania).

Finally, parts of the Baltic historical experience remain disputed at both the domestic and international levels. The issue of occupation versus voluntary annexation still divides Balts and Russophones in Estonia and Latvia and continues to cast a long shadow over bilateral relations with modern Russia. 2 Elected and Unelected Institutions Having broken away from the Soviet Union, the Baltic states rapidly moved towards new constitutional orders more in line with the demands of the new democratic and market-economy framework that they were committed to building.

This is the point at which the proand anti-independence cleavage gradually started morphing into an ethnic divide. An opinion poll carried out in late 1988 found that 74 per cent of Latvians and 10 per cent of Russians supported the LTF, while 48 per cent of Russians and 6 per cent of Latvians supported Interfront (Clemens, 1991, p. 170). By 1989, parties began to reappear on the political scene, many claiming to be the heirs of the political parties of the inter-war era. For example, the LSDSP held its twentieth congress (and first since 1934), in Jūrmala, from 2–3 December 1989.

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