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Baltic Way started to crumb Iron Curtain – Levits
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    Baltic Way started to crumb Iron Curtain – Levits

    RIGA, Aug 22 (LETA) – The Baltic Way was an event that started to crumb the Iron Curtain, said Latvian President Egils Levits at the opening of international conference “The Baltic Way. Continued. The Baltic Way – 30, Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact - 80” today.

    “At that time, the Baltic Way was a political innovation that had not yet been attempted, and it has led to the fact that we are gathering here today at a conference in a free and independent Latvia,” the president addressed the participants.

    “We, the Balts, had a clear goal of restoring national independence and historical justice, freedom and a better life for ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren. We had an unwavering will to achieve this goal, and we did it,” he said.

    “After the Baltic Way, the world came to know us again as courageous and confidence- strong Europeans, who began to crumb the Iron Curtain that separated all of us from a democratic and united Europe,” the president said.

    Levits noted that the Baltic Way was the beginning of the end of the Soviet totalitarian regime. It was the last major confrontation between the regime that had existed before and the aspirations for freedom, which represented the aspirations for democracy among the Baltic nations. Soon after the Baltic Way, an attempt to strangle or eliminate this movement followed, but the Soviet totalitarian regime was no longer so strong by then. As soon as it showed its weakness, one can say that the Baltic Way already marked the collapse of the Soviet Union, which proceeded soon.

    “We believed in the international law-based world order and a united Europe as the common home of all democratic nations then, we believe now, and we shall believe as long as the Republic of Latvia and a free Europe exist,” Levits said.

    On the August 23, 1989, approximately two million inhabitants of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia joined hands and connected the capitals of the Baltic states, Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius to commemorate the Molotov–Ribbentrop pact signed by Germany and the USSR on August 23, 1939.

    The aim of today’s conference was to look at the importance of the role played by the Baltic Way in regaining the independence of the Baltic states and eliminating the consequences of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact as well as links to the Baltic Way and its possible impact on democratic revolutions in Eastern and Central Europe, including the fall of the Berlin Wall.

    Furthermore, specific features of community activism today, populism, and their respective influences on current political process and the future of liberal democracy were debated by politicians and public activists from the Baltic states, Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland and Sweden.

    • Published: 22.08.2019 19:29
    • LETA
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