Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, or, “The Baltic States,” are unique in that they are the first and only former Soviet Republics to join institutions aligned with the West, joining both the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 2004. This move was a reflection of clashing cultural and political values that had been present before their integration into the Soviet Union during the Second World War as a result of the Soviet-Nazi non-aggression Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. Additionally, after years of Soviet repression, the Baltic States developed a distinctly anti-Russian stance, as Russia was the most dominant country of the Soviet Union and after its dissolution in 1991 (Dudzińska, 2011). In the two decades since the Soviet Union fell and the Baltic States gained their independence, Russia has been asserting both soft and hard power in nearby nations. Additionally, Russia’s energy policy towards their neighbors has significantly affected their relationship with European Union countries through their role as the primary supplier of natural gas.
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