Edward Lucas points out that
two Baltic countries, Estonia and Latvia, are growing at 11.6% and 10.9%, respectively. This speed is unexpected. Of 13 forecasts looked at last year by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the highest for Estonia was 6.4%; even Estonia’s own central bank reckons that the long-term growth rate is only 7-8%.
Isn’t that amazing? They have higher rates of economic growth than Russia does, yet they have no oil and gas reserves such as Russia benefits from. Can you imagine their growth if they did? Can you imagine Russia’s bleak fate if it didn’t, or when oil prices plummet? Can you imagine what sort of paradise states the Baltics might be today if they hadn’t been bled dry by decades of Russian imperialism? Is it any wonder, when they think about their past, that they worry seriously about neo-Soviet aggression against them? In this light, Edward is quite correct when he points out that Amnesty International’s statements about their failure to extend legal rights to their Russian minorities might constitute come sort of human rights violation is a flight of fancy. Amnesty is clearly being victimized, as Edward writes, by neo-Soviet propaganda, designed not only to justify renewed encroachments by Russia in the Baltics but to take the world’s eye of the consolidation of the neo-Soviet dictatorship in Russia itself, with which Amnesty ought to be far more concerned. Russia is killing people inside Russia who dare to behave as Russians do in Estonia and Lativa. Wake up and smell the vodka, Amnesty!