No More Yaltas!

A letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal:

I write to express my deep concern about Sen. Chuck Schumer’s op-ed “Russia Can Be Part of the Answer on Iran” (June 3). As a supporter of democracy for the nations of Central and Eastern Europe, which suffered greatly under “Russian hegemony over Eastern Europe,” his suggestion that these nations be used as bargaining chips in order to appease Russia is troubling, inexplicable and unacceptable.

For decades Central and East Europeans had been oppressed by Russia, whose “greatness” he suggests Vladimir Putin should restore. The 1932-1933 genocide in Ukraine, the incorporation of the Baltic countries into the Soviet Union, the brutal crushing of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, the suppression of the Prague Spring in 1968, the imposition of martial law in Poland in 1981, the blatant and continuing denials of fundamental freedoms in Belarus are all examples of the tragedies that ruined millions of lives in the countries of a region that had been ill-advisedly relegated to the Russian sphere of influence in the 20th century.

After untold suffering, these nations have regained their freedom and sovereignty. And now the senator suggests that Russia once again be allowed to dominate the countries of Central and East Europe in order to pursue policies whose effectiveness is a matter of conjecture at best.

These recommendations are especially distressing, considering the disturbing trends in Russia, including the intimidation used to silence the press and critics of the government, rising anti-Semitism and intolerance toward minorities and attempts to use energy as a means to divide Europe and unduly influence Central and East European governments. The senator’s proposal in effect would validate these disturbing trends in the eyes of Moscow and pander to Russian nostalgia for imperialism. Clearly these trends are contrary to U.S. geostrategic interests in the region. We want no more Yaltas!

Béla Liták
Stamford, Conn.

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