Baltic Rim Monitor Articles
A Russian passenger transport service has entered the market of the capital cities of the Baltic states. The Yandex Taxi application works almost in the same way as Uber and Taxify. The difference is that Russian taxies have an additional function: they gather and upload data about their passengers to the Russian servers.
In July, the NSPA agency and the Lithuanian Ministry of Defence have signed an agreement on the development of the military infrastructure in Lithuania. The implementation of investments will be beneficial to the Lithuanian army, but also to the forces of the alliance.
Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia inherited numerous Russian-speaking minorities from the Soviet Union. Despite appearances, these are not only Russians, but communities from the whole former empire. It is commonly but wrongly believed that these diasporas are politically homogenous (pro-Russian) and therefore used as a tool in the so-called hybrid warfare.
Ministries of Defence of Sweden and Finland have signed an intergovernmental agreement (Memorandum of Understanding – MOU) in Turku. Finland was represented by the Minister of Defence Jussi Niinistö, whereas Sweden by the Minister of Defence Peter Hultqvist. The document which aims to enhance cooperation between the countries does not entail the development of the mutual assistance system.
The Lithuanian parliament has ratified an amendment to the Law on Provision of Information to the Public. Changes in law are the next stage of preventing the Russian media broadcasts from exerting an influence on the Lithuanian society. The amendment provides for the translation of radio and TV programmes longer than 1.5 hours into the Lithuanian language.
Three Baltic states, Poland and the European Commission signed an agreement in Brussels on the synchronisation of the electrical grid in the region. The long-term programme of connecting the three Baltic states to the continental system has accelerated. The synchronisation should be realised by Poland until 2025.
The European Union is to realise 17 projects within the framework of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), a mechanism adopted at the end of 2017. Lithuania will be responsible for the project regarding the establishment of Rapid Reaction Teams and mutual assistance in cyber security.
The Kaliningrad Oblast of the Russian Federation wedges between the European Union and the countries of the western NATO flank. Its geopolitical role has a significant meaning for Russia which takes aggressive actions against the Central and Eastern Europe countries. Rocket systems deployed in the oblast stir the imagination of politicians and citizens of the Baltic-Nordic region. Iskanders, Bastion missiles, air forces – they are not only elements of the anti-system A2/AD doctrine, they are also a part of the invisible war against neighbouring countries, which is directed from Kaliningrad.
Not only the army but the whole society should be prepared for the possible conflict – this sentence summarises the Swedish brochure targeted at almost 5 million citizens. After almost sixty years, Swedes for the first time can find out how to behave in case of the threat of war. On several pages of the government’s guide (published in 13 languages) every Swede can find instructions on how to manage in case of food, water or pharmaceuticals shortages, but also how to enter the “Total Defence” system.
The security policies of Sweden and Finland are frequently considered as identical and are put in one pot. This simplification is symbolised by the stress on the northern non-alignment, which is frequently being confused with the Cold War neutrality. In truth, there are many real differences in the policies of Sweden and Finland. Both at the governmental and the social level, there are differences in the approach to the military challenges in the Baltic Sea and to the potential NATO membership.
In the recent years, an intensive militarization of Kaliningrad Oblast is one of the most important challenges of NATO’s eastern flank. Missile systems forming Anti-Access/ Area Denial (AD/A2) are hypothetically able to block the allies from NATO the access to eastern European field of action. Whereas mobile Iskander – M systems which are capable of carrying nuclear warheads may easily reach coast of Sweden or the capital of Poland. Regardless of the potential of Kaliningrad Oblast, such reoccurring information is an element of Russian psychological warfare.
On April 20, Latvian security police detained Aleksandr Gaponenko – an ultra-radical, pro-Russian political activist. He was the founder and the leader of several pro-Russian organizations operating under cover as organizations defending the rights of Russian speakers and the President of the “Institute for European Studies”.