This issue of Diplomaatia is mainly dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe and how the war is still perceived differently in various countries. First, Kaarel Piirimäe, an Estonian historian, writes about the Baltic question in the war. His article is based on his new book Roosevelt, Churchill and the Baltic Question: Allied Relations during the Second World War.
Secondly, George Kunadze, former Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia, says that the victory over Nazi Germany forms a crucial part of current Russian identity.
“In fact the only genuine bond that unites the Russians of today is the multifaceted memory of the Great Patriotic War,” he writes. “They take pride in the victory, mourn the dead heroes, and denounce those who challenge their convictions, however simplified or distorted. In this context … the memory of the Great Patriotic War, combined with an appalling lack of general education, makes many Russians easy prey for the propaganda campaign waged against them by the Russian government.”
Estonian ethnologist Aimar Ventsel gives an overview of how the Gulag, the Soviet prison-camp network, is remembered in Kazakhstan. Ventsel reminds us that Kazakhstan was one of the places where the Soviet authorities erected a vast network of camps and that people from many different nations all over the Soviet Union were sent there; this fact still forms an important part of Kazakshtan’s historical legacy. Coming to terms with different nations’ perceptions of their history in Kazakhstan seems to be a very difficult balancing act, Ventsel writes.
Marge Mardisalu-Kahar, Director of the Estonian Center of Eastern Partnership, writes about current progress and challenges in the EU’s relations with six Eastern Partnership countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. What are the expectations for the Riga Eastern Partnership summit and for the neighbourhood policy in general? What might the implications be for Estonia?
And finally, Marin Mõttus from the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reviews Paul Danahar’s book The New Middle East: The World After the Arab Spring.
This article was published in ICDS Diplomaatia magazine.