- - Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Wow, talk about bad timing (or good timing, depending on your agenda).

The Russian Prosecutor General’s office in Moscow is now reviewing whether the Soviet Union’s decision to grant independence to the Baltic nations of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia was legal. The State Council of the Soviet Union granted this independence under former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in 1991. This review was reported by the Russian news agency, Interfax. In a previous ruling, the Prosecutor General found that the Soviet gift of Crimea to Ukraine was illegal. The appeal is being brought by two lawmakers of United Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s party.

The governments of the Baltics did not take the review in a kind light. “Our independence was gained through the blood and sacrifice of the Lithuanian people,” Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite said in a statement. “I hope this meaningless action will be stopped,” Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius told AFP, calling the move a “provocation.”

The Baltic region has been an area of increased tension over the last year as Russian aircraft and naval vessels have acted aggressively against the sovereign airspace and waters of the Western nations. NATO recently conducted a large scale exercise to highlight its ability to defend the northern Baltic tier of the alliance. Russia has also conducted numerous military exercises which has unnerved many countries in the region.

The announcement of the review of Baltic independence will only raise tensions in an already overheated military atmosphere.

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