This day. The beginning of the Soviet occupation of the Baltic States


On June 15, 1940, Red Army troops entered the Republic of Lithuania; the next day – to Latvia and Estonia. This was the beginning of the Soviet occupation, which brought the establishment of puppet governments and the incorporation into the USSR.


The political basis of these events was the infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, signed by Stalin's government with Nazi Germany on August 23, 1939. The document contained a secret protocol under which the countries of Northern and Eastern Europe were divided into “spheres of influence”. Thus, the USSR “received” Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and part of Poland. After the Soviet invasion of Poland, the Baltic countries under pressure from the Soviets, concluded agreements on mutual assistance. Later, agreements were reached that allowed the Soviet Union to establish military bases in these countries. Finland's rejection of such a treaty led to the Soviet-Finnish war. However, despite the loss of large territories, Finland retained its state sovereignty. The Baltic states-maintained neutrality during this war, but this did not affect their future fate. By the summer of 1940, the Soviet regime had amassed a huge military force on the western borders. Accusing the Baltic states of violating the agreements and threatening to invade, the Stalinist government issued them ultimatums demanding a change of government and permission to deploy an unlimited military contingent. In order to avoid futile bloodshed, as the military superiority of the Soviets was undeniable, ultimatums were adopted. However, on June 15, Soviet troops invaded Lithuania, and the next day - in Estonia and Latvia. Soon rigged parliamentary elections took place, which brought to power pro-Soviet forces, the so-called “People's Seimas”. On July 21, the Seimas of the three countries submitted requests for accession to the Soviet Union, which were approved in August 1940. New governments impose political repression with subsequent mass deportation of “enemy elements” interrupted by the German-Soviet war. Therefore, suffering from Soviet terror, many citizens initially perceived the Nazi occupation as liberation.

According to the decisions of the European Parliament, the European Court of Human Rights, the UN Human Rights Council, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia were occupied and illegally incorporated into the USSR. Then they were occupied by Nazi Germany in 1941–1944 and the Soviet occupation was restored in 1944–1991. That is, the de jure Baltic states remained under illegal occupation throughout the period from 1940 to 1991. The path to freedom and independence lasted for almost 50 years.

Dilfuza Hlushchenko