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Is history a new NATO weapon against Russia?

by Adomas Abromaitis

On Wednesday (July 11th) NATO and Russia have got a new reason to argue and make claims to each other. NATO posted an 8-minute online documentary feature video, glorifying activity of the Baltic partisan movement “Forests Brothers” (see above).

The matter is for the Baltic States WWII did not end in 1945, as well as for the Soviet army soldiers who faced unexpected violent resistance from national partisans. The Forest Brothers actively fought the Soviet army from 1948 until the late 1950s or early 60s.

It should be noted that the Forests Brothers’ activity is little known and controversial piece of history of the Baltic States. There are two radically opposite points of view. From one point of view the Forest Brothers were partisans who continued armed resistance to the Soviet occupation of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania after the end of the Second World War. From the second point of view such treatment of their activity is very contradictory, because there are facts that many of the Forest Brothers were former Nazi collaborators and members of the Baltic Waffen SS, and that members of these groups killed thousands of civilians in their raids. Where is the truth? I wouldn’t take the responsibility of a single answer.

It seems as if in this particular case NATO has gone about the Baltic States and puts itself in an uncomfortable position, supporting the possible misinterpretation of historical facts.

A similar dispute has become a cause of contention between Ukraine and Poland, which differently interpret Stepan Bandera’s role in history. Ukraine considers Stepan Bandera a hero. Poles mainly remember him for collaborating with the Nazis and for his followers slaughtering Polish civilians. Poles find Ukraine’s version of a common history “a problem” and emphasize, that they will not accept “ideology and actions that allow murder of innocent civilians, even in the name of the highest goals, to which undoubtedly fight for state independence belongs.” The matter is very similar to what is going on between NATO and Russia just now.

Such political interference into the history of separate countries, in bitter moments of the past wouldn’t make NATO stronger, wouldn’t make relations between opponents warmer, wouldn’t make continent more peaceful. There are enough problems in contemporary history that should be solved immediately and a new one makes the situation even harder. As for the Baltic States they simply want NATO’s attention, and common Soviet past with Russia gives a good opportunity attract necessary attention and, probably, money…


  1. James Golden says

    The Baltic states were illegally occupied by the Soviet Union, then Nazi Germany, then Soviet Russia. They have never been ‘occupied’ by NATO. The Soviet Union’s methods of occupation, deportation and annihilation have never fully been acknowledged, in particular by the current Russian Govt.

    • Seamus Padraig says

      Annihilation? Well, the Russians had about 45 years (1944-89) in which to accomplish the ‘annihilation’ of a few million people in the Baltic countries, and they somehow seem to have failed utterly! The main complaint I hear from Baltic people is over the large Russian-minority they left behind. But even in that case, it was already true that large numbers of Russians were living in the Baltic countries more than a century ago, so this is a fact of long standing.

      • James Golden says

        Annihilation was the wrong word to use, but they did occupy and deport many people, some were forbidden to return, those that did lost property, many died in inhumane conditions or were murdered, especially those deported in June 1941. The percentage of Russian living in the Baltic states is different for each country, Lithuania for example, according to census from different yrs, 1959 8.5% were Russian, then 1970 8.6%, 1979 8.9%, 1989 9.4%, 2001 6.3% and 2011 5.8%, hardly ‘large’.

  2. Frank says

    Anti-Semitism is endemic in much of Eastern Europe, but particularly in the Baltics, Poland and Ukraine. The infamous Latvian and Lithuanian auxiliary police did the SS’s dirty work – with considerable alacrity – in the local Holocaust. After recent complaints from Jewish groups, Lithuania’s much heralded Museum of the Genocide in the capital, Vilnius, only recently created a section acknowledging the annihilation of the once flourishing Lithuanian pre-war Jewish community of more than 200,000 that was very nearly wiped out, many at the hands of Lithuanians.

    As for Latvia, On June 29 the Nazi invaders started forming the first Latvian SD auxiliary unit in Jelgava. Mārtiņš Vagulāns, the member of the Pērkonkrusts organization, was chosen to head it. In the summer of 1941, 300 men in the unit took part in the extermination of about 2000 Jews in Jelgava and other places in Zemgale.

    And so on and so forth.

    And then of course comes Ukraine. The first jewish pogroms started in Lviv in 1941 led by Bandera and his murderous followers who seemed on too willing to carry out the Nazi’s dirty work. Today, descendants of the OUN-B and UPA (the military wing of the OUN-b, Pravy Sektor, Svoboda, Patriots of the Ukraine are still quite unabashed about their virulent anti-semitism.

    These are the people the west is allied with in the struggle against the Great Satan, Russia. Something kind of tells me we are on the wrong side.

  3. BigB says

    History is seldom black or white. Trying to make political capital out of the Forest Brothers exhumes the ghosts of an era no one can take credit from. Did they contain members of Einsatzgruppen, Waffen-SS, and other Nazi collaborationists? Were they fighting against pogroms and mass deportations carried out by Stalin’s NKVD? Did the US-UK-Swedish Secret Services actively recruit ex-Nazis and collaborationists to fight in the Baltic against the Soviet Union? Were their crimes exonerated at Nuremberg? No side can claim the moral high ground.

    The continuation of the human tragedy is not limited to forced annexations and mass deportations of the past: but that these are current and ongoing. The current EU-NATO occupation is the one that this film attempts to romantically mythologize. The Baltic states have been turned into a sparsely populated modern day Lebensraum; a militarized demarcation zone: for the Neocons, Mutti, Macron, and the ECB. The Baltic States have been turned into NATO’s private military theme park, for a perpetual series of costly and unnecessary joint exercises (part of Barbarossa 2.0): while the people have been economically ethnically cleansed. The tragic irony is that the justification for usurping national sovereignty and self-determination: is said to ‘protect’ those rights. To prevent another Russian annexation and occupation: NATO forcibly annexed and occupies the Baltic. The reverse-blame of Russia for NATOs present crimes; and the heroification of proto-Nazism as NATOs frontline defence strategy are the real themes of this film, IMO.

  4. When I look at the situation between Poland and Ukraine I’m reminded of what Marx said “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.”

    With respect to NATO that money guzzling machine of the Military Industrial Complex. Everyone knows it’s well past its use by date.

    Unfortunately due to the oligarchic owned MSM we are being led by the nose toward more war and conflict. We are being led not so much by lies and misinformation as by omission of information.

    “Of the many myths that befog the modern political mind, none is so corrupting of the understanding or so incongruent with historical fact as the notion that the wealthy and the powerful do not conspire.

    They do.”

    Antony C. Black’s review of Gerry Docherty and Jim MacGregor’s, Hidden History: The Secret Origins of the First World War is worth a read.


  5. Enough is enough says

    NATO is basically uncle sam’s bitch. A morally bankrupt prostitute.

  6. rehmat1 says

    NATO was established to defend Europe and North America against Soviet Union but during the 50-year-old the so-called ‘Cold War’ it never attacked Soviet Union or helped European nations under the Red Army boots. Therefore, there is no chance that NATO or Russia will face each other even to liberate Ukraine occupied by the US-EU for the Zionist Mafia.

    As far the NATO’s glorification of the Forests Brothers is concerned – they should have checked with Jewish Lobby before releasing the video as according to ADL survey, the Baltic state people especially Estonians are very antisemitic.

    In February 2015, Israel’s lobby group, Simon Wiesenthal Center, condemned an Estonian modern art exhibition, titled, My Poland: On Recalling and Forgetting, for making fun of Holocaust. One staged video showed a group of naked adults playing tag in the gas chamber of a concentration camp. Another artist restages a photograph from the camp’s 1945 liberation by Soviet army by replacing the survivors with random smiling people.


    • kev says

      NATO wasn’t established to “Defend” Europe. Thats just what they tell you in history class. Check out operation “Unthinkable”

      But your probably right about everything else

      • rehmat1 says

        Well – that’s what NATO claims. Now, it says that it’s going to defend Europe from Iranian Ayatullahs.

        In April 2015, NATO in a statement said that the European missile shield is not directed against Russia but to defend European nations from Iran’s ballistic missiles.

        “The threat to NATO countries posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles continues to increase. Over 30 countries have, or are acquiring, ballistic missile technology. The (Iran) framework agreement does not change that fact,” NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu told Sputnik International on April 6, 2015.


    • Paul Baker says

      The descendants of East European and Baltic refugees to the US now form a coherent and electorally significance in both America and Canada. Many of those refugees were, unsurprisingly, anti Russian, anti Communist, Rightwing or involved in policing; in short fascists. Their influence over American policy in Ukraine 2013-4 is a factor not often mentioned.

  7. History should remain history to be interpreted as an individual’s experience and education dictates. It should never be covered up. In this case NATO is using history to make new adherents to its cause and to discomfit Russia. Both of these reasons are highly suspect. NATO, itself is a redundant organization badly in need of a total reconstitution. Both the US and Canada should withdraw and Russia should be invited in. No other answer will protect Europe, not only from itself, but also from eternal threats.

  8. Alan says

    NATO is an aggressive military bloc whose sole purpose is war, history is seen as just another weapon for it’s armoury.

    • Jen says

      You may think the information is off the topic but it actually provides some needed background information into conditions in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and might help explain why those countries are so eager to accept NATO bases: among other things, foreign NATO soldiers bring and spend money, and the bases might provide jobs (however menial) for local people.

    • Good piece, thanks. The Baltic states have been often trumpeted as neoliberal success stories over the years by know nothing mainstream economists and economic commentators.
      Knowing a little about it, I’ve always fought the narrative but without much success.
      Michael Hudson has been pointing it out too as he’s had extensive experience in Latvia I think.

  9. Is this actually English? I feel Adomas may be saying something important, but it might be better said in Latvian / Estonian/ Lithuanian, and then machine translated.

    • ‘If’ he can so something about the butchered English, then yes he should. If he can’t, then this will have to do and I welcome him and it.

    • Peter says

      Definitely not machine translated, Dave. Have you ever seen the results? OffG lets through typos and non-standard English. You get used to it.

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