CEPA Report on Baltic Sea Security: “The Coming Storm”

NATO’s credibility is at stake in the Baltic region. If front-line states do not cooperate, the Atlantic Alliance is at risk of losing its credibility and effectiveness without a shot being fired.

Today the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) releases its ground-breaking report on Baltic Sea security: “The Coming Storm.” Authored by Senior Vice President Edward Lucas, the report includes inputs from CEPA’s Central Europe Strategic Assessment Group.
The central finding of the report is that the nine “front-line states” – the Nordic five (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden), the Baltic three (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) and Poland – need to end their “strategic incoherence” in the face of a multi-pronged and sustained military, propaganda and espionage offensive from Russia. Though these countries – which the report calls the NBP9 – have a combined GDP one-third greater than Russia’s, their generally weak defense spending and poor coordination makes them highly vulnerable to Russian threats.
Edward Lucas is the author of the prescient New Cold War, published in 2008, and other books. He is the director of CEPA’s new Baltic Sea Security Program, which aims to offer analytical support to decision-makers seeking to curb the security threat from Russia in the Baltic Sea region.
The report plots the growth of Russia’s revisionist regional agenda since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and explains how division between the seven NATO countries and non-NATO Sweden and Finland intensify the region’s vulnerabilities. It concludes with a ten-point road-map for increased security cooperation.
Geography makes the defense of NATO’s most vulnerable members, the Baltic states, difficult, even impossible, without the full cooperation of non-NATO Sweden and Finland, the report notes. For their part, NATO countries in the region are nervous about military cooperation with non-NATO countries. As both Sweden and Finland are strong U.S. allies, American leadership can overcome this, the report argues.
The Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy research institute dedicated to the study of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Founded in 2005, CEPA is the only U.S. think-tank that works exclusively on the countries and societies of this dynamic global region. The Center’s mission is to promote an economically vibrant, strategically secure and politically free Central and Eastern Europe with close and enduring ties to the United States. 
For more information, please contact Joanna Kedzierska: +48 606 136 708 (Warsaw), 202-551-9200 (Washington), or 




Announcing VOC's new online voice: Dissident

Victims of Communism offers a new blog with editorial: Dissident.


EANC signs letter to President Obama from the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America

The Honorable Barack Obama, President of the United States

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

We are a group of organizations united in the firm belief that the stakes for the United States, and the larger democratic world, could not be higher in the ongoing aggression by the Russian Federation and its proxies against Ukraine’s territorial integrity and right to chart its own destiny.

 We know you agree. Last month, for example, you laudably declared: "The 21st century cannot have us stand idle and simply allow the borders of Europe to be redrawn at the barrel of the gun.”

Yet the tragic reality is that, despite the determined diplomatic, economic, and other efforts of the United States and European Union to change the Kremlin’s policy, the annexation of Crimea continues, the destabilization in eastern Ukraine persists, and Ukrainian lives are being lost to the violence inspired, if not instigated, by the Russian Federation.

This is a tragedy of immense proportions. Ominously, it threatens to get still worse, both for Ukraine and other countries in the region that fear Moscow’s long shadow and willingness to interfere in their domestic affairs.

Mr. President, we must prevail in defending the rights of Ukraine and other nations in the region to live free of unwanted outside involvement, to protect their sovereignty and independence, and to be able to choose their friends. They pose no danger to anyone, yet the danger to these nations is ever so real, as we have chillingly witnessed in Ukraine.

We urge you to consider additional measures to demonstrate our nation’s unstinting support for Ukraine, including the provision of further financial assistance, lethal defensive military equipment to allow the people of Ukraine to better protect themselves, and heightened bilateral and multilateral sanctions against Russia to raise the price for its unjustifiable behavior. In doing so, you will have our full support and, we believe, the vast majority of the American people, who do not want to see such menacing behavior against a democratic nation continue.

It would be our earnest hope to have the opportunity to meet with you, Mr. President, to discuss this grave situation in greater detail, and to see how we might best be able to help our country achieve these worthy aims.


Tamara Olexy, President,  Ukrainian Congress Committee of America                                

David Harris, Executive Director,  American Jewish Committee

Frank J. Spula, President, Polish American Congress

Marju Rink-Abel, President, Estonian American National Council 

Sigina Simkus, President ,  Lithuanian American Community, Inc.                                    

Mamuka Tsereteli, President, Georgian Association in the United States 

Max Teleki, President, Hungarian American Coalition

Anna Surmacova, Belarusan-American Association

Bryan Ardouny, Executive Director Armenian Assembly of America                      

Juraj Slavik, Washington, D.C. Director,  Czechoslovak National Council of America

Karl Altau, Managing Director,  Joint Baltic American National Committee                        

Ken Bombara, Representative, Slovak League of America

Saulius Kuprys, President, Lithuanian American Council


U.S. troops to remain in Baltics, Poland next year

VILNIUS (Reuters) - The United States will keep troops in Poland and the Baltic states for at least the next year as tensions with Russia remain, the commander of U.S. land forces in Europe said on Sunday.
Several hundred U.S. troops were deployed in Poland and the three Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia earlier this year after Russia seized Ukraine's Crimea region in March. The deployment was part of Washington's efforts to reassure the nervous eastern European allies that NATO would offer protection from any Russian threat.
Originally planned until the end of this year, the "persistent presence" mission of overlapping units on rotation is going to continue, Lieutenant-General Frederick Ben Hodges, Commanding General of U.S. Army Europe told reporters in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius.
"We have planned rotations out through next year. Units are designated that will continue to do this", Hodges said.
"There are going to be U.S. Army forces here in Lithuania, as well as Estonia and Latvia and Poland for as long as is required to deter Russian aggression and to assure our allies," he said.
All three Baltic states used to be part of the Soviet Union.
Permanent stationing of U.S. and other units in the Baltics and Poland remains off the table, in part due to concerns this would breach a 1997 Russia-NATO agreement.
(Reporting by Andrius Systas; Editing by Johan Ahlander and Stephen Powell)

Write to Your Congressperson!

Raise your voice!  Sample letter text is supplied by Matti Prima:

 Dear Congressman/woman: 

Congratulations on your recent electoral victory.  (personalize the letter in this section). 

I’m writing to draw your attention to HR 5241, introduced in the House earlier this year by Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (VA-11) and co-sponsored by Chabot (OH-1), Moran, (VA-8), Kinzinger (IL-16) Ribble (WI-8) et al.  It’s called the Crimea Annexation Non-Recognition Act, and it would prohibit the U.S. government from recognizing Russian sovereignty over Crimea.
Personally, I think this bill is important beyond its narrow scope.  I worry that until somebody draws the line in front of Putin and shows strength and commitment, this man will run roughshod over any part of the world that he covets – possibly even reassembling parts of the old USSR under his current regime.  
(If they are not already on the Baltic Caucus, see link, please ask them to kindly consider becoming part of this Caucus). 

I hope you will lend your support to this important bill and to its companion in the Senate.