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Citizens' Peace Movement in the Soviet Baltic Republics

Abstract

A citizens' peace movement emerged in the Soviet Baltic republics in January 1980, when about 23 Lithuanians, Estonians, and Latvians signed an antiwar declaration in the wake of Soviet military in volvement in Afghanistan. The concern for peace was intertwined with, but distinct from, concerns for national autonomy, civil rights, and ecology. The movement culminated with a proposal in October 1981 that the Baltic republics be enclosed in the Nordic Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone. This proposal was signed by 38 Latvians, Lithuanians, and Estonians, in response to Brezhnev's offer to consider some NWFZ-related measures ‘applicable to our own territory’. At least five of the signatories have been jailed since then, and at least in one case the NWFZ proposal figured among the most incriminating char ges. Despite some remaining problems of wording, the Baltic Letter on the NWFZ represented a major advance from uncompromising declaratory dissent toward advocacy of specific and negotiable mea sures. The Baltic action preceded and partly inspired the formation of the now-defunct citizens' peace group in Moscow, 1982. The demand for inclusion of the Baltic republics in the Nordic NWFZ was re peated in a December 1983 letter by unnamed Estonian Peace Supporters to the Stockholm disarmament conference, in a rather declaratory style. Although the civil and religious rights movement remains strong in Lithuania, detentions seem to have broken up the Baltic citizens-initiative peace movement for the time being. © 1986, Sage Publications. All rights reserved.

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