On the conference of the Russian European forum in Brussels, dedicated to the EU Eastern partnership one of the main resonating events was Vice Chair Miguel Angel Martínez Martínez’ speech. In his address the Vice Chair of the Europarliament rained down with harsh criticism of the Baltic States internal and foreign policies. The fact that their ideological base consists of anti-Russian phobias is understood even in Brussels. And not everyone approves of this. Miguel Angel Martínez Martínez is a politician with a biography rare to Europe these days. He dedicated his youth to underground resistance of the Franco regime and his political views got him in prison. Thanks to this fact the moral leader of Spanish socialists and the ex-president of PACE is in a more favorable position when compared to many of his Europarliament colleagues. For example with Lithuania’s Vytautas Landsbergis or Latvia’s Inese Vaidere, who joined the communist party of the Soviet Union and Komsomol but now say Communism and Nazism are the same thing.
So when commenting the words of the Vice Chair of Europarliament they can’t use the “And who are you?” argument. The voiced criticism of their ideology will have to be properly addressed. In particular these words of Martínez Martínez “Where did you write your dissertations? Did you write them in East Berlin? Did you defend your dissertations in the Moscow University? In a time period which you declare to be the scariest period of history? And were you not a part of the regime which held society in those conditions?”
The Spanish politician in his criticism of the current policy and ideology of East European countries showed surprising honesty for Europe when directly pointing out the paradoxical nature of Europe’s young country’s policies. This concerns not only the Soviet past and anti-Soviet present of the “New Europe’s” ideologies but also the abnormal to any sane person identification of the communist ideology to the Russian Federation. “There probably isn’t a more supercapitalistic system than the one that’s built in modern Russia. It’s hard to understand how one can relate the modern Russian Federation with the old Soviet system” wonders Miguel Angel Martínez Martínez. It’s difficult to call the words “supercapitalistic system” pro-Russian when they are said by a devout socialist, but it’s a statement of fact: modern Russia has nothing to do with communism and it’s hard to understand the logic of those who try to convince the EU otherwise.
However the Vice Chair of the Europarliament denies any logic or rationale to the Baltic States, flagships of anti-Russian attitudes.
“We believe that to be a European - is to be rational. There is nothing more irrational than this type of mistrust to Russia. What kind of threat can Russia pose? A threat to who or what?” declared the politician. This was said directly to the Baltic States but in his report Martínez Martínez specifically stopped on the Baltic leaders too. “And that is what I tell Latvians, Lithuanians and Estonians: how do you view your significance in the EU? Do you think that this somehow makes you significant with you suffering from an obsessive idea of being some stronghold, a constant provocateur to the very large, very important, very needed neighbor?” he asked.
These words of the Europarliament’s Vice Chair can be considered Brussels official reaction to the “Grybauskaite buffer” and the specific Lithuanian interpretation of the Eastern Partnership, which Vilnius lobbied the half a year it’s been presiding in the EU.
More so, when speaking at the conference dedicated to the Eastern Partnership Martínez Martínez spoke about Lithuanian president Grybauskaite personally: “A few days ago I told the president of Lithuania that I understand that it’s easier to talk about enemies, your history and things like that. It’s a lot harder to say: let’s look at how we can improve these relationships. Otherwise no one will take you into account. You are the only one who can make a real contribution to building the bridge. We need such a bridge. And it’s for you to decide if you want to be significant or not”
For the Baltic politicians every paragraph of the Vice Chair’s speech is a stab in the weak spot. Europe does not consider their actions European! Europe tells them that Europeans don’t act so irrational! Europe calls their talks of the “Russian threat” phobias and hysteria! How do you live after such an affront?
Usually the Baltic ruling elite would call someone telling them these words “a hand of Moscow”, “a Kremlin megaphone” or “Putin’s puppet”. But here it’s that sticky situation where you can’t call an old Spanish socialist who thinks that Russia has a “supercapitalistic system” and criticizes Moscow’s policy towards post-Soviet states a “Kremlin megaphone”, now can you? The black and white worldview and “friend-foe” principles don’t work here. However hard the relations between Russia and EU may be it doesn’t cancel EU’s bewilderment at the never-ending anti-Russian hysteria. And in response to the Europarliament’s Vice Chair from the Baltic States we can expect only one thing – awkward silence.
Translated by: Pavel Shamshiev