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That is all the more so given the increasing apolitical quality of the young, who see their futures not in their own country but in a broader world and whose loyalties may be to where they are employed rather than to where they are born. That is not true of the majority, but it is a problem for the ever-greater number of young Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians who are moving abroad.

 

Those attitudes in turn were reinforced by what might be called the Baltic countries’ very own “end of history moment, the time when all three got into NATO and the EU and assumed that history for them was truly over. That was wrong then, and many are having to rethink things as Russia has become an increasingly revisionist and revanchist power under Vladimir Putin.

 

It is easy to become discouraged, to think that Russia is going to win the next round and the Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians will not. But if that is easy, it is also wrong. The three Baltic nations are going to hold on and win for the same reasons they achieved the miracle in the first place: their sense of history, their mental maps, and the continuing role of the diaspora. You as members of that diaspora thus have an even greater challenge over the next 25 years than you have had in the last 25. But just as your parents and grandparents played a key role in ensuring the appearance of the Baltic miracle, you must play a major role in ensuring that it doesn’t disappear. Knowing many of you, I am confident in the future. 

 

***

Nearly 50 years ago, when I began studying Estonia, Lavia and Lithuania, my senior professor told me that I was a unique case of someone who had assimilated to an emigration. He was half right: For him, the three countries were the Baltics, and there was thus a Baltic emigration. In fact, it has been my honor and my pleasure to assimilate not to one emigration but to three, the Estonian, the Latvian and the Lithuanian. Indeed, that has been the defining center of my professional life.

 

Perhaps it has struck some of you today that I have spoken too much about the role of the diasporas in Baltic life past, present and future. But I have seen the contribution you have made to the Baltic miracle; and I know it would have been impossible without your work. I thus as someone “assimilated” to the three diasporas want to celebrate all that you and your nations at home have achieved on this anniversary and express my conviction that you will continue to do the same in the future, guaranteeing that the Baltic Miracle will continue – to the benefit of Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians and all who wish them well.

 

Paul Goble

Tellimine

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