Opening a new chapter
INTRODUCTION IN JUST OVER 10 YEARS SINCE INDEPENDENCE, ESTONIA, LATVIA AND LITHUANIA HAVE ACHIEVED STABILITY AND PROSPERITY. NOW, ALL EFFORTS ARE TURNED TOWARDS EU AND NATO MEMBERSHIP AND CONSOLIDATING RELATIONS WITH THEIR NEIGHBORS. WITH AN IDEAL POSITION TO PROVIDE A LINK BETWEEN EAST AND WEST, IT'S TIME FOR THESE NATIONS TO PUT THEMSELVES ON THE MAP.
Since the dismantling of the Soviet bloc at the beginning of the 1990s, the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have been fortunate in their transitions to independent republics. Of the 15 new countries created after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, only Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have managed to avoid the pitfalls of sudden independence and the state of chaos and civil war that claimed many of their counterparts.
A number of factors set these newly liberated nations apart, not least of which is the historical affinity they hold for Europea sense of belonging that over 50 years of Soviet rule could not erase. This explains their immediate response upon independence to align their political and economic infrastructures with those of the West, separating themselves from the 'ruble zone' by restoring national currencies and protecting their new economies from imported inflation.
The Baltic people were willing to sacrifice immediate economic gains for greater future benefits. An increase in salary levels helped avoid the poverty and social discontent that overtook their neighbors, and their stability prevented Russian military intervention and mafia growth seen in former Soviet territories in the 1990sevents which may have had a potentially devastating effect on the newly independent republics.
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