Baltic Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Baltic. Here they are! All 100 of them:

Inigo was in despair. Hard to find on the map (this was after maps) not because cartographers didn’t know of its existence, but because when they visited to measure its precise dimensions, they became so depressed they began to drink and question everything, most notably why anyone would want to be something as stupid as a cartographer. It required constant travel, no one ever knew your name, and, most of all, why bother? There grew up, then, a gentleman’s agreement among mapmakers of the period to keep the place as secret as possible, lest tourists flock there and die. (Should you insist on paying a visit, it’s closer to the Baltic States than most places.)
William Goldman (The Princess Bride)
Ysolde: “You think so? Well maybe your precious Aisling just needs to watch out, because I’m not some pushover, you know. I’m a mage, and mated to the baddest ass in the dragon world.” Brom looked speculatively at Baltic. “That’s you?” Baltic: “Yes. If you were my son, as you should have been, you, too, would have a badass.
Katie MacAlister (Love in the Time of Dragons (Light Dragons, #1))
even when I couldn’t see it I liked knowing it was there for the depth and solidity it gave things, the reinforcement to infrastructure, an invisible, bedrock rightness that reassured me just as it was reassuring to know that far away, whales swam untroubled in Baltic waters and monks in arcane time zones chanted ceaselessly for the salvation of the world.
Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch)
She could not have been born gray. Her color, her color of brown, was an essential part of her, not an accident. Her anger, timidity, brashness, gentleness, all were elements of her mixed being, her mixed nature, dark and clear right through, like Baltic amber. She could not exist in the gray people's world. She had not been born.
Ursula K. Le Guin (The Lathe of Heaven)
This life is a hospital in which each patient is possessed by the desire to change beds. One wants to suffer in front of the stove and another believes that he will get well near the window. It always seems to me that I will be better off there where I am not, and this question of moving about is one that I discuss endlessly with my soul "Tell me, my soul, my poor chilled soul, what would you think about going to live in Lisbon? It must be warm there, and you'll be able to soak up the sun like a lizard there. That city is on the shore; they say that it is built all out of marble, and that the people there have such a hatred of the vegetable, that they tear down all the trees. There's a country after your own heart -- a landscape made out of light and mineral, and liquid to reflect them!" My soul does not reply. "Because you love rest so much, combined with the spectacle of movement, do you want to come and live in Holland, that beatifying land? Perhaps you will be entertained in that country whose image you have so often admired in museums. What do you think of Rotterdam, you who love forests of masts and ships anchored at the foot of houses?" My soul remains mute. "Does Batavia please you more, perhaps? There we would find, after all, the European spirit married to tropical beauty." Not a word. -- Is my soul dead? Have you then reached such a degree of torpor that you are only happy with your illness? If that's the case, let us flee toward lands that are the analogies of Death. -- I've got it, poor soul! We'll pack our bags for Torneo. Let's go even further, to the far end of the Baltic. Even further from life if that is possible: let's go live at the pole. There the sun only grazes the earth obliquely, and the slow alternation of light and darkness suppresses variety and augments monotony, that half of nothingness. There we could take long baths in the shadows, while, to entertain us, the aurora borealis send us from time to time its pink sheaf of sparkling light, like the reflection of fireworks in Hell!" Finally, my soul explodes, and wisely she shrieks at me: "It doesn't matter where! It doesn't matter where! As long as it's out of this world!
Charles Baudelaire (Paris Spleen)
The past has a way of walking around in the present, behaving as if it were alive.
Anatol Lieven (The Baltic Revolution: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the Path to Independence)
...it was reassuring to know that far away, whales swam untroubled in Baltic waters and monks in arcane time zones chanted ceaselessly for the salvation of the world.
Donna Tartt
life is like a game of Monopoly. You may own hotels on Boardwalk or you may be renting on Baltic Avenue. But in the end, it all goes back in the box. The next generation will be getting out all your stuff and playing with it or fighting over it.
Andy Andrews (The Noticer: Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective)
It is estimated that Josef Stalin killed more than twenty million people during his reign of terror. The Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia lost more than a third of their population during the Soviet genocide. The deportations reached as far as Finland. To this day, many Russians deny they ever deported a single person. But most Baltic people harbor no grudge, resentment, or ill will. They are grateful to the Soviets who showed compassion. Their freedom is precious, and they are learning to live within it. For some, the liberties we have as American citizens came at the expense of people who lie in unmarked graves in Siberia. Like Joana for Lina, our freedom cost them theirs. Some wars are about bombing. For the people of the Baltics, this war was about believing. In 1991, after 50 years of brutal occupation, the three Baltic countries regained their independence, peacefully and with dignity. They chose hope over hate and showed the world that even through the darkest night, there is light. Please research it. Tell someone. These three tiny nations have taught us that love is the most powerful army. Whether love of friend, love of country, love of God, or even love of enemy - love reveals to us the truly miraculous nature of the human spirit.
Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray)
Let me love you, Ysolde. Let this happen. Since I was reborn, I have lived every moment in despair because I lost you. Let me worship you now as I’ve longed to do all those years.” Baltic, Love In The Time of Dragons
Katie MacAlister
When, as my friend suggested, I stand before Zeus (whether I die naturally, or under sentence of History)I will repeat all this that I have written as my defense.Many people spend their entire lives collecting stamps or old coins, or growing tulips. I am sure that Zius will be merciful toward people who have given themselves entirely to these hobbies, even though they are only amusing and pointless diversions. I shall say to him : "It is not my fault that you made me a poet, and that you gave me the gift of seeing simultaneously what was happening in Omaha and Prague, in the Baltic states and on the shores of the Arctic Ocean.I felt that if I did not use that gift my poetry would be tasteless to me and fame detestable. Forgive me." And perhaps Zeus, who does not call stamp-collectors and tulip-growers silly, will forgive.
Czesław Miłosz (The Captive Mind)
Into no other city does the sight of the country enter so far; if you do not meet a butterfly, you shall certainly catch a glimpse of far-away trees upon your walk; and the place is full of theatre tricks in the way of scenery.  You peep under an arch, you descend stairs that look as if they would land you in a cellar, you turn to the back-window of a grimy tenement in a lane:—and behold! you are face-to-face with distant and bright prospects.  You turn a corner, and there is the sun going down into the Highland hills.  You look down an alley, and see ships tacking for the Baltic.
Robert Louis Stevenson (Edinburgh: Picturesque Notes)
Unmatch'd at the bottle, unconquer'd in war, He drank his poor god-ship as deep as the sea; No tide of the Baltic e'er drunker than he.
Robert Burns (Poems and Songs of Robert Burns)
I must have pissed off some god. Zeus? Eros? Must be Poseidon. Shouldn't have peed in the Baltic Sea during my misspent youth.
Ali Hazelwood (Love on the Brain)
I am thinking of a summer on the Baltic when I was a child: how talkative I was to sea and forest; how, filled with unaccustomed exuberance, I tried to leap over all limits with the hasty excitement of my words. And how, as I had to take my leave on a morning in September, I saw that we never give utterance to what is final and most blessed, and that all my rhapsodic Table d’hote conversations did not approach either my inchoate feelings or the ocean’s eternal self-revelation.
Rainer Maria Rilke
I never took it out...though even when I couldn't see it I liked knowing it was there for the depth and solidity it gave things, the reinforcement to infrastructure, an invisible, bedrock rightness that reassured me just as it was reassuring to know that far away, whales swam untroubled in Baltic waters and monks in arcane time zones chanted ceaselessly for the salvation of the world.
Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch)
Other girls carried tasers or pepper spray for safety. Rosa had bought herself a stapler in a hardware store on the corner of Baltic and Clinton Streets. Her thinking was simple. An electric shock is nasty but leaves no marks. With her method, though, she could put two or three staples into any attacker’s body. Then he’d have to stop and decide whether to tangle with her or start getting the staples out of his skin.
Kai Meyer (Arcadia Awakens (Arcadia, #1))
recall a chunk of amber in my family’s cache of precious stones and gems. My skin looks like that now. Baltic amber trapped in sunlight.
Sophie Jordan (Firelight (Firelight, #1))
Russia had privately warned Mattis that if there was a war in the Baltics, Russia would not hesitate to use tactical nuclear weapons against NATO.
Bob Woodward (Fear: Trump in the White House)
He's no more afraid than the isle fort at Cattegat, put there to fight the Baltic with storm-lashed guns, on which the sea-salt cakes!
Herman Melville
Out of the bottomless profundities the gigantic tail seems spasmodically snatching at the highest heaven. So in dreams, have I seen majestic Satan thrusting forth his tormented colossal claw from the flame Baltic of Hell. But in gazing at such scenes, it is all in all what mood you are in; if in the Dantean, the devils will occur to you; if in that of Isaiah, the archangels.
Herman Melville (Moby-Dick or, The Whale)
I'm a religious man," he said. "I don't believe in a particular God, but even so one can have a faith, something beyond the limits of rationality. Marxism has a large element of built-in faith, although it claims to be a science and not merely an ideology. This is my first visit to the West: until now I have only been able to go to the Soviet Union or Poland or the Baltic states. In your country I see an abundance of material things. It seems to be unlimited. But there's a difference between our countries that is also a similarity. Both are poor. You see, poverty has different faces. We lack the abundance that you have, and we don't have the freedom of choice. In your country I detect a kind of poverty, which is that you do not need to fight for your survival. For me the struggle has a religious dimension, and I would not want to exchange that for your abundance.
Henning Mankell (The Dogs of Riga (Kurt Wallander, #2))
St. Vincent. Her husband. He was naked, or at least the upper half of him was. He slept on his stomach, his smoothly muscled arms curved around the pillow beneath his head. The broad lines of his shoulders and back were so perfect that they seemed to have been carved from Baltic amber and sanded to a ghostly finish. His face was much softer in repose than it was in wakefulness... the calculating eyes were closed, and his mouth was relaxed into gentle, innocently sensuous lines.
Lisa Kleypas (Devil in Winter (Wallflowers, #3))
In the middle of Europe in the middle of the twentieth century, the Nazi and Soviet regimes murdered some fourteen million people. The place where all of the victims died, the bloodlands, extends from central Poland to western Russia, through Ukraine, Belarus, and the Baltic States.
Timothy Snyder (Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin)
What big eyes you have. Eyes of an incomparable luminosity, the numinous phosphorescence of the eyes of lycanthropes. The gelid green of your eyes fixes my reflective face; It is a preservative, like a green liquid amber; it catches me. I am afraid I will be trapped in it for ever like the poor little ants and flies that stuck their feet in resin before the sea covered the Baltic. He winds me into the circle of his eye on a reel of birdsong. There is a black hole in the middle of both your eyes; it is their still centre, looking there makes me giddy, as if I might fall into it.
Angela Carter (The Erl-King)
There is a wonderful word for this sensory bubble—Umwelt. It was defined and popularized by the Baltic-German zoologist Jakob von Uexküll in 1909. Umwelt comes from the German word for “environment,” but Uexküll didn’t use it simply to refer to an animal’s surroundings. Instead, an Umwelt is specifically the part of those surroundings that an animal can sense and experience—its perceptual world. Like the occupants of our imaginary room, a multitude of creatures could be standing in the same physical space and have completely different Umwelten. A tick, questing for mammalian blood, cares about body heat, the touch of hair, and the odor of butyric acid that emanates from skin. These three things constitute its Umwelt. Trees of green, red roses too, skies of blue, and clouds of white—these are not part of its wonderful world. The tick doesn’t willfully ignore them. It simply cannot sense them and doesn’t know they exist.
Ed Yong (An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us)
St. Vincent. Her husband. He was naked, or at least the upper half of him was. He slept on his stomach, his smoothly muscled arms curved around the pillow beneath his head. The broad lines of his shoulders and back were so perfect that they seemed to have been carved from pale Baltic amber and sanded to a glossy finish. His face was much softer in repose than it was in wakefulness... the calculating eyes were closed, and his mouth was relaxed into gentle, innocently sensuous lines.
Lisa Kleypas (Devil in Winter (Wallflowers, #3))
Because I like to live a full life," he said stepping a bit closer, And I don't regrets, So when I see a woman with beautiful eyes like yours, I have to take chance.
Jade Saul (The Baltic Sanction (Lex Jackson #1))
just as it was reassuring to know that far away, whales swam untroubled in Baltic waters and monks in arcane time zones chanted ceaselessly for the salvation of the world.
Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch)
How should things go after the Baltic? Do you want me or not? I would really like to know.” Bonhoeffer, letter to Eberhard Bethge, July, 1939
Diane Reynolds, The Doubled Life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer
The sun hadn’t yet hit the Diablo Valley and so it felt baltic on the road to town.
Anna McNuff (Llama Drama: A two-woman, 5,500-mile cycling adventure through South America (Anna's Adventures Book 3))
Baltic States won their independence from the Soviet Union by singing banned songs of hope in groups of thousands.
Jake Jacobs (The Giant Book Of Strange Facts (The Big Book Of Facts 15))
I didn’t spend my whole summer training with Anwar and him on a deserted island in the Baltic sea to stand here and do nothing.
Rebekkah Ford (Dark Spirits (Beyond the Eyes, #2))
Today, in what Harvey Mansfield calls our "gender-neutral" society," there are no social norms. Eight decades after the Titanic, a German-built ferry en route from Estonia to Sweden sank in the Baltic Sea. Of the 1,051 passengers, only 139 lived to tell the tale. But the distribution of the survivors was very different from that of the Titanic. Women and children first? No female under fifteen or over sixty-five made it. Only 5 percent of all women passengers lived. The bulk of the survivors were young men. Forty-three percent of men aged 20 to 24 made it.
Mark Steyn (After America: Get Ready for Armageddon)
Some wars are about bombing. For the people of the Baltics, this war was about believing. In 1991, after fifty years of brutal occupation, the three Baltic countries regained their independence, peacefully and with dignity. They chose hope over hate and showed the world that even through the darkest night, there is light. Please research it. Tell someone. These three tiny nations have taught us that love is the most powerful army. Whether love of friend, love of country, love of God, or even love of enemy—love reveals to us the truly miraculous nature of the human spirit.
Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray)
Immanuel Kant was born into a family of financially struggling artisans in 1724, and he lived and worked his whole life in the cosmopolitan Baltic port city of Konigsberg, then part of Prussia.
Will Buckingham (The Philosophy Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained (DK Big Ideas))
From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and, in many cases, increasing measure of control from Moscow.” —Winston Churchill, speaking in Fulton, Missouri, March 5, 1946
Anne Applebaum (Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956)
An invisible, bedrock rightness that reassured me just as it was reassuring to know that far away, whales swarm untroubled in Baltic Waters and monks in arcane time zones chanted ceaselessly for the salvation of the world
Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch)
Listen to me Ruyan," Nicky said clutching tightly in her phone. I will never work for you. So go ahead and put a hit on me, Send a thousand operatives after me. I don't care, I will never work for someone who killed my parents
Jade Saul (The Baltic Sanction (Lex Jackson #1))
And now?" I touched Baltic's cheek, drawing his attention away from tragic memories. "Is he being coldly mad now?" "No. I thought at first he was, but I see now that the act of being raised as a shade has changed him, leached the madness out of him." Behind us, present-day Constantine yelled, "You call me a douche canoe? I am not the douche canoe -- you are. No, you are more than that -- you are a douche speed-boat!" "Most of the madness," Baltic qualified.
Katie MacAlister (Sparks Fly (Light Dragons, #3))
Russia had privately warned Mattis that if there was a war in the Baltics, Russia would not hesitate to use tactical nuclear weapons against NATO. Mattis, with agreement from Dunford, began saying that Russia was an existential threat to the United States.
Bob Woodward (Fear: Trump in the White House)
From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and, in many cases, increasing measure of control from Moscow.
Winston S. Churchill (The Sinews of Peace)
despite the threats of Russian and Chinese expansionism, particularly in the Baltic, Black, and South China seas, the more important underlying dynamic will be the crises of central control inside Russia and China themselves as their authoritarian systems degenerate
Robert D. Kaplan (The Return of Marco Polo's World: War, Strategy, and American Interests in the Twenty-first Century)
As Anne grew, so did her ambition to travel. Her dream destinations became further flung and more exotic. It did not satisfy her to leave England for a week or two; throughout her adult life she spent months at a time away from home, including periods of residence in Paris. Having also explored Italy, Belgium, Holland and Switzerland, in the summer of 1833 Scandinavia and the Baltics were in Anne’s sights. After months of indecision, she finally ‘determined to go north’ on 17th July that year, resolving to end her journey in Denmark.
Anne Choma (Gentleman Jack: The Real Anne Lister)
And what is corruption, I ask you? Who gets hurt if a poor cop gets a new car or a week’s vacation in Kenya for letting the Baltic girls earn a living in peace, down on the docks? I mean, where’s the harm in that?” Police Officer on Radio Fake 112.8 MHz In The Shadow of Sadd.
Steen Langstrup (In The Shadow of Sadd)
The totalitarian movements aim at and succeed in organizing masses—not classes, like the old interest parties of the Continental nation-states; citizens with opinions about, and interests in, the handling of public affairs, like the parties of Anglo-Saxon countries. While all political groups depend upon proportionate strength, the totalitarian movements depend on the sheer force of numbers to such an extent that totalitarian regimes seem impossible, even under otherwise favorable circumstances, in countries with relatively small populations. After the first World War, a deeply antidemocratic, prodictatorial wave of semitotalitarian and totalitarian movements swept Europe; Fascist movements spread from Italy to nearly all Central and Eastern European countries (the Czech part of Czechoslovakia was one of the notable exceptions); yet even Mussolini, who was so fond of the term "totalitarian state," did not attempt to establish a full-fledged totalitarian regime and contented himself with dictatorship and one-party rule. Similar nontotalitarian dictatorships sprang up in prewar Rumania, Poland, the Baltic states, Hungary, Portugal and Franco Spain. The Nazis, who had an unfailing instinct for such differences, used to comment contemptuously on the shortcomings of their Fascist allies while their genuine admiration for the Bolshevik regime in Russia (and the Communist Party in Germany) was matched and checked only by their contempt for Eastern European races.
Hannah Arendt (The Origins of Totalitarianism)
they shipbuilders or professors of Baltic languages. And some of the staff, like some builders and teachers everywhere, were burdened by too many hours, too little help, too few facilities, and too much tradition, yet found their greatest burden the constant, grinding, overriding necessity for quality.
Theodore Sturgeon (Some of Your Blood)
It is a beautiful spot, endless forest stretching along the shore as far as the eye can reach ; and after driving through it for miles you come suddenly, at the end of an avenue of arching trees, upon the glistening, oily sea, with the orange-coloured sails of distant fishing-smacks shining in the sunlight.
Elizabeth von Arnim (Elizabeth and Her German Garden)
It is estimated that Josef Stalin killed more than twenty million people during his reign of terror. The Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia lost more than a third of their population during the Soviet annihilation. The deportations reached as far as Finland. To this day, many Russians deny they ever deported a single person. But most Baltic people harbor no grudge, resentment, or ill will. They are grateful to the Soviets who showed compassion. Their freedom is precious, and they are learning to live within it. For some, the liberties we have as American citizens came at the expense of people who lie in unmarked graves in Siberia.
Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray)
(Segura) "...surely you realise there are people who expect to be tortured and others who would be outraged by the idea. One never tortures except by a kind of mutual agreement. ... Dr Hasselbacher does not belong to the torturable class." (Wormold) "Who does?" (Segura) "The poor in my own country, in any Latin American country. The poor of Central Europe and the Orient. Of course in your welfare states you have no poor, so you are untorturable. In Cuba the police can deal as harshly as they like with emigres from Latin America and the Baltic States, but not with visitors from your country or Scandinavia. It is an instinctive matter on both sides....
Graham Greene (Our Man in Havana)
The ruinous deeds of the ravaging foe (Beowulf) The best-known long text in Old English is the epic poem Beowulf. Beowulf himself is a classic hero, who comes from afar. He has defeated the mortal enemy of the area - the monster Grendel - and has thus made the territory safe for its people. The people and the setting are both Germanic. The poem recalls a shared heroic past, somewhere in the general consciousness of the audience who would hear it. It starts with a mention of 'olden days', looking back, as many stories do, to an indefinite past ('once upon a time'), in which fact blends with fiction to make the tale. But the hero is a mortal man, and images of foreboding and doom prepare the way for a tragic outcome. He will be betrayed, and civil war will follow. Contrasts between splendour and destruction, success and failure, honour and betrayal, emerge in a story which contains a great many of the elements of future literature. Power, and the battles to achieve and hold on to power, are a main theme of literature in every culture - as is the theme of transience and mortality. ................ Beowulf can be read in many ways: as myth; as territorial history of the Baltic kingdoms in which it is set; as forward-looking reassurance. Questions of history, time and humanity are at the heart of it: it moves between past, present, and hope for the future, and shows its origins in oral tradition. It is full of human speech and sonorous images, and of the need to resolve and bring to fruition a proper human order, against the enemy - whatever it be - here symbolised by a monster and a dragon, among literature's earliest 'outsiders'. ....... Beowulf has always attracted readers, and perhaps never more than in the 1990s when at least two major poets, the Scot Edwin Morgan and the Irishman Seamus Heaney, retranslated it into modern English. Heaney's version became a worldwide bestseller, and won many awards, taking one of the earliest texts of English literature to a vast new audience.
Ronald Carter (The Routledge History of Literature in English: Britain and Ireland)
There is no doubt that the prehistoric veneration of Mother Earth survived intact up to the time of the worship of Demeter and Persephone in Greece, Ops Consiua in Rome, Nerthus in Germanic lands, Zemyna or Zemes in the Baltic area, Mother Moist Earth in Slavic lands, and elsewhere. Her power was too ancient and deep to be altogether destroyed by succeeding patriarchal religions, including Christianity. She was therefore absorbed, and became known in western Europe as various saints: Radegund, Macrine, Walpurga, Milburga, among others. In many other lands, especially eastern Europe, she fused with the Mother of God, Marija. The Black Madonna is this same Earth Mother, whose blackness represents the color of earth's fertility. The yearly renewal of her fecundity is her fundamental miracle. Ancient mysteries, enacted through prehistoric and historic millennia- in caves, cemeteries, temples, and in the open fields- were for the purpose of expressing gratitude to the source of all life and nourishment, and to ritually participate in the secret of the earth's abundance.
Marija Gimbutas (The Civilization of the Goddess: The World of Old Europe)
Sparing Putin any serious penalty for his assault on our democracy doesn’t just encourage further aggression, it tells the victims and potential victims of Russian aggression in Ukraine and Georgia, the Baltics, Poland, Moldova, and Montenegro, and in Russia itself, that the United States, the greatest power in the world, couldn’t be relied on to defend its own democracy.
John McCain (The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights, and Other Appreciations)
In 1991, after fifty years of brutal occupation, the three Baltic countries regained their independence, peacefully and with dignity. They chose hope over hate and showed the world that even through the darkest night, there is light. These three tiny nations have taught us that love is the most powerful army. Whether love of a friend, love of country, love of God, or even love of enemy- love reveals to us the truly miraculous nature of the human spirit.
Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray)
Don’t put your dreams on hold. Don’t wait for the right time to come. And don’t wait for this or that to be finished. Things change quicker than you think, and suddenly it’s too late. And then you’ll regret it for the rest of your life.
Hendrik Falkenberg (Time Heals No Wounds (Baltic Sea Crime #1))
The East is also where the Nazis had most vigorously pursued the Holocaust, where they set up the vast majority of ghettoes, concentration camps, and killing fields. Snyder notes that Jews accounted for less than 1 percent of the German population when Hitler came to power in 1933, and many of those managed to flee. Hitler’s vision of a “Jew-free” Europe could only be realized when the Wehrmacht invaded Poland, Czechoslovakia, Belarus, Ukraine, and the Baltic States, and eventually Hungary and the Balkans, which is where most of the Jews of Europe actually lived. Of the 5.4 million Jews who died in the Holocaust, the vast majority were from Eastern Europe. Most of the rest were taken to the region to be murdered. The scorn the Nazis held for all Eastern Europeans was closely related to their decision to take the Jews from all over Europe to the East for execution. There, in a land of subhumans, it was possible to do inhuman things.16
Anne Applebaum (Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956)
Mine was, probably, the easiest imaginable kind of arrest. It did not tear me from the embrace of kith and kin, nor wrench me from a deeply cherished home life. One pallid European February it took me from our narrow salient on the Baltic Sea, where, depending on one's point of view, either we had surrounded the Germans or they had surrounded us, and it deprived me only of my familiar artillery battery and the scenes of the last three months of war. The brigade commander called me to his headquarters and asked me for my pistol; I turned it over without suspecting any evil intent, when suddenly, from a tense, immobile suite of staff officers in the corner, two counterintelligence officers stepped forward hurriedly, crossed the room in a few quick bounds, their four hands grabbed simultaneously at the star on my cap, my shoulder boards, my officer's belt, my map case, and they shouted theatrically: "You are under arrest!" Burning and prickling from head to toe, all I could explain was, "Me? What for?" Across the sheer gap separating me from those left behind, across that quarantine line not event a sound dared penetrate, came the unthinkable magic words of the brigade commander: "Sholzhenitsyn. Come back here." "You have ..." he asked weightily, "a friend on the First Ukrainian Front?" I knew instantly I had been arrested because of my correspondence with a school friend and understood what direction to expect danger.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956 (Abridged))
INIGO WAS IN Despair. Hard to find on the map (this was after maps) not because cartographers didn't know of its existence, but because when they visited to measure its precise dimensions, they became so depressed they began to drink and question everything, most notably why would anyone want to be something as stupid as a cartographer? It required constant travel, no one ever knew your name, and, most of all, since wars were always changing boundaries, why bother? There grew up, then, a gentleman's agreement among mapmakers of the period to keep the place as secret as possible, lest tourists flock there and die. (Should you insist on paying a visit, it's closer to the Baltic states than most places.) Everything about Despair was depressing. Nothing grew in the ground and what fell from the skies did not provoke much happy conversation. The entire country was damp and dank, and why the locals all did not flee was not only a good question, it was the only question.
William Goldman (The Princess Bride)
Whose sleeve do I have to grip, to tell my story to? It used to be Bet. Now, sleeveless. And I am sure I gripped her sleeve many a time too many. In my own parlance, 'feasting' on her energy, and giving nothing back. Well, maybe. We had most excellent days. We were the king and queen of coffee in the morning, in the dark of winter, in the early morning sun of summer that came right in our windows, right in, to wake us. Ah, yes, small matters. Small matters, that we call sanity, or the cloth that makes sanity. Talking to her in those times made - no, God preserve me from sentimentality. Those days are over. Now we are two foreign countries and we simply have our embassies in the same house. Relations are friendly but strictly diplomatic. There is an underlying sense of rumour, of judgement, of memory, like two peoples that have once committed grave crimes against each other, but in another generation. We are a statelet of the Baltics. Except, blast her, she has never done anything to me. It is atrocity all one way.
Sebastian Barry (The Secret Scripture (McNulty Family))
passionate reader of books in German, her favorites to date include Stiller by Max Frisch, Die Wand by Marlen Haushofer, Die Große Liebe by Hans-Josef Ortheil, Selina by Walter Kappacher, Der verschlossene Garten by Undine Gruenter, as well as the poetry of Heinrich Heine, Georg Trakl, Ingeborg Bachmann, and, of course, Rainer Maria Rilke. Gunilla currently divides her time between the Baltic Sea and the Italian Alps, where she enjoys spending time with her family, her boyfriend and her red Somali cat, Polzerino.
Rainer Maria Rilke (Stories of God: Geschichten vom lieben Gott)
Stories with Vasalisa as a central character are told in Russia, Romania, Yugoslavia, Poland, and throughout all the Baltic countries. In some instances, the tale is commonly called “Wassilissa the Wise.” I find evidence of its archetypal roots dating back at least to the old horse-Goddess cults which predate classical Greek culture. This tale carries ages-old psychic mapping about induction into the underworld of the wild female God. It is about infusing human women with Wild Woman’s primary instinctual power, intuition.
Clarissa Pinkola Estés (Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype)
Only somebody with a mind like a rock could go on with the idea that we on our little island are separate from those other places — that great world is rainbow threads woven into our greys and greens. Where did this leather belt come from? he asked me, of a belt I couldn’t see. Not English goats, but Norwegian ones. And the flour for baking bread that feeds our great cities? From Baltic grain, high up in the north. And the ironwork on our new weathervane? Spanish iron. Our little land is flecked with foreignness, the Lord wants our colourful commingling.
Samantha Harvey (The Western Wind)
Let’s see what we have here. In the north we have everything in order and normal. Finland has given way to us and we’ve pushed the frontier up from Leningrad. The Baltic region – which consists of truly Russian lands! – is ours again; all the Belorussians are now living with us and so are the Ukrainians and the Moldavians. Everything’s normal in the west. What have we got here? . . . The Kurile Islands are now ours, Sakhalin is wholly ours: doesn’t that look good! And Port Arthur and Dalni [Darien] are both ours. The Chinese Railway is ours. As to China and Mongolia, everything’s in order.
Joseph Stalin
Many hundreds of craft of all sizes and nationalities - transatlantic steamers, full-rigged ships, barques, schooners, and fishing smacks - were running into the Sound from the open sea, making for the shelter of the roads of Elsinore. Not a single vessel was heading the other way, all were scudding in before the tempest; many of them, no doubt, had put to sea several days before, bound round the Skaw into the German Ocean, but had been compelled to turn back by the violence of the hurricane. They were all staggering along under the smallest possible amounts of canvas, pitching heavily into the frightfully high seas; here a full-rigged ship under close-reefed topsails; here a schooner under fore and main trysails; here a brig under bare poles; here a pilot-cutter under spit-fire jib, and the balance-reef down in her mainsail. Several vessels had lost spars or portions of their bulwarks; one Norwegian barque was evidently water-logged, and in a sinking condition, and was floundering slowly into smoother water, but just in time; and outside the Sound, on the raging Kattegat, were hundreds of other vessels, some hull down on the horizon, making for the same refuge, their fate still uncertain among those gigantic rollers, and, no doubt, with many an anxious heart on board of them.
Edward Frederick Knight (The Falcon on the Baltic: A Coasting Voyage from Hammersmith to Copenhagen in a Three-Ton Yacht)
This forest was immense. It stretched away uninterruptedly to the north, till stopped by having got to the shores of the Baltic. We had it all to ourselves. Unnoticed, except by what Johann called finches, we passed along its vistas, and no human eye beheld the capes, the coronets and the cockades. In that past which seemed to me at my age remote, these things had all been new and spick and span, because of the glory which for a time was the portion of the family; and when, having risen and blazed, the glory at last faded out, it left a litter behind it, in every stage of decomposition, for the ultimate use, so it appeared, of one small foreign girl and one small indigenous dachshund.
Elizabeth von Arnim (All The Dogs Of My Life)
Everything did change, faster than his fingers could type. What he had been too cautious to hope for was pulled from his dreams and made real on the television screen. At that momentous hour on December 26, 1991, as he watched the red flag of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics—the empire “empire extending eleven times zones, from the Sea of Japan to the Baltic coast, encompassing more than a hundred ethnicities and two hundred languages; the collective whose security demanded the sacrifice of millions, whose Slavic stupidity had demanded the deportation of Khassan’s entire homeland; that utopian mirage cooked up by cruel young men who gave their mustaches more care than their morality; that whole horrid system that told him what he could be and do and think and say and believe and love and desire and hate, the system captained by Lenin and Zinoviev and Stalin and Malenkov and Beria and Molotov and Khrushchev and Kosygin and Mikoyan and Podgorny and Brezhnev and Andropov and Chernenko and Gorbachev, all of whom but Gorbachev he hated with a scorn no author should have for his subject, a scorn genetically encoded in his blood, inherited from his ancestors with their black hair and dark skin—as he watched that flag slink down the Kremlin flagpole for the final time, left limp by the windless sky, as if even the weather wanted to impart on communism this final disgrace, he looped his arms around his wife and son and he held them as the state that had denied him his life quietly died.
Anthony Marra (A Constellation of Vital Phenomena)
And then everything changed. Liberal democracy crawled out of history’s dustbin, cleaned itself up and conquered the world. The supermarket proved to be far stronger than the gulag. The blitzkrieg began in southern Europe, where the authoritarian regimes in Greece, Spain and Portugal collapsed, giving way to democratic governments. In 1977 Indira Gandhi ended the Emergency, re-establishing democracy in India. During the 1980s military dictatorships in East Asia and Latin America were replaced by democratic governments in countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Taiwan and South Korea. In the late 1980s and early 1990s the liberal wave turned into a veritable tsunami, sweeping away the mighty Soviet Empire, and raising expectations of the coming end of history. After decades of defeats and setbacks, liberalism won a decisive victory in the Cold War, emerging triumphant from the humanist wars of religion, albeit a bit worse for wear. As the Soviet Empire imploded, liberal democracies replaced communist regimes not only in eastern Europe, but also in many of the former Soviet republics, such as the Baltic States, Ukraine, Georgia and Armenia. Even Russia nowadays pretends to be a democracy. Victory in the Cold War gave renewed impetus for the spread of the liberal model elsewhere around the world, most notably in Latin America, South Asia and Africa. Some liberal experiments ended in abject failures, but the number of success stories is impressive. For instance, Indonesia, Nigeria and Chile have been ruled by military strongmen for decades, but all are now functioning democracies
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: A History of Tomorrow)
From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic,’ he declared, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe: Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and, in many cases, increasing measure of control from Moscow . . . The Communist parties, which were very small in all these Eastern States of Europe, have been raised to pre-eminence and power far beyond their numbers and are seeking everywhere to obtain totalitarian control. Police governments are prevailing in nearly every case, and so far, except in Czechoslovakia, there is no true democracy.
Andrew Roberts (Churchill: Walking with Destiny)
Christianity spread across northern Europe more or less from west to east, slowly, but with greater speed after 950 or so. Ireland was first, in the fifth and sixth centuries; there followed Pictish Scotland, England and central Germany in the seventh century, Saxony – by force as we have seen – after Charlemagne’s conquests in the eighth, Bulgaria, Croatia and Moravia in the ninth, Bohemia in the tenth, Poland, Rus’ (covering parts of European Russia and Ukraine) and Denmark in the late tenth, Norway, Iceland and Hungary in the years around 1000, Sweden more slowly across the eleventh century.3 Only the far north-east of Europe was left out of this, the Baltic- and Finnish-speaking lands, the former of which would eventually, in the thirteenth century, turn into the only large and powerful pagan polity in medieval Europe, Lithuania, before its grand dukes went Christian as late as 1386–87.
Chris Wickham (Medieval Europe)
Thousands of people were killed in the Baltic republics. Byelorussians during the 1980s discovered mass graves of people killed during Stalin's purges of the 1930s. During the Second World War, there were mass deportations of whole peoples to the hinterlands—the Volga Germans and the Tatars—for actual or suspected disloyalty, and millions were killed in an artificially produced famine in the Ukraine during the 1930s. Systematic campaigns of destruction of elites in newly conquered territories in Eastern Europe began during the Second World War, when the Soviets massacred more than 14,000 Polish officers in the Katyn forest and elsewhere.260 Those arrested and deported from Poland ran into the hundreds of thousands, perhaps more than a million. Even in the small Baltic nations, the people deported ran into the hundreds of thousands—again, concentrating on elites with the potential for resistance.
Thomas Sowell (Conquests and Cultures: An International History)
It is now late August 2005. He has interrupted work on his ninth book to go to Sweden with his beautiful fiancee, Kimberly, and right now he is standing with his Swedish translator, getting ready to deliver a rousing bilingual speech to a crowd of hundreds at a grandstand next to the Baltic Sea. How far will this ride take him? If he had just checked off his bird list and gone home, the ride would have ended long ago. That’s the main thing I’ve learned from the young man I once was and from his still-continuing adventures. Yes, it’s good to go on a quest, but it’s better to go with an open mind. The most significant we find may not be the thing we were seeking. That is what redeems the crazy ambivalence of birding, As trivial as our listing pursuit may be, it gets us out there in the real world, paying attention, hopeful and awake. Any day could be a special day, and probably will be, if we just go out to look.
Kenn Kaufman (Kingbird Highway: The Biggest Year in the Life of an Extreme Birder)
Among those troops that I had joined were plenty of regular units with reliable officers, crowds of restless adventurers on the lookout for a fight and with it the chances of loot and relaxation of ordinary rules of conduct. Patriots could not bear the idea of break down of law and order at home and wish to guard the frontiers from the incursion of the Red Flood. There was the Baltic Landswehr, recruited from the local gentry who were determined at all cost to save their 700 year old traditions, their noble and vigorous yet fastidious culture, the Eastern bulwark of German civilization. And there were German battalions consisting of men who wanted to settle in the country who were hungering for land. Of troops desiring to fight for the existing government there were none. The like-minded ones were soon dissociated from general mass which was swept eastwards by crash of Western front. We seemed suddenly to have collected as if a secret signal. We found ourselves apart from the crowd. Knowing neither what we are we sought not gold. The blood suddenly ran hotly through our veins and called us to adventure and hazard. Drove us to wandering and danger. And herded together those of us who realized our profound kinship with one another. We were a band of warriors, extravagant in our demands, triumphantly definite in our decisions. What we wanted we did not know, but what we knew we did not want. To force our way through the prisoning walls of the world. To march over burning field, to stamp over ruins and scattered ashes, to dash recklessly through wild forests, over blasted heaps to push, conquer, eat our way towards the East, to the white hot dark cold land that stretched between ourselves and Asia. Was that what we wanted? I do not know if that was our desire and they was what we did. And the search for reasons why was lost in the tumult of the continuous fighting.
Ernst von Salomon (The Outlaws)
The imposition of a Russian rather than a German solution cut Europe’s vulnerable eastern half away from the body of the continent. At the time this was not a matter of great concern to western Europeans themselves. With the exceptions of the Germans, the nation most directly affected by the division of Europe but also ill-placed to voice displeasure at it, western Europeans were largely indifferent to the disappearance of eastern Europe. Indeed, they soon became so accustomed to it, and were anyway so preoccupied with the remarkable changes taking place in their own countries, that it seems quite natural that there should be an impermeable armed barrier running from the Baltic to the Adriatic. But for the people to the east of that barrier, thrust back as it seemed into a grimy, forgotten corner of their own continent, at the mercy of the semi-alien Great Power no better of than they and parasitic upon their shrinking resources, history itself ground slowly to a halt.
Tony Judt (Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945)
She sat and watched the dockhand when it was sunny and she sat and watched him when it rained. Or when it was foggy, which is what it was nearly every morning at eight o’clock. This morning was none of the above. This morning was cold. The pier smelled of fresh water and of fish. The seagulls screeched overhead, a man’s voice shouted. Where is my brother to help me, my sister, my mother? Pasha, help me, hide in the woods where I know I can find you. Dasha, look what’s happened. Do you even see? Mama, Mama. I want my mother. Where is my family to ask things of me, to weigh on me, to intrude on me, to never let me be silent or alone, where are they to help me through this? Deda, what do I do? I don’t know what to do. This morning the dockhand did not go over to see his friend at the next pier for a smoke and a coffee. Instead, he walked across the road and sat next to her on the bench. This surprised her. But she said nothing, she just wrapped her white nurse’s coat tighter around herself, and fixed the kerchief covering her hair. In Swedish he said to her, “My name is Sven. What’s your name?” After a longish pause, she replied. “Tatiana. I don’t speak Swedish.” In English he said to her, “Do you want a cigarette?” “No,” she replied, also in English. She thought of telling him she spoke little English. She was sure he didn’t speak Russian. He asked her if he could get her a coffee, or something warm to throw over her shoulders. No and no. She did not look at him. Sven was silent a moment. “You want to get on my barge, don’t you?” he asked. “Come. I will take you.” He took her by her arm. Tatiana didn’t move. “I can see you have left something behind,” he said, pulling on her gently. “Go and retrieve it.” Tatiana did not move. “Take my cigarette, take my coffee, or get on my barge. I won’t even turn away. You don’t have to sneak past me. I would have let you on the first time you came. All you had to do was ask. You want to go to Helsinki? Fine. I know you’re not Finnish.” Sven paused. “But you are very pregnant. Two months ago it would have been easier for you. But you need to go back or go forward. How long do you plan to sit here and watch my back?” Tatiana stared into the Baltic Sea. “If I knew, would I be sitting here?” “Don’t sit here anymore. Come,” said the longshoreman. She shook her head. “Where is your husband? Where is the father of your baby?” “Dead in the Soviet Union,” Tatiana breathed out. “Ah, you’re from the Soviet Union.” He nodded. “You’ve escaped somehow? Well, you’re here, so stay. Stay in Sweden. Go to the consulate, get yourself refugee protection. We have hundreds of people getting through from Denmark. Go to the consulate.” Tatiana shook her head. “You’re going to have that baby soon,” Sven said. “Go back, or move forward.” Tatiana’s hands went around her belly. Her eyes glazed over. The dockhand patted her gently and stood up. “What will it be? You want to go back to the Soviet Union? Why?” Tatiana did not reply. How to tell him her soul had been left there? “If you go back, what happens to you?” “I die most likely,” she barely whispered. “If you go forward, what happens to you?” “I live most likely.” He clapped his hands. “What kind of a choice is that? You must go forward.” “Yes,” said Tatiana, “but how do I live like this? Look at me. You think, if I could, I wouldn’t?” “So you’re here in the Stockholm purgatory, watching me move my paper day in and day out, watching me smoke, watching me. What are you going to do? Sit with your baby on the bench? Is that what you want?” Tatiana was silent. The first time she laid eyes on him she was sitting on a bench, eating ice cream. “Go forward.” “I don’t have it in me.” He nodded. “You have it. It’s just covered up. For you it’s winter.” He smiled. “Don’t worry. Summer’s here. The ice will melt.” Tatiana struggled up from the bench. Walking away, she said in Russian, “It’s not the ice anymore, my seagoing philosopher. It’s the pyre.
Paullina Simons (Tatiana and Alexander (The Bronze Horseman, #2))
Stalin’s appeasement of Hitler had continued with a large increase in deliveries to Germany of grain, fuel, cotton, metals and rubber purchased in south-east Asia, circumventing the British blockade. During the period of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, the Soviet Union had provided 26,000 tons of chromium, used in metal alloys, 140,000 tons of manganese and more than two millions tons of oil to the Reich. Despite having received well over eighty clear indications of a German invasion–indeed probably more than a hundred–Stalin seemed more concerned with ‘the security problem along our north-west frontier’, which meant the Baltic states. On the night of 14 June, a week before the German invasion, 60,000 Estonians, 34,000 Latvians and 38,000 Lithuanians were forced on to cattle trucks for deportation to camps in the distant interior of the Soviet Union. Stalin remained unconvinced even when, during the last week before the invasion, German ships rapidly left Soviet ports and embassy staff were evacuated.
Antony Beevor (The Second World War)
Excepting the sublime breach—somewhere else to be described—this peaking of the whale’s flukes is perhaps the grandest sight to be seen in all animated nature. Out of the bottomless profundities the gigantic tail seems spasmodically snatching at the highest heaven. So in dreams, have I seen majestic Satan thrusting forth his tormented colossal claw from the flame Baltic of Hell. But in gazing at such scenes, it is all in all what mood you are in; if in the Dantean, the devils will occur to you; if in that of Isaiah, the archangels. Standing at the mast-head of my ship during a sunrise that crimsoned sky and sea, I once saw a large herd of whales in the east, all heading towards the sun, and for a moment vibrating in concert with peaked flukes. As it seemed to me at the time, such a grand embodiment of adoration of the gods was never beheld, even in Persia, the home of the fire worshippers. As Ptolemy Philopater testified of the African elephant, I then testified of the whale, pronouncing him the most devout of all beings.
Herman Melville (Moby Dick)
4 THE NORTHERN NEWT Not many years after the first newt colonies had been settled in the North Sea and the Baltic a German scientist, Dr. Hans Thüring, found that the Baltic newt had certain distinctive physical features - clearly as a result of its environment; that it was somewhat lighter in colour, it walked on two legs, and its cranial index indicated a skull that was longer and narrower than other newts. This variety was given the name Northern Newt or Noble Newt (Andrias Scheuchzeri var. nobilis erecta Thüring). The German press took this Baltic newt as its own, and enthusiastically stressed that it was because of its German environment that this newt had developed into a different and superior sub-species, indisputably above the level of any other salamander. Journalists wrote with contempt of the degenerate newts of the Mediterranean, stunted both physically and mentally, of the savage newts of the tropics and of the inferior, barbaric and bestial newts of other nations. The slogan of the day was From the Great Newt to the German Übernewt.
Karel Čapek (War with the Newts)
Life is a hospital, in which every patient is possessed by the desire to change his bed. This one would prefer to suffer in front of the stove, and that one believes he would get well if he were placed by the window. It seems to me that I should always be happier elsewhere than where I happen to be, and this question of moving is one that I am continually talking over with my soul. "Tell me, my soul, poor chilled soul, what do you say to living in Lisbon? It must be very warm there, and you would bask merrily, like a lizard. It is by the sea; they say that it is built of marble, and that the people have such a horror of vegetation that they uproot all the trees. There is a landscape that would suit you -- made out of light and minerals, with water to reflect them." My soul does not answer. "Since you love tranquillity, and the sight of moving things, will you come and live in Holland, that heavenly land? Perhaps you could be happy in that country, for you have often admired pictures of Dutch life. What do you say to Rotterdam, you who love forests of masts, and ships anchored at the doors of houses?" My soul remains silent. Perhaps Batavia seems more attractive to you? There we would find the intellect of Europe married to the beauty of the tropics. Not a word. Can my soul be dead? "Have you sunk into so deep a stupor that only your own torment gives you pleasure? If that be so, let us flee to those lands constituted in the likeness of Death. I know just the place for us, poor soul! We will leave for Torneo. Or let us go even farther, to the last limits of the Baltic; and if possible, still farther from life. Let us go to the Pole. There the sun obliquely grazes the earth, and the slow alternations of light and obscurity make variety impossible, and increase that monotony which is almost death. There we shall be able to take baths of darkness, and for our diversion, from time to time the Aurora Borealis shall scatter its rosy sheaves before us, like reflections of the fireworks of Hell!" At last my soul bursts into speech, and wisely cries to me: "Anywhere, anywhere, as long as it be out of this world!
Charles Baudelaire
In March 1994, Putin attended a European Union event in Hamburg that included a speech by Estonian president Lennart Meri. Estonia, like the two other Baltic republics, was annexed by the Soviet Union at the start of World War II, then lost to the Germans, to be retaken by the Soviets in 1944. The three Baltic states were the last to be included in the Soviet empire and the first to emerge from it—in no small part because they had a population that still remembered a time before the Soviets. Meri, Estonia’s first democratically elected leader in half a century, had been active in the anti-Soviet liberation movement. Now, speaking in Hamburg, he referred to the Soviet Union as “occupiers.” At this point Putin, who had been sitting in the audience among Russian diplomats, rose and left the room. “It looked very impressive,” recalled a St. Petersburg colleague who would go on to run the Russian federal election commission under President Putin. “The meeting was held in Knights’ Hall, which has ten-meter-tall ceilings and a marble floor, and as he walked, in total silence, each step of his echoed under the ceiling. To top it all off, the huge cast-iron door slammed shut behind him with deafening thunder.
Masha Gessen (The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin)
Furthermore, as if forgetting the existence of the Soviet “Evil Empire”, she practically called for the various peoples of the USSR to stay “loyal to the Soviet Union as a commonwealth of nations”, to be content with a certain degree of cultural and religious autonomy, like the various tribes in Nigeria. And this was said at the time of the offensive against the sovereignty of the Baltic republics, whose absorption into the USSR was never acknowledged by Britain or the USA. Alas, Thatcher was no exception. Even Ronald Reagan, President of the USA, a man for whom the very name Lenin was always anathema, did not fail to praise Gorbachev for his “return to the paths of Lenin.” This was also said in a radio address transmitted to the USSR. As for his successor, George Bush and his Secretary of State Jim Baker, they outdid everyone, opposing the inevitable disintegration of the USSR until the very last day. “Yes, I think I can trust Gorbachev,”—said George Bush to Time magazine357 just when Gorbachev was beginning to lose control and was tangled hopelessly in his own lies—“I looked him in the eye, I appraised him. He was very determined. Yet there was a twinkle. He is a guy quite sure of what he is doing. He has got a political feel.
Vladimir Bukovsky (Judgment in Moscow: Soviet Crimes and Western Complicity)
The choice of 'eastern Europe' as a frame of reference requires a word of explanation. The term is used here in a provisional manner and indeed a rather arbitrary one, with the lower-case form intended to underline this. The travellers set out from places that stretch from Kiev to Rijeka, and from Gdansk to Crete. The eastern Europe that they represent includes the lands that lie between the Baltic in the north and the Mediterranean in the south; between Russia in the east and Italy, Austria and Germany in the west. These boundaries were set in part by the limits of the possible: had resources permitted, accounts by travellers from the Baltic countries or by Austrian Germans, among others, might equally well have been included here. My aim has been to assemble a representative selection of travel writings from this region: the anthology includes accounts from some twenty languages, by more than one hundred authors, written over a period of more than 450 years, beginning in the sixteenth century and finishing with a book published in 2004. The writers travel to Ireland in the west, to Istanbul in the east—and any number of places in between. But why group these particular east European travels through Europe together, in a single volume? The answer lies partly in eastern Europe's relationship to the idea of Europe itself.
Wendy Bracewell (Orientations: An Anthology of European Travel Writing on Europe (East Looks West))
The Soviet collapse in 1989 was even more peaceful, despite the eruption of ethnic conflict in the Balkans, the Caucasus and Central Asia. Never before has such a mighty empire disappeared so swiftly and so quietly. The Soviet Empire of 1989 had suffered no military defeat except in Afghanistan, no external invasions, no rebellions, nor even large-scale Martin Luther King-style campaigns of civil disobedience. The Soviets still had millions of soldiers, tens of thousands of tanks and aeroplanes, and enough nuclear weapons to wipe out the whole of humankind several times over. The Red Army and the other Warsaw Pact armies remained loyal. Had the last Soviet ruler, Mikhail Gorbachev, given the order, the Red Army would have opened fire on the subjugated masses. Yet the Soviet elite, and the Communist regimes through most of eastern Europe (Romania and Serbia were the exceptions), chose not to use even a tiny fraction of this military power. When its members realised that Communism was bankrupt, they renounced force, admitted their failure, packed their suitcases and went home. Gorbachev and his colleagues gave up without a struggle not only the Soviet conquests of World War Two, but also the much older tsarist conquests in the Baltic, the Ukraine, the Caucasus and Central Asia. It is chilling to contemplate what might have happened if Gorbachev had behaved like the Serbian leadership – or like the French in Algeria.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
To observe the kingdom of Scotland in 1513 in terms of the strength of the Crown, its relations with its magnates, the quality and administration of its justice, its economy, foreign relations, culture and religious life, is to see a community at some remove from the leaderless country inherited by James I in 1424; yet it is also to see a country still strongly tied to its ancient traditions, customs and ethnic divisions which it either could not, or would not, abandon. By 1513 the Crown was strong, popular, its position in society unassailable. It had both sought and obtained the co-operation of its nobility who were themselves closely bound together by bonds of alliance, and whose status in society was recognised by the strength and closeness its kin groups. It had introduced some useful, constructive statutes and had strengthened its legal procedures. It had sought to inform its legal officers of the body of the law. New and more efficient methods of land registration and of royal revenue collection had been the direct result of the reorganisation of the Chancery, the Exchequer, and of the Secretariat of the Privy Seal. Its economy was buoyant enough to enable a protected merchant class to trade modestly with the Baltic states through Denmark, with Southern Europe through its Staple in Flanders, with England and France. Through its many embassies abroad it pursued, as far as possible, constructive peace treaties with the major European powers.
Leslie J. MacFarlane (William Elphinstone and the Kingdom of Scotland, 1431 - 1514: The Struggle for Order)
One of the few entry points to the Baltic Sea, the Kattegat passage is a busy and treacherous waterway. The entire region is a maze of fractured islands, shallow waters and tricky cur-rents which test the skills of all mariners. A vital sea route, the strait is used by large container ships, oil tankers and cruise ships alike and provides a crucial link between the Baltic coun-tries and Europe and the rest of the world. Navigating is difficult even in calm weather and clear visibility is a rare occurrence in these higher latitudes. During severe winters, it’s not uncommon for sections of the Baltic Sea to freeze, with ice occasionally drifting out of the straits, carried by the surface currents. The ship I was commandeering was on a back-and-forth ‘pendulum’ run, stopping at the ports of St Petersburg (Russia), Kotka (Finland), Gdańsk (Poland), Aarhus (Denmark) and Klaipėda (Lithuania) in the Baltic Sea, and Bremerhaven (Ger-many) and Rotterdam (Netherlands) in the North Sea. On this particular trip, the weather gods were in a benevolent mood and we were transiting under a faultless blue sky in one of the most picturesque regions of the world. The strait got narrower as we sailed closer to Zealand (Sjælland), the largest of the off-lying Danish islands. Up ahead, as we zigzagged through the laby-rinth of islands, the tall and majestic Great Belt Bridge sprang into view. The pylons lift the suspension bridge some sixty-five metres above sea level allowing it to accommodate the largest of the ocean cruise liners that frequently pass under its domi-nating expanse.
Jason Rebello (Red Earth Diaries: A Migrant Couple's Backpacking Adventure in Australia)
Meanwhile, Brussels signed off on a new round of sanctions which are set to be approved by all 28 EU members by the end of the week. The measures extend restrictions that prevent Russian companies accessing European markets, from its largest banks to its defence and state-owned oil companies. Barack Obama, speaking on a pre-Nato summit stop in Estonia, called on the alliance to help “modernise and strengthen” Ukraine’s military to stave off threats from Russia. The US president promised that Nato would defend the three Baltic states and argued that Russia was “paying a heavy price” owing to repeated rounds of US and EU sanctions.
Anonymous
The Chronicle of Guillaume de Nangis, written by a monk at the Abbey of Saint-Denis, records their start in the middle of April. Other accounts have the storms arriving in Flanders around Pentecost, May 11. The abbot of Saint-Vincent, near Laon, noted that “it rained most marvelously and for so long.” So long, in fact, that it didn’t stop, except for a day or two, until August. By one count, it rained for 155 days in a row, virtually everywhere in Europe north of the Pyrenees and Alps, and west of the Urals: throughout France, Britain, the Baltic and German principalities, Poland, and Lithuania.
William Rosen (The Third Horseman: Climate Change and the Great Famine of the 14th Century)
Every cloud of confetti has a dark lining.
Lara Biyuts (Through The Baltic Looking-Glass)
the French First Army near Speyer and Strasbourg. The preparations were pitifully inadequate and the losses heavy, but the objective, which was political and not military, was gained. This was to establish a French “presence” over the Rhine inside Germany, as a bargaining counter for the post-war period. Important though this was for France, it was a minor matter compared to forestalling the Soviet on the Baltic at the gateway to Scandinavia, the ultimate objective of 21st Army Group’s stage-managed crossing and the only one with a vital political aim as the prize. It was also the most critical as regards the time factor. Eisenhower was unique in his insistence on “broad front” policies of advance. The Russians were not sweeping into Europe on a broad front, with all the armies keeping step; instead, they were making their main drive for the politically most vital objectives—Berlin and the gateways
Alexander McKee (The Race for the Rhine Bridges 1940, 1944, 1945)
A demon, who serves to a warlock, begins tormenting his master, if he has not enough work. Talent is the demon.
Lara Biyuts (Through The Baltic Looking-Glass)
It says: "Baltic Amber, fifty million years old and full of fire; warm, and enduring like love". Wonderfully romantic, don't you think? Only I don't know how to differntiate thestuff from plain old yellow stones.
Meg Rosoff (Just in Case)
Aiva Rozenberga was 13 years old when 2 million people stood hand in hand in 1989 across the three Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, forming a gigantic, peaceful human chain of defiance of Soviet occupation later called the Baltic Chain. Their voices raised in song, music carried the message: “We want freedom!” This past January, to kick off the tenure of Riga, Latvia, as a European Capital of Culture, 15,000 Latvians stood shoulder to shoulder again, this time passing books from one hand to the other to bring them from the current library to a new library across the Daugava River. Ms. Rozenberga was part of the chain, as program director for Riga 2014, the foundation that put together this year’s program of events. The chain of book lovers epitomizes the power of culture in a small, vulnerable country.
Anonymous
Even a best fountain-pen cannot make a writer be a fount of eloquence, but fountains teach to sob with ecstasy.
Lara Biyuts (Through The Baltic Looking-Glass. Part 2)
The dirham or dirhem was a coin of pure silver weighing 2.97 grammes, and worth one-tenth of a dinar. It was minted both in North Africa and in Central Asia under various dynasties. It was standard currency in Eastern Europe in the era before local mints existed. Hoards of dirhams have been found all over European Russia, Ukraine, Byelorussia, the Baltic States, Sweden, and northern Poland. The largest of them contained over 50,000 coins. Buried by their owners in times of insecurity, they sometimes remained uncollected until found by modern archaeologists and treasure-hunters.
Norman Davies (Europe: A History)
Jaws dropped this week when Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who until recently was NATO’s civilian head, stated that it is highly likely that Russia will soon stage a violent provocation against a Baltic state, which being NATO countries, will cause a crisis over the Alliance’s Article 5 provision for collective self-defense. Rasmussen merely said what all defense experts who understand Putin already know, but this was not the sort of reality-based assessment that Western politicians are used to hearing.
Anonymous
What Russia urgently requires from Western leaders is to be treated with respect and dignity. Let me use an analogy to drive home this point. Prior to the Maidan revolution, Ukraine was part of Russia’s sphere of influence. The country was like a baby that Russia was cuddling and admiring. It was in my opinion; the only remaining baby after all the other children (read Baltic States who have joined NATO) either abandoned their parents or disappeared into thin air. Understandably, the only option for Russia in the circumstances was to jealously guard their baby with all the might that God can give them. Then suddenly a richly endowed neighbor (read the West) having many children that it could not even afford to feed comes along and demands the baby from Russia. What reaction would you expect in such a situation? Violence.
Smith Dempsey (100% PROOF THAT VLADIMIR PUTIN IS ABOUT TO LAUNCH A SURPRISE NUCLEAR ATTACK ON THE WEST)
Getting Gorbachev to acquiesce to a unified Germany as a member of NATO had been a huge accomplishment. But moving so quickly after the collapse of the Soviet Union to incorporate so many of its formerly subjugated states into NATO was a mistake. Including the Baltic states, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary quickly was the right thing to do, but I believe the process should then have slowed. U.S. agreements with the Romanian and Bulgarian governments to rotate troops through bases in those countries was a needless provocation (especially since we virtually never deployed the 5,000 troops to either country).
Robert M. Gates (Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War)
Hitler had tendered the Polish government an ultimatum to cede to Germany the city of Danzig, to-day Gdansk, and the Corridor, a strip of land, of Polish territory, which separated East Prussia from Germany. The Germans wanted to unite East Prussia, with its capital Königsberg, with the Reich. That annexation entailed also a strip of the Baltic coast. It would have cut off Poland from access to the Baltic Sea and robbed them of their great port city Danzig. For a few days, all of Europe was breathlessly awaiting the answer to the ultimatum. On Friday, that fateful day in September, Poland answered "No" and Germany declared war on Poland. The unthinkable has actually happened.
Pearl Fichman (Before Memories Fade)
The Soviet Union had achieved an unusual boon through the pact. The Eastern part of Europe, from the Baltic to the Black Sea was declared as their sphere of influence. They spelled out by name the three Baltic republics: Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia - all three formerly, under the tsars, Russian territory. The two signatories included as part of the Soviet sphere of influence Bessarabia. Northern Bukovina had not been included in that sinister deal, yet Russia made its own decision to annex it, together with Bessarabia. They made it a kind of connecting bridge to Southern Poland.
Pearl Fichman (Before Memories Fade)
While the Germans kept busy occupying the Western Europe countries Russia took advantage of the turbulence. They occupied the three Baltic republics between June 15-18, 1940. The free Western countries, England and the United States were alarmed at the fast pace of events in the East, but the world was in such a disarray that nobody could stop it, especially since Hitler and Stalin had agreed that the Baltic republics and Bessarabia were in the Soviet sphere of influence.
Pearl Fichman (Before Memories Fade)
on June 22, 1941 the Germans attacked the Soviet Union. A few days before the actual attack, the English supposedly warned the Soviet Union that Germany was massing troops on the Eastern frontier - from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea. Day by day, Stalin was supposed to be informed, but disregarded the warnings as English propaganda, as an attempt to thrust a wedge between the two allies: Germany and the Soviet Union. On Sunday morning, June 22, a few days before the first anniversary of our "liberation" by the Soviets, Germany staged a surprise attack all along the German-Russian border; they bombed the entire length of the frontier.
Pearl Fichman (Before Memories Fade)