Freedom is a fragile thing and it’s never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by way of inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation. Ronald Reagan
“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Benjamin Franklin
The experience of Ronald Reagan and Benjamin Franklin suggests that the struggle for freedom is not an end goal, but a multi-layered, continuous process.
But what is freedom anyway? Where does it come from and how does it manifest itself? What does freedom have to do with national interests or values? The twists and turns of history have repeatedly provided painful answers to these questions. Different nations, based on their own experience, have understood the lessons of history in their own way and have reflected this experience in their national identity.
The purpose of this book is to provide a new understanding of the lessons of history. The collection presents the unique experience of the struggle for freedom as seen by Georgian, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian authors. The authors’ interpretations allow for an analysis of the difficulties and challenges of the centuries-old struggle for freedom of these peoples.
In the texts, one can clearly discern that Russia’s small neigh-boring nations were forced into an ever-increasing phase of struggle for freedom. For hundreds of years, Russia pursued a policy of suppressing the national identity of its neighbours. In the twentieth century, Russia attempted to Russify neighbouring nations through repression and restrictions on conquered territories, which in many cases resulted in the physical destruction of elites and their absorption into the political-cultural framework of the empire. In the 21st century, the use of political and information warfare tools has come to the forefront. Misinterpretation of history has become one of the most powerful weapons of information policy. Within the framework of constantly flow-ing information policies, Russian domination is asserted to the public as inevitable and an imaginary peace is presented as an alternative to the ideas of freedom struggle.
It is particularly important to counter the Kremlin’s propaganda narratives in an argumentative way in order to confront its powerful information war machine. That is why the articles collected in this book are a kind of reminder of the long and hard struggle for independence of the Baltic States, Ukraine and Georgia. It is clear from the texts that a special role was played in this struggle by the preservation in the collective memory of the experience of freedom that these societies had in the first half of the last century. The freedom gained at the beginning of the twentieth century lasted almost twenty years in the case of the Baltic States, and only three years in the case of Georgia and Ukraine. Clearly, successful episodes of the struggle for freedom in those countries are related to the achievement of a national consensus and popular consolidation for a common national goal despite internal political differences. In the case of the Baltic countries, the main determinant of the success of the freedom struggle is European and Euro-Atlantic integration, which was largely made possible by regional unity and joint efforts.
Although the freedom struggles of Georgia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia have had unique and distinct characteristics, the key determinants of the processes have more similarities than might first appear. The perspective seen through the eyes of the authors, who not only study but also participate directly in the struggle for freedom in their countries, will make the reader reflect on the extent to which the past, present, and therefore future of these countries are related to each other.
Dalia Bankauskaite, Zaneta Ozoliņa, Vello Pettai, Beka Kobakhidze, Taras Kuzio - authors of the research "THE FIGHT FOR FREEDOM: FROM THE BALTIC TO THE BLACK SEA".
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