Corbyn, and how not to win friends and influence people (particularly the Baltic States)

Lithuania’s Ambassador in London Asta Skaisgirytė has written an open letter to Britain’s Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn over his negative stance on NATO enlargement, emphasizing that it is only the Western Alliance that can guarantee security of the Baltic states.


In a comment in Britain’s left-leaning daily The Guardian, Skaisgirytė recalled the region’s history and warned about the Kremlin’s efforts to “menace its former victims”, as it remembers the Soviet era. Skaisgirytė said that Corbyn “seems so unaware of the past, present and future of imperialism on the European continent”. In her words, “Lithuania has in living memory experienced imperialism through occupation, linguistic and cultural oppression, the destruction of civil society and public institutions, rape, looting, deportation and mass murder”. “The perpetrators of these crimes have not been punished.


Nor has Russia, the successor state to the Soviet Union, apologised or paid compensation. Instead it praises our oppressors as heroes and justifies Stalin’s destruction of half of Europe as geopolitical necessity,” the diplomat said in The Guardian. “This is not just a historical injustice; the Kremlin continues to menace its former victims – countries which it should treat with especial sensitivity and respect,” she added.

Russia “has invaded Ukraine and Georgia, seizing territory and creating puppet states”, it “wages economic warfare against neighbouring countries, and runs a venomous propaganda campaign” and its “fast-modernizing military rehearses conventional and nuclear attacks against NATO Allies,” Skaisgirytė said. “Jeremy Corbyn says nothing about this. Instead he blames us for trying to defend ourselves,” said the Lithuanian ambassador.

She underlined that the Baltic states had actively sought NATO membership in an effort to evade Russian threats. During recent election debates before taking the leadership of Britain’s opposition Labour Party earlier this month, Corbyn criticized what he said was “NATO’s excessive and obsessive expansion since 1990”.

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