Talk:State continuity of the Baltic states

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Van Elsuwege and representation of Soviet laws and constitution[edit]

re: They argued that in accordance to the internal Soviet laws and constitution, restoration of independence is illegal and the Baltic republics could only become newly created sovereign entities upon secession from the USSR<ref name="Elsuwege031">[[#Elsuwege2003|Elsuwege (2003)]]. p. 379.</ref>
—I would be gobsmacked if Van Elsuwege contends what is stated by this bit of content. Even the most cursory reading of the Soviet Constitution (1936, per Article 14) confirms that the states which were part of the USSR did not surrender, but retained, their individual sovereignty except in matters of purely national concern affecting all union republics. This is concretely demonstrated by the Ukrainian SSR having participated as a founding member of the United Nations in 1945 as a separate sovereign member. Furthermore, membership by any state in the USSR was purely voluntary per (1936) Article 17 (in toto): "The right to freely secede from the USSR is reserved to every Union Republic." PЄTЄRS J V TALK 15:33, 7 May 2011 (UTC)

On second reading, it could be that Van Elsuwege recounted the situation correctly, in which case I am even more gobsmacked that post-Soviet Russian authorities could have any basis for making such outlandish contentions. In either case, it's pure fantasy. PЄTЄRS J V TALK 15:46, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
P.S. 1936 Article 14 is expanded (different #'ed Articles) in the 1977 constitution in more detail. 1936 Article 17 is preserved verbatim (as far as I can tell regarding the vagaries of scholarly translations) in the constitution of 1977, Article 72. Still gobsmacked. PЄTЄRS J V TALK 15:57, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
From the Elsuwege(2003):
Soviet representatives always took the view that the question of Baltic independence was an internal constitutional issue without international dimensions.11 This point of view reflected the official position that the Baltic states had agreed to the entry of Soviet armed forces in 1939 and 1940, and that, with their incorporation into the Soviet Union, these countries lost their status under international law. Accordingly, the Baltic declarations of in- dependence were considered to be illegal because they violated the constitution of the Soviet Union.12 Article 72 of this constitution assigned each union republic a right to secede. According to Moscow, Baltic independence could only be envisaged on the basis of this provision and should therefore be seen as secession rather than solely as the restoration of independence. On 3 April 1990 the USSR Supreme Soviet laid down the modalities for starting the process of secession. The requirement that two-thirds of the permanent residents of a given republic should approve secession by referendum and that final approval remained dependent on the full Soviet parliament after a five-year transition period clearly revealed a strategy for impeding Baltic independence. Vytautas Landsbergis, leader of the Lithuanian Sajudis national movement, immediately replied that this law on secession was ‘invalid’ and ‘had no legal basis in Lithuania’.He once again repeated Lithuania’s claim that ‘the basis for the re-establishment of Lithuania’s independence’ was ‘the de jure continuity of the Lithuanian state’. The Soviet president, Mikhail Gorbachev, and his prime minister, Nikolai Ryzhkov, however, reminded Landsbergis that ‘under the terms of the Soviet constitution, Lithuania had no right to restore independence or unilaterally declare it’.
--Martin (talk) 19:48, 7 May 2011 (UTC)

well, that's all very interesting just that the Soviet laws were irrelevant since Estonia (followed shortly by other Baltic states) had declared the supremacy of the Estonian laws over the laws of the Soviet Union on November 16, 1988 rendering the "violations of the constitution of the Soviet Union" & not to mention " the USSR Supreme Soviet laid down the modalities for starting the process of secession" from 3 April 1990 irrelevant on the territories of the Baltic states.--Termer (talk) 21:59, 7 May 2011 (UTC)

Finally, an interesting tidbit. So the issue is not the act of secession, "legal" under the constitution, but the act of "unilaterally" seceding and declaring it to be a restoration of independence. But there is nothing in the Soviet constitution that says anything about that, and the whole argument on "can't unilaterally" ignores that the Republics are sovereign under the Constitution in any event and can secede at any time. "Secede" rather includes "unilateral" by definition, which is also problematic for Gorbachev's and Ryzhkov's contentions, clearly they are/were not constitutional lawyers or knowledgeable in their own constitution or historical evolution thereof—or simply didn't care what the constitution actually said. PЄTЄRS J V TALK 23:38, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
Of course, as stated, as Soviet laws did not pertain to the sovereign Baltic states in any event and the end was the end as soon as the Union began to unravel. PЄTЄRS J V TALK 00:20, 8 May 2011 (UTC)

Competing maxims[edit]

Just to be clear, there are no "competing maxims" as described regarding the Baltic and Russian positions. The (former) Soviet and Russian positions are that the Baltic states joined legally according to international law. There is no result of the use of force which Russia is subsequently contending is recognized as legal. The Baltic states and all reputable Western scholarship (i.e., that is based on verified historical facts) regard the occupation and incorporation of the Baltics into the USSR as forcible and illegal. That some countries specifically recognized USSR incorporation (and in once case rescinded same) of the Baltic states is a separate issue; not does such recognition confer any legality on the original act of incorporation itself. I have to agree with Nug that as written the text mixed apples and oranges. I have no issue with the sources cited, but the content which was constructed from those sources was misleading gibberish. PЄTЄRS J V TALK 15:31, 30 January 2012 (UTC)

Indeed, "competing maxims" are related to illegal acts. I've updated the text to separate out these distinct concepts. --Nug (talk) 03:37, 1 February 2012 (UTC)

China[edit]

China is listed as a state that did not recognize the de jure or de facto Soviet control, but according to this, China was reluctant to even recognize them in 1991 when they gained independence, and here, they did not support pro-independence forces, and that they backed Gorbachev & Moscow on it.--Львівське (говорити) 20:37, 3 February 2013 (UTC)

China is listed in the "De jure non-recognition, recognition of de facto control" section, I don't know why you claim otherwise. You cannot infer that China granted de jure recognition based upon the sources you supplied, they do not say so explicitly so therefore you conclusion is WP:SYNTH. Here are the quotes you requested:
Toomas Hiio (2006). "Legal continuation of the Republic of Estonia and the policies of non-recognition". Estonia 1940-1945: Reports of the Estonian International Commission for Investigation of Crimes Against Humanity.
page 198:
"The second group includes those countries, which did not recognise occupation of the Baltic states de jure, but recognised Soviet rule in the Baltic states de facto. These countries are Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, …..."
Mälksoo, Lauri (2003). Illegal Annexation and State Continuity: The Case of the Incorporation of the Baltic States by the USSR.
page 119:
"The second and probably numerically the biggest group of Western Staes, never accorded de jure recognition to the Soviet annexation. However they did recognise Soviet rule de facto. This group of States included Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, …..."
As you can see, these scholarly sources do make the explicit claim. Therefore I am reverting your edit. --Nug (talk) 07:20, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
The AP are a WP:RS, and it says that China "grappled with recognizing" their independence, which infers that they, like the USSR, de jure recognized them as part of the aforementioned. You still don't seem to understand what WP:SYNTH is.--Львівське (говорити) 07:27, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
The question here is not whether it is a reliable source, but whether it is a quality source. Reliability is a fairly low bar to cross. Being a quality source within a field, however, is a different matter entirely. While an journalistic article may objectively cross that threshold of reliability, it is vastly inferior to scholarly literature as far as quality goes. As it stands, journalism frequently straddles the line between primary and secondary sourcing, due to the fact that it is often written as a direct account of events happening, rather than a comprehensive, after-the-fact review of a variety of accounts. ~~ Lothar von Richthofen (talk) 16:59, 4 February 2013 (UTC)


another source

pg 88 "Even though Mao [in 1963] reportedly questioned Estonia's inclusion within the Soviet Union, Bijing did not support the pro-independence forces in the Baltic region. Tn the late 1980s […] the PRC's sympathy was firmly on the Soviet side. […] Chinese leadership backed Gorbachev's efforts to reestablish central rule."


and another

pg. 62: "The international environment in the post-Second World War period favored the preservation of Soviet rule in the Baltic states. no communist-controlled country – including […] China, Yugoslavia, [and] Albania – ever questioned Soviet control over Baltic territory" --Львівське (говорити) 07:48, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

Your source does not differentiate between de facto or de jure rule, whereas the quoted sources do. --Nug (talk) 08:05, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
Actually, there seems to be a confusion between "non recognition de jure" and "de-jure non-recognition". Thus, British position was explicitly stated: they did recognize annexation de facto, and did not recognize it de jure. Can that be said, for example, about Chile, which maintained no diplomatic relations with the USSR? Did they explicitly refuse to recognize annexation de jure, or they simply didn't bother to recognize it? I strongly suspect that the latter is more plausible: they did not express their position simply because noone asked them. Similarly, did China express this position, or it simply made no steps that could be interpreted as de jure recognition? I think we need clarify that.--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:02, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
Well the two sources that I quoted were explicit in putting China in the same camp as Britain. How China expressed their position is not that easy to ascertain, however Lvivske's source does state "Mao [in 1963] reportedly questioned Estonia's inclusion within the Soviet Union", so it seems China did express a position in 1963 that questioned the legitimacy of the Soviet actions. --Nug (talk) 17:21, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
I read it as Mao 'reportedly' didn't on a personal level, but Beijing (which is what matters) did not support the non-SSR side. Though...does non-support necessarily mean support for the Soviet legal position? It says their 'sympathy' was on the Soviet side, and that they backed Gorby...so...--Львівське (говорити) 17:58, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
You cannot infer de jure recognition from "favored the preservation of Soviet rule in the Baltic states", as it can also be interpreted as "favored the preservation of (de facto) Soviet rule in the Baltic states". That is why we leave it to secondary sources to do the inferring. --Nug (talk) 19:22, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

ECHR[edit]

On closer examination, the European Court of Human Rights section contained quite a lot of bad English, broken links and seemed to imply that Latvia was occupied until 1994, despite a cited ECHR ruling explicitly contradicting that. So I reworked it, restoring most of the links and removing both the 1994 and 1998 dates, as neither of them is relevant to the affirmation of the Soviet occupation by the ECHR. They should probably be added somewhere as an interesting historical reference, though.--illythr (talk) 22:39, 1 August 2013 (UTC)

Italics.[edit]

Please refer to WP:Italics when editing. In particular, quotations are not italicized. Nor or lots of other things which have been italicized in this article. Thank you. GeorgeLouis (talk) 19:29, 23 November 2013 (UTC)