Talk:Occupation of the Baltic states/Archive 9

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RfC: Is the title of this article appropriate?

Is Occupation of the Baltic States an appropriate title for the article given the views presented by current reliable sources and in regard to the material covered in the article? ~~ Lothar von Richthofen (talk) 17:51, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

My interest in a number of articles on this and similar topics has been sparked by a developing interest in family history and although I have Latvian ancestry, due to historical accidents, I haven't been exposed much to Latvian culture and so consider myself fairly neutral in this debate over the title of this article.
For beginners, this article serves as a useful introduction to the topic and the period, with the various sections being expanded in a series of major articles. As it is an introduction, there is no need to unnecessarily dwell on controversies which can be better dealt with in the main articles.
In my opinion, the major flaws in the article have to do with its style and grammar, and I have spent some time in improving this aspect. I think that it is a pity that so much of other editors' time and effort has gone into this debate, that could have otherwise gone into adding content and improving the quality of this and other articles.
I vote to keep the article's current title as it is. Cheers, Bahudhara (talk) 03:41, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
It is the appropriate title for the English Wikipedia. It would not be an appropriate title for an encyclopedia run by the Russian state. It can't get simpler than that.--Termer (talk) 07:03, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
I do think for such a controvesial subject it is undersourced. Something like a variation o f the "History" thereof woud be more neutral.(Lihaas (talk) 08:18, 22 January 2011 (UTC)).
"History of..." would be the Latvian SSR. You can also read individual articles on the Baltic states for additional detail/sources. This is an overview article: Soviet+Nazi+Soviet, Estonia+Latvia+Lithuania. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 20:18, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
  • RFC Comment The title sounds OK. The annexations were never internationally recognized, therefore the majority view is that the countries were occupied the whole time. Unless I'm missing something. --Dailycare (talk) 19:49, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
  • The title is not neutral. Whereas many (most) sources agree that the annexation of the Baltic states by the USSR was illegal, most of them do not describe the period of Soviet rule as a period of military occupation (there is no term "non-military occupation" in English). Since the Baltic case was somewhat unique, no exact term exist in literature to describe the period of 1940-91 (especially 1945-91). The sources use many terms, and the most reliable sources prefer to avoid simple labels.--Paul Siebert (talk) 04:53, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
    • Obviously we travel in different academic circles. Your contention that there is no term "non-military occupation" meaning occupation must only be under military administration instead of a forcibly and illegally imposed civilian administration enforced by a (massive) military presence is your personal synthesis. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 04:59, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
Obviously we do not. We read similar sources, however, the conclusions we made are different. For instance, in the Malksoo's monograph someone can make a stress on his conclusion on illegality of the annexation, which may mean that the regime had some traits of occupation ("occupation sui generis"), whereas another party of the dispute prefers to focus on the fact that this scholar extensively uses the word "annexation" to describe the status of the Baltic states in 1940-91. Of course, the best way to reject accusation in non-neutrality is to put forward a counter-accusation in synthesis. However, synthesis is defined as "combining material from multiple sources to reach or imply a conclusion not explicitly stated by any of the sources". Therefore, to refute an accusation in synthesis I need to provide at least one reliable source that describes the events in the Baltic states as occupation or annexation. Here it is:
"When a state re-establishes its sovereignty after illegal occupation or annexation, its international rights and obligations are automatically recovered as a rule. In 1918–1940, Estonia concluded over 210 bilateral treaties and was a party to over 80 multilateral conventions." (Tanel Kerikmäe & Hannes Vallikivi. State Continuity in the Light of Estonian Treaties Concluded before World War II. JURIDICA INTERNATIONAL V/2000, p 30-39)
It is clearly seen from this quote that the authors, whose article is devoted to the issue of the legal status of the Baltic states, uses the words "illegal occupation or annexation" to describe possible status of the Baltic states. The authors use the words "annexation" and "occupation" interchangeably, but "occupation" more frequently refers to the event, whereas annexation to the period of the Soviet rule.
Again, the weakness of your position is that you, by contrast to me, insist on the use of only single term, whereas I insist that neutrality requires to use both.--Paul Siebert (talk) 05:43, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
Paul, your argument is well known, but you have not provided a source that presents this argument. We can't attribute this viewpoint to "Paul Siebert", we need a reliable source. Mälksoo on the other hand concludes: "the ultimate failure of the USSR to acquire a legal title over the Baltic States implies automatically that the regime of occupation as such was, as a matter of international law, not terminated until the independence of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania was reestablished in 1991. Notwithstanding the annexation of the Baltic Republics by the USSR in 1940, it is therefore correct to speak of their (continued) 'occupation', referring in particular to the absence of Soviet legal title". He makes clear the distinction between the terms: "annexation" is an event while "occupation" refers to a period. --Martin (talk) 08:28, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
You got it wrong. Notwithstanding the annexation of the Baltic Republics by the USSR in 1940, it is therefore correct to speak of their (continued) 'occupation', referring in particular to the absence of Soviet legal title". Which, according to Martin's viewpoint, is enough to drop the term annexation from title of an article about occupation and annexation. (Igny (talk) 15:13, 23 January 2011 (UTC))
Except it would be absolutely moronic to use the term "annexation" to describe the German occupation. It would also make little sense to exclude the German occupation, as it would break the timeline unnecessarily and imply that the Nazi and Soviet occupations were unrelated events (which they were not). The state continuity article is meant to describe the occupations from a legal standpoint; this article deals with the historical standpoint. So stop pushing "annexation" and come up with a more sensible solution. This is becoming tiresome. ~~ Lothar von Richthofen (talk) 16:25, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
Correct. We cannot speak about German annexation. You are right that Soviet and German regimes were different. The only thing I cannot understand is why do you want to conceal this fact by omitting "annexation" from the title? The fact that Germany never annexed the Baltic states does not mean the USSR didn't.--Paul Siebert (talk) 20:00, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
Well, it is absolutely imbecilic to refer to people who are smarter than you are as morons. So I would suggest you retract your personal attack before I consider to counter your argument. (Igny (talk) 20:25, 23 January 2011 (UTC))
Paul- We can't have "annexation" in the title of this article because there was no German annexation; "annexation" is inappropriate for the title because it does not accurately describe the full content of the article.
Igny- Your schoolyard "Shut up, I'm smarter than you!" taunts don't frighten me. I did not call you a moron, I said that it would be moronic to use "annexation" to describe the German annexation occupation. There was no annexation on the part of the Germans, which is why using "annexation" in the title would be moronic. Everyone here is very hung up on the Soviet occupations, and we often lose sight of the fact that there was another occupation in between them. Perhaps this is merely because the decades of Soviet rule seem to drown out the years of German rule, or perhaps this is out of a desire to weaken the association between the "good Allied" Soviets and the "evil Axis" Nazis. Whatever the case, we cannot ignore the German occupation and the fact that it was not an annexation. ~~ Lothar von Richthofen (talk) 21:49, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
Ok, I did not call you an imbecile then either. However it is also absolutely imbecilic to write an article on occupation and annexation of the Baltic states by the Soviet Union without mentioning the German occupation of the Baltic republics as a reference to a relevant historic event. Coming to think about it, writing about two paragraphs (or ~400 words in a 6500 word article with 8 references out of almost 100 is about right amount of material about the German occupation to put into an article on the Soviet annexation. Oh wait, I got an idea. Let us rename this article into occupation and annexation of the Baltic states by the Soviet Union, and with just a few changes in the leading sentences it will be fine as it is. Then it would be at least less SYNTH as it currently is. (Igny (talk) 22:12, 23 January 2011 (UTC))
(edit conflict)Herr von Richthofen. There were no German annexation, however, the Soviet annexation did take place. As the sources cited below state, the USSR did not install occupation regimes in 1940 in the Baltic states, and many sources agree that the Baltic states were annexed (although majority sources agree that that annexation was illegal). To speak about these events as just occupation is to push the Baltic POV, which sometimes assumes a rather weird forms: thus, the former Latvian president Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga proclaimed that the period of 1795–1918 was a period of first Russian occupation (which is a full nonsense; that demonstrates her obsession with the word "occupation", and unfamiliarity with those times' international laws).
Going back to your argument, do you find it logical to claim that the title of the article about the occupation of the Baltic states by Germany and annexation of the Baltic states by the USSR cannot contain the word "annexation" because Germany didn't annex the Baltic states? --Paul Siebert (talk) 22:25, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
Paul, may I point out to you that the title of an article need not be "neutral". See for example Rape of Belgium. Hence the wording of the RfC question: "Is the title of this article appropriate", not "Is the title of this article neutral". You seem to have missed the point. ~~ Lothar von Richthofen (talk) 19:36, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
Yes, the title don't need to be neutral "when a subject or topic has a single common name (as evidenced through usage in a significant proportion of English-language reliable sources)"; in this case " Wikipedia should follow the sources and use that name as our article title (subject to the other naming criteria). Sometimes that common name will include non-neutral words that Wikipedia normally avoids..."
The problem is, however, that the subject has no single name, and I persuasively demonstrated that. Therefore, this argument doesn't work.--Paul Siebert (talk) 20:00, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
@Martin. You perfectly demonstrated my point: everyone finds in the sources what he wants to see. You ignored one source (Tanel Kerikmäe & Hannes Vallikivi) quoted by me, and you quoted Malksoo selectively. Unfortunately, I have no electronic version of the English original, so let me copypast some quotes from the Russian version of his monograph.
"В то же время данная ситуация отличалась от классической ситуации оккупации в других аспектах. С практической точки зрения факт инкорпорации стран Балтии в СССР и длительность советского правления414 ставят под вопрос применимость в этом случае всех международных норм оккупационного права в 1940–1991 гг. “Но фактически СССР после 1940 года не установил оккупационных режимов в странах Балтии...”415. Именно в этом пункте нельзя совершенно проигнорировать факт и реальность аннексионистской деятельности, сделав вид, что их никогда не существовало. В противном случае внутренний конфликт между буквой права и его нарушением аннексирующим государством стал бы настолько напряженным, что поставил бы под сомнение наличие смысла в концепциях международного права416."
The ref 415 Malksoo cites ("In actuality, the USSR did not install occupation regimes after 1940 in the Baltic countries...") is taken from T. Schweisfurth. Soviet Union, Dissolution. in: EPIL, Vol. 4, 2000, pp. 529–547. In other words, the source cited by Malksoo states unambiguously that there were no occupation regimes in the Baltic states under the Soviet rule. Which synthesis are you accusing me in?--Paul Siebert (talk) 20:00, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
Schweisfurth is certainly stating that the USSR did not install a military administration (i.e., "occupation regime"). He is not stating that an illegal act of occupation according to international law (precedents having been set in the 1930's) did not occur. The problem with contentions here is that when "A says X", that is represented "therefore, A says not Y." The latter is synthesis. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 23:11, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
Well, let's see what we have: no declaration of war, no hostilities, no military administration... what kind of occupation it was? Maybe you even support the Vīķe-Freiberga's thesis about "first Russian occupation in 1795-1918"? The thesis "illegal annexation = occupation" is not what majority sources say. The word "occupation" has a very concrete meaning, and the Soviet regime in the Baltic states can be characterised as occupation only with significant reservations (what Malksoo does, by the way). That is why the scholars usually avoid to use a single term to describe these events. And that is why a single word "occupation" should not be in the title.--Paul Siebert (talk) 23:45, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
Re when "A says X", that is represented "therefore, A says not Y." The latter is synthesis. Guys, do you even synchronize your doublethink?(Igny (talk) 00:20, 24 January 2011 (UTC))

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Really, Paul, I expect better from you than tired quasi-official-Russian contentions of it was all peaceable amongst friends and synthesis of no occupation—you've only left out the part about the Baltic peoples rising up to overthrow their bourgeoisie oppressors to "rejoin" the Soviet family the same way they had "joined" as part of the glorious Revolution.

The pacts of mutual assistance were agreed to under direct threat of invasion (stated by Stalin), Soviet troops invaded (the Baltics chose to live to fight another day does not make it not an invasion), etc. etc. The usurping of Baltic sovereignty by the USSR is confirmed in reputable scholarship as confirming Soviet occupation.

Lastly, there is no "thesis" that "illegal annexation = occupation." The occupation is the occupation is the occupation. How the USSR chose subsequently to administer that occupation—in this case, by illegal annexation placing it under civilian administration orchestrated via fraudulent elections and unconstitutional parliamentary actions to appear to be the will of the Baltic peoples, is an entirely different matter. Nazi Germany chose a military administration. Had it won, I'm sure that would have been transformed into a civilian administration as well—which, again, by usurping power from the rightful sovereign authorities, would still constitute an occupation. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 16:02, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

Re your first para, you are right. I really left out the part about the Baltic peoples rising up to overthrow their governments, however, I did that not in order to conceal my alleged adherence to quasi-official-Russian position, but because I do not believe that was the case.
Re your second para, I believe you oversimplify the issue, applying the present-days knowledge to the events in the past. In addition, you forget about Germany: the Baltic states had a reason to expect invasions from both sides, and, taking into account that they knew nothing about the secret protocol, it is a big question which invasion looked more imminent for them.
Re your third para, thank you for reminding me that occupation is occupation. I could expand this cynic conclusion by saying that "annexation is annexation", "war is was", "peace is peace", etc. However, such a philosophical concept has no value for Wikipedia, because it explains nothing. In particular, it does not explain what occupation is. In addition, your binary thinking leaves no space for adequate description of the events. For instance, you completely missed the fact that in the past the newly acquired territories could have at least three different fates: they could be annexed (i.e. become a part of another state), colonised (become a subordinated territories) or occupied (put under a control of foreign military authorities). For instance, Germany directly annexed the Western part of Poland, but it converted its central part into the General Government. As a result, the central Poland, as well as Bohemia, got a status similar to that of protectorate or colony. Of course, Germany didn't plan to annex the Baltic states, because it planned to convert them into a subordinated territory within the Reichskommissariat Ostland. However, that was not the USSR did: it did not install military administration in the Baltic states (see the quote form the western source above), it did not converted these states into its colonies/protectorate. It just absorbed them. That is what the western sources say. They also say that this absorption was achieved by staged elections and it was illegal, therefore, it had some traits of occupation, although this term should be used with reservations. And, in accordance what the sources say, I do not demand to omit the word "occupation", I just request the reservations (and alternative terms) to be present both in the article and in the title.--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:07, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
It will be later in the week before I have time to give you a longer response. I fully appreciate the nuances of the Baltic situation; nevertheless, occupation, at its most fundamental definition in international law (and not a dictionary), is a foreign entity usurping authority rendering the affected sovereign entity's authorities incapable of executing their responsibilities upon their own territory. Certainly, deporting large swaths of the Baltic governments, some of those while even the USSR pretended the Baltics were still sovereign states, is a prime example of such "rendering incapable." I regret that your contention of "no declared war" and explicit thesis that "no resistance = 'no hostilities'" are, with regard to any applicability in international law regarding the question of occupation either in general or specifically with reference to the Baltic states, bogus beyond all imaginings. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 18:14, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
Please, correct me if I am wrong, but until 1949 the occupation issues were regulated by the Hague Conventions of 1907, which stated that "Territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army. The occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised. "[1] In addition, the convention says nothing about usurpation. Please, provide a source your definition was taken from.--Paul Siebert (talk) 19:19, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
Paul, you cite the 1907 convention as if there is nothing else regulating international relations. But this is not the case. The Baltic states and the Soviet Union signed several bilateral and multilateral treaties and agreements regulating relations:
  • Protocol to bring into force the Pact of Paris (to which all four parties were original signatories), signed in Moscow on February 9, 1929, renouncing war as an instrument of national policy
  • bilateral Treaties of Non-Aggression signed with the respective Baltic states and the Soviet Union between 1926 and 1932
  • Conciliation conventions related to the Non-Aggression treaties
And lastly and significantly a Convention for the Definition of Aggression signed in London in July, 1933. This Convention for the Definition of Aggression, an initiative of the Soviet Government, defined in Article 2 various acts as aggression, including naval blockades. This Convention also stipulated: "No political, military, economic or other consideration may serve as an excuse or justification for the aggression referred to in Article 2". It is a fact that the Soviet Union committed aggression as defined by its own definition against the Baltic states, a naval blockade was put in place to enforce the Soviet ultimatum. --Martin (talk) 20:33, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
@Paul, And how were the Baltics not under control of a hostile army? Governmental offices, communications (telegraph, telephone, post) were all immediately seized by the military and remained under military control. As that authority was exercised throughout the Baltics, rendering the occupation complete.
There is nothing regarding the occupation of the Baltic states that wasn't already illegal when that occupation occurred.
The Hague Convention IV lays down specific rules regarding the law of military occupation in the context of belligerents where war has been entered into with the purpose to obtain redress for an international wrong. So, just a few violations of international law for you which do not require Geneva 1949:
  1. "The sovereign Baltic states" joined the USSR willingly and of their own free will. Problem: The USSR deported civilian nationals of the Baltic states to the USSR prior to the willing joining while even the USSR maintains they were sovereign (a staged lie necessary to contend the joining was of "free will"); those acts of deportation were violations of international law already in force.
  2. "The Soviet Union was forced to issue an ultimatum, invade, etc." following provocations against the USSR and unprovoked attacks on its citizens in border incidents. Problem: In staging the lie necessary to contend the USSR was "forced" into its actions, the USSR's contending it was provoked and attacked and responded makes their action a redress of international wrong whether or not the USSR formally declared war on the Baltic states, and so an act of war and an occupation
  3. And, according to international law then in effect, an occupant does not have the right to effect political and governmental changes in the territory occupied. Problem: That's exactly what the USSR did even while it maintained the Baltics were still sovereign (for its "freely joining" lie), another violation of international law. That an occupant effects illegal political and governmental changes does not change the nature of the occupant being an occupant.
As I said, you'll have to wait for more later in the week, but I thought I'd just give you a quick note back to give you something to chew on.
And lastly as Martintg points out, there were a pile of agreements in force between the Soviet Union and the Baltic states which the USSR abrogated upon invading, PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 20:47, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
Indeed, according to the Soviet Union's own definition, in treaties in force at the time, this and this were acts of war. --Martin (talk) 21:02, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Browsing through Mälksoo's book I find this in Appendix 3: "The report of the People's Comissar for the Defense of the USSR to General Secretary of the CP of the USSR Josef Stalin and to People's Comissar for the Foreign Affairs Vyatcheslav Molotov, no. 39055" dated 17 June 1940:

'I consider it necessary in the interest of guaranteeing the quickest preparation of the Baltic war theatre (teatr vojennogo deistvii) to start without delay to perform the following actions in the occupied territories:

  1. To occupy without delay the border with East Prussia and the coast of the Baltic Sea by our border guard military units, in order to prevent espionage and diversion.
  2. To install into each occupied republic one (in the first place) regiment of the NKVD forces for the protection of the domestic order.
  3. To solve as quickly as possible the problem of the "governments" of the occupied republics.
  4. To start the expropriation of weapons from the armies of the occupied republics and their reformation. To expropriate weapons from the populadon, police and the existing military organizations.
  5. To assume control of guarding and garrisoning functions by our troops.
  6. To start decisively to sovietize the occupied republics.
  7. To form on the territories of the occupied republics the Baltic Military Region, with headquarters in Riga. To appoint, in charge of the troops of the Region, the director of the troops in the Central Asian Military Region, general polkovnik Apanassenko. The headquarters of the Military Area will be formed on the basis of the headquarters of the 8. Army.
  8. To start on the territory of the Area works for the preparation of the war theater (construction of fortifications, the change of the width of the rails, the construction of roads, stocks, the creation of reserves etc.)

Certainly the People's Comissar for the Defense of the USSR had no illusions that this was a military occupation. Apparently the bogus elections was the solution to the "problem of the 'governments' of the occupied republics" and the annexation was the solution to "decisively to sovietize the occupied republics", all performed under the command of the military occupation authorities. --Martin (talk) 21:47, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

(edit conflict)You guys are jumping back and forward so quickly, that I cannot follow your thought. Initially you requested me to avoid general consideration and discuss the issue only in a context of the Baltic states. Then Peters came out with the general definition of occupation ("nevertheless, occupation, at its most fundamental definition in international law (and not a dictionary), is a foreign entity usurping authority rendering the affected sovereign entity's authorities incapable of executing their responsibilities upon their own territory.") When I asked him to provide the source this definition was based on (and provided the quote from the Geneva convention that defined what occupation is), he jumped back to the Baltic case, and you started to eloquently explain me that the Soviet actions against the Baltic states were aggression. Do you really believe I disagree that the in 1940 the USSR committed the act of aggression against the Baltic states? Do you seriously believe that I do not support this idea? Your problem is that, for some unclear reason, you decided that everything that happens after the act of aggression is occupation. However, that thesis needs serious evidences. Let me remind you that in XX century many states, including very democratic ones, did interfere into internal affairs of other states (e.g. the USA in Latin America, or the USSR in Central Europe), and in many cases they installed, or helped to install new governments in these countries. These were, without any doubts, the acts of hostility, some of which were even condemned internationally. However, that doesn't make the newly installed regimes "occupation regimes". Do you claim, for instance, that US installed regime in Granada, or Soviet installed regime in Hungary were occupation regimes? Obviously, not (even by contemporary standards).
Please, don't jump back and forward. As far as you initiated the discussion about occupation in general, let's finish it first. My point is that, since the major document that regulated all aspects of occupation by 1940 was the Hague convention of 1907, and, whereas this convention states that "Territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army." (note, actually placed under the authority of the hostile army) we can speak about occupation sensu stricto if the army is hostile, and it actually (not via civil administration) controls the territory. In connection to that, can you provide another definition of occupation that was in effect by 1940? I beg you to forget (temporarily) about other issues, let's finish with this first. --Paul Siebert (talk) 22:33, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
Paul, the Soviet Union committed aggression as defined by the Treaty of London (which the Soviet Union intiated) in force at the time, which defines undeclared wars, naval blockades and internal subversion by foreign agents as acts of war, hence the Soviet military forces present in the Baltic states are deemed "hostile". Also presented is a report published in Appendix 3 of Mälksoo book that shows the Baltic states were placed under military control headquatered in Riga, so I'm not sure what you are asking. In sensu stricto Reichskommissariat Ostland was a civilian administration, military occupation was replaced by civilian occupation. --Martin (talk) 23:13, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
Again, let's finish with occupation first. We have one definition of occupation (from the Hague convention) and the Peters' definition. The second one needs to be supported by reliable sources. Can you provide them, or you agree with the definition form the Hague convention?
Secondly, you again mix "aggression" and "occupation". The USA committed the acs of aggression against Granada (condemned by the UNO) and (re)installed the (overthrown) government there. Is this government the "occupation regime"? Similarly, the USSR, after winning the war against Romania, installed Communist regime there? Was this regime "occupation regime"?
Re Reichskommissariat Ostland. I would say, it was a German colony/protectorate. I don't know if it was under martial laws during this time (it is highly probable that it was), but in any event, since that took place during the war, it is hard to what concrete status (colony or occupied territory) this territory had. However, since a big part of this territory belonged to the USSR proper, and assuming that we discuss the Reichskommissariat Ostland as whole, it is logical to conclude that it was the occupied territory. In any event, the German installed authorities were not internationally recognised neither de jure nor de facto, and, taking into account that throughout all its short history the Reichskommissariat Ostland was a part of the Eastern front, it is hard to speak about supreme authority of civilian administration there.
With regard to civilian occupation, what concretely do you mean under that? Occupation by civilians? In actuality "civilian occupation" means in English mostly someone's occupation during his civilian life (by contrast to his military rank). I found only three sources (one of which is a WP mirror) that contained the term "civilian occupation regime" [2].--Paul Siebert (talk) 23:46, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
I found one more mention of "civilian occupation" in a context of the Russian Empire period:
"Russia sought to obliterate the Lithuanian nation through assimilation. In fact, the very name of Lithuania was to be erased from the map. By decree Lithuania was renamed the “Northwestern Territory” and proclaimed original Russian land.5 Historical Lithuanian territories were divided into nine Russian administrative provinces (gubernia). Lithuania was ruled by decree. Governor General Konstantin Kaufman euphemistically called the bureaucracy’s arbitrary rule “civilian occupation,” a process of “bringing … new civilization to the country.”6 Let us consider how the “civilizing” efforts of the Tsarist administration fared in Lithuania." ([3])
Thus, this POV is in full accordance with the notorious Vīķe-Freiberga's position (that was criticised by Malksoo) that the period of the Russian rule was "occupation". However, such a wide and amateurish interpretation of the term "occupation" makes it simply senseless: assuming this POV, most contemporary states are occupation regimes; France occupied England after the Battle of Hastings, however, it itself was occupied by Normans, and before by Franks. The USA occupied its own territory, Japan occupied Hokkaido, Romania occupied Transilvania, and so on.--Paul Siebert (talk) 00:32, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
Paul, can we stick with academic sources, the problem with politicians like Vīķe-Freiberga is that, well, they are politicians. We agreed that Mälksoo was an acceptable source, but you appear to be rejecting his central conclusion and instead be relying upon footnotes and the fact that he used the term "annexation" to arrive at his conclusion. If you remain unconvinced how about the Dutch scholar Peter Van Elsuwege: "The forcible incorporation of the Baltic states into the Soviet Union in 1940, on the basis of secret protocols to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, is considered to be null and void. Even though the Soviet Union occupied these countries for a period of fifty years, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania continued to exist as subjects of international law"[4]. or the English man David J Smith in the preface to his book "Estonia: independence and European integration": "for the period 1940-91, Estonia was deemed as a de jure independent republic under illegal occupation by the USSR", or Martinson in the International Journal of Social Economics: "After 50 years of Soviet Occupation, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania regained their de facto independence in 1991". The notion that the Baltic states were occupied has been out there for quite a while, ample opportunity for some scholar to say "hang on, I disagree". Unlike the academic debate on the Ukraine famine where we can identify academics to disagree on many aspects, there os no such debate in the case of the occupation of the Baltic states. The only dissenting voice is the political opinion of the Russian government, particularly the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and their Journal of International affairs they control; their position is that the Baltic states joined voluntarily, a position that has been roundly refuted by scholars in journals, books, commissions of inquiry, court cases, legal judgements, declarations and political statements. --Martin (talk) 11:54, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
Re:Elsuwege, You are taking his quote out of context here by skipping the preceding sentence: From the outset, supporters of Baltic independence focused on the illegality of the events of 1939–40.. So in the following sentence is considered refers to the considerations of the supporters of the Baltic thesis. (Igny (talk) 12:04, 25 January 2011 (UTC))
  • Not neutral Editors should be aware that articles must be written from a neutral point of view. That means that unless there is a consensus that the Baltic states were occupied, we cannot state There are in fact other ethnic conflict articles where the same arguments are made, e.g., Gibraltar and the Falklands (or is it the Malvinas?) Doesn' matter - we don't take sides. While I appreciate that editors wish the story to be told, choosing a name like this makes readers assume it is biased before reading it. Just stick to neutral writing and trust readers to form their own opinions without a heavy dose of propaganda. TFD (talk) 05:34, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
Can you please provide valid non-propaganda sources or other examples supporting your statements? Or are these just empty words yet again? --Sander Säde 09:02, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
It is apparent that TFD hasn't read the literature, otherwise he would know that ethnicity plays no part, unless of course he believes scholars like John Hiden, David J Smith and Konstantin Khudoley are Balts. Ofcourse I may be wrong and he has in his possession a paper published in a peer reviewed journal that claims no occupation took place, by all means TFD should post a cite here. --Martin (talk) 09:17, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict)TFD- As I explained earlier, this RfC is not about neutrality, rather, it is about appropriateness. Article titles need not be neutral; just take one look at Rape of Belgium for proof. As for sources, you would have done well to look through the previous discussions on this page. You clearly have not taken even a glance at them, it seems, so I do implore you to do so at this time. ~~ Lothar von Richthofen (talk) 09:22, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
Only neutral titles are appropriate (with limited exceptions). Re exceptions, let me reproduce my earlier post (that has been left unnoticed by Lothar von Richthofen)
"Yes, the title don't need to be neutral "when a subject or topic has a single common name (as evidenced through usage in a significant proportion of English-language reliable sources)"; in this case " Wikipedia should follow the sources and use that name as our article title (subject to the other naming criteria). Sometimes that common name will include non-neutral words that Wikipedia normally avoids..." The problem is, however, that the subject (of this particular article) has no single name, and I persuasively demonstrated that. Therefore, this argument doesn't work.--Paul Siebert (talk) 20:00, 23 January 2011 (UTC)"
--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:03, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
Paul, I did not ignore your comment. My point is this: "not neutral" alone is not a valid argument without sources. TFD's comment brought nothing of any real worth to the discussion and demonstrated a significant degree of ignorance towards the subject matter. It was empty recitation of article content policy (not article name policy) laced with pure personal opinion, with no references to any source, reputable or otherwise. ~~ Lothar von Richthofen (talk) 22:11, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
The name reminds me of propaganda from the World Anti-Communist League or "Jesus to the Communist World Incorporated". A mixture of forged pictures, distorted facts and screaming accusations - in fact a far right mirror image of Stalinism. When the Soviet Union existed, no one reterrered to the Baltic States as the Soviet-occupied Baltic States, any more than people today refer to Gibraltar as "British occupied Gibraltar". TFD (talk) 15:27, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
Statements like "When the Soviet Union existed, no one referred to the Baltic States as the Soviet-occupied Baltic States" indicate that perhaps you should read up more on this topic before contributing.--Martin (talk) 19:56, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
@Martin. Yes, we agreed that Mälksoo was an acceptable source, but we disagree about what his conclusion was central. In my opinion, Mälksoo, as well as many other scholars, was not focused on terminology (simply because the status of the Baltic states cannot be characterised by a single word), preferring to discuss the continuity issue. As a result, the exact wording had auxiliary role: in Mälksoo's monograph you can find the word "annexation" (even in the title), he also used the term "illegal annexation", "occupation sui generis" etc. If you read other reliable sources, you will find that these words are also mixed, used simultaneously, or the word "absorption" is used instead. In any event, since many sources use different wording, the title must reflect that.--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:25, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

Mälksoo word counting (continuing the above discussion)

@Paul, counting words as if "annexation" and "occupation":

  1. are mutually exclusive, or
  2. are two different labels with differentiating connotations for the same event (whether that be a point in time or occuring over a period of time, even for decades)

is your personal synthesis. "Annexation" and "occupation" are not mutually exclusive. "Annexation" and "occupation" do not refer to the same thing. You count "15 apples" and "11 bananas" and posit both counts refer to the same fruit and that Mälksoo, in point of fact, prefers bananas. If I keep needing to respond to your seemingly bottomless well of syntheses I'll never get to that "longer response" I promised you (!).

@TFD, more personal synthesis that Gibraltar applies. Forged pictures? Yes, by the Soviets, even the most famous picture of the hammer and sickle being raised above the ruins of Berlin is doctored. Your rant has no constructive purpose in this discussion.

@Paul, @Lothar: Titles should be appropriately descriptive reflecting mainstream scholarship. "Occupation" fits. The underlying "titles must be neutral" thesis here is that "milquetoast" = "neutral". There is no WP:MILQUETOAST. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 15:48, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

I am trying to be helpful. If you create a title right out of 1950s Cold War propaganda then people will believe the article is propaganda, even if it is written from a neutral point of view. Anti-Communists create sympathy for Communism through their shrillness and distortions. Forged pictures? Yes by both Communists and the far right. TFD (talk) 16:25, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
First you claim it is an ethnic dispute, now you claim it is ideological. First you say "When the Soviet Union existed, no one referred to the Baltic States as the Soviet-occupied Baltic States", then claim the title "is right out of 1950s Cold War propaganda". Please, do some reading, all the sources are based on studies made long after the Cold War ended. --Martin (talk) 20:14, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
Dear Peters. I fully understand that you don't have to provide an evidence in support of your thesis that my statements are my personal synthesis. It is my burden to refute this your statement. However, before I'll try to do that, please, explain me what kind of evidence will convince you in the fact that my words are not my personal synthesis?
In particular, I would like to know if by talking about the thesis that "annexation" and "occupation" are mutually exclusive we are discussing the Baltic case, or we talk about the issue in general? If we discuss the question in general, will the quote below be sufficient proof that I didn't invent this formula ("annexation" and "occupation" are mutually exclusive) by myself? Here it is:
""The intended temporary duration of occupation distinguishes it from both annexation and colonialism. Annexation denotes the permanent acquisition and incorporation of territory into the annexing state’s homeland. Colonialism may end at some point, but this intention may not be clear at the onset of a colonial mission. Although colonial powers may insist that they are on a civilizng mission to foster the eventual independence of a colonized territory, they are frequently willing to stay indeanitely to achieve these goals. This distinction is what makes successful occupation so difficult: in an occupation, both sides—the occupying power and the occupied population—feel pressure to end an occupation quickly, but creating enough stability for the occupation to end is a great challenge. Occupations are also distinct from short-term interventions in which the occupying power exerts little political control over the territory in which it has intervened."
(David M. Edelstein "Occupational Hazards: Why Military Occupations Succeed or Fail" (International Security, Summer 2004, Vol. 29, No. 1, Pages 49-91. doi:10.1162/0162288041762913, MIT press)
You may argue that this MIT publication may theoretically represent minority or fringe views, however, in my opinion, by quoting this reliable source I persuasively demonstrated that I did no synthesis. If you need additional proof, feel free to ask, however, now I believe I have a right to get exhaustive explanations from you on why do you think the evidence presented by me did not satisfy you.
I would also know if our previous dispute (about the Hague convention and the definition of occupation) has already been resolved, or you still are accusing me in synthesis in this particular aspect too.
Cheers, --Paul Siebert (talk) 18:01, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
@Paul, short answer is that we should limit ourselves to sources which deal with the specific situation of the Baltic states as a primary topic (as opposed to mentioned in some ancillary context). That will go a long way to eliminating reading to each other from dictionaries or from reputable sources but which do not specifically discuss them as primary topic. Any source applied to discussion of the Baltic states' situation which does not specifically deal with it as a primary topic is our personal synthesis. I've had this argument ad nauseum with Vlad Fedorov and numerous other editors. The sooner we rigorously eliminate every scholarly and other source that does not directly apply per its discussion of the Baltic situation, specifically, the sooner we'll have a conversation absent of rants (TFD), of slurs against past Latvian presidents (yourself I believe), of contentions of bogus-ness (that would be me). Clearly, eliminating those aspects of the dialog here will improve its overall quality. (That does not mean an article should not state general cases or concepts, but editors should not make contentions about what applies to the Baltic situation, that is personal synthesis/original research.)
As for Hague and Geneva, again, we can have informative debates (and I expect I'll still give you that longer answer), but as I just indicated, for an article, our quoting treaties and paragraphs thereof directly to make personal contentions regarding occupation or annexation is our synthesis and original research. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 19:07, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
Well, then did I understand you correct that, all your general statements about usurpation, "occupation is occupation", etc, referred to the Baltic states specifically? Does it mean that the term "occupation" in this particular case meant something not covered by a standard definition of occupation (e.g. that given in Hague)?
And one more concrete question. Since many reliable sources use the term "annexation" or "absorption" to describe the event in the Baltic states in 1940 and later, and many of them does not use the term "occupation" at all, would it be a synthesis from my side to insist that both terms ("occupation" and "annexation") should be used in the title? Would it be a synthesis to claim that the USSR did not install occupation administration in the Baltic states?--Paul Siebert (talk) 20:15, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
Paul, Mälksoo devotes an entire chapter to whether the term "occupation" is an appropriate term for the period and his conclusion to that chapter is that it is valid. He uses "annexation" in other parts of his book as he is discussing other aspects related to the act of annexation. "Annexation" is a discrete event, while "occupation" is either an event or state lasting a certain duration, depending upon the context of usage. "Period of occupation" is more idiomatically correct that "period of annexation". We already have the sub article Occupation and annexation of the Baltic states by the Soviet Union (1940), which deals with the dual events of occupation and annexation. Occupation of the Baltic states is an overview article spanning a period of time. Regarding Edelstein's quote: "The intended temporary duration of occupation distinguishes it from both annexation and colonialism. Annexation denotes the permanent acquisition and incorporation of territory into the annexing state’s homeland. Colonialism may end at some point, but this intention may not be clear at the onset of a colonial mission", well the Soviet annexation of the Baltic states wasn't permanent, was it? It ended after 50 years. Many colonial regimes have similar periods. Certainly some authors contend that it was more an [period of colonialism], perhaps the title Occupation and colonisation of the Baltic states may be more appropriate, but I am not insisting in introducing the term "colonisation" into the title. Occupation and annexation are different things, one potentially arising out of the other, as Edelstein states, the real question is "annexation" or "colonialisation". --Martin (talk) 20:37, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
Based on your description, annexation would appear to be correct, except annexation usually refers to an event, not a period of time. For example, Texas was annexed to the U.S. but the term Texas Annexation would not be used to refer to the contemporary status of Texas. Colonialism would be incorrect as well because the term is usually used in a very strict sense, viz., overseas European empires. (Tsarist Russia for example was not colonialist, merely imperialist.) TFD (talk) 21:09, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
I'm glad we can have some agreement that the term "annexation" refers to an event, not a period of time. Imperial Russian colonialism has been extensively written about, but unlike the often brutal overseas European empires, the Imperial Russian colonial masters were fairly benign and even beneficial to the local indigenous populations. A reasonable comparison between Imperial Russian and Soviet colonialism is found here. --Martin (talk) 21:32, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
Some writers may use the term in a broad sense, but generally it only refers to European overseas colonies. See for example the Google book search.[5] Even overseas possessions of the United States (e.g., Puerto Rico) are not normally referred to as colonies. Even Briish Overseas Territories, such as Gibraltar, are excluded. TFD (talk) 22:23, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── @ Martin. You write "the Soviet annexation of the Baltic states wasn't permanent, was it?" Yes, if we define "non-permanent" as something that eventually ended, Soviet annexation wasn't permanent. It was no more permanent that British annexation of Ireland, colonisation of India, French colonisation of Louisiana, or Spanish conquest of Central America. I would go even further, saying that if we define "non-permanent" in this way, no permanent things exist in this world. Obviously, under "permanent" Edelstein meant something that is deemed permanent in this concrete moment. The USSR treated the Baltic Soviet Socialist Republics as the permanent members of the USSR, therefore this acquisition had to be considered as permanent during that time. That is obvious.
Re colonization, let me remind you that metropolia has the status that is different from that of its colonies. Please, explain what was the difference between the status of Estonian SSR and Belorussian SSR or RSFRS? If we agree that the Estonian SSR was the Soviet colony, the same approach can be extended on other 14 SSRs, because all of them has the same status within the USSR (except Ukrainian SSR and Belorussian SSR, but not RSFSR, were UNO members).--Paul Siebert (talk) 23:13, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
PS I did brief google scholar search, and I got three results for "colonisation of the Baltic states" [6] ("occupation of the Baltic states" gives 307 [7] and "annexation of the Baltic states" gives 446 [8]). I think, no comments are needed.--Paul Siebert (talk) 23:23, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
RRS I re-read the chapter 4, and I cannot say that I found anything new. I would summarise the Malksoo's conslusions as follows: Soviet annexation of the Baltic states was illegal, it occurred via intervention, and the fact of annexation was not recognised by major western states. This annexation had many traits of occupation, and can be described as "occupation sui generis", "Annexionsbesetzung" ("annexive occupation"), although it was different from classical occupation in many aspects. That was Malksoo says, and that is an additional argument in favour of addition of the word "annexation" to the lede. Regarding "annexation as an event vs occupation as a process", let me propose to count how frequently used Malksoo the term "period of annexation" (and its variants). Maybe I missed something, but this term is used more frequently than "period of occupation".--Paul Siebert (talk) 00:39, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
You are saying "This annexation had many traits of occupation", but you have this back to front. What Mälksoo is saying in chapter 4 is that the occupation theory is confirmed in principle, by qualified. In other words it is an occupation with traits of annexation. The reason it had traits of annexation is because of the occupation's duration, but in principle remains an occupation. A correct summary of Mälksoo's conclusions is as follows: Soviet occupation of the Baltic states was a quasi-belligerent or forcible peace time occupation, the applicability of the 1907 Hague conventions to forcible peace time occupation is affirmed, normally annexation ends occupation, however annexation of the Baltic states was illegal, it occurred via intervention, and the fact of annexation was not recognised by major western states. This occupation had gained many traits of legal annexation, due to the passing of time, and can be described as "occupation sui generis", but in essence is still occupation. What you are describing is "annexation sui generis", annexation with many traits of occupation. He recap in the first lines of chapter 5: "The conclusions of the previous chapters - that the prescription did not take place in the annexed Baltic states and the three republics remained occupied by the USSR" sums up his chapter 4 conclusions in a nutshell. --Martin (talk) 06:43, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
I am not sure I have it back to front. You correctly write that Malksoo noted that normally annexation ends occupation, however, the major conclusion in the chapter 4 is that, despite the annexation (which seems indisputable for Malksoo) we can speak about continuation of occupation (which was, nevertheless, some non-orthodoxal occupation). In other words, the conclusion is "illegal annexation with some traits of occupation". In this situation, since I do not propose to remove the word "occupation" from the lede, and taking into account that the term "annexation of the Baltic states" is used more frequently by reliable sources then "occupation of the Baltic states", I simply cannot understand what your objections are based on.--Paul Siebert (talk) 14:47, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Yet again: From page 193 of Mälksoo's book: "Not withstanding the annexation of the Baltic Republics by the USSR in 1940, it is therefore correct to speak of their (continued) 'occupation', referring in particular to the absence of Soviet legal title." It is your objections that are based on fiction. --Jaan Pärn (talk) 15:12, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Firstly, what objection are you talking about? I do not object against the word "occupation", I would say my opponents object against the addition of the word "annexation".
Secondly, the quote provided by you ("Not withstanding the annexation...") demonstrates that, according to Mälksoo, annexation did occur, although, according to the chapter 4, and by contrast to the normal practice, it did not terminate occupation. Therefore, both events took place, and both of them should be mentioned in the lede.
Thirdly, do me a favour, please, give a more extended quote (until the end of the paragraph + plus the next para). --Paul Siebert (talk) 16:47, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
It is clear that two events took place being the acts of occupation then annexation, but in the context of the title meaning of "occupation" is related to term of foreign control or period spanning both both Soviet and German occupations, this is an overview article after all. I have no objection to the term "annexation" being included in sub-article Occupation and annexation of the Baltic states by the Soviet Union (1940) which is focused on the two events you speak of. I will post an extended quote from the English language version of the book as soon as possible. --Martin (talk) 19:44, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Since this overview article includes the annexionist activity of the Soviet authorities (when they treated the Baltic states not as the occupied territory, but as a part of the USSR), and since Malksoo explicitly writes that that activity cannot be fully rejected as the acts of the occupants, the word "annexation" cannot be omitted from the title. Otherwise, the article's scope should be limited to immediate post-WWII time (which is hardly what you want).--Paul Siebert (talk) 20:01, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
The article overview also includes the German occupation and "genocidist" activity of the Nazis, should we then name the article Occupation, annexation and genocide in the Baltic states? I think adding "annexation" would limit the scope of the article even further to the 1940 period, and we already have an article called Occupation and annexation of the Baltic states by the Soviet Union (1940). --Martin (talk) 20:23, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Re genocide, since German occupation was accompanied by genocide almost everywhere in Eastern Europe the word "genocide" is redundant. It was just one of the aspects of occupation (btw, not only of the German one; if I am not wrong, the actions of the Soviet Union against the Baltic citizens also had some traits of genocide, although were directed primarily against the social groups, not the ethnic groups).
The idea that "annexation" is an act, whereas occupation is the process, is also not fully correct. As I already noted, Malksoo (as well as many other scholars) frequently use the words "during the Soviet annexation" referring to the period, not to the act. Again, the words "during the (period) Soviet annexation" are appropriate when we discuss the Soviet activity when the latter treated the Baltic states as annexed, not occupied territories. That includes industrialisation, capital investments, etc.--Paul Siebert (talk) 21:54, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

Intent of the RFC request

Could someone please explain to me the purpose of this RfC? If it is to draw attention of neutral editors to this highly partisan debate with intent to demonstrate some non-existent consensus to remove the POV-title tag, then it should be obvious by now that it has largely failed to achieve both goals (it neither drew neutral editors nor demonstrated any sort of a consensus). It was poorly phrased with regard to explaining what is actually deemed wrong with the current title nor did it provide any alternative nor did it pave a way to any kind of a compromise. I could see that any request to rename the article would be premature, as they would end with the same result, no consensus, despite the fact that NPOV policy should prevail over voting. It is however clear by now that the POV-title tag should stay indefinitely, because no one has demonstrated any meaningful resolution to the raised concerns short of renaming the article. I agree with Peter above, enough has been said already, everyone has exhausted their arguments and we are mainly being repetitious. This really leads nowhere, although I do applaud Paul's efforts to convince his opposition to adhere to one of the chief WIkipedia standards. (Igny (talk) 00:55, 26 January 2011 (UTC))

(edit conflict)(edit conflict)Well, shoot a man for trying... ~~ Lothar von Richthofen (talk) 04:18, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
I am sure we will discuss this more/again at some point, however it is quite clear that there will be no agreement (among editors here) for title change or scope of article.
I would note that Latvia administered as an annexed territory was the manner of rule chosen by the USSR; that does not change the USSR's status of occupant. Perhaps that is something narrower that can be discussed further. (But let's not rehash personal contentions that "occupation can't last 50 years.") PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 03:45, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
It is well known that neutrality requirements cannot be superseded by editorial consensus. I provided the sources (many reliable sources) that demonstrated persuasively that the term "annexation" is used very frequently to describe these events. Therefore, and taking into account that consensus is not a right of veto, but a decision that takes account of all the legitimate concerns raised, I am waiting for clear and concrete explanation of why the word "annexation", which is being extensively used by many reliable sources to describe the status of the Baltic republics within the USSR, should be removed from the title. Taking into account the amount of reliable sources cited during this discussion, any further references to "personal contentions" are completely unsubstantiated and will be considered as an attempt to avoid constructive discussion.--Paul Siebert (talk) 04:13, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
PS In my opinion, by starting this RfC Lothar von Richthofen did a right thing.--Paul Siebert (talk) 04:19, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, Paul. Glad to know some people are capable of assuming good faith here... ~~ Lothar von Richthofen (talk) 04:22, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
You gave me no reason so far to doubt in your good faith. I would say, all participants of this dispute are capable of assuming good faith. However, the issue is too personal for some of them; as a result, it is sometimes hard to accept logical arguments from others.--Paul Siebert (talk) 04:28, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Shake hands with one hand, take swipes with the other. I guess all's fair... ~~ Lothar von Richthofen (talk) 18:36, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

Good faith or not, let me tell you what may happen next, I am usually good with these predictions. If one tries to initiate a request to move now, it will end with no consensus. The same editors will flood the discussion with same arguments and largely ignore (refuse to hear) any strong counter-arguments or counter them with straw man arguments. The closing admin would decide that he heard equally convincing (or unconvincing) arguments from both sides, and would choose to keep the status quo (the current title) because it is a rather safe bet, NPOV be damned. Ironically, the failure to move would then be another argument of defenders of the current title in future debates. It has happened many times before, it will happen again. The strength of position of proponents of the current title is that the consensus is needed to rename the article. Their weakness is that the consensus is needed to remove the POV tag. I have a feeling that the proponents of the current title have already made peace with the existence of the tag as long as the title stays their way, bringing WP up to NPOV standards at expense of their ideas has never been their goal. If you think that anything I have just said is untrue, let me know, I will initiate the request to move myself. (Igny (talk) 04:58, 26 January 2011 (UTC))

Yes, it's all our fault. Because you always worked to form a consensus. You never flatly rejected requests to come up with a different idea. You were the one to attempt to bring in neutral editors to try and sort things out. Codswallop. Your "my way or the highway" attitude on this talkpage has certainly been one of the contributing factors to the current stalemate. Contrary to your accusations, I started the RfC not with the nefarious desire to kill your tag, but to try and break the impasse one way or the other, because I had become sure that neither side here was willing to give an inch. But the problem is not that my RfC was poorly constructed, it is that RfCs have poor visibility across the encyclopedia. I managed to get a few non-regulars to comment before the thread was hijacked by us in the "usual gang of idiots" (myself included) and driven into yet another stone wall. All told, I agree with Bahudhara's first comment that this endless war over the title is distracting us from improving the actual article. But it seems that we are going to continue this competition in hair splitting ad nauseam, consensus-building be damned. In that case, I'm withdrawing for now. I may rejoin the fray when people here have the maturity to assume good faith and try to reach agreements (that also means not attacking those who try to invite discussion from outside editors). And don't fire back with another weaselly "It's all your fault, not mine" response, because it takes two to tango, my friend. Everyone here holds their slice of blame for the situation which you so apocalyptically described. ~~ Lothar von Richthofen (talk) 18:36, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Do not attribute to bad faith what can be attributed to disillusionment. (Igny (talk) 01:11, 27 January 2011 (UTC))
RFCs are meant to solicit outside uninvolved comment. I purposely held off commenting until Paul jumped in with his comments. If you are disillusioned by the outcome of this RFC, perhaps next time there is an RFC or request for a third opinion, the regulars ought to hold off and allow the process to work. --Martin (talk) 03:53, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
I am not sure Bahudhara's is completely correct, because disagreement over the title is a strong indication of the existence of the major disagreement over the article's content. I would say, by reaching a compromise over the title we would facilitate resolution of other article's issues. With regard to your other points, what I cannot understand is the following. I believe I know most participants of this dispute rather well, and all of them seem quite reasonable and sober editors. They definitely are biased, but this bias, after collision with my own bias, usually leads to creation of good and neutral content. However, in this particular case I see something unusual: even when their arguments are exhausted, they continue to maintain the same mantra which, using the paraphrase of the famous Ford's words, sounds like: "You may use any term to describe the events in the Baltic, provided that this term is "occupation"". I am not sure that is the way towards consensus, and I have a strong feeling that any attempts to modify the article to comply with neutrality criteria would hit the same wall.--Paul Siebert (talk) 19:02, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Can you and Igny please focus on the topic rather that the people involved. Igny claims adding the term "annexation" makes the title more neutral. NPOV means representing all viewpoints, but given that the only the dissenting viewpoint, that of the Russian government and journals controlled by the Russian government, is that the Baltic states were never annexed (not even legally) but joined voluntarily, how does adding that term make the title more NPOV in respect to the Russian government POV. The claim the title is not neutral rings some what hollow with respect to the real published viewpoints. I suggest there is need to formulate another reason other than NPOV if progress wanted on renaming the article. --Martin (talk) 20:09, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
I personally do not know what is the current official Russian POV, and I am absolutely not interesting to know it, and to take it into account. Russian official POV (as well as the official POVs of other states) is just a primary source for us. What I know is that many reliable secondary sources speak about annexation ("forcible annexation", "illegal annexation", "absorption", "incorporation", etc), and many of them do not even use the word "occupation". In this situation the choice between "occupation of..." and "occupation and annexation of..." seems quite obvious.--Paul Siebert (talk) 22:00, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
As others have stated, such a change would preclude the German occupation and focus solely upon the Soviet. That could be problematical given that both occupations are somewhat related via the Soviet-German pact. That said, do you have a secondary source that contends the annexation was legal? I haven't seen one so far. If not, would you accept "occupation and illegal annexation of..."? --Martin (talk) 03:53, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

Title and first paragraph

So let us restart discussion I would like to hear the objections to change of the title and the following rewrite of the first paragraph.

The occupation and annexation of the Baltic states by the Soviet Union was the occupation sui generis(ref) of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania by the Soviet Union under the auspices of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact on 14 June 1940 followed by their forcible annexation into the USSR as constituent republics.(ref) The Soviet control of the Baltic states was interrupted by occupation of the Baltic republics by Nazi Germany during the World War II between June 1941 and autumn 1944. The Baltic states regained independence on 20–21 August 1991.

The rest of the article is fine as it is. (Igny (talk) 01:49, 27 January 2011 (UTC))

  • Pros
  1. No more POV tag
  2. Elimination of perceived bias in the current title
  3. Elimination of the SYNTHesis of Soviet and German occupations
  4. The Russian/Soviet POV stays out of the title
  5. Put an end to this endless bickering
  • Cons
  1. The term occupation gets diluted, and the new title may imply that annexation ended occupation
  2. Occupation of Baltic states loses continuity due to division into two separate historical events
  3. Annexation lacks de-jure recognition, its legality is disputed, so we should ignore it as it never happened
  4. Baltic states got occupied and remained occupied for decades, their annexation was a one-time event (they did not remain annexed?)
  5. The Russian/Soviet POV stays out of the title
Regarding your pro points: 2) No one has actually articulated what that percieved bias is, just Google counts on which term has more search hits; 3)the so called "SYNTHesis of Soviet and German occupations" still exists in the lede and in the body of the article, and this elimination contradicts your statement "The rest of the article is fine as it is."; 4)As Paul states, this Russian/Soviet POV is derived from political primary sources, in any case it is mentioned in the body of the article;
Regarding your con points: 1) that is a valid concern, and is related to 3; 2)that is a valid concern, readers may not get the full context of the topic as discussed in secondary sources; 3)the legality if the annexation is not disputed in peer-reviewed literature, the primary dispute is a political dispute at government level between "illegal annexation" <-> "freely joined the USSR"; 4)the reasoning here goes - Baltic states got occupied, annexation was attempted in 1940, due to the illegality of this annexation, the international non-recognition of the annexation, the resistance by the Baltic people to the Soviet regime and the uninterupted functioning of rudimentary state organs in exile, sovereign title never passed to the Soviet Union, hence the territory retained the status of occupied territory under international law, although due to the passage of time certain facts had to be accepted and full restitution was not possible, hence "occupation sui generis". --Martin (talk) 04:44, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

We have professor Mälksoo's opinion

Dear editors, I have contacted professor Mälksoo on the matter. I will post his opinion below. I sincerely hope this will bring an end to this dispute. --Jaan Pärn (talk) 11:39, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

I have been told that a debate has unfolded in wikipedia over whether an article should be entitled "Occupation of the Baltic States" or "Occupation and Annexation of the Baltic States". In my opinion, the debate demonstrates the continued relevance and importance of the whole topic. However, I do not think that choosing any of the two titles would result in the 'victory' of any of the political fractions.

In fact, I would agree with those who claim that it is more precise to re-entitle the article as "Occupation and Annexation of the Baltic States". The Baltic Sattes were occupied in June 1940 and annexed (incorporated) by the USSR in August 1940. Thus, both occupation and annexation DID happen. The fact of annexation - and that the USSR proceeded with its policies from the presumption that these territories were its own, not occupied - changed the nature of the occupation, if not in terms of law than at least in terms of political realities. For example, when 1980 Moscow olympic games took place, the olympic regatta took place in Tallinn. This cannot be a typical occupation situation.

However, it is important that the article would make clear that in the eyes of the predominant Western opinion and post-1991 restored Baltic States themselves, the Soviet annexation remained illegal. In this sense, illegal annexation equals extended occupation and the whole debate is a pseudo-debate. The annexation - since it remained illegal - did not create any extra rights to the annexing power, the USSR. If the article makes that aspect clear, I would be perfectly fine with the title of the article being changed to "Occupation and Annexation of the Baltic States". In fact, I would recommend such change because it takes more precisely (closer to the facts) into account the complex nature of the Soviet rule in the Baltic States.

Many thanks for your interest and with greetings to all wikipedia editors,

Lauri Mälksoo,

Professor of International Law,

University of Tartu

Thank you Jaan Pärn for your good faith attempt to find a way out of the impasse. In my opinion, the debates should be closed now, and the prof Mälksoo's viewpoint should be accepted without reservations.--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:35, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
At last, a conclusion. I would like to remark, though, that Mälksoo does not seem to find the occupation-only title to be "not neutral"; he just finds the addition of "annexation" to be more "precise". I can concede this, and I think that this debate would have been much quicker and more civil had "NPOV" not been thrown about so much with so little justification. In the end, it really does boil down to "appropriateness", it seems. But who am I to talk... ~~ Lothar von Richthofen (talk) 22:32, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
The problem is that people usually resort to NPOV argumentation when all other arguments are ignored by the opposite party. When I have disputes on others, less politically charged WP pages, we usually achieve consensus without unneeded reverences to NPOV. And, frankly speaking, do you see any new serious arguments in the Mälksoo's response that had not been earlier proposed by the proponents of the word "annexation"? Both sides were quoting the same sources, both sides were pretending that their interpretation of these sources was correct. In that situation, when the course of the events would inevitably lead to preservation of the status quo, I doubt the debates would have been quicker had we avoided NPOV arguments (which, as you probably know, cannot be superseded by the consensus).
We all must learn the lessons from this story. My own lesson is that the dispute over the issue, which is very sensitive for the Baltic citizens, has been resolved due to the honest and neutral position assumed by one Baltic WP editor and one Baltic scholar. --Paul Siebert (talk) 22:57, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
Firstly, thanks to Jaan for taking the initiative to contact Professor Mälksoo. Per WP:V, I ask that Jaan forwards Professor Mälksoo's email to me for verification.
In regard to Lothar's comment, it is true that tagging the article "NPOV" was unhelpful, nobody articulated how the addition of the term "annexation" made the title any less POV, since Professor Mälksoo confirms illegal annexation equals extended occupation. Given the use of Google counts by those advocating the name change, it seems to me to be more an issue of WP:COMMONNAME rather than an issue of WP:NPOV
Lastly, Professor Mälksoo makes his agreement conditional upon making it absolutely clear that "The annexation - since it remained illegal - did not create any extra rights to the annexing power, the USSR". This is directly related to the article State continuity of the Baltic states, and I am not sure Igny would agree to that. So overall the issue remains unresolved pending agreement on that aspect. --Martin (talk) 00:16, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
We are supposed to use neutral titles. While I have sympathy for Martintg's ethnic nationalism, articles must be written from a neutral point of view, not a right wing extremist ethnic nationalist POV. TFD (talk) 00:38, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
Re: "Per WP:V, I ask that Jaan forwards Professor Mälksoo's email to me for verification." I am a little bit surprised to read this. I have no idea on how forwarding of the Mälksoo's e-mail would be helpful: this e-mail, as well as, e.g. the content of personal prof Mälksoo's web site it is not a reliable source per se. This just an explanation of the prof Mälksoo's position, which, frankly speaking, does not differ much from what he has written in his peer-reviewed publications. Of course, if Martin has a doubt in Jaan's fairness, s/he can easily contact prof Mälksoo directly. His e-mail ( E-mail: can easily be obtained in the web (e.g. there [9]).
Re illegality of the annexation, it is a straw man argument. I never questioned the illegality of this step, and whereas I never proposed to remove the statements about illegality of annexation from none of the articles we discuss, and I endorse every word from the prof Mälksoo's e-mail. Therefore, I simply do not understand what relation does the illegality issue have to the dispute over the word "annexation" in the article's title, and why does Martin conclude that the issue remains unresolved.--Paul Siebert (talk) 00:54, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
One more point. Although the opinion of prof Mälksoo is highly valuable for all of us, we can accept as a reliable sources only his scholarly publications. Let me remind the case Martin seems to be quite familiar with. The user User:William M. Connolley in his real life is William Connolley, a climate scientist. However, during the last major dispute over climate changes his voice had no more weight than the opinion of absolutely amateur editors who was acting based on the WP policy.--Paul Siebert (talk) 01:43, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I am rather tired of the conversation here perpetually degenerating. Perhaps we can take a baby step:

  • are all editors prepared to stop arguing that the "annexation" "ended" the "occupation," furthermore, to agree there is no impediment to the Baltics being portrayed as under occupation for the duration of the Soviet presence? (That is, the establishment via annexation and Soviet civil administration of the Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian SSRs did not end Soviet occupation.)

Professor Mälksoo is having a peer reviewed article on the Kononov case published this month, we can sync up again then. I've corresponded with the esteemed professor as well, however, as Paul points out, any first-person non-peer-reviewed expression of opinion is opinion, so I have refrained from pulling him into the swirling WP:VORTEX. And any opinion is open to being contended as stating more, or less, than it is (only even more so, as compared to the same appearing in a peer-reviewed context). PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 14:36, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

I disagree that the conversation here is perpetually degenerating. The only problem we had was the different interpretation of the Mälksoo's words, because Martin and I, citing the same chapter from the Mälksoo's book, drew different conclusions from it. Now, when we have an explanation from prof. Mälksoo himself on how his words should be interpreted, I simply see no reason to argue further. Let me re-iterate that: whereas the prof. Mälksoo's e-mail is not a reliable source per se, it is very valuable because it is an explanation from the author of what the reliable source states in actuality.
Re: "stop arguing that the "annexation" "ended" the "occupation,"" Please, be more specific. Annexation really ends occupation (as the works authored by Mälksoo and other scholars say); however, since the case of the Baltic states was unique, taking into account that the annexation of the Baltic states by the USSR violated a number of international treaties, was forceful and illegal, and taking into account that the USSR appeared to be unable to convince international community to recognise this its step, we can conclude that in this particular case the annexation did not end the occupation, although the latter was a rather specific, unusual form of occupation. In my opinion, all of that should be said in this article, as well as in the state continuity of the Baltic states article. In other words, since the Baltic issue is very unusual, non-standard case, we all agree that their annexation, by contrast to normal practice, didn't end occupation, and that should be said in the article, however, this occupation was also a very unusual, non-standard occupation, and we all should agree to reflect the latter fact in the article too.
--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:35, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
I don't think our conclusions from reading Mälksoo's chapter are fundamentally different, we are probably just emphasising different aspects. I see Jaan's posting of Mälksoo's opinion much like an expert WP:3O or WP:RFC except with the added benefit of him not being a Wikipedia editor like William Connelly (and I see no issue of Jaan verifying it privately with me off-wiki). When I read Vecrumba's comment and your response to it, I think your positions are actually closer than you realise. Vecrumba's comment regarding annexation not ending occupation is made in the context of the Baltics, your are saying the same thing, that is is only applicable in the case of the Baltics, being a special case. Regarding the continuity article, I have updated the lede to make clear the status of the Baltic states in international law. --Martin (talk) 20:17, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
Re baby step. That is a rather big step for a baby. More of an ultimatum, really. And if all the editors are not prepared to stop arguing which they likely aren't, then what? (Igny (talk) 00:51, 2 February 2011 (UTC))
@Paul, Igny's revert[10] of all our edits comfirms my contention that no progress can be made despite Mälksoo's opinion that adding "annexation" to the title is okay if we make clear the predominant Western opinion that the Soviet annexation remained illegal, which I attempted to do in the continuity article. --Martin (talk) 01:28, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
This is a complex topic - public international law. Martintg, are you claiming that because the annexation of the Baltic states was illegal, that all actions taken by the Soviet Union were therefore illegal? That does not seem to conform with law, and we need input from editors who have competence in this area. TFD (talk) 01:41, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
I'm not claiming anything. The view of scholars like John Hiden, Kristina Marek, David J. Smith, Lauri Mälksoo, D. A. Loeber, Boris Meissner, James Mace, Konstantin K. Khudoley, Ineta Ziemele, Romuald Misiunas, Rein Taagepera and others, is that the Baltic states were occupied and illegally annexed. --Martin (talk) 05:15, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
Martin, your edits to the state continuity article were hardly any progress at all. Your attempt to justify your contentious edits by Malksoo's opinion presented here is far fetched. Really, you can stop interpreting scholars opinions as justifying your POV edits, at some point it stops being amusing and becomes annoying. (Igny (talk) 01:50, 2 February 2011 (UTC))
Must you always be so uncivil? Things were starting to clear up a bit here until you came back to muddy the waters. ~~ Lothar von Richthofen (talk) 03:20, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
I do not think that I am going to take any advice on civility from a person who was using the term "moron" earlier in this discussion. I would not give too much credit to your assessment of my civility either. (Igny (talk) 03:35, 2 February 2011 (UTC))
I propose everyone to take a break. I believe I know all participants of this dispute (which is gradually becoming a quarrel) rather well, and I know that we all, taken separately, are quite sane editors. Moreover, each of us had already encountered really uncivil and disruptive editors (on other talk pages), and I believe you all will agree if I'll say that none of the participants of this dispute is really uncivil. Unfortunately, I had no time to analyze in details the recent Martin's edits (which, as far as I understand, triggered, but not necessarily caused, this new round of the dispute), and I will not have time to do that in next couple of days. Therefore, I have no concrete proposals right now. However, I am absolutely sure that the issue is solvable if we will remain civil. Have these cookie, please, and try to look at the issue from a different angle.
Koekjestrommel open.jpg

Cheers.--Paul Siebert (talk) 04:26, 2 February 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I have to agree with you Paul, we are trying to find a solution. But looking at Igny's edits I get the impression that h_e does not really contribute much beyond reverting edits of others and being incivil to people he disagrees with. --Martin (talk) 05:15, 2 February 2011 (UTC)

Martin, your attempts to eject your opponents from a process of building consensus here do not add you any credibility. (Igny (talk) 12:11, 2 February 2011 (UTC))
Igny, it would be good if you restrained yourself with comments on contributions, not on contributors. "When Peter tells about Paul, we learn more about Peter than about Paul".
Martin, frankly speaking, I don't know why the decision about the title of this article is directly connected to the discussion about the lede of another article. In my opinion, in light of all evidences and arguments presented here it is quite obvious that the word "annexation" should be added to the title. Yes, prof Mälksoo pointed out that it is important that the article would make clear that the annexation was illegal in the eyes of the predominant Western opinion and post-1991 restored Baltic States themselves. He therefore is rightfully characterised these view as predominant (not the sole) Western viewpoint, and as the Baltic viewpoint. However, he never stated that additional stress on illegality of the annexation is a prerequisite for fixing the obvious inaccuracy in the title of this article (I mean addition of the word "annexation"). Moreover, I would say that prof Mälksoo just warns us that despite inclusion of the word "Annexation" we must remember that it nevertheless was illegal annexation. However, taking into account that this article has already made enough stress on the latter fact, I do not think any obstacles exists that would prevent us form addition of the word "Annexation" to the title. Again this article and the "State continuity..." article are two different, although connected things. If you believe that the lede of the "State continuity..." article should be fixed, let's discuss it (btw, maybe, we need to move further discussion on that subject to the "State continuity..."talk page?). However, the absence (or slowness) of the progress with the "State continuity..." lede is not an argument against fixing the inaccuracy in the title of this article. I agree that Igny ought to initiate a discussion about the "State continuity..." lede, not just blindly revert your edits. However, it is Wikipedia, not a bazar, and the position that can be summarised as "if you do not agree to fix this article, I will not agree to change that one" strongly resembles the attempt to disrupt Wikipedia to illustrate a point. In addition, since this concrete article clearly states that the annexation was illegal, and taking into account that Igny unequivocally let us know that he has no objections against the content of this article, I believe your position regarding this article and its title in particular is based on nothing. Independent on the issues with the "State continuity..." article, you should concede that the issue with this particular article has been successfully resolved, and, I believe, by this step, that will demonstrate your good faith, you will have more ground to expect similar steps from another party.
Let's finish with this issue and then move further.
Cheers, --Paul Siebert (talk) 18:52, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
PS I partially agree with last Martin's changes to the "State continuity..." lede and I have some ideas how to improve it. I will gladly join the discussion on that talk place. However, all of that should not be connected to the current dispute.--Paul Siebert (talk) 22:39, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
Re:I agree that Igny ought to initiate a discussion about the "State continuity..." lede, not just blindly revert your edits. I disagree, reverts are legitimate edits, a part of the WP:BRD cycle. (Igny (talk) 22:44, 2 February 2011 (UTC))
I may be right or not, but have you posted your comments on the Martin's edits after reverting them, that would be a polite invitation to the next phase of the BRD cycle. (Of course, you didn't have to do that, but by doing that you would partially relax the tension). I myself was not completely satisfied with these changes, however, since I had no time to analyse them and to post a detailed comment I preferred not to touch them for a while (just changed one word).--Paul Siebert (talk) 23:40, 2 February 2011 (UTC)

Continuing the conversation, avoiding generalities

@Paul, we are only talking about this particular case, so it's clear that in this particular case annexation did not end occupation. It doesn't matter if it did end occupation in every territorial annexation which came before it in history. Now that we've established that with regard to this particular case, Soviet occupation and annexation were co-terminus with the dissolution of the Soviet Union (actually, with the declaration of the reestablishment of independence and formal re-vesting of sovereign authority with regard to all three Baltic states), we can also agree to leave the article title as it is (don't think I've seen that mentioned recently) as "annexation" applies only to the Soviet tenure on Baltic territory while "occupation" applies to Soviet, Nazi, and Soviet. "Other" cases are useful as background, but only the case of the Baltic states applies in the case of the Baltic states where our choice of sources is concerned. I'm not being difficult, I just think we would do much better to stick to only the case in hand and not spend time on generalities.

And, of course, we continue to indicate Russia disagrees, providing the basis (as the Duma specifically cited international law when it declared the the Baltics joined the USSR legally) for its disagreement. Any peer-reviewed Russian international law journal articles we might cite? (Although given the illegality of anything other than the official Russian position, independent academic thought might be limited.) Or articles in peer-reviewed English language journals by historian supporting the Russian position? PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 02:24, 3 February 2011 (UTC)

Firstly, I will appreciate if in future you will be more specific: you would save both your and my time if you timely explained that your general statement in actuality had a relation to the Baltic states only.
Secondly, we cannot agree that with regard to this particular case, Soviet occupation and annexation were co-termini, because, believe you or not, both these words are general terms (our readers use them not only in a context of the Baltic states, so we cannot arbitrarily assign to them a meaning we want), and both of them have very specific meaning: whereas "occupation" is an intrinsically temporary military regime that the hostile force set in the occupied territory, "annexation" is an absorption of some territory into another state, so the legal status (I mean domestic legislation, not international laws) of the newly annexed territory is not distinguishable from the status of other territories of the annexing states. You must agree that, despite the fact the the annexation of the Baltic states had many traits of occupation, it de facto was the annexation: there were no military administration there, the population had standard Soviet passports, the republics had standard Soviet state institutions, and, importantly, the Baltic states regained their independence according to the legal procedure of secession, that procedure was accomplished in full accordance with domestic Soviet laws, and the decision about secession was made by the republican Soviets, i.e., by national parliaments elected democratically and in full accordance with Soviet laws. Of course, later the central USSR authorities tried to forcefully prevent secession, but that was a violation of the domestic Soviet laws, so the Soviet ("occupational") laws were on the Baltic side. Leaving beyond the scope other examples provided earlier by me and prof Malksoo, can you please explain, how can the above described events be described by the word "occupation"? By using the word "occupation" alone we will mislead our readers, moreover, it would be simply insulting towards their common sense.
Thirdly, you argue that occupation and annexation were co-termini in this particular case. Well, even if we assume that that is the case, tell me please, how can it be an argument in favour of removal of one of these co-termini? And if we, for some unclear reason, have to restrict ourselves with just one co-terminus, why should we remove "annexation" and not "occupation"?
And, lastly, all said above is just my own considerations, so you can rightfully accuse me in original research. However, the results of the google scholar search presented on this talk page (see above) are not my original research: by contrast to the google results, they are the objective summary of the frequency of usage of the terms "occupation" and "annexation" in a context of the Baltic states by reliable scholarly sources. And these results demonstrate that the term "annexation" is used more frequently by reliable sources. Therefore, if you insist on removal of one of co-terminorum, we should remove "occupation". (Although, as you probably understand, I do not propose that seriously).
--Paul Siebert (talk) 03:20, 3 February 2011 (UTC)
It was legitimate to discuss the State continuity in context of this article, since this whole topic consists of numerous inter-related sub articles with this article being the overview. This will have to be addressed sooner or later. In anycase, with regard to the article title, just as you are concerned by using the word "occupation" alone we will mislead our readers, equally is the concern that using "annexation" without qualification would also mislead our readers. Mälksoo suggested that we make clear that the annexation was illegal, so I suggest Occupation and illegal annexation of the Baltic states would be even more accurate. What is your view on that? --Martin (talk) 03:36, 3 February 2011 (UTC)
How about Occupation and illegal (according to the Western sources) annexation of the Baltic states? Believe me your suggestion is no less ridiculous. (Igny (talk) 03:43, 3 February 2011 (UTC))
No we can't qualify it as "according to the Western sources" since have Russian academics like the Dean of the School of International Relations at St. Petersburg (Leningrad) State University, Professor Konstantin K. Khudoley agreeing it was illegal. --Martin (talk) 03:51, 3 February 2011 (UTC)
We cannot say "occupation" because there is no consensus that it was occupation. Perhaps we could call it the Baltic Soviet Socialist Republics, Soviet administration (or rule) of the Baltic states or the Baltic states in the Soviet Union. TFD (talk) 04:07, 3 February 2011 (UTC)
(ec) @ Paul, I was using English not Latin, although I'll be glad to oblige going forward. @Igny, regarding "according to", perhaps you'd like to write the opposing viewpoint article, then, that is: "Non-occupation and legal joining to the USSR by the Baltic states (according to Soviet propaganda and those who continue to parrot it)"? I rather think you'd agree that such a title would be equally unsuited for an encyclopedia.
Perhaps simply an article on the longevity of Soviet propaganda: Stalin mortuus est, vivat Stalin.
@ TFD: Russia is free to disagree. Evidence for not occupied, as the Duma declared the Baltic joining was legal according to international law? Russian disagreement does not invalidate the title. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 04:19, 3 February 2011 (UTC)
And we already have articles on the Baltic SSRs. This is about occupation by the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 04:20, 3 February 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────(edit conflict)I studied English in absolutely ordinary school in the middle of nowhere, so I do not pretend I know it well. However, I believe I am able to understand some basic ideas from simple English texts. Malksoo wrote that:

  1. "Occupation and annexation ..." would be more precise in the article's title than just "occupation", and
  2. that the article (not the title) would make clear that this annexation was illegal.

Based on that, as well as on the fact that the word "annexation" is frequently being used without qualification by scholars, I see absolutely no reason to add anything else but the word "annexation" to the title.
One more comment. In actuality, the persistent desire of some Baltic editors to add the words about "illegal bloody Soviet regime that brutally oppressed innocent Baltic peoples" literally into every article they edit has frequently an opposite effect on a reader. If you want to present yourself as the Europeans try to behave accordingly. Fortunately, I have had a chance to receive the evidence that real European do exist among the Baltic people (I mean Jaan Pärn and Lauri Mälksoo). --Paul Siebert (talk) 04:31, 3 February 2011 (UTC)

Re "@ Paul, I was using English not Latin, although I'll be glad to oblige going forward." ??? What do you mean? I concede my English is not perfect, but, in my humble opinion, it is closer to English than to Latin...--Paul Siebert (talk) 04:33, 3 February 2011 (UTC)
Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union did not jointly occupy the Baltic states - in fact they were at war with each other. TFD (talk) 04:34, 3 February 2011 (UTC)
The occupations were concurrent and related. In fact, they were originally occupied under the provisions of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, back when the two states were awfully friendly with each other. The fact that they were occupied by Nazi Germany during wartime is directly related to the fact that they were first occupied by the Soviet Union under the auspices of a mutual agreement between the two. Or maybe you forgot that little slice of history? ~~ Lothar von Richthofen (talk) 10:58, 3 February 2011 (UTC)
Whereas, according to the Secret Protocol, Germany declared that it had no interests in the Baltic states, the protocol did not stipulate their occupation by the USSR (just re-read the text). One can argue, of course, that that had been written between the lines. In connection to that, it would be interesting to know the actual German reaction on the occupation:
"In the meantime Russia liquidated the Baltic states, a process completed before the campaign in the west had ended and watched with disquiet by the Germans, especially as the Russians occupied a small territorial strip around Mariampul in Lithuania which had originally been consigned to the German sphere of influence in 1939. With that the Russians bolted the door to German access to the Baltic countries. Russia's annexations also had economic consequences. Seventy per cent of the exports of these three countries had been absorbed by Germany, mainly wheat, butter, pork, dairy produce, flax, wood and oil. A German foreign office assessment of the situation recorded that 'the stabilization of the Russian influence in these territories signifies a serious danger for us in so far as these essential supplies are concerned '." (Hitler's 'Programme' and the Genesis of Operation 'Barbarossa'. Author(s): H. W. Koch Source: The Historical Journal, Vol. 26, No. 4 (Dec., 1983), pp. 891-920)
"The policy of russification of the Baltic states was viewed by the German general staff with dismay." (ibid.)
The same ideas you can find in the Roberts' "Stalin's war".
--Paul Siebert (talk) 12:34, 3 February 2011 (UTC)
It is a bit much to suggest that the Germans did not expect the Soviet Union not to occupy the Baltic States, after all, did not Germany evacuate all Baltic Germans from the region before hand? One can read the reaction of the Germans to the occupation here. In fact the German–Soviet Boundary and Friendship Treaty determined the German-Soviet border, and Nazi Germany was the first country to give subsequent de jure recognition. --Martin (talk) 20:20, 3 February 2011 (UTC)
Martin, that is just your speculation, and has no place in this conversation. We are supposed to explain what mainstream sources say, not choose sides and conduct our own original research to determine who was correct. TFD (talk) 20:38, 3 February 2011 (UTC)
Will you ever learn to play the ball and not the person? --Martin (talk) 20:44, 3 February 2011 (UTC)
The correct approach to writing articles is to find the best sources and write what they say. If you start with what you believe and search for sources that back up your views, you will find that other editors will challenge you. If you want people to know the truth, then ensure that all views are properly presented and trust them to draw the correct conclusions. TFD (talk) 20:52, 3 February 2011 (UTC)
Not only have you been uncivil in your repeated grossly offensive characteristations of my edits as presenting the "fascist viewpoint" and "extreme right-wing ethnic nationalist viewpoint", you go further and make gross bad faith assumptions on how I approach my work. You really need to take stock of your behaviour. --22:51, 3 February 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict) @Martin. You are right regarding the ball. As regards to the rest, let me point out that (i) the Avalon documents are the primary sources, so we can draw conclusions from them with cautions; (ii) as soon as we stepped into a realm of original research, let me point out that the very fact that the German minister had to issue the special instruction to all German missions abroad that "in view of our unaltered friendly relations with the Soviet Union, there is no reason for nervousness on our part" is a strong indication that in actuality the reasons for nervousness were very serious; (iii) whereas the border agreement was an adjustment of the new borders in Poland, nothing had been said about the borders in the Baltic states. The treaty just adjusted the sphere of influence there; (iv) Germany withdrew ethnic Germans from the territory that felt into the Soviet sphere of influence by means of propaganda, in an attempt to concentrate of German national within the borders of the Third Reich. That probably meant that Hitler initially didn't plan to invade the USSR so soon, and, as the source cited by me tells, changed his decision in a response on the Soviet expansionism and hidden hostility.--Paul Siebert (talk) 21:06, 3 February 2011 (UTC)
A more likely explanation is that Germany followed a policy of "forced "cooperation"", rather than absorption of the Baltic states. Baltic Germans were given incentives (and later threats) to move to the absorbed territories. TFD (talk) 21:45, 3 February 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Just so we editors have a point of common reference on the matter, here is a link to the Yale English translation of the Secret Protocol in question. Here is also another link to the Protocol auf Deutsch. @Paul, you are correct that nothing is explicitly said regarding the USSR taking over the Baltic states; however, I don't think anyone can seriously claim that the language of the Protocol suggests anything but that. Also, the term "Desinteressement" is used to describe the German position on Bessarabia, not the Baltics. But we should use this to guide what we say here on the talk page only, as analysing such a primary source in the article is WP:OR. @TFD, mainstream sources say that the Baltic states were occupied. You really should take at least a cursory look through past discussions to give yourself a basic familiarity with what the scholarly community has to say on this matter. ~~ Lothar von Richthofen (talk) 22:35, 3 February 2011 (UTC)

Nazi Germany in concluding the 1941 German–Soviet Border and Commercial Agreement recognised the borders of the Soviet Union incorporating the Baltic states de jure. During thay time only two nations afforded recognition as confirmed by David Smith: "With the exception of states such as Nazi Germany and Sweden, the international community condemned this illegal annexation and never gave legal recognition to Soviet rule over the Baltic states". --Martin (talk) 22:51, 3 February 2011 (UTC)
@ Lothar. I am familiar with both versions of the secret protocol, as well as with its English translation. It did stipulate that Germany had no interests in the Baltic states and said nothing about Soviet actions there. The thesis that it stipulated Soviet annexation of the Baltic states is a typical post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. The quotes (from the reliable secondary source) provided by me demonstrate that Germany saw occupation as an unfriendly act, and it lists these Soviet steps among the reasons for Barbarossa. I can provide more quotes, e.g.:
"The Vienna Arbitration Treaty, the 'public' transport of fully armed German forces through Finland as well as the transit agreement were a clear signal to Russia: Sofar and nofurther! Neither over the arbitration treaty nor the transit agreement had Ribbentrop consulted the Russians; it was his reply to Russia's proceedings in the Baltic countries, Bessarabia and the Bukovina. On the question of the transit agreement he left it to the Finnish government to inform the Russians. He subsequently informed Molotov about the contents of the arbitration treaty, justifying the speed with which it had been concluded by the imminent danger of war. He did not hide his anger about Russia's Balkan policy, pointing out that the year before Russia had expressed merely her interest in Bessarabia. Although Germany had declared her lack of political interest, her economic interests were of vital importance in view of the connection with oil and grain supplies. Apart from that Germany had not been consulted over the annexation of the Baltic states, nor the occupation of the strip of Lithuania which should have fallen to Germany. Molotov accepted the note, promising a written reply, but cryptically assuring the German ambassador that nothing had changed the Russian attitude. Molotov gave his written reply on 2 I September 1940. In it he rejected the German arguments point for point and thus put an end to common Russo-German policy as it had been inaugurated on 23 August I939." (ibid)
In addition, let me point your attention that by annexing a part of Lithuanian territory that fallen into the German sphere of interests the USSR directly violated the Secret Protocol.
@ Martin. The 1941 agreement is irrelevant because by that time Germany was actively preparing for the full scale invasion of the USSR (and the USSR did massive war preparations). Re Smith, I don't think we need to discuss it here. That belongs to another article.
  • And, finally, let me remind to everyone: since the initial subject of this discussion was addition of the word "annexation" to the title, does anyone has any fresh and reasonable counter-arguments against that? If not, I believe, it is a time to rename the article.--Paul Siebert (talk) 00:48, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
Re: "Germany saw occupation as an unfriendly act'": This is not entirely true. On the matter of Estonia and Latvia, Germany did not care too much; Lithuania was the big point of contention. From the english translation: "In the event of a territorial and political rearrangement in the areas belonging to the Baltic States (Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania), the northern boundary of Lithuania shall represent the boundary of the spheres of influence of Germany and the U.S.S.R." This language would seem to indicate that Germany regarded Soviet takeover of the Baltics as inevitable, since they bothered to work out the borders with them. Lithuania had to be adjusted based on conquests in Poland, but it wasn't the best of fixes. But more to the point, I will not object to the move if NPOV is not dishonestly thrown about. ~~ Lothar von Richthofen (talk) 02:28, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
Again, we are straying into original research. This is not a social club where we meet on Saturday nights and reminisce about the past. We must report what reliable sources say and stop arguing about which side is correct. TFD (talk) 03:33, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
Right. And reliable sources say that the Baltic states were indeed occupied, contrary to what you have been claiming. Just because it paints the "good Allied" USSR in a less-than-favourable light does not make it "fascist" or "extreme nationalist" propaganda. It's time you come to terms with that. ~~ Lothar von Richthofen (talk) 12:06, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
@ Lothar. The source quoted by me did not discriminate between Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. It states what it states, namely, that that occupation of the Baltic states by the USSR, along with other Soviet steps, gave an impetus to the Barbarossa plans.
PS. What concretely do you mean under "if NPOV is not dishonestly thrown about"?--Paul Siebert (talk) 03:59, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
That is overstating it a bit. I have access to the source that discusses this Hitler's 'Programme' and the Genesis of Operation "Barbarossa". Author(s): H. W. Koch Source: The Historical Journal, Vol. 26, No. 4 (Dec., 1983), pp. 891-920), the main impetus to the Barbarossa plans was the ongoing conflict with Britain, the reliance of resouces that were increasingly being pressured by the Soviet Union and Hitler's fear of Stalin possibly siding with Britain. --Martin (talk) 05:39, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
I didn't state that the Baltic issue was the major cause of Barbarossa, my point was that that Germany considered that as an unfriendly step. Do you have any objection against this statement? And, by the way, do you have new arguments against "annexation" in the title?--Paul Siebert (talk) 12:01, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
Paul: I actually agree with you in regards to the Baltic occupation being part of a larger Soviet pattern of aggression which made Germany jump hastily into Barbarossa. However, we are straying too much into the realm of the Soviet offensive plans controversy at this point, and while I should very much enjoy further debate, we should try to stay on topic. Re "NPOV": I mean that so long as the move proposal does not wrongly use NPOV as a rationale, I would be willing to support it. There is nothing POV about the current title, but I am willing to accept the argument that the addition of annexation makes it more precise (though I still have some reservations). ~~ Lothar von Richthofen (talk) 12:12, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
I wouldn't say so; according to the quoted source, the Soviet expansion was not a part of preparations of the Soviet offensive against Germany, therefore it has no relation to the notorious Suvorov's thesis. With regard to the rest, I do not care under what pretext the inaccuracy in the title will be fixed. If you prefer to present the issue not as "non-neutral vs neutral title", but as "inaccurate vs more accurate title", I don't mind.--Paul Siebert (talk) 12:30, 4 February 2011 (UTC)