This year, Baltic countries celebrate the centenary of independence and the victorious struggle against the Bolshevik invasion. However, in Ukraine, we refer to the same period as the 2nd national liberation struggle / restoration of Ukrainian statehood meaning that the latter is not complete yet, and today our generation has to fulfill the mission through the 3rd national liberation struggle against the quasi-Soviet revanchism of Russia.
It goes without saying that although Latvia is not involved directly in the military actions (at the same time, we know that Latvian volunteers fought on the frontlines in the East of Ukraine), we stand on the same side of the hybrid warfare unleashed by the Kremlin against the region’s countries. It is well-known that the Russian Federation, just like in Ukraine, exploits the right of the Russian minority in Latvia to “cultural self-determination” (and in some Latvian cities it would be more correct to talk already about the “majority”) as a means of political pressure and destabilization, potentially threatening with the separatist scenarios.
And the hybrid format of the Kremlin’s aggression endangers even NATO member states like Latvia, for the undeclared war always leaves an opportunity to refrain from the open clash with Russia for the West.
In other words, independence of the region’s countries, Latvia’s in particular, is under constant threat, which can change for the better only when the security of the region won’t depend on the mercy of other global players which have their own interests. To say the very least, apart from global military alliances like NATO, the region, above all, should rely on its own powerful military forces. The states of the region should be politically sovereign as a whole to be able to take decisions about the necessary security measures without the permission of other international structures. For instance, the international military brigade, LITPOLUKRBRIG, is an important role model for the development in this direction, but its command cannot take a decision on its own, independently from the UN and the EU, to participate even in a humanitarian mission in the Donbas.
In this context, it is important to remind that the 1994 Budapest memorandum, according to which Ukraine renounced the third largest in the world nuclear potential in exchange for security, political sovereignty and territorial integrity assurances on the part of the US, UK and Russia, after the invasion of Donbas and annexation of Crimea by the latter, is no longer valid. It means that Ukraine, following the example of Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, can resume negotiations on the restoration of its nuclear status and thus form a nuclear shield for the entire region. My colleague Olexander Maslak who tragically died in the car accident (more precisely, it is still being investigated whether it was an accident or not) along with 4 other Ukrainian geopoliticians on the way back from the conference in Warsaw dedicated to the common Polish-Ukrainian resistance to the hybrid warfare of the Kremlin, had been paying a special attention to the ways of security cooperation not only with Poland but also with Latvia (he visited Riga with a diplomatic mission last year) and even Belarus when it was still possible.
The importance of Ukraine’s geopolitical position at the intersection of routes from Europe to Asia and from North to South (the historical path from the Varangians to the Greeks in particular) has always been clearly comprehended by the most far-sighted minds of the region. In April of 1920 Poland and reborn Ukraine united their forces and successfully released occupied by the Red Army Kyiv in the campaign “For Our Freedom and Yours.”
Josef Pilsudski, as not only a statesman but also a geopolitician, was eager to implement his conception of the Intermarium supplemented by the Prometheism doctrine which presupposed the liberation of all peoples of the former Russian Empire.
However, already on March 18, 1921 in the capital of Latvia was signed The Peace of Riga which cancelled the Treaty of Warsaw between the Second Polish Republic led by Marshal Josef Pilsudski and the Ukrainian People’s Republic headed by Symon Petliura. As a result, Ukraine was divided between Poland and Soviet Russia which put an end to the 2nd national liberation struggle of Ukraine.
Moreover, although the common Polish-Ukrainian march on red Kyiv was a remarkable precedent of Intermarium building in the former century, it was preceded and followed by less bright historical episodes: suppression of West Ukrainian People’s Republic and pacification of rebellious Ukrainians in Eastern Halychyna region by Pilsudski’s troops. It has become a prolegomenon to the tragic ethnic conflict between two peoples the consequences of which we try to overcome today along with the Polish allies who know what lies at stake.
Polish claims to Vilnius also complicated integration of Intermarium countries in the 20 century. Baltic countries, in turn, often behaved as rivals rather than allies and at times were hesitant to confront openly, and jointly, Soviet Russia. These historical lessons, no doubt, should be taken into account today.
Against this background, experience of general Peteris Radzins is really unique. He was not only a Ukrainian ally; he was a Latvian-Ukrainian patriot, a highly professional military and a theorist of Intermarium who performed an extremely important function at the military headquarters first of Hetman Pavlo Skoropadsky, then Ukrainian People’s Republic and left in his memoirs very sound conclusions about achievements and failures of both Skoropadsky and Petliura which are still relevant today. The contribution of Latvians like Kārlis Brože and Jānis Ceplītis to the military capacities of the Ukrainian People’s Republic and, in turn, half-Ukrainian company commander Rolands Kovtuņenko to the defense of Latvia in the Battle of More is a yet another significant link between our countries.
Last year, The Society of General Peteris Radzins led by Maj. Agris Purvins, jointly with activists of National Alliance, presented the ideas of Radzins at the Latvian embassy in Kyiv. Yesterday, I talked about the modern mission of Intermarium at the Ukrainian Embassy in Latvia. Today, we continue discussing these ideas at the Bauska cultural center. October 13, The Society of General Peteris Radzins, National Alliance, The Society for Ukraine’s Support headed by Tetiana Lazda, who coordinated the visit of the Ukrainian delegation, and all the interested in the audience are invited to the 3rd conference of the Intermarium Support Group which I represent here.
At the previous conferences, we have already exchanged military experience with Polish and Lithuanian developers of the territorial defense forces. On our part, we referred to the combat experience of the Azov regiment of the National Guard of Ukraine first led by the founder of the Intermarium Support Group, Deputy Head of Verkhovna Rada Committee on National Security and Defense, leader of National Corps Andriy Biletsky. After all, modern Ukrainian volunteer forces have lots in common with Baltic Forest Brothers, and military cooperation with the Baltic countries began a long time ago.
Colonel Yevgen Konovalets, the founder of the Organization of Ukrainian nationalists, had learned precisely from experience of Forest Brothers in Kaunas. Named after Colonel Konovalets Military School, which was created by the Azov regiment military, was the first to adopt the standards of NATO with the help of Georgian instructors, and offer its modernization program and officer courses to the entire Ukrainian armed forces. In April, we planted over 2,000 Lithuanian oaks symbolizing old and contemporary fallen defenders of Ukraine, Lithuania and the entire region as part of the joint Ukrainian-Lithuanian project on the historical Ukrainian island of Khortytsia. Members of NGO “LDKpalikuonys,” which is headed by our friend Gediminas Armonavicius, company commander of Lithuanian Riflemen, and specializes in reconstructing the bunkers of Forest Brothers and other patriotic historical sights, always explain these parralels to the Lithuanian audience. Not so long ago, one of our Lithuanian allies Kęstutis Markevičius was awarded by the President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė for the noteworthy contribution to the development of Lithuanian national memory. Our cooperation with Estonia, EKRE party in particular, is on the rise as well. This February, I attended the march in honor of the centenary of Estonia’s independence and held a speech at Etnofutur II conference organized by EKRE’s youth organization Sinine Äratus on the topic “Intermarium as a Laboratory of European Archeofuturism.”
Also, yesterday at the Ukrainian Embassy event I talked about another prominent figure lost by our region: Konstantins Pupurs, member of National Alliance and the Latvian delegate of the Intermarium Support Group who suddenly died last autumn almost at the same time as Olexander Maslak. He was a NATO officer, a highly educated person with several university diplomas, Latvian representative of Wage Union aimed at keeping Eastern European youth in their native countries instead of economic emigration, and more. But, above all, he was a prominent Latvian dissident who was the first to raise and carry the Latvian national flag in defiance of the Soviet rule in 1987. Married with a Ukrainian wife, he gave birth not only to Latvian-Ukrainian children. Pupurs had the same horizon of thinking as general Radzins, and it’s our duty today to continue implementing their noble mission in practice.
In this respect, The New Nationalism platform for the Intermarium countries run by members of National Alliance Raivis Zeltits and Dace Kalnina, our big friends and frequent guests, is an extremely important initiative of the Intermarium patriots of the new generation which deserves our intense support: from common resistance to the Kremlin’s hybrid warfare to the Greater Europe integration. The time of “young” Eastern European nations has come!