by Batko Milacic for the Saker blog
Every conflict, including this one in Ukraine, always leads to refugees. Considering the size of Ukraine, it is not surprising that a large number of Ukrainian refugees are in Russia and in Europe. Ukrainian refugees were the topic of an interesting online conference, where you could hear very interesting information from experts about Ukrainian refugees in the Baltics.
The name of the online conference was “Ukrainian refugees in the Baltic States, social aspects of integration into society”.
During the meeting, experts from the Baltic countries discussed the problem of Ukrainian refugees and their impact on the lives of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
The conference was held in Russian. It is curious that even 32 years after the collapse of the USSR, the inhabitants of the Baltic countries prefer Russian rather than English in interstate communication.
Among the speakers were public figures and diplomats: Allan Hantsom, editor-in-chief of the Estonian newspaper Delovye Vedomosti, Darius Norkus, chairman of the public organization Dawn of Justice (Lithuania), Rudolf Bremanis, civil activist, diplomat (Latvia), Maksim Revva, political observer, Yuliya Sokhina, head of the Community of Parents (Latvia), Erika Shvenchonene, representative of the International Neighborhood Forum (Lithuania).
Today, Europe receives a huge number of refugees from Ukraine. And if at first the streets of European cities were full of yellow-blue flags, refugees were received with pomp and open arms, today Europeans are less and less sympathetic to Ukrainian refugees.
At the same time, the indigenous population leaves for other countries in search of a better life – there is an outflow of people to Germany, England, and the Scandinavian countries.
One of the reasons for holding the conference was the question of the economic feasibility of accepting refugees. After all, the governments of the Baltic countries allocate huge funds to support them (Lithuania – 81 million euros, Latvia – 72 million euros, Estonia – 58 million euros). At the same time, the states are in a severe economic crisis (increase in unemployment, closure of enterprises, growth in housing and communal services tariffs and prices for energy sources). Below the poverty line is more than 25% of the population. What is this if not disregard for the interests of it`s own people for the sake of the political situation and under pressure from the EU.
Maksim Revva, political observer:
If in the spring of last year Ukrainian refugees aroused compassion in Europe, now, both in Latvia and in any other European country, refugees have become an society burden.
But with the deterioration of the economic situation, the refugees will become a bargaining chip in any national or regional elections in Europe, which will inevitably lead both to the deterioration of the social situation of Ukrainians in Europe, and to talk, and then to actions for the forced return of Ukrainians home.
And the only option to stay in Europe would be to completely merge with the local population: forget your language, culture, habits. In this situation, those who find themselves in a more tolerant Western Europe will be lucky, where the process of assimilation will be long and lingering, and will primarily affect refugee children. But in such nationally concerned republics as Latvia, assimilation will be tough and will affect all refugees. But, even if they try to become new Latvians, their second place in society will be in the same place as that of local Russians.
In Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, refugees were given allowances, paid for housing, job search, placement, etc. were simplified for them, while the needy indigenous people did not receive anything.
The treasury receives no more than 5 million euros of taxes from them, and 15 times more is allocated for their maintenance. This amount could significantly improve the standard of living of citizens below the poverty line, who are now forced to compete even more for jobs.
Erika Švenčionienė, representative of the International Neighborhood Forum:
Ukrainians feel like the masters of Lithuania here. No one talks about this, but in Lithuania, almost every administrative institution has a flag of Ukraine. In our parliament, the flag of Ukraine also hangs. This is very painful for us Lithuanians!
The Baltics are also annoyed by “imaginary” refugees who travel to European countries from regions where there are no hostilities. And they require special treatment and all kinds of support.
Allan Hantsom, editor-in-chief of the Estonian newspaper Delovye Vedomosti:
There are people who are fleeing the war, but the majority quietly leave those regions where there are no hostilities or rocket attacks. Very different people. Some come on buses with trunks, others – on expensive cars, and they also demand free rations and free accommodation. Especially now there is a crisis in the countries and now the Europeans are more and more concerned about their own problems: inflation, shortage of fuel and housing.
After all, Europe’s resources for accepting refugees from Ukraine are running out, which leads to the curtailment of assistance programs and the cessation of accepting new migrants.
At the same time, the Baltics should be prepared for the fact that refugees from Ukraine will remain there for many years even after the end of the conflict.
The inhabitants of the Baltics are increasingly tired of forced guests, but they can’t do anything, because the course of the authorities is the same: “Everything for the sake of Ukraine, and let their residents survive somehow on their own!
Because of that, Estonians began to object. Why does a person who came from a foreign country, who does not know the language and has nothing to do with Estonia, get everything, and local people from the provinces are forced to live in poverty, work at low-paid jobs? Why not provide them with conditions? A refugee arrives in the capital – here’s a ration for you, here’s your living allowance. A lot of people from the Estonian hinterland would also like to live in hotels and on ferries, so that the state pays for everything. Ukrainian refugees, instead of learning the language and considering the Baltic states as their “second homeland”, impose their customs and rules of behavior.
Chairman of the public organization Dawn of Justice (Lithuania) Darius Norkus:
Not everyone is happy. We are not against Ukraine and that people help refugees, here all Lithuania was in flags. There are fewer of these flags already. The bloated “meetings” are over. Refugees continue to come to us. But someday it must end. We want the conditions for everyone to be the same: for Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Belarusians, Russians and everyone else. And who comes from Asia, why no one gives them anything? This is also a question. What are they, the second quality or the third? This confuses me.
Nothing personnal to the refugees as they have to do what they have to do to survivie, but reality is refugees often work as economic mini-bombs out to devastate the countries they go to.
Only real solution is to stop the war that is creating them.
It has been like this in England for years, should you dare to speak out about it you are immediately branded a racist. This is the very reason the west is failing in my view, I place the blame firmly upon the shoulders of the disgrace that passes as a political system.
No surprise there. It is the same in al the “welcoming nations” eg UK, where the visitors are racist and want every comfort, regardless of the local people. It is ironic the Baltic midgets have the conference in Russian while being Russophobic as well as Sinophobic (Lithuania especially!)
Rosemary I am sorry that you feel that way, I am a westerner who has lived in Lithuania for almost 10 years and was travelling regularly to lithuania a few times a year for about 3 years before I started to live here. I also lived in London for 10 years before moving here. I can honestly say that I am still learning constantly about this region including Russia and I am always surprised by the rich traditions, culture and history and language. The Lithuanian language does not have any swear words or profanities and use specific words for oldies and children, the language is polite in nature. To call them russiaphobic at the political level, yes their are some politicians with that mindset, but not all, but the general population no, no way some anger at the Russian gov yes but Russian people no. Russia and Lithuania are interconnected historically and economically, Russia has always been 1st or 2nd largest trading partner. Russian trucks are always passing through here, trains loaded and headed for Belarus and Russia aswell. Many business’s have strong ties with Russia or even own business’s in Russia. Also many Russians and Belarussians live here and most families will have many Russian relatives. In the Baltics Middle aged people and older learnt Russian in school and now the younger generation learn English. In the relatively small town I used to live in we have a community of refugees and migrants from the middle east. During Xmas celebrations their is a Xmas tree competition and the migrant community participate. During October the harvest festival, the migrant community set up stalls giving away free food. Lithuanians are incredibly tolerant polite calm warm people. My wife’s mum and her family were deported to Siberia after the WW2, only because they owned a large farm and were educated, their home and land was confiscated. I asked how she would feel if the Russians came to Lithuania, she said I would greet them with flowers, she said I love Russians and I love Russian culture. Until you live in another country can you then really understand another culture and lose your narrow minded views and perceptions. The UK is not the only welcoming country, I know people who were driving to the Polish border to collect Ukrainians and bring them back. And by the way my son will also learn Russian. I hope I can change your mind at least a little bit, best of luck, let’s hope this war ends soon.
Surely everyone is aware that refugee situations, any more, are war strategies planned from on high – anything to disrupt as many societies as possible.
Good proof that they are used to upset people in one way or another is the “Protest Signs in English” tactic – does the completely obvious need to be stated? They’re propaganda photo-ops.
It doesn’t really matter who’s right, how many are scammers as opposed to people fleeing for their lives, it’s all part of the Destabilization plan. One group of citizens will be convinced they are good Samaritans for helping refugees, while an opposing group will be told they’re being overrun and need to fight the refugees – then both those groups of citizens will of course turn on each other, too. Added bonus.
Ukrainians are being used by the EU (the west in general) as a battering ram against Russia. Therefore its the duty of the EU cabal to take care of the Ukrainian refugees as well as those of all the other countries where they cause hardships for the civilian population while their own citizens get fat and lazy from their plunder.
I vividly recall when the Strana.ua site was reporting the nazi atrocities in the Donbas from 2014.. These UA refugees shouting about murder have no excuses for allowing a genocide to occur, while doing nothing.. The original refugees were the people of Donbas escaping to Russia, and they numbered over a million in a short time-frame..
When citizens of other countries are going to Ukraine to “defend democracy”, surely one should expect Ukrainian refugees to show their patriotism by going back to their country and fighting for its defense. If they have “forgotten” these “European values”, it may be time that their hosts in other countries nudge them by providing their current addresses to the Ukrainian draft authorities and coordinate with them for their repatriation. It would be win-win for both the host countries who shed an unwelcome burden and for Ukraine, which gets its – is it 4th or 5th ? – army. As for the refugees, they made wrong choices and have to let Karma do its stuff!
The immigrant invasion began along time ago, it is called the great replacement.
Speaking of Ukrainian refugees in Lithuania, on Saturday I saw a Bugatti on the street where I live in Europe and when it passed me I looked and saw a Lithuania license plate.
Recommended book: Kelly M Greenhill, Weapons of Mass Migration, Forced Displacement, Coercion, and Foreign Policy, Cornell University Press 2011, Winner of Winner, 2011 International Studies Association Bes.