The Baltic Course  


"I am simply a world citizen"

"I don't consider myself either Russian or Latvian - I am simply a world citizen. All the participants of the Eirovision must forget about their nationality and simply do their best."

Marija Naumova, from Riga, the winner of the Eurovision-2002 song contest.

"Citizenship is like an umbrella under which all nations thrive equally - Lithuanians, Latvians, Russians, Belarussians, Ukrainians. Citizenship must not prefer any nation. A citizen - that explains everything. The Lithuanian passport allows not to indicate nationality. You are a citizen of Lithuania - and that is sufficient."

Pjatras Vaitekunas, the Lithuanian ambassador to Latvia, Chas, May 15.

"The geographical location of Latvia, which was regarded as tragic (between two cogwheels) in the last century, should be considered a historical advantage (between two markets) in the 21st century. It is our only "natural resource"."

Janis Jurkans, leader of the left-wing political union For Human Rights in a United Latvia, Biznes&Baltija, May 10.

"Proof of a distinct improvement to Estonian-Russian relations is the meeting with the first deputy minister of the Russian Ministry of Transport, Vladimir Jakunin, in the course of which the parties touched upon the possibility to expand cooperation with Estonia, as well as Latvia and Lithuania, in the field of rail cargo transit."

Jevgenij Tomberg, a member of the Estonian Parliament and head of the Unified People's Party, BNS, May 25.

"Putin reacted calmly to Bush's announcement to secede from the Agreement on Anti-Missile Arms and expressed hardly any disapproval of the intention of NATO to accept new member states, including the Baltic states."

The Washington Times, May 15.

"Moscow cannot prevent any independent state, including the Baltic states, from entering any organization."

Igor Ivanov, the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, The Times, May 15.

"Lithuania should carefully observe the development of relations between Russia and NATO. The most important issue being - how genuine is Russia's closeness to the West. Nobody can approve that it is not the same old game with the intention of increasing influence."

Raimundas Lopata, Director of the Institute of International Relations and Political Science at Vilnius University, BNS, May 27.

"Candidate states to the EU will not be presented with new requirements for their entrance in the union. Brok has said that the member states of the EU should not put forward different requirements which they themselves probably would not be able to meet."

Elmar Brok, the head of the European Parliament's Committee of Foreign Affairs, Human Rights and Safety, Riga, May 27.

"In Estonia "thieves within the law" have replaced KGB agents and introduced control over a large section of public activities. The Baltic republics, which are of strategic importance for Russian criminal groups, have turned into the main transit bases for drug trafficking from Asia to Europe."

Panorama, April 15.

"New forms of bacteria have been discovered in the Baltic sea at the bottom of Bornholm Hollow, where at the end of World War II, some 35,000 tons of chemical weapons produced by the Nazis were sunk."

The Independent, May 8.

"The issue of a non-visa border system with Lithuania has been settled at least with regard to transit transport. If the EU does not approve of it, it will be necessary at least to provide the possibility to acquire inexpensive multiple visas on the border."

Vladimir Jegorov, governor of Russia's Kaliningrad region, Die Welt, April 12.

"Everybody is outraged by the murderers who rob and humiliate the elderly in rural areas. And when somebody takes up an axe or a weapon to defend oneself from them or even to reduce their numbers, everybody is satisfied. But what if a father or a mother seeing a murderer give their children drugs take up an axe to defend their child? Do we understand that it is the same or maybe even more - here it is not oneself but a child who has to be protected."

Vitautas Landsbergis, Lithuanian MP, former president, leader of the conservative party, BNS, May 27.