Fresh burst of Baltic nationalism hits Kremlin
A new stirring of nationalist feeling inside Soviet Baltic states has generated two new public criticisms of the Kremlin on extremely sensitive issues here.
* An open letter to Leonid Brezhnev in his capacity as chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet (nominal parliament), and to UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldeheim, condemning the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
The letter drew a parallel with the Soviet troops that marched into the Baltic states in 1940. It was signed by five Estonians and 25 Lithuanians and Latvians.
* An appeal to the International Olympic Committee and the national Olympic committees of the United States, Canada, Britain, and other states, asking that the 1980 summer games be moved outside the Soviet Union.
No nation at war should take part in the games, the appeal said, since the Olympics symbolize peace. Also, for nations that do not accept the annexation of the Baltic states by Moscow in 1940, holding the Olympic regatta in Tallinn (the capital of Estonia) "tramples on the principles of the Olympic Games."
TThe two documents, both dated Jan. 28, were released by Estonian scientist Jurii Kukk. They follow similar appeals on Afghanistan and the Olympics by exiled Nobel Peace Prize winner Andrei Sakharov and other dissidents here.
They are part of a fresh burst of nationalism in the Baltic following the signing of a so- called Baltic charter by 45 people last August. The "charter" called for full independence for the Baltic states (which were separate nations between the two world wars) and disclosure of secret clauses in the Molotov-Ribben- trop Pact of 1939, which led to annexation by Moscow.
On Christmas Eve several hundred people in the estonian university town of Tartu staged a demonstration calling for independence. The four Estonian signers of the "charter" have been fired or threatened with losing their jobs
The men -- Mart Niklus, Erik Udam, Enn Tarto, and Endel Rata -- all signed the two latest statements.
So did Mr. Kukk, who resigned from the Communist Party last May after being a member for 12 years. He had spent almost a year working in a laboratory for "interfacial electrochemistry" near Paris. "When I returned, my social views had changed very much," he said.
He is relative newcomer to dissident activity. He has now asked the Supreme Soviet to annul his Soviet citizenship. Reluctantly, he thinks he will have to apply to live abroad.
The open letter on Afghanistan said the Soviet Union used the Soviet-Afghan friendship treaty as the reason for armed intervention. But the Soviets had not explained which Afghan government asked for the troops. Nor had the Afghans complained to the United Nations about any "external threat."
Besides, it went on, the intervention contradicted a 1933 Soviet-Afghan agreement that defined "aggression" as the entry of troops from any country. In fact, no other Afghan neighbor had sent troops.
The Soviets sent soldiers into the Baltic states in 1940 under similar friendship treaties: "That's why Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian people know the aims and results of such action," the statement said.
The statement urged Mr. Brezhnev to withdraw Soviet troops immediately and unconditionally.
The letter to the International Olympic Committee objected to the Olympic regatta being held in Tallinn because it put in doubt "the right to self-determination" by Estonians. Baltic people, the statement said, felt it "fitting and reasonable" that under present conditions, the games should be held outside the Soviet Union.
Mr. Kukk reported that both he and Mr. Niklus, who live in Tartu, had been kept under surveillance since news of their dissident activities first appeared in this newspaper. It was later broadcast by the "Voice of America" in all three Baltic languages.
KGB agents had accompanied the two men on a train journey to Vilnius Jan. 17, and kept watch outside their apartments.
"There's great interest in Tartu in the Baltic charter, which we also call the Baltic appeal," he said. "Throughout the Baltics people know about it and support it."