Role of the Baltic Republics in Soviet-French relations during the Non-recognition Period, 1919-1924

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This article aims to define the role played by the Baltic Republics in the Soviet-French relations during the non-recognition period. The author tries to determine the place, which the Baltic Republics occupied in the French and Soviet conceptions of the “sanitary cordon,” to analyse the correlation between the ambitions and the capabilities of Paris and Moscow in Eastern Europe, to demonstrate the Soviet response to the interaction between the Baltic Republics and France. The article is based on the materials taken from the different French archives, as well as from the published French and Soviet diplomatic documents. The author emphasizes the ambiguity of the role played by the “Baltic factor” in the Soviet-French relations. The Baltic Republics (especially, Latvia and Estonia) were perceived by the French leadership as a part of the “sanitary cordon” aimed to separate Germany and the Soviet Russia from each other and to preclude their eventual “collusion” in the Eastern Europe. On the contrary, Moscow aimed to weaken the “sanitary cordon.” Paris didn’t exclude that the cooperation with future Russia performing the role of the counterbalance to Germany would be more important for France than full independence of the Baltic Republics. The Kremlin and the People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs welcomed this point of view and tried to support those French political leaders that developed such an approach. The dynamics of the post-war international relations, as well as the priority given by the French government to the “German threat”, prompted Paris to recognize the USSR, which met the interests of Moscow. The considerations of the “big politics” were more important than the voices of the “small countries” which tried to influence the interaction between the more powerful actors.

About the authors

Iskander E. Magadeev

Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University)

Author for correspondence.
ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6521-2202

Ph.D. in hist., Associate Professor of the Department of European and American Studies

76, Vernadskogo Ave., Moscow, 119454, Russia


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