It’s in The New York Times, it’s in The Wall Street Journal, it’s in Western European media. And it’s not going away. I’m talking about an outdated but persistent shorthand by which each of the Baltic countries is referred to as a “former Soviet republic” regardless of whether the article is about economics, digital leaps, tourism or Russia’s ongoing war of aggression.
Hence why this tweet by the Estonian politician Eerik-Niiles Kross – a sarcastic tutorial on how to describe other countries around the world – went viral earlier this month.
Here in Estonia we try to take it in good humour, but it actually demonstrates the shallowness of many large media and their editors. To be clear: the “former Soviet republics” never agreed to be part of the Soviet Union. They were violently forced into it. What we are or do now has little or nothing to do with our Soviet legacy.