Friday, January 7, 2011

What Are Some of the Differences Between the Baltic States?

If you are like me, you have a tendency to lump the Baltic States together indiscriminately. More often than not, the importnat differences between Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania get overlooked. Thankfully, my very first regular reader V. is from Estonia, so he was kind enough to send me the following list of major differences between these countries. Thank you, V.! This is really priceless.

The main differences between the Baltic States can be subdivided into:

a) linguistic. Latvian and Lithuanian belong to the same group of Baltic languages within the Indo-European family. Estonian is not even Indo-European, but Fenno-Ugric. As a result, Estonians have very close ties with Finland.


b) religious. Estonians are currently the least religious people, Lithuanians are devout catholics, and Latvians are in between. Historically, Estonians are lutherans, Lithuanians - catholics and Latvians are a mixture of the two.

c) old history: Lithuania was an equal partner in the Lithuanian-Polish kingdom, Estonia and Latvia were just the provinces of the Teutonic Order, Denmark or Sweden. Since Peter the Great - Russia.

d) recent history. Although all were annexed by Soviet Union as a result of Molorov-Ribbentrop pact, in the 90s Lithuania could not claim being a descendant of the previous Lithuanias. Because between the world wars Vilnius belonged to Poland, and Lithuania would have to return it. Estonia and Latvia both claimed continuity with respect to the pre-war Republics. As a result, they could adopt citizenship laws not automatically granting citizenship to Soviet era migrants. Latvia actually has the highest percentage of them among all the Baltic states.

In the 90s, Estonia adopted the most ultra-Friedmanite policies, which, surprisingly, were supported by a large enough fraction of the population. Unlike in most other countries, it seemed to work.

2 comments:

varezers said...

K. from Latvia here.
Yes, V. is right.
Not only geographical location links Baltic statesm, but even events, such as "Baltic Chain", common interests in freedom during Soviet occupation, and even now our forces are fighting side by side in Afghanistan and other hot spots. Unfortunately. I really enjoy traveling three Baltic countries, they are very different for me, as citizen of Latvia.
They are diferent even in mentality. While Latvia mot suffered from deportation, colonization and repression from USSR, and Latvians are somewhat close and in-self nation, still has instinctive fears and disguist for outsiders, but when we get to know you - we are helpful and willing to show you all the beautifulness of our Lands - our incredible Old city and tell all what we can about each building in old Riga, tour you in Sigulda, suggest best places in Jurmala - best coastline that America and Scandinavia will never see!
Lithuanians also dislike Russians, and are far less Russianalised than Latvia. They are cool folks, I really like to hitchhike in Land that resambles Latvia, with nice people with "funny Latvian prural language". In Lithuanian clubs, people are a lot more, not just because they have more people, but they are more open minded!
Folks from Estonia are considered to be "slow", but it changes when we hear them speaking on radio or elswehere! They are very helpful and they are smart and if they do something - it will be done best! Very responsible and helpful people! You just need to watch out and dont invade their private territory.

Also, Baltic states have most white skinned people on the world, and avarage Joe from all around the world will be mind-blown when will see beautiful, tall, blonde, blue/grey eyed chick from Baltics. It was funny to face the face, that Baltics have most beautiful women in the world and really, Blonde girl is nothing special for us. We have less than 20% of brown eyed people, when its less 80% or even 100% brown eyed!

Baltics are great, and when you meet Old Riga, Sigulda, Bauska, Ventspils, Liepaja, Vilnius, Saulia, Tallin, Parnu - you, eventually, will fell in love!

Hope you have nice stay! :)

varezers said...

K. from Latvia here.
Yes, V. is right.
Not only geographical location links Baltic statesm, but even events, such as "Baltic Chain", common interests in freedom during Soviet occupation, and even now our forces are fighting side by side in Afghanistan and other hot spots. Unfortunately. I really enjoy traveling three Baltic countries, they are very different for me, as citizen of Latvia.
They are diferent even in mentality. While Latvia mot suffered from deportation, colonization and repression from USSR, and Latvians are somewhat close and in-self nation, still has instinctive fears and disguist for outsiders, but when we get to know you - we are helpful and willing to show you all the beautifulness of our Lands - our incredible Old city and tell all what we can about each building in old Riga, tour you in Sigulda, suggest best places in Jurmala - best coastline that America and Scandinavia will never see!
Lithuanians also dislike Russians, and are far less Russianalised than Latvia. They are cool folks, I really like to hitchhike in Land that resambles Latvia, with nice people with "funny Latvian prural language". In Lithuanian clubs, people are a lot more, not just because they have more people, but they are more open minded!
Folks from Estonia are considered to be "slow", but it changes when we hear them speaking on radio or elswehere! They are very helpful and they are smart and if they do something - it will be done best! Very responsible and helpful people! You just need to watch out and dont invade their private territory.

Also, Baltic states have most white skinned people on the world, and avarage Joe from all around the world will be mind-blown when will see beautiful, tall, blonde, blue/grey eyed chick from Baltics. It was funny to face the face, that Baltics have most beautiful women in the world and really, Blonde girl is nothing special for us. We have less than 20% of brown eyed people, when its less 80% or even 100% brown eyed!

Baltics are great, and when you meet Old Riga, Sigulda, Bauska, Ventspils, Liepaja, Vilnius, Saulia, Tallin, Parnu - you, eventually, will fell in love!

Hope you have nice stay! :)