VIDEO: A historian debunks the myth of the golden age of the Baltics in the Soviet Union

Watch Gatis Krumins, a Latvian historian, debunk the myth that the Soviet occupation of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania was the golden age for those countries and their peoples.

When the Baltic countries were occupied by the Soviet Union, the people in these countries – Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians – were told that investments in people, their social needs and construction were priorities. When the Soviet Union inevitably collapsed, this myth was twisted and the “ungrateful Baltic countries” were reminded that the Soviet Union “tore a piece of itself off and gave it to them”.

Estonians were also told that they produced nothing, but “were fed by the Soviet Union”.

Now there’s proof that these claims were false. Latvian historian Gatis Krumins discovered detailed accounting reports of the State Bank of the Soviet Union from 1946-1991, and after studying 45,000 pages of information, he found that during that period, the main investments to the Baltics went into Soviet military spending, and that the Baltic states were rather subsidising other Soviet regions.


Cover: Mustamäe residential area in Tallinn (Photo by G. German, Tallinn postcard, Eesti Raamat, Tallinn, 1978)

Enjoyed this article?
Please consider becoming a supporter.

About the author: Sten Hankewitz

Sten Hankewitz is a lifelong journalist and Deputy Editor of Estonian World. Having lived in Estonia, Spain and the UK, he now resides in the United States. He loves to write and besides contributing to Estonian World and some occasional blogging, he writes for other media outlets in Estonia, Israel and elsewhere. He has strong convictions and he shows them unashamedly. You can follow him on Twitter, friend him on Facebook or check out his personal blog. You can write to Sten at