Demographic ‘Disaster’?

In recent years the dominant discourse about the critical demographics in Latvia has been shrilly pessimistic. We’re told that the population has dropped in twenty years to two million. Emigration has reached catastrophic levels: the young seek their fortune elsewhere, never to return.

The UN and other organizations predict that in 20-30 years Latvia’s population will be 1.8 million, emptying Latvia and limiting its economic development. Employers are already complaining about labor shortages. This will mean the end of the Latvian state and Latvian extinction as a people. What solution is offered for this demographic and economic disaster? Since Western workers will not come, “empty” Latvia ought to be filled with migrant workers from the East.

This is the geographic view of Latvia’s demographic state. It looks at the territory of Latvia and its structures as tools for moneyed interests. The geographic vision does not disclose how labor migration will be achieved. However, this vision is not the only way to interpret demographic data and future predictions.

Historically, the population of Latvia has depended on its rulers, increasing under the Czarist and Soviet empires while decreasing under independence. In 1897 the population was 1.9 (million), in 1913- 2.5MM, 1920-1.5 MM, 1940-2 MM, 1990-2.7MM and in 2013 again 2 million. The twentieth century has been unkind to Latvians. They suffered three major losses: during the First World War – the Tsar’s edict evacuated Kurzeme and Zemgale with only about half returning to Latvia; the Second World War – flight to exile in the West; and Stalin’s deportations, from which few returned. The overall loss is over half a million. Including the unborn, Latvia’s loss is enormous. All losses can be attributed to the policies of the two empires.
In today’s globalized world, migration is fluid. Latvians, like others, emigrate, return, and re-emigrate. To assert that no one will return is absurd. In the five year period (2007 – 2012), 175 800 emigrated from Latvia, but 43 500 immigrated, almost exclusively returnees. The question is not whether emigrants will return, but rather how to improve conditions to lessen emigration.

There are two other demographic visions besides the geographical. The State vision, which evaluates demography from the perspective of the state and its citizens’ interests, and the folk or ethnic vision, which assesses demography based on ethnic interests.

In order of importance, the primary functions of the State are to protect national sovereignty, defend citizens’ interests and welfare. A state grants citizenship to foreign nationals if they legally reside there, are willing to defend the state, uphold its laws, and participate in or integrate into the host society. For security, the State is interested in minimizing hostile or harmful people in its environment. From a State’s perspective, population decline may not be an ‘emptying’, but rather normalization. If in 1996 72 % of the population were citizens and 27% non-citizens (nepilsoņi), in 2013 corresponding figures are 84 % and 13%. As the percentage of citizens significantly increases and the largest element of instability in the country, non-citizens, decreases by half, the State is more secure and less divided. Of the children born in 2000, 81% were citizens, 17% non-citizens, and 2% foreign nationals. In 2013, 93% of newborns are citizens, 5% non-citizens, and 2% foreign nationals, a sign State interests are changing for a better future.

The State is also interested in inclusion of its citizens living abroad. The recently revised Latvian citizenship law permits dual citizenship with friendly countries without loss of Latvian citizenship.

Normalization means that State structures, economics, and foreign policy are consistent with its size, national interests and geopolitical environment. To safeguard its sovereignty, Latvia joined the EU, NATO, and the Eurozone in 2014, and orientates towards the West, actions consistent with geopolitical realities and the long-term interests of its citizens. The economy is still limping, but since the recession a new crop of technologically advanced service and manufacturing companies have sprung up. These will form the base for future increases in population and well-being. The recent writing and addition of the preamble to the Constitution is part of Latvia’s normalization process.

The ethnic vision evaluates the survival skills and values of the nation: language, culture, and history. In tandem with the State vision, this vision is moving in a positive direction. The percentage of Latvians rose from 52% in 1990 to 62% in 2013. If in 1990 56.5% of births were ethnic Latvians and 43.5% others, in 2012 the proportions are 68% and 32%. Latvia’s birthrate therefore reflects the ethnic vision. In 2012 less than one percent of Latvians emigrated, while two and a half times more minorities emigrated. There have been three minority emigration peaks since 1990. The first in the mid-nineties with the evacuation of the Soviet Army, the second after Latvia joined the EU and the third after the 2008 economic crisis. Emigration has declined in the past three years.

Contrary to the geographical demographic interpretation, time is on the side of the state and ethnic interpretations. The ‘geographists’ know this, and have developed a scenario guaranteeing their interpretation’s success. This vision converges with Russia’s foreign policy and local moneyed interests. Although detaching Latvia from western institutions would be difficult, it could serve as Russia’s foreign policy ears and mouthpiece within the EU, NATO, the Eurozone and elsewhere. Local money sees a decreasing population and the Western direction of the country as impediments to their wealth acquisition. Moneyed Latvia consists of well-known Latvian oligarchs and the much richer and more influential Russian interests who understand and find the Eastern business environment more attractive than a Western one based on law and competition.

The geographic view scenario encourages emigration by introducing de facto bilingualism, citing economic reasons and needs of consumers, ignoring the Constitution and the results of the 2012 language referendum. It is almost impossible to find a job in Riga unless one also speaks Russian, and without it one must seek work abroad. The alarm raised about Latvia ‘emptying’ accustoms society to the thought that immigration from the east is necessary and inevitable.

The residence permit program (RP) was initiated by Ainārs Šlesers in 2010. Nearly all permits requested, however, are from CIS (Russian organised “Commonwealth of Independent States”) citizens, 80 to 90 % from Russia. For a small fee, Latvia offers the benefit of an RP enabling the right to visa-free entry into the EU. Other countries offer similar permits, but for a higher price and on more favorable terms to the issuing country. It’s claimed that between six to eight thousand such permits have been issued on 500Ls million investments. The number of RPs is secondary to the size of the investment. Inevitably the money will turn into political power. Latvia will lose control of the country’s political agenda, then over internal and external affairs, and eventually perhaps sovereignty.

To ensure Russian long-term geopolitical interests in Latvia and concurrently correct an “historical error”, the composition of the population can be changed by immigration. This will accelerate Latvian emigration and democratically transform Latvia forever. Latvia is highly dependent on Russian energy, and together with strong and organized foreign capital, resistance to Russian interests in Latvia would be academic.

Latvia must understand the gravity of the situation. It cannot fool itself that the “new money” will put Latvia on easy street. Allowing the geographists “emptying” scenario to unfold would be a crime against the Latvian state and nation. The other two visions retain future control of the Latvian state in its citizens’ hands. Latvians must think long and hard how to reverse the emigration of its citizens, promote their fertility, help the disaffected find happiness elsewhere in the world and act accordingly.

Demogrāfiska “katastrofa”?

Pēdējos gados no Latvijas dzirdam skaļas pesimistiskas balsis par kritisko demogrāfisko stāvokli valstī. Īsumā, tiek stāstīts, ka iedzīvotāju skaits valstī krities par septiņsimts tūkstots divdesmit gadu laikā līdz diviem miljoniem šodien. Emigrācija sasniegusi katastrofālu līmeni: jaunie dodās pasaulē laimi meklēt un „neviens” neatgriezīsies.

Apvienotās Nācijas un citas organizācijas pareģo nākamo 20-30 gadu laikā iedzīvotāju sarukumu līdz 1,8 miljonu, „tukšojot” Latviju, kaitējot Latvijas ekonomiskai attīstībai. Darba devēji jau tagad sūdzās par darbaspēka trūkumu, kas tikai pasliktināšoties. Pareģo Latvijas beigas un latviešu izmiršanu. Lai novērstu demogrāfisko un ekonomisko lejupslīdi, „tukšums” Latvijai esot jāpiepilda ar austrumu imigrantiem, jo rietumu strādnieki uz Latviju nebraukšot.

Tāds ir ģeogrāfiskais demogrāfijas redzējums. Tas skatās uz Latviju kā teritoriju un struktūru, izmantojamu naudīgu personu interesēm. Veidu kā panākt darbaspēka imigrāciju ģeogrāfiskais redzējums neatklāj. Tomēr ģeogrāfiskais redzējums nav vienīgais kā vērtēt demogrāfiskos datus un nākotnes zīlējumus.

Vēsturiski, Latvijas teritorijas iedzīvotāju skaits ir bijis atkarīgs no valdniekiem. Cara vai Padomju impērijas laikā iedzīvotāju skaits pieauga, neatkarības gados saplaka. Tā 1897.g. Latvijas teritorijā bija 1,9 (miljoni) iedzīvotāji, 1913.g. 2,5, 1920.g. 1,5, 1940.g. 2,0, 1990.g. 2,7, un 2013.g. atkal 2,0 miljoni. Divdesmitais gadsimts demogrāfiski latviešu tautai bijis nelabvēlīgs. Tā piedzīvoja trīs lielus skaitliskus zaudējumus: pirmā pasaules kara laikā ar cara pāvēli evakuējot Kurzemi un Zemgali, no kuras atgriezās ap puse: otrā pasaules karā trimdai dodoties uz rietumiem: Staļina deportācijas. No abiem pēdējiem atgriezās maz, kopējais sarukums ap pus miljonu. Pieskaitot nedzimušo skaitu, latviešu dzīvā spēka zaudējums ir milzīgs. Visi zaudējumi ir impēriju varas politikas rezultāts.

Šodienas pasaulē migrācija ir plūstoša un mainīga. Cilvēki emigrē, atgriežās, un daži atkal otrreiz aizbrauc, ko arī dara Latvijas iedzīvotāji. Apgalvot ka „neviens” neatgriezīsies ir aplami. Piecu gadu laikā starp 2007.g. un 2012.g. no Latvijas izbrauca 175,800, bet iebrauca 43,500. Protams vairāk izbrauca, bet no tiem, kas iebrauca pārsvarā ir agrāk emigrējušie. Tātad nav jautājums vai emigrējušie atgriezīsies, drīzāk kā uzlabot vietējos apstākļus, lai būtu mazāk iemeslu emigrēt.

Bez ģeogrāfiskā redzējuma ir vēl divi citi – valstiskais, kas vērtē demogrāfiju no valsts un pilsoņu interešu viedokļa, un tautiskais vai etniskais, kas to vērtē no vienas tautas interešu redzējuma.
Valsts primārās funkcijas svarīguma kārtībā ir nosargāt valsts suverenitāti, aizstāvēt savu pilsoņu intereses un labklājību. Valsts uzņem pilsoņu kopumā iedzīvotājus kuri ir gatavi aizstāvēt valsti, padodās tās likumiem, un piedalās vai integrējās valsts sabiedrībā. Līdz ar to tai interesē minimalizēt savā vidē naidīgus vai kaitīgus cilvēkus. Valsts interesēs iedzīvotāju samazināšanās nav iztukšošanās, bet drīzāk normalizēšanās. Ja 1996.g. 72% iedzīvotāju bija pilsoņi un 27% nepilsoņi, tad 2013.g. attiecīgie skaitļi ir 84% un 13%. Tātad valsts ir drošāka un viengabalaināka, jo pilsoņu procents ievērojami pieaudzis, un lielākais nestabilitātes elements valstī, nepilsoņi, ir sarucis uz pusi. Ja no 2000. gadā dzimušajiem bērniem 81% ir pilsoņi, 17% nepilsoņi, un 2% ārvalstu pilsoņi, un 2013.g. dzimušie jau sastāda 93% pilsoņu, 5% nepilsoņu, un nepilni 2% ārvalstnieku, ir saredzams valstiskām interesēm pozitīvs virziens arī nākotnē.

Valstij arī rūp piesaistīt visu savu pilsoņu kopumu. Nesen pieņemtais pilsonības likums pieļauj dubultpilsonību ar draudzīgām valstīm nezaudējot Latvijas pilsonību.

Valsts normalizēšanās nozīmē valsts struktūras, ekonomika, un ārpolitika atbilst tās lielumam, interesēm un ģeopolitiskai videi. Suverenitātes nosargāšanai Latvija iestājās ES, NATO, nākamgad eirozonā, un orientējās rietumu virzienā; darbības, kas atbilst ģeopolitiskai realitātei un pilsoņu ilgtermiņa interesēm. Ekonomika vēl klibo, bet rodās jaunas technoloģiski un idejiski attīstītas firmas uz kurām balstīsies iedzīvotāju daudzums un labklājība. Pie valsts normalizešanās jāieskaita preambulas rakstīšana un tās pievienošana Satversmei.

Tautiskais redzējums vērtē tautas fiziskās izdzīvošanas spējas un vērtības – savas valodas, kultūras, un vēstures izturību. Tāpat kā valstiskais redzējums, tautiskais arī mainās pozitīvā virzienā. Latviešu procents valstī cēlies no 52% 1990.g. uz 62% 2013.g. Ja 1990.g. 56,5% dzimušo bija latvieši un 43,5% pārējie, tad 2012.g. proporcijas ir 68% un 32%. 2012.g. no Latvijas izbrauca zem viena procenta latviešu, kamēr minoritātes izbrauca divarpus reizes vairāk. Ir bijušas trīs lielākas minoritāšu emigrācijas kopš 1990.g. Pirmā, deviņdesmitajos gados kopā ar padomju armijas izvākšanu, otrā ar Latvijas iestāšanos ES, un trešā pēc 2008.g. ekonomiskās krīzes. Emigrācijas tempi pēdējos trīs gados samazinājas. Tautiskais redzējums arī rūpējas par dzimstību Latvijā.

Laiks ir valstiskā un tautiskā redzējuma pusē. Ģeogrāfiskam redzējumam ir tieši otrādi. Šī redzējuma aizstāvji arī saprot, ka laiks viņiem nav labvēlīgs, tādēļ izstrādajuši scenāriju kā garantēt sev labu iznākumu. Ģeogrāfiskā redzējumā saplūst Krievijas ārpolitiskās un vietējo naudīgo intereses. Lai gan atkabināt Latviju no rietumu institūcijām būtu grūti, tā var kalpot kā Krievijas ārpolitikas ausis un mute ES, NATO, eirozonā, un citur. Vietējie naudīgie saredz dilstošo skaitu un rietumu virzienu valstī kā ierobežojumus savai izaugsmei. Naudīgie Latvijā sastāv no pazīstamiem latviešu oligarhiem un daudz bagātākiem un ietekmīgākiem cittautiešiem, kuriem pazīstamā un saprotamā austrumu biznesa vide ir pievilcīgāka nekā rietumu likumīgā un konkurencē pamatotā.

Scenārija pamati ielikti – veicināt emigrāciju, piemēram, apejot Satversmi un valodas referendumu, ieviešot de facto divvalodību citējot ekonomiskus un patērētāju vajadzības iemeslus. Rīgā tikpat kā neiespējami atrast darbu neprotot krievu valodu. Bez krievu valodas zināšanām darbs jābrauc meklēt ārzemēs. Saceltā trauksme par Latvijas iztukšošanu pieradina sabiedrību pie domas ka imigrācija no austrumiem nepieciešama un neizbēgama.

Uzturēšanas atļauju programmu (UA) 2010.g. uzsāka pēc Aināra Šlesera iniciatīvas. Atļaujas pieprasa NVS (Krievijas dibinātā „Neatkarīgo valstu savienība”) pilsoņi, 80-90% krievu. Par mazu atlīdzību, Latvija piedāvā izdevīgu uzturēšanās atļauju, ar tiesībām bez vīzas uzturēties ES. Citas valstis piedāvā līdzīgas atļaujas, bet par augstāku cenu un valstij izdevīgiem noteikumiem. Patlaban šādas atļaujas ir starp seši lidz astoņi tūkstots ar 500 miljonu latu ieguldījumu. Svarīgs nav UA skaits, bet gan ieguldījumu lielums. Nauda neizbēgami pārtaps par politisku spēku. Līdz ar to Latvija vispirms zaudēs kontroli pār valsts politisko diskursu, tad pār iekš un ārlietām, un iespējams suverenitāti.

Lai ilgtermiņā nodrošinātu Latvijas teritoriju Krievijas interesēm, pie reizes izlabojot „vēsturisko kļūdu”, jāmaina iedzīvotāju sastāvs ar imigrācijas palīdzību. Reizē paātrinās latviešu emigrāciju un ar demokrātijas palīdzību pārvērtīs Latviju uz visiem laikiem. Latvija ir atkarīga no Krievijas enerģijas, kopā ar spēcīgu un organizētu ārzemju kapitālu, pretestība Krievijas interesēm Latvijā būs nenozīmīga.

Latvijā jāsaprot situācijas nopietnība. Nevar dzīvot ilūzijās ka „jaunā nauda” izvilks Latviju saulītē. Ļaut geogrāfistu „iztukšošanas” scenārijam piepildīties būtu noziegums pret Latvijas valsti un tautu. Otrie divi redzējumi patur valsts nākotnes virzienu Latvijas valsts rokās. Jāpiedomā kā apturēt pilsoņu emigrāciju, veicināt dzimstību un palīdzēt neapmierinātiem atrast laimi citur pasaulē.

Non-citizen voting in Latvian local elections

One of Russia’s foreign policy objectives in the former Soviet space is non-citizen voting in local elections. The upcoming Latvian municipal elections again put this issue on the front burner.

In the early 90’s, several international organizations (IO) designated the OSCE (Organisation for Security Cooperation in Europe) to recommend that Latvia grant non-citizens the right to vote in municipal elections.

Pressure also came from Russia, which uses the OSCE recommendation to harass Latvia to advance its geopolitical interests. The IO were motivated by several considerations: strengthening democracy in the new post-Soviet states, extending Western influence, and ensuring long-term stability in Eastern Europe. What concerns the IO most is ethnic conflict, as in Yugoslavia, and which see the solution in political participation.
The West emphasizes civil, social and political rights. The OSCE recommendation adds political rights for non-citizens. However, the principle of national sovereignty does not allow foreign countries to dictate citizenship standards to other states, resulting in a conflict between the OSCE recommendation, international convention and Latvia’s standard of political rights only with citizenship. The EU has no policy regarding non-citizen participation in local elections and only allows citizens of member states to do so.

Estonia’s Choice

Estonia adopted the OSCE recommendation for one reason. When restoring citizenship in 1991 on the principle of state continuity, Estonians were about 62% of the population, and with inclusion of pre-war minorities, citizenship rights were granted to around 68% of the population. The strict Estonian position on citizenship caused Soviet era migrants in the Narva region to threaten separation from Estonia when around 8% non-citizens adopted Russian citizenship. To prevent secession, Estonia expanded citizenship eligibility and adopted the OSCE recommendation, thus allowing non-citizens to vote every four years in local elections. However, they could not join or start a political party. This pleased the OSCE, but did not change Russian foreign policy towards Estonia.

Latvia’s Choice

Latvia did not accept the recommendation because there was no secessionist threat. Latvia sees political participation as a citizen’s prerogative. Neither the Latvian Constitution nor its laws permit voting for non-citizens. In 1991 the low proportion of Latvians raised concerns about a possible Soviet migrant takeover of power. The first Citizenship Act of 1993 highlights this concern. Heated debate with the IO forced a change in the law, and by 1998 it was modified, removing the citizenship window system and allowing all Latvian born children to obtain citizenship on an ius soli basis, thus increasing the number of citizens.

Definition of Non-citizens

Residents of a state consist of citizens, foreign nationals, the stateless and near-citizens. Foreign nationals are individuals who legally reside in or visit a country. Stateless persons have no citizenship whatsoever and legally reside in a country but without its diplomatic protection. Near-citizens, or in Latvia nepilsoņi, have civil, social, and partial political rights, including diplomatic protection from Latvia, that is, they are almost citizens. Countries that use this status can adapt it to meet its needs.

In Latvia, political rights of near-citizens include being up to half of all members in a political party. As party members, they can defend their interests by influencing all party activities. Allowing voting in municipal elections would give an additional political right.

Latvian near-citizens status was a compromise with the OSCE’s desire to involve the stateless in political decisions. Non-citizens make up around 13% of the population. Of all citizens, 72% are Latvians and 28% are minorities. Of the total population, from 2001 – 2011 minorities declined by 23%, Latvians by 6%, and near-citizens also decreased significantly. About one-third are of pensionable age. Non-citizen Latvian born minor children are entitled to citizenship as a parental decision.

Russia’s strategic goal is to create a Russian led Eurasian Economic Union. This strategy is seen in its diaspora policy, investment policy and initiation of the language referendum to make Russian Latvia’s second official language. Russia is not interested in minority integration into Latvian society, but manipulates human rights issues to exacerbate ethnic relations. Russia’s demand that Latvia grant citizenship automatically to non-citizens is absurd as this disputes the very legitimacy of the Latvian state.

Ideological Victory

With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Cold and ideological wars were won by the West, affording a sense of superiority for its understanding of politics. The idea that pre-existing political models could be used in Eastern Europe without deeper analysis even though no historical precedent for such major change in a large area involving hundreds of millions of people existed is a consequence of this feeling of superiority. Western democratic interpretations became universally applicable. But if a political ideology is almost perfect, historical comparisons to it are unnecessary and potentially devastating. The consequence of the Soviet legacy is one such damaging criticism and thus is ignored. Years after the Soviet collapse, Western researchers realized the limitations of the pre-existing model approach. The OSCE recommendation was created in this ideological victory period.


Citizenship is never granted unconditionally. No country grants it to all who incidentally live in its territory. Citizenship implies a degree of exclusion: an open concept of citizenship is a contradiction. Citizenship is based on consanguinity (jus sanguinis) or territory (jus soli). Many countries use both, but none use jus soli exclusively. The Hague Convention on Nationality (1930), permits states to define its own citizens. The Convention, however, limits absolute freedom in deciding national citizenship: all inhabitants have a right to citizenship; states must avoid creating statelessness; no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of citizenship; a change in marital status should not affect the other partner’s nationality. Citizenship should serve as a basis for civil rights, political participation, social support, identity and that which serves the common good of society. The European Convention on Nationality (1997) tried to standardize EU member states nationality laws.

Assumptions about citizenship differ in Western and Eastern Europe. For Western countries, citizenship is associated with an individual’s legal obligations to the state and international law, grounded in civil, social and political rights, civil society, ‘shallow’ national culture and identity and, at least in theory, ethnic neutrality of the state, and monitoring the state applying abstract human rights standards.

Eastern Europe adds political will, a desire for ‘deep’ national cultural identity to the concept of citizenship. This desire for deep identity contrasts with the West’s shallow vision: it is hard to reconcile both views. Citizenship as a norm is not a neutral term as all countries saturate it with values, ideals and ideological significance.

Latvian citizenship tries to deal with the consequences of the Soviet legacy. Civic and national identities being weak, ethnic identity remained. Latvians assume their usual position as a minority which must be defended. Today, Soviet migrants must adjust themselves to minority status in a small country, not the war-winning plurality they had become accustomed to. In order to maintain their former status, migrants use Western minority and human rights rhetoric. Latvians must acclimatize themselves to majority status.

In 1941 Soviet authorities imposed unilaterally Soviet citizenship on Latvia, which is not recognized in international law. The Soviets granted citizenship to individuals on a request basis without naturalization requirements. However, this is how non-citizens often understand the citizenship acquisition process.

Latvia wants the security of loyalty. Offering political rights before showing loyalty does not offer security. Political rights without citizenship separate the responsibility for their actions expected of citizens. Responsibility required by law against anti-state activity cannot be demanded of foreigners or non-citizens. If citizenship is not included in one’s identity, there is no relationship between non-citizen’s political rights and his loyalty to the state.

Europe has shown that states are built on a core group, usually an ethnicity. In national consciousness the civic and ethnic, consciously or not, are closely related. Balts want to experience this form of national identity, to create a national consciousness from differing social and ethnic groups. Majority and minority cultures cannot play the same role in society. Promoting minority cultures has limitations. International and national agreements prohibit discrimination against individuals on ethnic, racial or other grounds. Minority group rights as groups are not internationally recognized, and are not in the UN human rights declaration. If group rights were to become an international standard, this would take away the legitimacy and sovereignty of states, dismantling the existing international framework, which is based on sovereign states. In 1995 the EU adopted the General Convention Protecting National Minorities recognizing several approaches to ethnic diversity, allowing states to choose their own path.

Necessary changes

The hoped for rapid democratisation of the post-Soviet space in the early 90’s did not materialize, for national development requires several generations. Western resistance to East European use of the same nation-building tools they themselves had used for centuries is illogical. New EU member states must be allowed to evolve and address nation-building challenges using the Western pattern.

It’s surprising how little violence there has been in the democratization process. Western assumptions that East European nationalism is based on ancient hatreds which the Soviet period froze creating a Pax Sovieticus, thus disallowing ethnic hatred to flourish is absurd.

Allowing non-citizens to vote or not vote in local elections puts Western and Latvian tenets at cross purposes. If political participation is an important principle for the OSCE, the Latvian political option offered to non-citizens meets these requirements. The OSCE recommendation should include them as acceptable standards of participation. The OSCE must also recognize the Soviet legacy as a legitimate historical experience and respect Baltic security concerns. The Eurocentric understanding of history, the ideological victory euphoria and bureaucratic inertia should be discarded. Unfortunately, the West is faced with a dilemma: to accept the Soviet legacy as legitimate would require taking some responsibility for the consequences of WWII up to 1991. This step the West is not yet ready to take.