Border Issues Bordering on Unsolvable

Just when we were celebrating the establishment (finally!) of a proper border between Russia and Latvia, it now seems we've cracked the champagne bottle open a bit too early. A court case has now been opened regarding the Latvian-Russian border treaty that was signed March 27th. Not even one month later, on April 26th, the Latvian Constitutional Court opened a case to determine if the treaty complies with the Latvian Constitution.

The article of the constitution in question is specifically Article 3, which stipulates that the territory of the Latvian state defined by international agreements consists of four regions. The problem? The signed treaty cedes a region called Abrene to Russia, which was part of one of the four previously-mentioned regions before the Soviet annexation of Latvia in 1940, though the small piece of land has been a de-facto part of Russia since 1991. Since this issue was brought to the court, the court will now have three months to prepare the case, with a tenuous deadline of June 11th for a written statement about the case. The case is scheduled to proceed, even though Latvian lawmakers have already approved the ratification of the border treaty with Russia.

This all comes at a time of great tension between Moscow and the Baltic States, particularly in light of the recent riots on the streets of Tallinn in relation to the removal of a Soviet memorial. All this leads one to ask - will the past ever be buried, or will Soviet-era tensions always strain the relationships between Russia and the Baltic countries?

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