What's Up With Putin's Russia Trying to Redraw Its Borders With Finland and the Baltic States?

Sergei Guneyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

Russia's Defense Ministry published a declaration announcing that Russia's maritime borders with Finland and Lithuania near Kaliningrad would be changed to “correspond to the modern geographical situation.” 

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This is how the declaration reads as reported in TASS.

The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation proposes to approve a list of coordinates of points from which the width of the contiguous zone of Russia near the mainland coast and islands in the Baltic Sea is measured, which will lead to a change in the line of the state border in the area of the Kaliningrad region. This is stated in the draft government decree.

"If the draft list of geographical coordinates of the points determining the position of the baselines from which the width of the territorial sea of the Russian Federation, the adjacent zone of the Russian Federation near the mainland coast and the islands of the Russian Federation in the Baltic Sea is measured, the previously absent system of straight baselines will be established in the southern part of the Russian islands in the eastern part of the Gulf of Finland, as well as in the area of the city of Baltiysk and the city of Zelenogradsk, allowing the use of the relevant water area as internal sea waters of the Russian Federation; the passage of the state border of the Russian Federation at sea will change due to a change in the position of the external border of the territorial sea," the document published on the portal for the publication of draft regulations says.

The declaration goes on to state that Russia intends to change the international borders that were established in 1985.

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The declaration was swiftly removed from public view, and Russian state media assured everyone that Russia did not intend to revise its Baltic borders, no matter what the Defense Ministry published.

 Russia has no intention of revising the line of the state border in the Baltic, a military-diplomatic source told reporters.

"There have been and are no intentions to revise the width of territorial waters, the economic zone, the continental shelf off the mainland coast and the state border line of the Russian Federation in the Baltic," he said

The declaration and its immediate withdrawal naturally raised eyebrows given Putin's War and the expansionist and eliminationist rhetoric coming from Putin and other Russian officials.


BACKGROUND:

Putin's Threats to Sweden and Finland Are Much More Real Than They Are Being Given Credit For – RedState

Did a Quickly Deleted Essay in Russian Media Explain What Vladimir Putin Wants Russia to Gain From the Ukraine Invasion? – RedState

Putin Confidant Says Russia Is 'at War With the West' and Russia Will 'Correct the Mistakes' of NATO Expansion – RedState

Kremlin Newspaper and a Putin Confidant Endorse Genocide as Russia's Final Solution to the Ukraine Problem – RedState


At nearly the same time that Russia announced a unilateral change in its national borders with Finland and Lithuania, its border guards began removing channel boundary markers in the Narva River, delineating the border between Russia and Estonia.

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It's probably no accident that the manual changes to the Russia-Estonia border and the announcement of significant border adjustments on the Defense Ministry website took place as the US, France, Germany, and other Western nations permitted Ukraine to strike military targets inside of Russia using exported weapons.


BACKGROUND:

Biden Reverses Course and Permits Limited Ukrainian Strikes Inside of Russia Using American Weapons

Putin's War, Week 118. Ukraine Gets a Green Light From Biden and France Nearly Has 'Boots on the Ground'


This is not trolling. In 2015, Russian troops and their South Ossetian allies abruptly moved the border markers between South Ossetia and Georgia and ordered Georgian citizens out of the newly annexed territory. We don't know why an announcement of a border change with Lithuania and Finland appeared on the Defense Ministry website with a press release in TASS, but we can rest assured it was, and is, very real. Neither do we know why Russia changed the boundary markers in the Narva River without consultation. These actions are setting the groundwork to gauge a NATO reaction to Russia seizing territory in Finland and the Baltic States. If NATO responds cautiously with Jake Sullivan crapping his drawers over Putin's moods, the next step will be "little green men," followed by Russian troops stepping in to defend Russian minorities in Latvia, Estonia, and on Svalbard Archipelago in Norway.

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BACKGROUND:

How Putin Dismembers NATO Without Firing A Shot. A Scenario From the Cold War – RedState

Latvia Becomes the Newest Target for Russia's Denazification Program – RedState


As I've said many times, you have to pay attention to what your enemies are telling you. Putin has repeatedly said that he does not accept the borders created by the dissolution of the Evil Empire or the end of the Romanov dynasty, for that matter. You don't just wake up one morning and pretend that international borders can be changed at a whim. Putin could conceivably think of a minor land grab against Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, and Finland as an act that could fracture NATO and not bring on a larger conflict. That's how he decided to invade Ukraine.

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