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This is a Russo-centric and, what's worse, Soviet-centric designation of Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania.

The 3 countries always considered themselves as having been occupied by the Soviet Union. They were the last to "join" and the 1st to try to leave. They are members of the EU and of NATO. We should not talk about them in a way that questions their sovereignty or suggests that they have any reason to remain Russia's window into the Baltic sea.

If this has been discussed before, it would probably matter a great deal if that discussion took place before Russia's full-scale war of invasion against Ukraine.

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    Can you add some refs to support the claim in the 1st para? Commented Apr 13 at 14:09
  • @thegodsfromengineering I am not sure that I can. It's just something that I have observed in personal conversations. I think the sentiment is that referring to them as a region diminishes their struggle for sovereignty. Perhaps it's the same as the arguments over "Ukraine" vs "the Ukraine." Although obviously Ukrainians are more vocal about it because, at the moment, they are hurting over it much more.
    – wrod
    Commented Apr 13 at 14:21
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    I don't see how "the Baltic states" "questions their sovereignty" any more than other regional descriptors, like "Scandinavia" or "the Balkans" or "Benelux". And I certainly don't see how it's "Russo-centric".
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Apr 13 at 22:09
  • @F1Krazy well, hopefully one of the users from one of those countries can explain it. I am not going to presume to explain it more than I already have.
    – wrod
    Commented Apr 14 at 5:51
  • @F1Krazy looks like the term really didn't appear until the 1930's. Although it existed briefly in the early 1800s.
    – wrod
    Commented Apr 14 at 5:56

2 Answers 2

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I am unaware of a better term to group the three countries when they are considered as a group.

Many contentious discussions occur on Wikipedia talk pages. Following is a comment on Talk:Baltic states. What this reveals is that the term "Baltic states" is used by the Baltic states themselves.

Unofficial?

Why this insistence on describing "Baltic states" as an unofficial term? The term is neither official nor unofficial; it is just a descriptive term! Similar terms like "the Balkans", "the Nordic countries", "Scandinavia", "Western/Eastern/Southern/Northern Europe", "Middle East", "Far East" are all just as "unofficial", sometimes well-defined and sometimes not. The term "Baltic states" is used by i.e. the Baltic Assembly here, by the Lithuanian government here, the Latvian precidency here and the Estonian parliament here. Unofficial? Rubbish!

It is true that before WWII the term also often included Finland (and sometimes even East Prussia), but the current formula in the lede indicates that the term itself is post-WWII, which is false. I suggest making the lede simply stating how the term is used currently, is a geopolitical term, currently typically being used to group three countries:, and then expanding the text in the 'Etymology' section somewhat to explain the shift in meaning of the term. T*U (talk) 13:08, 12 October 2022 (UTC)

In Etymology of the word Baltic,

Since World War II the term has been used to group the three countries Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

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  • Rr: "since WWII" which coincides with the time they were occupied by the Soviet Union. So this reinforces the point. And do remember that when it comes to terms used to abuse groups, their uses by out-groups have different dynamics than their uses by in-groups. Commented Apr 13 at 14:11
  • Maybe their gripe is precisely with being grouped. They are not a region. They are sovereign states with old and rich history. Lithuania was, at one point, the largest country in Europe.
    – wrod
    Commented Apr 13 at 14:26
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Whatever the origin, the term appears endorsed on a political level by the 3 countries now. The Baltic Assembly uses this logo, with the word Baltic in all 3 languages.

enter image description here

Furthermore, the agreement that set that up, even uses 'Baltic States' in its title.

The Baltic Assembly functions on the basis of the Agreement of the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Latvia and the Republic of Lithuania on Parliamentary and Intergovernmental Cooperation of the Baltic States signed in Tallinn on 13 June 1994.

So the term is probably not [that] offensive to them, regardless of your hunches.

FWTW, the more numerous countries that border the Baltic Sea have instead a Council of the Baltic Sea States. (Russia was a member too, but was suspended.)

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    I was going to propose "baltic-sea-states" as an alternative. It's less Soviet-centric. And a government panel set up in 1994 probably did not yet benefit from the historical introspection that came about in the 30 years that followed.
    – wrod
    Commented Apr 13 at 16:02

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