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  • Hi. Here's my answer to your questions.

    For the record, I'm Canadian, 34, and university educated, with a degree in history, and a focus Soviet history under Stalin (as you may guess given my RPGNet handle!). Politically I am on the centre-right of Canadian politics.

    I know the names of the countries (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia), and the names of the capitals (Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn), but not the currencies.

    I know the broad outline of Baltic history. For your country, Lithuania, in particular, I know that it was a pagan nation until well into the second millenium. I *think* it was involved in warfare with the Teutonic Knights. Where Lithuania really enters my historical knowledge is with the rise of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the union of the Crowns with Poland in the later 1300s (I want to say 1386). The next bits that pop into my knowledge are the Union of Lublin with Poland, and then the absorption of LIthuania by Russia durin the second and third partitions of Poland in the 1790s.

    My knowledge of Lithuania during the Tsarist period is sadly lacking, other than knowing it was in the Pale of Settlement.

    I'm aware of the German occupation in World War One, and three-way wars for Lithuanian independance in the 1910s and 1920s between the Soviets, Poland and the Republic of Lithuania, and how Vilnius was annexed by Poland in the early twenties, so the the temporary capital was Kaunas. I know of the Hitler-Stalin pact, and how Lithuan was forced into a "friendship treaty" with the USSR in 1939 that turned into full-blown occupation in 1940. After that were the mass deportations and killings by the NKVD, the German invasion and more killings, and then yet more killings by the NKVD after the Soviet reconquest.

    I know the broad outline of LIthuanian history from 1945 to 1990, and then there's the declaration of independence, the battle over the Vilnius radio station, and final independence in 1991. LIthuania joined NATO and the EU in the early 2000s.

    I have no idea who the President of Lithuania is, but I think it has a parliamentary system of government.

    My knowledge of Latvia and Estonia are of similar detail (less medieval independence, more Teutonic Knights, Danes, Swedes and Poles).

    I know no real anecdotes about the Baltic states other than the summaries of history I just gave, and I'm sad to say that the Baltic states do not really enter into my consciousness or that of Canada. Latvia got some press when a former professor of McGill University in Montreal became President. The Baltic States used to get press every August 23, before 1991, on the anniversary of the Hitler-Stalin Pact. This was largely a Cold War excuse for us to blast the Soviets for their crimes against small nations.

    There are no real stereotypes about the Baltic States, as we don't really think of you that much, unfortunately. I would thing of the Baltic States as western nations which had an unfortunately long experience under Russian and Soviet domination. I have no idea what the diet of the Baltic States would be, nor the national sports, although I remember the Dynamo Riga hockey team doing a tour of Canada in the 1980s.

    I know the flags of the Baltic States, and flags of the old Baltic SSRs.

    My reaction to the Baltic States being attacked would be that it would be a matter of war for Canada, as we are allied via NATO. As to a non-specific East European country being attacked, it would depend on the country. If it was a NATO ally, it would be war. If it was, say, Moldova or Belarus, I would obviously not be in favour of it, but I wouldn't necessarily see it as a matter of war, as we in Canada are not allied to either of those two countries. I think the ongoing Russian provocations agains the Baltic States (computer conflict with Estonia, economic conflict with Latvia) are dangerous in the extreme, but I think Putin is too smart to let it go too far.

    I have never met anyone from the Baltic States, and I've only met one person with any Baltic descent (Estonia, for the record).

    For place names, I think Vilnius instead of Vilna or Wilno, Tallinn instead of Reval, but Memel instead of Klaidepia (I probably have that last one wrong. Which is why I think of it as Memel.)

    Hopefully this helps.
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