The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office has started an investigation into the legitimacy of the independence of the Baltic states after a request was submitted earlier this month
by two Duma members belonging to Vladimir Putin’s United Russia.
Russia’s Interfax news agency quotes a source in the Russian Prosecutor Generals office saying that “the decision to recognize the Baltic states’ independence is juridically harmful, because it was adopted by an unconstitutional body”. The source also added that the investigation would be similar to the one that the same office made regarding the status of Crimea, ruling recently that the 1954 decision to hand it over to the Ukrainian SSR was illegal.
Independence of the Baltic States was approved and granted by The State Council of the Soviet Union in August 1991. The body was established by Mikhail Gorbachev after the failed August 1991 coup d’etat and was the highest organ of state power until December 1991. The State Council formally recognized the independence of the Baltic states on September 6, 1991, one day after it was established.
The United Russia Deputies who requested the investigation suggested that the State Council itself was unconstitutional and its decisions illegitimate.
In their letter, the Deputies state that it was the State Council of the USSR that adopted the decision to recognize the independence of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, which “discarded a large and strategically important part of the Soviet Union.”
The letter also says that the decisions of The State Council were “hugely damaging to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, national security and the Soviet Union’s defenses.” The letter referred to the decisions of The State Council as “criminal acts” and “especially dangerous state crimes” that qualify as treason.