"Good afternoon, dear listeners, it is 12:30. While enjoying this beautiful, sunny Sunday, please stay tuned for 'The World in Half an Hour'. Your humble servant is, as always, Waldemar Fiorarz."
"Next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, the leaders of the Baltic League will convene in Skuoda. The main issues will of course be the expected enlargement of the League. We speak about this with the director of the Institute for International Relations of the WiLASz [Academy of Sciences, ed.], professor Onute Staniszkiene."
WF: "Welcome to our studio, professor. It's always a pleasure having you here."
OS: "Thank you."
WF: "Professor, may I ask your prognosis for the outcome of the summit? Will Belarus and the Republic of Petrograd and Novgorod be allowed into the Baltic League?"
OS: "If you had asked me the same question one year ago, the answer would simply be 'No'. But a lot of things have changed since then. You know, Mr. Fiorarz, it used to be like this: a decision of the Sejm [the RTC's parliament, ed.] was almost automatically a decision of the League. It was simple as that. But now, other League members seem to have become much more aware of their own rights. They feel entitled to have their own point of view and defend it, even if that means opposing the RTC. I'm afraid the days of our dominance over the League are over, and me must learn to cope with that. Not that that is necessarily a bad thing, though."
WF: "How do you explain this change?"
OS: "First of all, because the world has changed. At an earlier point, smaller league members like Estonia, Latvia and Skuodia were still fresh after their snorist past, and under the mother wing of the RTC they wouldn't even have dared to challenge us. But now, these countries have grown self-conscious. They are on an equal footage with us now, and as a result we have not the absolute majority anymore. Another thing that doubtlessly contributed is the Floridian war. While I still believe our participation in the war was justified, I must admit that we made a few capital mistakes in the beginning. You know, this whole stupid thing with general Aldendorf, and our own government pretending more or less that it was actually us who won the war... All this made us loose our face in front of the whole world, and we enraged some of our best allies."
WF: "I see. But you still haven't answered my first question. Do you think Belarus and the Republic of Petrograd and Novgorod will be admitted as new League members?"
OS: "Well, in a way I díd answer that question, because... You know my own point of view: as I've pointed out here before, I am opposed in both cases. Now, I admit that Mr. Kotau is doing a wonderful job in Belarus, but we all know that Belarus is far from ready for League membership. It may become so perhaps after ten years, but to achieve that Mr. Kotau and his associates need to remain in charge for a long stretch of time. Please don't misunderstand me. I am not at all against close cooperation with Belarus. In fact, that's what we are doing already. But league membership has other requirements too: harmonisation of currencies and prices and all that. From that point of view, Belarus has a long way to go. People seem to believe that membership of the Baltic League is the only way to achieve cooperation, which is of course very untrue..."
WF: "But that's your opinion, professor. Does our government share it?"
OS: "You interrupted me. Yes, that's what I was going to say. Our government shares that opinion, although I'm not entirely confident it is going to defend it fiercely enough. With its current preoccupation Southeast Florida, its attention in other matters has rather weakened... And then, we have this weird application of the Republic of Petrograd and Novgorod. Of course, it's too ridiculous for words! Have you any idea what that would mean for the League? That country is still so completely embedded in post-snorist Russia's structures, that frankly, I can't imagine what would happen. But nevertheless some of our fellow league members seem to support that application, too. Latvia welcomed it immediately, and both the Nassians and the Skuodians are going to support it, too. Similar sounds come from Estonia. Their logic seems to be that it would be unfair to accept one candidate member and turn down the other. And that, Mr. Fiorarz, is exactly what I believe Arapov [the RPN's president, ed.] was playing at."
WF: "So they will become League members?"
OS: "I don't know. But I'm sure it will be tough. Much depends on the stance of the Scandinavian League members. If Sweden, Finland, Rygen and Slesvig-Holstein are going to support Belarus and the RPN as well, then we are lost. Otherwise, we are simply divided. It might even come to a vote, which would be unprecedented, since the League has always operated on a base of consensus."
WF: "Would all this affect the status of Ukraine as well, professor?"
OS: "Hard to tell. Currently, Ukraine is a candidate member and may or may not be raised to the status of full membership. Ukraine's progress will be assessed during the next few days. Of course I cannot predict the outcome, but personally I don't see any problem here. Basically, Ukraine fulfills all the requirements to become a full member, except one: it is not a Baltic Sea state. From that point of view, allowing Ukraine to become a full member would mean a far-reaching redefinition of the League's very fundaments. What if the next application for membership comes from, say, Georgia, Greece or Montrei?"
WF: "One last question, professor. What is your opinion about the recent developments in Latvia?"
OS: "Ah, Mr. Fiorarz, better don't ask, because it is painful even to think about it. You remember that one month ago, during the Floridian war, several prominent members of the Latvian opposition were arrested, including former prime minister Osvalds Talmanis? Well, last week they were formally indicted. Talmanis himself is charged with the most idiotic accusations... from corruption, stealing millions of talars from the state and spying for foreign powers, to raping his secretary and insulting the government. And no doubt they will produce enough fabricated evidence to find him guilty!... Let me tell you one thing, Mr. Fiorarz: I know Talmanis very well, and I bet my head that he has never stolen a single dzienarz!... The worst is, they intend to give him the death penalty for all that nonsense, although officially the death penalty was reintroduced in Latvia only last December. No, Latvia is getting from bad to worse. We can safely state, that now Latvia is not a democracy anymore."
WF: "Isn't that to be expected if a country reelects its own former dictator?"
OS: "Perhaps, perhaps not. I have never been a great fan of Mr. Alksnis [Latvia's prime minister, ed.], but I must admit that I am surprised. After all, under snorist rule he was a relatively mild dictator, who quite successfully guided Latvia towards democracy. The very fact that he managed to survive a decade of desnorisation seemed to prove that he would be able to exist within a democratic constellation. Unfortunately, I was wrong about that, and so were the Latvians who now pay the price."
WF: "Can we expect some actions on the part of the Baltic League against Latvia during the next few days?"
OS: "Bah, no. We are much too occupied with other things. After all, we keep telling ourselves that it was Latvia's own democratic choice, and so on, and so on. I'm afraid our government will do what it always did in such cases: nothing! Only Estonia seems to care, but they simply do not have the power to change anything..."
WF: "But Latvia's short-lived attempt to recolonise Tobago was met with strong international protests, no?"
OS: "Short-lived, why? From what I hear, Tobago is still firmly in the hands of its Latvian-controlled government. British and Venezôlan troups have indeed landed there, but as far as I know they haven't managed to occupy anything else than a few tropical beaches. What's more, thousands of Latvian civilians are being shipped to Tobago as colonists. No, I think Alksnis was right in his calculations... of course, there were some international protests against Latvia's behaviour, but that won't hurt him at all. What counts is that he has it his way."
WF: "Thank you very much, professor. It was enlightning as always. And now, time for some music! Maestro, what do we have for our listeners today?"