The Keys ep34 The Withdrawal of Russian Forces from Latvia
After regaining independence in August 1991, one of the first acts by the Latvian Parliament was the demand for the withdrawal of the USSR army. After the USSR fell apart, Russia assumed full jurisdiction over its armed forces, and bilateral negotiations commenced. The negotiations had one purpose: to get the Russian army out as soon as possible, no matter the cost. The beginning was hopeful. In February 1992, the first round of the talks concluded, and in March the first army unit pulled out. However, the once amicable relations between Latvia and Russia soon turned sour. The negotiations dragged on for more than 2 years. During the Cold War, the Baltics served as the USSR’s foremost Western bastion; consequently, the concentration of armed forces in these regions was immense.
While the delegates negotiated back and forth, the pull-out took place without any supervision whatsoever. Even though the army has long since withdrawn, Latvia is still strewn with filthy concrete ruins.