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What is Baltivist?
Baltivist.com is a mission-based organization focused on protecting the Baltics nations through elevated political activism. As “small” but mighty communities, we can’t solely rely on traditional political activism like protesting and writing letters. As a community, our activism is mighty by watching the news more closely, diving deep into the issues, and intervening with Congress strategically. Baltivist.com is a way to coordinate this elevated political activism.
Protecting our beloved motherlands/fatherlands is about strengthening the ties between our peoples. So we also make an effort to work alongside Baltic-American youth cultural organizations.
A Baltivist (Baltic-activist) is you! That’s someone who cares about our Baltic-American community and works to continue our longstanding tradition of working for freedom for our Baltic community.
What do I get for the $25 annual subscription?
Baltivist.com opens the door for you to make a real difference. Baltivist.com is different from other advocacy organizations, where instead of just asking you to take action, we open the curtain to show you the strategy behind all the actions. This means that you will be given resources you might have never known you needed like a power map, an intelligence feed, and a way to track the relevant bills moving through Congress.
Meanwhile, our Baltivist Team is doing our own homework. We’re meeting with State Department officials, Congress, and other activist organizations. Your subscription supports our back-end efforts.
Intelligence on activity is gathered by our DC-insider friends and allies, including many Baltivists. We also built a social media component, giving you the chance to connect with an exclusively Baltivist-only community.
Issue & Bill Descriptions
We give a rundown of the biggest issues facing our community and the most important bills in Congress addressing those issues. This includes breaking down some weedy topics like the Nord Stream 2 Energy Pipeline, sanctions, and hybrid warfare.
A power map is a way of navigating the “who’s who” of decision makers. For our members, we did the homework to see who the important changemakers are and mapped them out for you.
There is a lot of work behind the scenes for Baltic activism like building relationships, staying ahead of the curve on issues, and organizing ways for Baltivists to get involved. So with member subscriptions, we’d like to eventually hire staff, pay a professional to build a website that comes with an app, and donate to support the efforts of our good friends from the Joint Baltic American National Committee.
Is Baltivist.com a non-profit?
At Baltivist.com, we don’t want to cater to large donor interests, we want to cater to you while also being flexible in how we can best support the Baltics. That’s why we’re a mission-based LLC completely funded by small membership subscriptions. When our membership grows, we hope that we can use our LLC status to build the Baltic activist infrastructure by providing additional financial support to JBANC, other Baltic-American organizations, and eventually hiring staff.
Chief Baltivist - Madelena Miniats
Madelena Miniats is originally from New York City. A year after graduating from Bard College in 2019, she moved to Washington DC to work at the Joint Baltic American National Committee. Working at JBANC allowed her to become more involved with Baltivist, especially in the run up to the first Virtual Advocacy Week in March 2020. Aside from her passion for advocacy and all things Baltic, she is currently exploring different avenues for going to grad school.
Madelena is known to love to start singing Latvian folk songs at any event (until she has no voice) and loves a some herring on rye bread.
Founder - Vytas Aukstuolis
In his day job, Vytas advocates for the American Council of Life Insurance, a DC-based association that represents the multi-trillion dollar life insurance industry. His far greater passion is the continued fight for freedom for the Baltic nations. He believes in the fight for justice, especially for underrepresented voices.
Vytas is a proud Lithuanian-American who grew up attending Saturday Lithuanian school, doing traditional Lithuanian song & dance, and going to Camp Dainava. He lives happily married with his wife & “camp sweetheart”, Kriste, in Columbus, Ohio. Each of us thinks that we make a better potato pancake than the other (although hers is really good).
Advisor - Karl Altau
With the Joint Baltic American National Committee (JBANC) since 1997, Karl Altau has helped conduct extensive advocacy on behalf of the Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian central organizations in the United States. This includes the period of NATO accession for the three Baltic countries and the campaign for Magnitsky sanctions against human rights violators in Russia. He has addressed the Baltic parliaments and the United States Congress on the work of the Baltic-American communities.
A native Virginian with a degree in journalism from Radford University, Altau has lived and studied in Sweden, Finland, Estonia, and at Indiana University. Altau has served on the boards of the Maryland-Estonia Exchange Council, which helps promote the Maryland Sister States Program and the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation from 2004-2017.
Advisor - Karin Schuey
Karin Shuey has been the Estonian American National Council’s Washington, DC Director since 2016, where she has been advancing EANC’s mission to raise awareness on Capitol Hill and in DC’s policy circles regarding transatlantic security issues important to Estonia, the Baltic nations, and the broader region. She is retired from a 22-year active duty career in the U.S. Navy, where she had significant experience with NATO, the U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, Germany, and the Estonian Ministry of Defence and Defence Forces while serving as the U.S. Defense Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Tallinn. Karin holds a B.A. in Russian and East European Studies from the University of Washington in Seattle, an M.A. in National Security Affairs from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA, and an M.A. from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, CA.