What we're fighting for
Building allies in Congress
A strong backing in Congress means a secure future for Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. As a direct result of past Baltic-Americans activism, there is a House Baltic Caucus and a Senate Baltic Freedom Caucus. These are our strongest allies in Congress, many of whom cosponsor bills we support.
Baltivist has also worked with the Joint Baltic American National Committee to organize Baltic Advocacy Days. Since 2018, these annual events have been ways that Baltivists like you could directly speak with Congressional staffer to advocate for our issues.
We support and stand with the Ukrainian people as they fight for their lives, freedom, and sovereignty. As Baltic-Americans, we support Ukraine however we can. This includes advocating Congress to supply Ukraine more quickly, accepting Ukrainian refugees, and combatting all aspects of Russian hybrid warfare (disinformation, cybersecurity, energy, and traditional warfare).
Freedom for Belarus
We believe in the freedom of our Belarusian sisters and brothers from the brutal Lukashenka dictatorship. Thousands of people have been imprisoned for fabricated reasons, held in inhumane conditions, and punished for speaking out. We stand with our friends from the Belarusian-American Association (BAZA) in calling for the freedom of Belarus. To secure freedom, the US needs to continue imposing sanctions against top Lukashenka regime officials and help create an environment for a peaceful transition of power to a free Belarus.
We support a strong deterrence in the Baltics to maintain peace. To support a deterrence, we support strong funding for the European Deterrence Initiative and Foreign Military Financing for the Baltic Countries. We also strongly support a permanent US troop deployment in the Baltics.
Fake news is dangerous. It's even more dangerous when in the hands of an enemy state. Funding for programs to help fight against the Kremlin’s propaganda and disinformation campaigns needs to be increased. Levels allocated for the Global Engagement Center and other programs are insufficient when scaled against the massive amounts that the Kremlin puts into discrediting the United States, its allies, and Western values.
The late Senator John McCain called Russia "A gas station run by a mafia that is masquerading as a country." At a time when sanctions against Russia are high, Russia maintains its economy through gas and oil. These need to be cut off. Baltivist intern Katrina Abuls is currently working on a project to see how the US can get ahead of Russia on what we're calling the "Russian Gazproblem".
Three Seas Initiative
The Three Seas Initiative is a multi-billion dollar infrastructure development program for the region stretching between the Baltic, Black and Adriatic Seas. The program has a special focus on infrastructure, energy and digital interconnectivity. The improvement of the infrastructure connections of the 12 states is an essential condition for building an area of stability and prosperity, which in turn can greatly contribute to wider EU stability and prosperity. Setting a new dynamic of cooperation among the countries lying at the Eastern border of the EU on the North – South Axis will advance economic growth and help to bridge the East – West economic gap, within the EU. We support the inclusion of Ukraine and Georgia in the Three Seas Initiative.
Baltic Jewish History
Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian Jewish culture and history are part of our shared Baltic culture and history. We believe in cultural integration and historical education on this subject. This issue is not political, and is cultural instead. Please consider istening to "Songs of the Vilna Ghetto" on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4o9FHV7C562Q2CJeY8zGtb?si=mtGoKGxcQSCS3Fygg9dIOQ&utm_source=copy-link
Get involved with our friends!
Joint Baltic American National Committee (JBANC)
Established in 1961, JBANC has been the flagship representative of the Baltic-American communities in front of Congress and the rest of the federal government. To this day, JBANC continues to lead Baltic-American advocacy efforts through day-to-day lobbying efforts, maintaining a strong relationship with the Baltic caucuses, organizing Baltic Advocacy Days, and more. Please take a moment to sign up for their newsletter and donate.
Baltic Call to Action Unit
Around 4x per year, the American Latvian Association sends a call-to-action urging subscribers to email their members of Congress. Each call-to-action will begin with an introductory email giving background information and a separate email for each of your three members of Congress that details a personalized message for each with additional background information. When you see an email from the American Latvian Association’s Call to Action Unit, make sure to follow up and send a note to your members of Congress. Sign up here.
Baltic American Freedom League (BAFL)
From BAFL.com: The Baltic American Freedom League’s programs are designed to assist the development of democracy and market economies in the Baltic countries, to assure the security of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania from outside aggression, to increase awareness of Baltic history and culture and to promote strong, friendly and effective bilateral relations and policies between the United States and the Baltic countries.
Lithuanian Americans and Allies for Democracy (LAAD)
From LithuanianAAD.com: We helped elect President Biden in 2020. Then we helped elect Senators Warnock and Ossoff. After January 6th, we regrouped and are now helping to defend our democracy from right-wing extremism and authoritarianism.
*Please note that Baltivist is bi-partisan. Any Baltic Republican organizations would be listed here too, we just haven’t heard of any.
Director: Vytas Aukštuolis
Vytas is an experienced advocacy professional. He currently works as a senior state legislative analyst with the American Council of Life Insurers, which is a major DC-based trade association representing over 90% of the life insurance industry. He sits on the Lithuanian American Community's Public Affairs Board, volunteers with JBANC, and maintains a close relationship with the Central & East European Coalition.
Please feel free to introduce yourself, share ideas, intelligence, or anything your organization is promoting. Especially please feel free to reach out if your Central/Eastern European organization needs help turning passion into concrete action.