Incorporation of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania into the USSR. June – August 1940
By the summer of 1940, relations had seriously deteriorated between the Soviet Union and the Baltic states. the Soviet leadership closely monitored violations of the letter and spirit of the mutual assistance agreements it had signed with the Baltic countries in September–October 1939.
In a cipher telegram sent to Soviet plenipotentiary representatives in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Finland on June 14, 1940, V. Molotov described the attitude of the Soviet government towards the activities of the so-called ‘Baltic Entente’, which it considered to be a violation of the mutual assistance agreements signed by the Baltic countries with the USSR in the autumn of 1939. Official declarations were sent to the governments of Lithuania (June 14), Latvia and Estonia (June 16), proposing to form new governments that would respect the mutual assistance agreements with the USSR and to allow the dislocation of additional Soviet troops to the countries.
Agreements on sending new Soviet army units to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia were signed on June 15–17. On June 17, the Soviet People’s Commissar of Defence S. Timoshenko proposed to Stalin to create the Baltic Military District and prepare it for war. the Soviet Union’s actions were well received by many European politicians. For example, in an official conversation with a Soviet diplomat, British Minister of Economic Warfare H. Dalton expressed his wholehearted approval of Soviet actions in the Baltic region.
On June 17–21, new pro-Soviet governments were formed in the three Baltic states. They announced early elections to parliament and local self-government bodies, promulgated an amnesty for political prisoners, and permitted the activities of communist parties. In the republics, meetings were held in support of the dislocation of additional Soviet troops and the formation of new governments, leading to conflicts between demonstrators and nationalists.
Elections to the National Parliaments of Latvia and Lithuania and the State Duma of Estonia were held on July 14–15. On July 21, these supreme legislative bodies voted for the entry of the Baltic republics into the USSR.
On August 3–6, the Supreme Soviet of the USSR adopted laws on the incorporation of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia into the USSR as Soviet republics.