Tag Archives: Baltic States

A Realistic Look at the ‘Russian Threat’ to the Baltic States.

So lets take a look at all these Russian threats to the Baltic states.

Well, there really aren’t any.

Moscow ceded these countries peacefully in the early 90’s. Why do that if you wanted them back, as some now claim? Well, the answer is Russia doesn’t want these places back. It is the largest country in the world and has enough fields and forests already. The idea is preposterous. Putin has even said so. Many times.

The media constantly spews out tales of ‘Russian troops gathering near the border’. Translation: Russian troops in Russia. Big news, eh?

‘Russian warships in the Baltic sea’ they scream. They neglect to mention that the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad just happens to be a Russian military base and is guess where? Yup – the Baltic sea. More non-news.

‘Russian bombers in EU airspace’ is another oft-touted line. What they neglect to say is the Air Force of many countries routinely violate the airspace of others. It has always been thus. Sometimes its training, sometimes it is little more than fun or a playful prod to see hoe fast they can react. America does this too.

Were any of these headlines indicative of any serious intent, the stories would be not about planes over the sea miles offshore or the odd mountain where nobody lives, the stories would be about laden bombers approaching heavily populated cities. But they are not.

The ‘Russian threats’ to the Baltics are manufactured lies in order that the US and the EU can apply pressure on Russia to counter this threat. They don’t actually exist.

The desire to lean on Russia is very much evident in the EU and the US though. For reasons we have no space to go into here, but some of which are mentioned elsewhere here. Continue reading

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Estonia to England – a Road Trip and a Breakdown

This is part five of a tale about driving from the UK to Estonia, and back again. If you missed earlier segments, and want to start from the beginning, it can be found by clicking this link: Road Trip From the UK to Estonia.

Planning the route home, I decided to make some changes and save myself the awful drive from the south of England, around London and oop north.

This time the plan is to stay one night in Lithuania, near the Polish border, one night in Germany/Poland and last night on the North Sea Ferry from Holland. That means 500 miles a day for three days, and a 100 mile ish hop from the boat home.

We set off back bright and early. Going great guns until the forests in the south of Estonia. Is that my imagination or is the van not feeling as gutsy as it might? Diesel is going down mighty fast too – unless I am imagining that too. The van is quite heavy; maybe its in my mind.

Within minutes, with my foot welded to the floor I couldn’t get past 60mph. Then it was 50mph…….

We were losing power – fast.

I was then overcome with the smell of diesel through the heater vents. Yup, it seems like we have a problem.

I pulled over, got out and the diesel smell was overpowering. It was dripping all over the floor at the front of the van. I pulled the bonnet to take a look, and found that the front stop end on the diesel injector leakoff pipes had lost its stop end. That means diesel pours out when the engine is running.

As the law of sod dictates, I used to carry a spare set of leakoff pipes for years – and never needed them. I recently put them away in my garage at home for some reason.

Time for a smoke and a moment of contemplation. I used to work on Mercedes vans once upon a time, there must be a way to cock that up at the side of the road.

I had very little with me in the way of tools, just a very small tool kit with a few odds and ends of hardware in there.

Looking around the engine bay for something that might make a donor stop end didn’t reveal much. However, the headlight auto dips on Merc Sprinter vans run on vacuum, and those vacuum pipes are held on with rubber coupling pipe.

So off comes one of the couplings…….

And into it gets inserted a small wood screw to make a stop end. The bore of the pipe is a little larger than the screw, and the original leak off pipe, so I found in the van two small zip ties, one to seal the thread of the screw, and
one to secure the pipe on the injector.

The job’s a good un, and pretty soon we are rolling again with full fuel pressure.

The run down through Latvia to the hotel in Lithuania is quite uneventful.

Yes, I bought a vignette at the Lithuanian border – about five quid.

You cant really see it from the pic, but this is the Baltic sea through the trees.

I managed to avoid the cops, which is a miracle because they are literally everywhere!

Raping the motorists pocket is the latest idea in the Baltics – probably imported from the UK.

Traffic police is clearly their biggest budget of late, I never saw so many police cars in my life as I did that day. Added to which, they have also discovered the speed camera. They are also everywhere.

It is complete overkill.

To be honest, it makes driving down these long straight roads way less fun than it used to be now. Now it is cat and mouse with the cops and cameras. Like driving in the UK.

The fun has gone. Those 500 or so miles ticked by real slow……. it was a loooooong day!

When I had had enough, we arrive at a random roadside hotel in the early evening in Lithuania, close to the Polish border. I get inside and nobody speaks a word of English. Only Russian. So, this will test my Russian language skills………

“Adin byeley vino, e adin apelsinovi sok, pazhalsta” – Lets have a drink and a think while I look over this Cyrillic menu………
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A Drive from UK to Estonia via Poland, Lithuania & Latvia

I will have a pal of mine in tow who likes the idea of Eastern European women, who wants to see some in their natural habitat en route.

After our side of Europe, this little sojourn will be taking us through Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and the whole length of Estonia. (Going around Kaliningrad as you cant go through there without a transit visa) Continue reading

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