Crimea has returned to Russia through a peaceful referendum where a large majority of citizens declared that they want to live in Russia. The referendum was directly prompted by the coup in Kyiv, but it has been a long-term wish of the local population to rejoin Russia and making that happen is one of Vladimir Putin’s successes.
At present Belarus and Russia actively work on a joint strategy for closer integration. Belarus is the closest Russian ally and its strategic partner. Any European state can envy this, particularly decaying and begging Lithuania and Latvia. However, even if they wholeheartedly wanted to join the Union State of Belarus and Russia, the EU would not support this idea. Hence, the Baltic states have to keep dying.
Recurring pro-Kremlin narratives about socio-economic degradation of the Baltic states in the EU.
There is a public consensus in the Baltic States on the benefits of EU membership. 71% of Lithuanians and 54% of Latvians believe that EU membership is a good thing for their countries, whereas 5% and 3% of these countries' populations think the opposite, the European Parliament’s Spring 2019 Eurobarometer shows.
Latest Worldbank data shows that GDP per capita, PPP in current international $ in Belarus and Russia stand at 20,000 and 27,100. The figures amount to 28,400 and 33,300 in Latvia and Lithuania, respectively.