Conflict on the borders of the Russian Empire, whatever the complexion of the government controlling it, has been a constant feature of the past 90 years, most recently with Russia's brief war with Georgia in August 2008. In 1919, as the smaller nations on Russia's borders sought self-determination while the Civil War raged between the Whites and the Bolsheviks, the Paris Peace Conference struggled with a situation complicated by mutually exclusive aims. The Baltic States of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia were seen by both the Russians and the Western Allies as a protective buffer for their own territory, which led to the curious situation that the Peace Conference requested German troops to remain temporarily in the Baltic territory they had occupied during the First World War to block the westward spread of the Bolshevik Revolution. The ongoing civil war in Russia further complicated the issue, because if the Whites should win and restore the legitimate Russian government, the Peace Conference could not divide up the territory of a power that had been one of the original members of the Entente. The US politician Herbert Hoover described Russia as ˜Banquo's ghost at the Paris Peace Conference, an invisible but influential presence, and nowhere can this be more clearly seen than in the deliberations over the Baltic States.
Charlotte Alston is Senior Lecturer in History at Northumbria University and is the author of Russia s Greatest Enemy: Harold Williams and the Russian Revolutions (I.B.Tauris, 2007) and Piip, Meierovics, Voldemaras: The Baltic States. Makers of the Modern World, the Peace Conferences 1919-23 and their Aftermath (Haus, 2010). She has published journal articles and book chapters on Russia's relations (both cultural and diplomatic) with the West, the history of the Russian revolution and the civil war, the post-First World War peace settlements, and the international influence of Tolstoy's thought.
Alan Sharp (editor) has been a senior manager in the eletronics and chemical industries. He is now a management consultant based in England and a director of Coverdale Scanas, a Danish consultancy firm. He has trained many top executives in business and governmental agencies in building effective teams.