Leaders of the 3 Baltic States
A look at the heads of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia:
Vytautas Landsbergis, 58, a former music professor, was the first non-Communist elected to head a Soviet republic. Upon his election in March, 1990, he immediately rammed through a declaration of independence and withstood the Kremlin’s wrath when it cut off oil supplies for a time and sent soldiers and police on a rampage through the republic. Landsbergis had been openly critical of President Bush’s cautious policy on the Baltics.
Anatolijs Gorbunovs, 49, was a Communist Party functionary for eight years before his election as head of Latvia’s Parliament in 1988. He once denounced pro-independence demonstrators, but shortly after his reelection last year declared Latvia’s “transitional independence.” Gorbunovs must tread a more careful road than Landsbergis--non-Latvians make up half the population, including a combative Russian minority.
Arnold Ruutel, 63, was a member of the Communist Party since 1964 but quit to support Estonia’s secession drive. He has cultivated Western support and sought better relations with neighboring Soviet republics. Ruutel had refused any thought of signing Mikhail S. Gorbachev’s Union Treaty, which he said would be “complying with the will of the minority.” Ethnic Russians are in the majority in some northern regions.