Can Putin claim that the ethnic Russian community in Estonia is threatened? Can he insist that Russians in Estonia beg him to come and provide them safety from an antagonistic Estonian people and government?
According to a recent public declaration called ‘Memorandum 14’, no. The declaration is signed by known non-ethnic-Estonian public figures and organizations including the Open Estonian Fund, Free Alliance EMSL and citizen activists. One of the signatories is parliamentarian Olga Sotnik, a member of the Centre Party, the leader of which, Edgar Savisaar was not critical of Russia for annexing Crimea.
Memorandum 14 supports Estonian sovereignty and condemns a third country from interfering in Estonia’s domestic affairs. “We insist that Estonia’s community problems should be solved in cooperation with representatives of Estonia’s legitimate government. We do not need protection from abroad, we consider the involvement of foreign countries in the internal affairs of Estonia unacceptable.”
The signatories reject separatist sentiments and declarations that are made in the name of the Russian community in Estonia. The initiators of Memorandum 14 claim that the vast majority of local Russians want to live in free and democratic Estonia and that no “protection” from anybody is needed. “We want to live in Estonia. This is our country. Obviously Estonia has problems, including those involving our Russian minority. But these must be solved within the framework of the Estonian constitution. /// We think that in spite of separate ideological positions, we are still unified in stating that our home is an independent and free Estonia.”
Is ‘Memorandum 14’ just a passing anomaly? Does it have depth and staying power within the community? In the absence of any credible empirical evidence one must rely on anecdotal information about the extent of any realistic anti-Estonian movement in Estonia. One cannot dismiss the effectiveness of clandestine efforts of the Kremlin in generating pockets of ‘unrest’ and therefore pleas for Russia’s protection from Moscow-controlled provocateurs in Estonia. (Pikemalt Eesti Elu 17. aprilli paberlehes).
Can Russia mastermind another Crimea in Estonia? (4)