It’s been a topic of debate by the individual countries several times in the past, but the first serious collective discussion of restitution for physical and human losses during the Soviet occupation took place just recently in Riga.
The three justice ministers of the Baltic states struck an agreement of understanding whereby each agree to demand compensation allowing the Russian Federation to make amends for damages it caused. Urmas Reinsalu, Estonia’s justice minister said that Russia has itself declared to be the legal successor to the USSR and is recognized as such internationally. The ministers agreed that the uninterrupted legally continuity de jure of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania allow the presentation of such demands for restitution.
It was stated that the claim will contain proposals for both financial compensation as well as a demand for atonement in the form of an apology.
Firstly a common method of assessment of the damages received agreement. Thereafter a claim of compensation based on international law will be drawn up accompanied by a legally based process of serving it to the Russian Federation.
Reinsalu stressed that Estonia has not withdrawn or plans to withdraw unilaterally from these demands. He stated that in addition to the joint claim of the three countries there remains the possibility of claims by specific individuals to Russia as well as private enterprises involving the use of slave labour during the occupation.
In Estonia an international commission of experts has studied the damages of the occupying regimes and ended their research in 2004. (Pikemalt Eesti Elu 13. nov paberlehes.)
Compensation from Russia for occupation losses returns to Baltic states agenda Estonian Life