Some fear Estonia's Russian-speaking minority could try to follow Crimea's path. But many see the grass as greener in Estonia.
Gordon F. Sander, The Christian Science Monitor / April 3, 2014
At a cursory glance, Estonia's Ida-Viru County bears some concerning similarities to Crimea. It is predominantly Russian speaking, is located in Russia's shadow, and has a long history tied to its neighbor. But Aleksandr Dusman insists that Ida-Viru County will not willingly break away from Estonia to seek the Kremlin's embrace the way Crimea did.
“Not going to happen,” says Mr. Dusman, a businessman and engineer who has been active in Ida-Viru County's regional government affairs for 20 years.
After Russia's lightning invasion and annexation of Crimea from Ukraine – and the acclaim with which the Russian-speaking dominated populace there evidently greeted it – there has been alarm across Europe that the Kremlin would soon turn its eyes toward annexing other predominantly Russian-speaking regions abroad. And few regions seemed to present a better target than this remote corner of the former Soviet republic of Estonia, where the country's 340,000 Russian speakers – out of a population of 1.3 million – are concentrated.
But many locals in Narva, the county's largest city, which sits astride the Estonian-Russian border, say that they do not need to be "rescued" by Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin. They say that their life in Estonia has been good and getting better, and they are happy in their country.
“Narva is not Simferopol,” Dusman says, comparing the city with the capital of Crimea. “And Estonia is not Ukraine.”
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Could Estonia be the next target of Russian annexation?