In its annual public report this spring, Kapo (Estonian Security Police) focused on existing threats to Estonia as a democratic, independent country, free of foreign influence and domestic social malaise.
Kapo identified corruption within municipal governments, foreign penetration of national security secrets, and Russian influence in local politics as serious developments that should be avoided.
In 2007, Kapo fulfilled governmental directives by re-opening investigations of possible corruption within six large municipal governments. That is why the current annual report draws attention to corruption activity during 2008. These investigations have finally led to formal charges and anticipated court proceedings.
The case of Herman Simm, a defense ministry official in control of access to defense secrets and designated as the goverenmental conduit of secret information shared betwween NATO partners, was exposed as an intelligence asset working for Russia. In analysing the possible damage to NATO’s collective defense capability, Kapo, on the one hand, deserves credit for a complicated and lenghty investigation spanning many countries, that led to Simm ‘s arrest. On the other, Kapo fails to explain why Simm was initially apppointed and was able to spy undetected for many years.
Commenting on the extent of foreign influence in Estonia’s domestic politics, Raivo Aeg, the director general of Kapo comments: “A good example of this would be the recent visit to Tallinn of Georgi Muradovi, Moscow’s director of external relations, whose was assigned to consolidate and concentrate the Russian candidates from Estonia who would be vying for places in the upcoming European Parliament elections.”
Aeg indicated that the municipal government of St.Petersburg has been equally active in this area as has their foreign intellingence service, the SVR. The report reminds us that similar tacics were used prior to the 2004 European parliament elections.
The financing for these activities can be traced to entrepreneurs residing in Estonia, who have vested interests in doing business with Russia.
The reoprt states: “ Russia is actively exploiting the financial interests of Estonian businessmen in advancing their agenda of anti-Estonian influence. Russians residing in Estonian are increasingly told to seek financial support from Estonian entrepreneurs who depend on Russian markets. In essense this means that Estonian taxpayers are actually financing anti-Estonian activity.”
Estonia must stay vigilant against existing vulnerabilities