NARVA, Estonia — Barely a few hundred yards inside NATO’s jittery eastern border with Russia, a high school teacher asked students in his social studies class this week to address a topic of paramount importance for their future: the election of Donald J. Trump as the next president of the United States.
Mr. Trump’s surprising victory has sent shock waves around the world, but the possible consequences are particularly acute here in the Baltics, a region long seen as a potential flash point because of its physical, linguistic and cultural proximity to Russia.
“If World War III starts, we will be the first to know about it,” said one of the students in the 12th-grade class who, in keeping with school policy, gave only his first name, Nikita. Odd though it may seem, in view of the threat that a newly aggressive Russia may pose, he and many other students in this Russian-speaking town welcomed Mr. Trump’s victory because, they said, the billionaire wanted to cut a deal with Moscow and calm tensions.
Jurgen, another student in the class, described Hillary Clinton as a menace because she “wants war with Russia,” adding: “Trump wants friendship. In a war, we would be just in the way.”
Such views, widespread in Russian-speaking communities in the Baltics and beyond, contrast starkly with the alarm, even panic, at Mr. Trump’s triumph among an Estonian-speaking political and foreign policy elite in the country’s capital, Tallinn, where Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, is viewed as a threat that must be resisted, not appeased.
During the campaign, Mr. Trump raised alarms in Baltic capitals by calling NATO “obsolete” and questioning why the United States should defend alliance members who fail to shoulder their share of the costs. But President Obama has said that Mr. Trump assured him during their Oval Office meeting last week that he remained committed to the security guarantees that have underpinned NATO’s system of collective defense and peace in Europe since 1949.
In Estonia, Caution but Surprising Cheers for Trump’s Victory - NYT