Last year, Georgi Muratov, offered 10 million crowns to have the Estonian Russian speaking candidates for the European Parliament consolidate their roster.
A consolidated roster would have increased their chances of being elected. According to the Estonian election system, candidates who are placed at the top of a political party’s consolidated list, benefit from the votes accrued by candidates lower on the list.
This is universally seen as direct interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign country, moreover interference in a democratic political process. For comparison, in Russia, financial relations between Russian NGO’s or simple citizens’ organizations and foreign governments or their agents are outlawed by Moscow.
The Estonian Security Police state in their annual yearbook that the actual amount of money that would eventually have been handed over is not known. A consoldiated list of Russian speaking candidates was never compiled.
The city of Moscow’s external affairs director’s Georgi Muratov’s two day visit to Estonia began on February 28, 2009, when the Russian compatriots conference took place in Estonia. Muratov, in a media interview explained that his visit combined a vacation with a visit to a friend.
In actuality his visit consisted of discussions at the Russian embassy with a series of Russian speaking individuals in Estonia. In fact some media at the time indicated that Muratov was in Estonia for exactly that – consultations on the upcoming Europarliamentary elections and the necessity for compiling a consolidated list.
Leading the effort in Estonia was Aleksei Semjonov, a leader of the non-profit Human Rights Information Centre, a Russian-language group known for often publishing distorted and tendentious information, financially supported by Russia. In fact fully half of their annual budget is covered by Moscow. It would make sense for it to be known, especially in Russia that the Estonian co-ordinator is non-other than Semjonov, because his name is associated with the theme of human rights.
It wouldn’t do for Russia to be seen as blatantly involved in the internal affairs of its neighbour. Goodness gracious, Aleksei Semjonov is a a human rights advocate not a political cadre.
Ten million crowns offered if Russian speaking candidates consolidated their Europarliament roster (6)