(summarized translation from his Blog)
One of my friends who was well aquainted with a Russian diplomat stationed in the Baltic states told me the following:
The Russian diplomat was extremely tired of being posted for extendced periods to the separatist Trans-Dnistria area of Moldova (people of Rumanian ancestry). His basic job was to issue Russian passports. At last count, of the 550,000 local population, 135,000 already have Russian passports, which is a quarter of the residents. The Associated Press in an analytical piece refers to this a Russian passport assault. The artcle refers to one Sergei Styepanov, a resident of Narva wihtout any citizenship, who said that when there are 200,000 Russian citizens’ in Estonia, that is when Russia will find a cause for an invasion.
Who would stop them? Last year Russia used as an excuse for an invasion of Georgia, the protection of its citizens in South Ossetia and Abhaasia. Russian passports had been liberally handed out for years in these areas. An Estonian parliamentary commission on an investigative trip to Georgia heard that a large amount of Russian passports were found by Georgian auhtorities.
They had been printed for actual residents of South Ossetia, however they had not yet been signed. People designated in the passports said that nobody consulted them as to whether they wanted the passports or not. A few days following the Georgian invasion Russian president Dimitri Medvedev said that Russia would not pass up any upportunity or any means to protect the dignity and honour of its citizens no matter where they were residing.
Since then the passport campaign has increased in intensity. In additioin to Trans-Dnistria, passports have been distributed in the Crimea (Ukraine), northern Azerbaidjan and other places. It’s not difficult to imagine what is the real purpose of this activity. The invasion of Georgia gave us a vivid picture of what is possible.
It is in Moscow’s interest to help create situations within Russian communities living in adjacent countries in which Russian citizens require the “legal protection” of Russia. It would then benefit Russia to take advantage of these situations for its own geopolitical advantage. Basically these Russian citizens living in the “near abroad” are being used as political tools of the Kremlin, through whom Moscow wants to increase its influence in neighbouring states and to have NATO and the European Union to revieiw their own activities. The EU is initiating its own Eastern European preogram which includes countries such as Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Azerbaidzan, Armenia, Georgia. The European Parliament should become fully knowledgable about the passport campaign executued by Russia. Passport campaigns such as these are not conducive to talks with Russia about a simplifyed visa regime between Russia and thwe EU.
Estonian Central Council in Canada - LL
The real reason for the Russian passport campaign (8)