Why Eston Kohver Matters (1)
Eestlased Venemaal 04 Jun 2015  EWR
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Estonian law enforcement officer Eston Kohver is detained by Russian security agents. - pics/2015/06/45072_001.jpg
Estonian law enforcement officer Eston Kohver is detained by Russian security agents.
June 03, 2015, Brian Whitmore.

Less than a year ago, Eston Kohver was an Estonian law enforcement officer investigating a suspected smuggling operation by organized crime groups. Today, he is a potent symbol of Russia's challenge to the international order.

On the morning of September 5, 2014, Kohver was on his way to meet a confidential informant in a secluded forest near the village of Miikse, about 8 kilometers from the border with Russia.

In what Estonian officials describe as a well-planned operation, he was ambushed with stun grenades, abducted at gunpoint, taken across the border to Russia, and charged with espionage. His trial is scheduled to begin next week and he faces more than two decades in prison.

At the most basic level, the Kohver case is important, and deeply disturbing, because It involves the forceful abduction of a European Union citizen from the territory of an EU state -- and it shows that Moscow can get away with such behavior.

In a larger sense, Kohver's case is emblematic of Russia's ongoing challenge of the West. It starkly illustrates the Kremlin's campaign to intimidate its neighbors, flout global rules and norms, and test NATO's defenses and responses.

And it is another example of how Moscow is able to shamelessly construct absurd counternarratives -- in this case claiming that Kohver was a spy abducted on Russian territory -- and stick with them despite clear and compelling evidence that they are outright lies.

Full article: http://www.rferl.org/content/w...
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