Thursday, January 18, 2007

Responding to Blackmail



As the Kremlin continues to intensify its programme of anti-Western policies, pronouncements and actions, it is increasingly turning its attention to Russia’s immediate neighbours, and to the Baltic States in particular. The target currently being singled out for hostile treatment is the country of Estonia - especially disliked by Moscow because of its successful transformation from a former Soviet colony into a modern European state.

Estonian parliamentarian and MEP Tunne Kelam has issued a statement saying that Estonia must not remain silent in the face of the smear campaign by Russia and must also call on its partners and allies to respond to Moscow’s blackmail. BNS reports that

According to the MEP, the attacks have to be countered with the same weapon that is used by Moscow, that is, by taking issues of contention to the international level, to the organizations of which Estonia, unlike Russia, is a member.

The democratic world must respond to Russian blackmail with solidarity and a united front, Kelam said.

“Estonia has the right, even the obligation to demand this from our allies and partners,” the member of the European People’s Party — European Democrats parliamentary group said. “Otherwise we may indeed find ourselves in the year 1939.”

Kelam said the year 1939 comes to mind when one looks at the accusations and threats against Estonia pouring out from Moscow day after day.

“According to the foreign minister of the Russian Federation, the chairman of the State Duma and several other senior politicians Estonia is a country where Fascism is being rehabilitated, the outcome of World War II revised and the memory of those fallen in that war desecrated,” Kelam said.

“To punish Estonia, representatives of the various branches of power of the Russian Federation regard it as necessary to end all kinds of relations with the parties represented in the Riigikogu (with the exception of the Center Party which has signed a cooperation agreement with the power party of President Putin), impose economic sanctions against Estonia, redirect the transit going through Estonia, and bring the issue of the so-called Estonian Fascism to the international level,” he said.

Kelam underlined that such a stormy overreaction was prompted by a law on the protection of war graves adopted by Estonia’s supreme legislative body, which Moscow is attempting to arbitrarily present as being directed against Russia.

He said Moscow’s behavior toward Estonia serves as an unpleasant confirmation that despite all the efforts of the past 15 years and concessions and deductions offered to Russia, integration of that country into the space of European values and norms of behavior has failed.

“Even more, the inexplicable aggressiveness of Russia shows that we are dealing with an unreliable and dangerous state which in the pursuit of its bjectives does not shy away from using even the most Goebbelsian methods of propaganda,” the MEP said. (Tallinn newroom, +372 610 8861, sise@bns.ee)
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