- This is not an invasion but a show of force/sabre rattling. Nevertheless still unnerving!
- Today is their national day celebrating their independence and a whole load of NATO troups will parade about 300 metres or so from the Russian border.
On February 24, Estonia’s national day, a whole load of NATO troops will parade around in the main square in Narva to celebrate the country’s independence. They will do so no more than 300 metres from the Russian territory. But what NATO calls defiance, Russia says is a direct provocation.
And that’s because the most cursory investigation of NATO’s claims of Russian intent in Estonia doesn’t seem to stand up to much scrutiny. While 98 per cent of Narva is Russian speaking, they all have European passports.
The deputy mayor says that they look to Brussels to sort out their problems – which, he says, are entirely non-military and much more social. He wants the European Union to fund Russian language classes for children in the town because (in his opinion) the Estonian government in Tallinn doesn’t want to. He doesn’t look to Moscow to sort anything out.
Back in London I meet Rein Mullerson, who was an aide to President Gorbachev, and who drafted the paperwork which gave Estonia its independence. Which seems to me to make him fairly important in Estonia’s modern history, as he naturally values Estonia’s freedom and also understands how Moscow works.
And he couldn’t be more scathing about NATO and its arguments. Estonia, he says, isn’t the same as Ukraine or Georgia, simply because it’s already in NATO, and there’s no way on earth that Russia will attack a NATO member – and he agrees with the deputy mayor of Narva that the Russians there don’t look to Moscow to solve their problems.
And yes, it’s provocative to Russia – but he hopes, not provocative enough to prompt Moscow to retaliate. But the point is that he believes that rather than reacting to a problem, NATO is helping create one.
U.S.-Estonia Agreement Strengthens Partnership, Defenses
WASHINGTON, Feb. 10, 2015 – The Defense Department signed a memorandum of understanding today with Estonia, marking the beginning of a partnership to strengthen both countries’ reserve forces through annual exchanges of personnel, a senior defense official said.
U.S. military vehicles paraded 300 yards from the Russian border
MOSCOW – U.S. military combat vehicles paraded Wednesday through an Estonian city that juts into Russia, a symbolic act that highlighted the stakes for both sides amid the worst tensions between the West and Russia since the Cold War.
The armored personnel carriers and other U.S. Army vehicles that rolled through the streets of Narva, a border city separated by a narrow frontier from Russia, were a dramatic reminder of the new military confrontation in eastern Europe.
[Estonia’s president: Russia is threatening ‘the entire post-World War II order’]
The United States and Estonia are important allies and partners.
- member of the United Nations since 17 September 1991, and of
- European Union since 1 May 2004. Estonia is also a
- member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) and the Nordic Investment Bank (NIB).
Estonian-U.S. relations are bilateral relations between Estonia and the United States. The relationship has been constant and strong since Estonia first became independent. The United States and Estonia are important allies and partners.
The United States recognized the Republic of Estonia de jure on July 28, 1922. The first Estonian diplomatic mission in the United States was opened in the same year. It continued its activities throughout the period of occupation by the Soviet Union from 1940 to 1991. The U.S. government recognized Estonia’s diplomatic mission as a legal representative of the Republic of Estonia. Therecognition of the legal continuity of the Republic of Estonia has been the cornerstone of Estonian-U.S. relations.