Estonian farms seek ?independence?
r.amirejibi-mullen at qmul.ac.uk
Thu Sep 11 11:33:00 UTC 2008
Estonian farms seek ?independence?
Thursday, 11th September 2008. 11:01am
By: Marcus Papadopoulos.
Following on from the example set by Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two
farms in the north-east of Estonia have joined together to form the
?Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic? and are seeking Russia?s
recognition as an independent state.
The founder of this self-proclaimed republic, Andres Tamm, stated that
his people ?no longer want to live in bourgeois Estonia, where nobody
cares about the common people?with raging unemployment and corruption,
and where everything depends on NATO and the Americans.?
It is believed that the Communist Party of the Russian Federation
(formerly the once all-powerful Communist Party of the Soviet Union)
is assisting the efforts of the ?republic?. The latter is now putting
together a friendship treaty with Russia, and this is expected to be
forwarded to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev within a short period
The ?republic? has established a national ?Soviet government? with its
own police force to patrol and defend its already demarcated border.
While prima facie this development appears to be insignificant,
perhaps even laughable, there may be some cause for concern for the
Estonian Government stemming from it.
Estonia, previously part of the former USSR and now a member of both
the EU and NATO, is home to 344,000 ethnic Russians (a quarter of the
Estonian population), many of whom live in the north-east of the
country. Since having gained independence from Moscow in 1991, the
Estonian government has pursued a policy of discrimination against its
Russian minority, including denying citizenship to ethnic Russians.
Russia?s war with Georgia this summer heralded the beginning of the
forging of a new world order by Moscow, with the official objective of
defending its national interests and protecting Russian citizens. The
Kremlin was obliged by the Russian constitution to employ its military
muscle in South Ossetia following the Georgian invasion in order to
defend the population there, where 90 per cent hold Russian passports.
And following the victorious Russian military campaign against the
Georgians and Moscow subsequently recognising South Ossetia and
Georgia?s other secessionist region of Abkhazia as independent states,
President Medvedev publicly vowed that Russia will from now on use
force to protect its citizens outside of its borders.
Estonia is potentially vulnerable to the new resurgent Russian state,
which maintains poor relations with Moscow as a result of factors
ranging from its treatment of its Russian minority to Tallinn?s
staunch support of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili. The
possibility of Russia handing out passports to ethnic Russians in
Estonia cannot be discounted. This would echo Russian actions in the
early 1990s when the Kremlin distributed passports to the populations
of Abkhazia and South Ossetia (it is rumoured that Moscow has already
given Russian passports to 100,000 residents of the Crimea, Ukraine).
The first possible flashpoint could involve the Estonian city of Narva
(in the county of Ida-Viru) where the population is 86 per cent
Russian (93 per cent Russian-speaking) and which is geographically
located on the border with Russia. Should the residents of Narva be
granted Russian citizenship, it would not be difficult for the Kremlin
and the population of this city to engineer a violent confrontation
with the authorities in Tallinn, which could result in the Russian
army being deployed across the border in accordance with the
constitution of the Russian Federation.
The case of the two Estonian farms which proclaimed a ?Soviet
republic? could mark the beginning of a new front in Moscow?s quest to
reassert itself on the international arena.
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