Estonia says EU should get tough with Russia

Estonia, an EU country that used to be part of the Soviet Union, is understandably not happy about Russia’s actions:

Estonia President Toomas Hendrik Ilves has urged the European Union to rethink its drive to strengthen ties with Moscow in the wake of the conflict in Georgia, his spokesman said Monday.

‘Russia’s military strikes in Georgia toll a knell for many of Europe’s hopes, such as the possibility of sharing common fundamental values with Russia,’ Toomas Sildam said Ilves told the European Union’s foreign policy chief Javier Solana on Sunday.

Sildam said that Ilves wanted the European Union to ‘show Russia that aggression will not be without consequences,’ suspending an agreement on making it easier for Russians to get visas to EU countries, and that ‘the entire spectrum of relations between the European Union and Russia should be re-examined.’

Sildam said Ilves called on the EU to ‘assume a key role in ending the attacks by Russia’s armed forces on civil and military targets in Georgia.

‘It is the European Union that can and should be the strong power that induces the Russian Federation to end its military activity on the territory of the Republic of Georgia,’ Sildam quoted Ilves as saying.

‘War has broken out in Europe, a European nation has fallen victim to the aggression of its neighbour, and the European Union, as the bearer of European values, cannot remain a helpless bystander,’ the president told Solana.

Three Kings notes that:

Estonia has had rocky relations with Russia since becoming independent from the Soviet Union in 1991. The two countries have a long list of political grievances against one another, and Estonia, along with Poland, has been one of the strongest voices for a harder E.U. stance towards Russia.

It is of could entirely predictable that EU member states that were formerly part of the Soviet Union (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) or Russian Empire (Poland, Finland) might be especially wary about Russian revanchism.

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6 Responses to Estonia says EU should get tough with Russia

  1. George Carty says:

    Wasn’t the Estonian government the only government other than the Taliban to recognize an independent Chechnya?

  2. cabalamat says:

    I wasn’t aware of that, but I’m not surprised.

    I think Europe should be arming Chechen rebels now, to cause the Russians some trouble.

  3. George Carty says:

    I read a letter on both Teletext and Ceefax by someone who accused the West today of appeasing monsters like Putin and Musharraf out of fear of Islamism, just as 70 years ago they appeased monsters like Hitler and Mussolini out of fear of Bolshevism – is this a fair point of view do you think?

  4. cabalamat says:

    Musharraf isn’t threatening the West and isn’t being appeased. It could be argued that not letting Georgia join NATO was appeasing Russia; but Putin isn’t a Muslim so I don’t see what Islamism has to do with it.

  5. George Carty says:

    I think the Teletext correspondent was thinking of Western support for Musharraf on “he’s a sonofabitch but he’s our sonofabitch” lines, as well as turning a blind eye to Russia’s actions in Chechnya.

    What do you think of the suggestion here that Europe should seek close relations with Middle Eastern countries in order to neutralize Russia’s energy weapon?

    (By the way, she’s the only person I’ve ever seen who used the word “Eurabia” in a positive sense!)

  6. cabalamat says:

    What do you think of the suggestion here that Europe should seek close relations with Middle Eastern countries in order to neutralize Russia’s energy weapon?

    It makes sense geopolitically, though there would be political difficulties within Europe if it was done, and it would piss off the Americans.

    But Russia (which murders British citizens in London, and invades European countries) is clearly more of an enemy to Europe than Iran is.

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