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Estonian report
by Euro Reporter
2015-08-26 10:23:56
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Estonia to build fence at Russian border

The Estonian Police and Border Guard Board will install a fence between Estonia and Russia to protect against border violations. The fence will be complete with barbed wire, video cameras, and drones. It will be two meters high and 108 kilometers long, spanning two-thirds of the Estonian-Russian border. The fence will cost 71 million euros to install.

Irina Yarovaya, chairman of the Anti-Corruption Committee in the Russian Duma, said that it is “very democratic” that the Estonian government is “creating a reservation for their own citizens.” She added that it is not worth “saving money” when spending on democracy. “It would be better [if the wall were] five meters high, and cost 142 million euros, so that no one could jump over it,” she said.

Estonia’s security measures are a response to Russian aggression in the region, including the alleged kidnapping of Estonian intelligence officer Eston Khover last week. According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Russian forces are conducting missile, ground, and air exercises in western regions of Russia near Eastern Europe.


Estonia needs a smart refugee policy

The issue of refugees is being debated heatedly across Europe today. And with good reason. International studies have shown that the European Union is facing the most severe pressure from migration in the world right now, and that the riskiest stretch of its border is that runs along the Mediterranean Sea. In all likelihood, the situation will remain unresolved for years, if not decades. In order to avoid an aggravation of internal problems, the European Union must implement more forceful measures than it has so far in order to mitigate the reasons behind the influx of refugees. A more efficient and purposeful use of development aid resources would be a welcome step towards allowing the EU to come up with solutions for stabilising the situation. Wider international cooperation, including with regional associations such as the African Union or the Arab League, will play an extremely important role. At the same time, it is clear that if Libya, for example, should fail to achieve a semblance of order during an extended period, the pressure of migration on the Southern coasts of Italy and Greece will not abate. Analyses have found that at least one million refugees are waiting daily in North Africa for their chance to cross over to Europe. Last year alone, 626,000 people applied for asylum in European Union countries, which is the highest number since 1992, after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

estonia_400The conflicts that linger or even spread in a number of African and Middle Eastern countries show no sign of reprieve. Vigorous demographic growth and deterioration of the economic situation in the countries under crisis only serve to increase the refugee flows. In addition to all this, the problem is further aggravated by the rapid spreading of Islamist extremism. This is simultaneously one of the reasons behind the migration, and a growing problem for the internal security in Europe. Estonia is not the only European country where the management of the uncontrollable influx of immigrants is substantially more complicated due to the fact that many smaller countries are nation states. The issue is understandably more sensitive in smaller countries or those where this problem has so far been minimal. Although Estonia, just like Italy, is located on an external border of the EU, the pressure of illegal immigration from the East is obviously nothing compared to that coming from the Mediterranean. Nevertheless, this year there have been more asylum seekers than on any previous year. And this, despite the solidarity-based decision of the European Union to alleviate the pressure of the refugee flows from the South by spreading it more evenly across the Member States. We must understand that Estonia is part of the global space and however much we might attempt to ignore the events in the world, we will not succeed in this. Today, more than a quarter of a billion people live outside their country of origin. About 50 million of them are refugees. Estonia stands to gain a lot by being able to compete better in attracting highly qualified international labour force and by managing the increasing pressure of refugees in the smartest way possible. These measures would first and foremost also help to put a stop to the outflow of our own citizens, or reverse it.

The Estonian government has justifiably followed a conservative line of action in negotiating with our European Union partners in the issue of refugees. In cooperation with countries that have similar ideas, we managed to avoid the implementation of an automatic quota system and retained the right to make our own decisions. We must keep our conservative attitude. For Estonia, it is important to first create the elementary capability to integrate refugees into our society, at the same time learning from the mistakes of our partner countries. An important aspect here is that the quicker the immigrants can find employment, the more painless will be their integration into their new communities. The Estonian media has also considered the impact on our internal security when analysing the issue of refugees. Many evoke the Western European neighbourhoods that have been reduced to ghettos, or the terrorist acts of Islamist extremists. These serve as warnings. Islamist extremism is a lasting challenge to the whole of European security and we must make our contribution to fighting it through international cooperation. Yet Estonia is not currently threatened by a sudden deterioration of the internal security situation. After all, we are talking about mere dozens of people; furthermore, we have even been allowed to give input in setting the pre-selection criteria. However, this does not mean that our law enforcement, and the justice system as a whole, should not concentrate on further training as of today. How many fluent speakers of Arabic do we have in our police force right now, for example? Not many, I expect.

For me, a smart refugee policy also involves an efficient prevention of possible problems. In many European countries, tensions have grown out of collisions between different cultural customs. Germany as well as the United Kingdom have admitted to the failure of the so-called multiculturalism years ago. Integration can be successful only if both sides remain tolerant. Estonia is an open and friendly country where everyone must be kept safe. I repeat – everyone. Our culture and traditions as well as the people who have turned to us for help. The issue of refugees, and immigration more broadly, has now become a permanent part of internal policy debate in Estonia. For a long time, we simply lived in a quiet knowledge that this does not yet concern us and therefore there was no need to stir up that hornet’s nest. As a consequence, there is still a glaring lack of sensible and well-informed debate in our society. But the situation is sure to improve over time. It is important not to fall blindly into extremes; we must keep an open mind to be able to discuss all the aspects of the issue.


Shouldn't Estonia take to feudalism?

International conference in Tallinn will initiate international trial to investigate "crimes of the communist regime". Despite the all-encompassing rhetoric, the claims are certainly lodged against the Soviet "communism". Thus, Urmas Reinsalu, the Justice Minister of Estonia, and initiator of the "absurdity fair" should answer some questions. "We should assess the crimes of the Communist regime at the international level and join hands in making it liable. The crimes committed by any communist regimes do not fall under the jurisdiction of any international court now. Therefore, I suggest we conclude an interstate agreement to establish an international tribunal to investigate Communist crimes the same way as Nazi crimes," head of the initiative group (which comprises representatives of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Georgia) the Estonian Minister of Justice Urmas Reinsalu claimed.

The first question to the Minister is: why do you hold the SS marches in your country and call the Nazis (at the state level) to be "champions of liberty"? Don't you know that the Waffen-SS "legion" was under the command of the German Wehrmacht? Why don't you investigate the "Omakaitse" ('home guard') pro-fascist organization activity, which cooperated with the fascist Germany? It was this organization which formed punitive battalions that carried out mass killing of the Estonian Jews. And where is the legal treatment of the Reichskommissariat Ostland, which organized the Tartu concentration camp? Why don't you talk about the holocaust of Jews and Roma in Estonia? Nazism was condemned in Nuremberg, so, bring your current activity in line with its decisions, before judging Communism "the same way as Nazism". The second issue. In order to "equalize" Nazism and Communism, you should look at their ideology. Nazism claimed superiority of one nation (the Aryans) over the other, and called to annihilate the whole peoples, these are the Slavs, Roma, Jews. Nazism promised land to every German and their relatives (the Scandinavians, for example) in the territories of the European states and the Soviet Union, with farm labourers to work for them. Hitler released "the Aryans" from a chimera of conscience, morality, compassion.

What about communism, its ideology ascended to the Orthodoxy. The moral code of communism represented commandments with removed divine will. That is what ruined the Stalin regime. The Soviet communism slid into paganism and paid for this. Thus, that is not Communism, but Stalinism that should be accused of repressions. Not only Estonians, but also Russians paid for them. However, the XX Communist Party Congress ended with Stalinism, where representatives of the Estonian communists also took part. By the way, are you going to put them in the dock? The third question. You keep stigmatizing the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. But why don't you say that it was preceded by Päts-Ribbentrop Pact, and then Päts-Molotov Pact. Namely your President Konstantin Päts signed a memorandum with Germany on 8 June, 1939 with a reference to a secret article, according to which Estonia should have coordinated with Germany all the defensive measures against the USSR. But Päts turned out to be a Moscow agent. He got 4,000 dollars a year as a legal adviser, and provided Kremlin with data on the domestic politics of Estonia and state of economy. Any other country of the small "group of seven" can be looked at in such a time-serving, if not traitorous context. Lithuania, for example, was occupied by the Germans in 1941 according to the Škirpa- Ribbentrop Pact, while the Czech Republic was completely divided much earlier, in September 1938 after the Munich Agreement between Germany, Italy, Great Britain, and France.


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