Russian military aircraft violates the Estonian air space

On 18 May, an aircraft of the Russian navy violated the Estonian air space.

The plane, a Tupolev 154, entered the Estonian air space without permission near the island of Vaindloo in northeastern Estonia, in the middle of the Gulf of Finland.

The Estonian Defence Forces said in a statement that the plane spent less than a minute in the Estonian air space. Its transponder was turned on and the plane had a flight plan. It didn’t have any contact with the Estonian air traffic controllers.

According to the statement, this was the first violation of the Estonian air space by Russia in 2019.

The Estonian foreign ministry summoned the Russian ambassador in Estonia and handed him a diplomatic note.

Vaindloo is a small island located in the Gulf of Finland in the Baltic Sea. It belongs to Estonia and it is the northernmost point of the country. It’s located 26 kilometres (16 miles) north of the Estonian mainland. The island is notable for its functioning lighthouse that was built in 1871.

Russian planes frequently violate the Estonian air space, especially near the island of Vaindloo. At least four violations happened in 2018.

The Tupolev 154 aircraft is a Soviet-made three-engine medium-range narrow-body airplane designed in the mid-1960s. It has a range of 5,280 kilometres (3,280 miles).


Cover: Russian Air Force Tupolev Tu-154M (photo: Kirill Naumenko/Wikipedia).

French nationalist Marine Le Pen visits Estonia

Shortly after the far-right Estonian Conservative People’s Party was included in the country’s government, the French nationalist populist politician, Marine Le Pen, the leader of the National Rally party, came to Estonia for a visit.

The National Rally party is known as a right-wing populist and nationalist political party in France. Most political commentators place it on the far-right, but some suggest that the party’s position on the political spectrum is more difficult to define clearly.

The party’s major policies include opposition to French membership in NATO, European Union, the Schengen Area, and the eurozone. As an anti-European Union party, the National Rally has opposed the European Union since its creation. The party also supports greater government intervention in the economy, protectionism, a zero-tolerance approach to law and order, and significant cuts to legal immigration.

Marine Le Pen has been the leader of the National Rally since 2011, and she’s run for president in France twice. In 2012, she came third in the presidential election with 17.9% of the vote, behind Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy. In 2017, she finished second in the first round of the election with 21.3% of the vote, but lost the vote to the centrist Emmanuel Macron in the second round, having received approximately 33.9% of the vote.

Le Pen invited herself

It’s not very clear why she’s visiting Estonia. An MP of the Estonian Conservative People’s Party (EKRE), Jaak Madison, wrote on Facebook on 6 May that “soon, the most popular French nationalist, Marine Le Pen, will be visiting Estonia, together with other right-wingers”. However, on 9 May, Madison also said he didn’t invite Le Pen to visit Estonia, “she’s coming on her own”.

Whichever may be the truth, the fact is, when Le Pen landed in Tallinn on 13 May, Madison was one of the first to greet her, among other Estonian people. News portal Delfi reports that Le Pen was pleasantly flattered by the attention she got at the airport from the media and gladly posed in front of the cameras. She didn’t give any comments, though, promising to do that at a press conference.

On 14 May, she met with members of the Estonian Conservative People’s Party, and also some other nationalist politicians from the neighbouring countries, namely members of the True Finns of Finland and the Danish National Party. A press conference is to follow.

It’s peculiar that the anti-Russia Estonian Conservative People’s Party is cosying up to the French nationalist leader. Le Pen has previously justified annexing the Crimean Peninsula, a Ukrainian territory, by the Russian Federation, and has said that NATO should change its mission to fighting terrorism and Islamism and should, therefore, accept Russia.

A security risk?

She has also met with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, saying that Putin was representing a “new vision” of the world.

Moreover, on 10 September 2015, Le Pen voted against a European Parliament resolution that demanded the release of the Estonian security official, Eston Kohver, who had been kidnapped by Russian agents.

Some Estonian politicians are wary of Le Pen’s visit to Estonia. The main candidate to the European Parliament from the Isamaa (Fatherland) party, Riho Terras, told the Estonian media that he’s suspicious of the claim that Le Pen invited herself to Estonia and noted that he was questioning whether the Estonian Conservative People’s Party cared about Estonia’s security.

“The attitude towards Russia should be the main reason why to keep away from Le Pen and other populists,” Terras told the Estonian media. “Now it seems that when Estonia’s security is in consideration, the Estonian Conservative People’s Party is ready to close their eyes.”

“That politician is someone who’s against the NATO presence in Eastern Europe, who thinks that the Crimea belongs to Russia and who thinks the sanctions against Russia should be dropped,” Terras added.

Isamaa in coalition with the far-right

Strong words from someone who’s running for the European Parliament, but we can’t forget the fact that Terras is a member of the party that voluntarily joined the current governing coalition with the Conservative People’s Party and the Centre Party.

Not only is the Conservative People’s Party cosying up to European nationalists and other far-right movements, the Centre Party has an active cooperation agreement with United Russia, the party of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.

Moreover, Terras’s party, Isamaa, joined a government lead by the Centre Party already in 2016 together with the Social Democrats. And the leader of the Centre Party and the prime minister, Jüri Ratas, has constantly said he was not willing to cancel his party’s cooperation agreement with United Russia.


Cover: Marine Le Pen meeting EKRE MPs in Tallinn, 14 May 2019 (Facebook).

Study: the Baltics could stop Russia with a guerrilla army

According to a recent study by RAND Corporation, a US-based think tank, creating a guerrilla army in the Baltics may be an option to stop Russia from invading.

The think tank points out in its study that even though Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania wouldn’t stand a chance in a conventional war with Russia, creating a small guerrilla army might make it so indigestible as to deter Russia from invading.

The guerrilla army would cost USD125 million and it would consist of 1,000 combat and non-violent action cells, as part of a dual nation-in-arms strategy.

One part of the dual strategy would be “total defence”, involving all of civil society in non-violent resistance and homeland security. The other would comprise “unconventional warfare”, which relies on special operations and guerrilla tactics. The result is a broad-spectrum resistance ranging from armed attacks by special forces and cut-off regular army troops turned guerrilla, to spreading propaganda leaflets and tweeting on social media.

Cheaper, low-tech warfare

“TD and UW can enhance deterrence and, if deterrence should fail, can deny an adversary an easy victory by making an occupation costlier to the invading forces,” the RAND study says. “In particular, the Baltic states have a significant history of resistance activities against invading and occupying forces during and after World War II, and preparing for resistance is part of the defence strategies of all Baltic states.”

According to RAND, the most valuable weapons in the strategy are not anti-tank missiles or land mines, but the cheaper, low-tech stuff of warfare: night-vision devices, secure mobile communications, computers, video cameras, all-terrain mobility vehicles and small arms.

“A robust technology initiative to equip resistance cells in all three Baltic states would require approximately $125 million in initial equipping cost, plus training, operations, and maintenance funding,” RAND said. “Such an initiative could be supported by national defence budgets implemented over several years, and is also scalable.”

Need to be tied to a conventional campaign within weeks or months

The study also noted that the dual strategy efforts “alone would be insufficient to defend against a full-scale Russian military attack in the Baltic states. In light of the Baltic experience after World War II – when resistance activities in all three countries collapsed once it became clear that the West was not going to liberate them from Soviet occupation – TD/UW efforts need to be tied to a conventional campaign, including a NATO counterattack within weeks or months (not years or decades), to be viable contributors to defence and deterrence.”

RAND Corporation is an American non-profit global policy think tank, financed by the US government and private endowment. The organisation has about 1,700 employees and its headquarters is in Santa Monica, CA, with offices all over the world. According to Wikipedia, 32 recipients of the Nobel Prize, primarily in the fields of economics and physics, have been involved or associated with RAND at some point in their career.


Cover: Members of the Estonian Defence League testing the Estonian-made Milrem vehicle (the image is illustrative).

Estonian transportation startup Bolt launches in Russia

The Tallinn-based transportation platform, Bolt, formerly known as Taxify, started operations in Russia on 18 April by launching its ride-hailing services in the country’s second-largest city, St Petersburg.

Bolt will offer competition in a market dominated by the Russia-based company, Yandex.Taxi.

“Russia is a rapidly growing on-demand transportation marketplace. Bolt’s launch in St Petersburg will bring more choice to both customers and drivers,” Jevgeni Beloussov, the head of Central and Eastern Europe at Bolt, said in a statement.

Bolt, launched by Estonian startup entrepreneurs Markus and Martin Villig as Taxify in 2013, has to date raised US$175 million to fuel its expansion across Europe and Africa. It has most recently launched its services in Finland, Sweden and Croatia, while the company already has more than 25 million customers in more than 30 countries. Bolt has also rolled out an electric kick scooter service in Paris and Madrid and announced plans to launch a food delivery service across its core markets.

St Petersburg is home to five million people and is the fourth-largest city in Europe, after Istanbul, Moscow and London. In 2018, it hosted more than eight million tourists.


Cover: View from the Colonnade, St. Isaac’s Cathedral, Saint Petersburg (the image is illustrative/Wikimedia).

The Estonian president, Kersti Kaljulaid, meeting with her Russian colleague, Vladimir Putin.

Kaljulaid discusses mutual relations with Putin

The Estonian president, Kersti Kaljulaid, met with her Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, on 18 April in Moscow; the two presidents discussed the mutual relations between the countries, economic cooperation and the international situation.

The meeting between Kaljulaid and Putin lasted for two and a half hours. The heads of state discussed the countries’ cross-border cooperation, different opportunities for working together to liven their economic cooperation, and aspects of international relations, the Estonian president’s office said in a statement.

“Estonia is running for the membership in the United Nations Security Council and conflicts in the world affect us all one way or the other,” president Kaljulaid said. “We discussed at length conflicts and their potential solutions in Ukraine and Georgia, where the position of Estonia and the European Union is very clear.”

The presidents also discussed economic matters and noted that trade between Estonia and Russia has declined over the years, but there are definitely issues that should be solved in the interest of both countries.

The Estonian president, Kersti Kaljulaid, meeting with her Russian colleague, Vladimir Putin. Photo by Stanislav Moshkov.

Invitation to Tartu

“It is better to talk to each other than about each other and that is the reason why this meeting today took place,” Kaljulaid noted, adding that talking is important even then when it’s known that there are differences of opinion. “But in the relations of two neighbours there are always aspects where our interests align and where we can do something for our people and businesses.”

The Estonian president invited her Russian colleague to Tartu where the eight congress of the Fenno-Ugric people will be taking place in 2020.

Kaljulaid was in Moscow to inaugurate the renovated building of the Estonian embassy in Russia.


Cover: The Estonian president, Kersti Kaljulaid, meeting with her Russian colleague, Vladimir Putin. Photo by Stanislav Moshkov.

President Kaljulaid to meet her Russian colleague

The Estonian president, Kersti Kaljulaid, is on 18 April going to meet her Russian colleague, president Vladimir Putin.

Kaljulaid will travel to Moscow to inaugurate the renovated Estonian embassy in the city. Among the meetings the president will undertake during the visit is also one with Putin.

The meeting between the presidents was requested by Estonia, and on 3 April, the Kremlin accepted the request.

The Kremlin said in an earlier statement that the presidents will discuss the relations between the two countries and prospects for trade and economic relations, and also cultural and humanitarian relations.

The first meeting between the heads of state since 2008

Kaljulaid earlier told the Estonian Public Broadcasting that she wants to discuss the mutual relations between the countries, also about the conflicts in Ukraine and Georgia. “Two neighbours always have something to talk about,” she said.

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin. Photo:

The last time an Estonian president met their Russian counterpart was 28 June 2008, when the then-president, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, attended the world congress of the Fenno-Ugric people. During their meeting, the presidents discussed the relations of the European Union and the Estonian-Russian border treaty. The said treaty is still unratified.

Even though in 2017 Kaljulaid told the Estonian media that she would only go to Russia when the border treaty is ratified, evidently, she has since changed her mind.

The last time an Estonian president visited Russia was in 2011 when president Ilves took part in the re-auspicating the Estonian St John’s church in St Petersburg.


Cover: The Estonian president, Kersti Kaljulaid.

Estonia’s foreign intelligence: Russia the main external threat

According to the annual report of the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service, the main external threat to Estonia is Russia and its behaviour.

“The main external security threat for Estonia arises from Russia’s behaviour, which undermines the international order,” the 2019 annual report says. “Russia conducts its foreign policy by demonstrating its military force, by using the dependence of other states on Russia’s energy carriers and by conducting cyber attacks and influence operations using false information and other ‘soft’ tools.”

“Ukraine will be the main target of those measures this year, but Russia will not hesitate to use them even against its ally, Belarus. Countries in the European Union and NATO are not fully protected from Russia’s aggressive activities, either – it has only been a year since Russia used a chemical weapon on the territory of the United Kingdom,” the report continues.

Can’t rule out surprises by an authoritarian regime

According to the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service, Russia continues to develop and train its armed forces for a large-scale war against NATO.

“Even though the likelihood of a worst-case scenario is slim, surprises arranged by its authoritarian regime cannot be excluded,” the report asserts.

“The Kremlin’s foreign policy is affected by domestic problems, including increasing popular discontent and tensions within the elite. A strong military force and a leadership that feels threatened may prove a dangerous combination. Russia’s foreign and domestic policy is dictated by the authorities’ fear of changes, which might pull the rug from under them. Therefore, the regime regards domestic opposition as a dangerous enemy. According to information available to the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service, Russia has practised the use of its armed forces units against internal protesters,” the report goes on.

Destroying the unity of the Western countries

The intelligence service also says that Russia’s goal is to destroy the unity of the Western countries. “To achieve that, Russia is prepared to get involved in other countries’ domestic policy. The issue of influence activities deserves particular attention this year, as EU member states are going to elect representatives to the European Parliament.”

The task of the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service is to protect Estonia from external security threats. It collects and analyses intelligence and forwards the collected information to the state leadership to assist in its defence and security policy-making tasks.


Cover: Russia’s president Vladimir Putin and the Chief of the General Staff, Valery Gerasimov, at Luzhsky range, 18 September 2017 (the image is illustrative/Wikimedia Commons).

A former Estonian military officer found guilty of treason

A former Estonian military officer and his father have been found guilty of committing treason by spying for Russia.

The court in Tallinn, Estonia, on 11 February found the 38-year-old Deniss Metsavas, a former major in the Estonian Defence Forces, and his father, 65-year-old Pjotr Volin, guilty of treason for selling classified information to the Russian military intelligence service, the GRU.

According to the verdict, Metsavas passed information to the GRU for a decade. Volin worked for the Russian military intelligence for about half as long.

The court sentenced Metsavas to 15.5 years in prison; his father received a six-year sentence.

Metsavas and Volin were arrested by the Estonian Internal Security Service on 3 September 2018.

Selling not only Estonian, but NATO secrets

According to the Estonian Prosecutor’s Office and the Internal Security Service, both men had forwarded classified information and state secrets to the GRU for the past five years and received payments in return – Deniss Metsavas received just 20,000 euros from the Russian agency.

Metsavas not only traded the Estonian trade secrets, but also forwarded classified information concerning NATO (Estonia has been a member of NATO since 2004).

For example, Metsavas had a detailed knowledge on the Tapa-based Estonian Artillery Battalion and its defence plans during a theoretical military conflict; it is feared that he passed this information to Russia.

A former “poster boy”

Metsavas was born in Tallinn to the ethnic Russian family during the Soviet occupation in Estonia. He became an Estonian citizen in 1990 – a year before the country officially regained independence from the Soviet Union – and started serving in the Estonian Defence Forces as a conscript in 1998. He was employed in the defence forces in 2000, after which a successful career followed – by the time of his arrest, he was promoted to the rank of major and his last job was at the headquarters of the Estonian Defence Forces, no less. He was about to start a new job in the Estonian Defence League, the unified paramilitary armed forces of Estonia.

Metsavas’ arrest came as a shock to many in Estonia because he was one of the “poster boys” of the presumably successful integration of the Estonian Russian community. Here was a man born into an ethnic Russian family, yet who spoke perfect Estonian and served in the country’s defence forces.


Cover: Deniss Metsavas (photo by Tairo Lutter/Scanpix).

Eerik-Niiles Kross: the idea to declare Russian Orthodox Christmas a national holiday is more dangerous than it seems

The mayor of Tallinn, Taavi Aas (the Centre Party), has come up with the idea to declare the Russian Orthodox Christmas (celebrated according to the Julian calendar on 7 January) a national holiday in Estonia; security expert and a former MP Eerik-Niiles Kross (Reform) writes that the idea is more dangerous than it seems.

The Estonian Centre Party’s idea to declare Christmas as celebrated by the Moscow Orthodox Church a national holiday is a lot more dangerous than it seems – and also speaks volumes.

Nobody is saying that celebrating Christmas according to the old calendar would be dangerous. It’s not. In a society that has freedom of religion and thought, such celebration should, indeed, be free.

Similarly, there is no danger when a part of Lasnamäe (a district in Tallinn where many ethnic Russians reside – editor) celebrates the New Year according to the Moscow time zone, and some, instead of celebrating on 24 February (the Estonian Independence Day), rather celebrate the anniversary of the Red Army on 23 February.

Such celebrations do, however, represent certain attitudes. However, these are the attitudes of private individuals.

Russian Orthodox Church fulfils imperial foreign policy tasks

The Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate is an institution that, in Putin’s Russia, has been transformed into the Russian state church that enjoys a special status and, in addition to covering the Orthodox religious needs also fulfils imperial foreign policy tasks. Lest we forget the Moscow church’s support for the occupation of Crimea and the war against Ukraine.

The Moscow church has been the institution that has helped keep the Soviet Union together, spiritually, so to speak. That’s why transferring the Estonian Orthodox Church under the Patriarchate of Constantinople (Estonia has two Orthodox churches – the Estonian Orthodox Church that is a subordinate of the Constantinople Patriarchate and celebrates Christmas on 25 December; and the Estonian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate – editor) was especially painful for the Kremlin.

And that is why Moscow initiated a global media operation against the independence of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (which recently declared its independence from the Moscow Patriarchate – editor). Based on at least the timing and the content of the proposal to declare the Moscow Orthodox Christmas a national holiday in Estonia, it was a part of that campaign.

In Estonia, Orthodox Christians can either belong to the Estonian or the Moscow Orthodox Church and, in some occasions, this affiliation shows political attitudes – although that’s not dominating.

Therefore, everyone can celebrate Christmas however their religious affiliation dictates. But the idea to declare the Moscow church’s holiday a national holiday in Estonia isn’t too different from an idea to start greeting the New Year twice – according to the Moscow time and then according to the Tallinn time.

The Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church, that unites Estonian-speaking and pro-Estonian Orthodox Christians, celebrates Christmas, like most of the world’s Orthodox churches, according to the Gregorian calendar. The Moscow church – and some others in the East – stick to the old. And Moscow uses the differences in holidays and other church symbolism not to unite people, but to cleave them.

Taavi Aas’ proposal serves Putin’s policies

The fact that Taavi Aas made his proposal on the very day when the Ukrainian church left from the Moscow Patriarchate and became independent under the Constantinople Patriarchate, shows hard political hearing, to say the least. But it’s along the same lines of other Moscow-initiated media provocations that are aimed at shadowing the great historic event in Ukraine.

Similarly, the new metropolitan of the Moscow church in Estonia, Jevgeni, dedicated a plaque in Tallinn, together with the Centre Party-belonging city government, and gained four minutes of air time. At the same time, the independence of the Ukrainian church only got 30 seconds of air time.

Sputnik (a Kremlin-financed propaganda agency – editor) is disseminating news as if the Polish Orthodox Church didn’t recognise the independence of the Ukrainian Church. That is obviously fake news.

While the Ukrainian Orthodox believers have gained historical freedom and plan to start celebrating Christmas according to the new calendar, the Estonian Centre Party wants to start celebrating Christmas in Estonia according to the Moscow time. That’s scary.


The opinions in this article are those of the author. Cover: The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, an orthodox cathedral in the Tallinn Old Town (the image is illustrative/photo by Ivar Leidus, shared under the Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 licence). Read also: Editorial: When the Tallinn mayor and his deputies lost the plot.

How to talk about and with Russia? Estonia has a thing or two to learn from Finland

Estonia should consider what it could learn from Finland on how to talk about and with Russia, Kristi Raik, the director of the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute at the International Centre for Defence and Security, writes.

This article was originally published in the International Centre for Defence and Security’s blog.

Estonian-Finnish relations are close and amicable, but there are things that Finns and Estonians find difficult to discuss. Relations with Russia are undoubtedly one of them: a sensitive subject for both states, it’s often hard to understand the other country’s actions. Estonia should, however, consider what we can learn from Finnish-Russian relations.

The fake naiveté

Estonians consider Finns honest and straightforward. It is generally an apt characterisation, yet nothing in the world is as multi-layered and complex as Finland’s relationship with Russia. As Estonians are not familiar with the details of the relations, we tend to think Finns are naive about Russia.

This may be so with some ordinary citizens, but the people responsible for Finland’s foreign policy know their eastern neighbour. Estonians find it difficult to understand that the naive-sounding talk is part of the Finnish tradition of coping with Russia. The fake naiveté helps maintain friendly relations with Russia – which Finland always strives to do, however desperate the situation.

A foreign observer might not always know where the border between feigned and sincere goodwill lies. That is Finland’s intention. Is the company called Airiston Helmi that bought plots of land in the Turku archipelago really only suspected of economic criminal offences? Are the Nord Stream pipeline and the nuclear power plant constructed in Finland by Rosatom really only financial projects? Are Russia’s military exercises and the relocation of military units really only about defence activity? The Finns often avoid giving direct answers to these kinds of questions.

Estonia could learn from Finnish traditions of communication with Russia

In any case, the Finns’ defence willingness is very high and they strongly invest in defence capability. They also take so-called hybrid threats seriously. Finland and Estonia’s threat assessments about Russia are similar. On both sides of the Gulf of Finland, states are well aware that Russia is trying to achieve maximum influence in its neighbourhood and uses a wide selection of tools for it.

From the point of view of the Kremlin, big power politics is a zero-sum game, which is why it inevitably sees the neighbouring states’ defence cooperation with the US as negative. Despite this, Finland has strengthened its defence cooperation with Western partners, including the US, without much fuss but to a significant degree, at the same time also underlining the continuity of its foreign policy. So much about being straightforward.

In this respect, Estonia has nothing to learn from Finland: being a NATO member is a clear defence policy solution that Russia understands, although it doesn’t like it.

However, Estonia could learn a thing or two from Finnish traditions of communication with Russia. Finland tries to maintain a dialogue with its eastern neighbour in all circumstances. It is a complicated and dangerous game. Russia is striving to exploit its bilateral relations with EU member states to fragment European unity and disseminate its interpretations. One shouldn’t give Russia too many opportunities for doing this. Estonia views the Finnish-Russian dialogue with well-substantiated scepticism.

Estonia has no reason to strive for similarly close contacts with Russia; it has neither the prerequisites nor the need for it. Nevertheless, Estonia would benefit from closer dialogue with our eastern neighbour. We have to know Russia and need contacts for that.

A matter of diplomatic skills and judgement

Finland has a clear understanding of its key interests and positions concerning Russia, and it won’t back away from these. Where and how these views are expressed by foreign policy actors is a matter of diplomatic skills and judgement – it doesn’t always pay to repeat oneself or speak as sharp as possible. Here, I mean official foreign policy rhetoric, not the wider public debate. Critical public discussion on Russia is necessary and belongs to democracy.

The Finnish-style pretence carries the danger that the line between naiveté and faking becomes blurry for the Finns themselves and they begin to believe the talk about friendly neighbourly relations word for word. The shadow of self-censoring from the era of Finlandisation is still present in today’s Finland, although the Finnish debate on Russia has become much more open in the past years.

Estonia, on the other hand, has no shortage of critical public debate on Russia, but both Estonia and Finland need more knowledge-based and dispassionate analyses.

The dialogue with Russia is a subject that creates debates and tensions more broadly in the European Union. The states that call for more dialogue are often the ones that would like to make concessions to Russia, eg, by lifting sanctions, and tend to believe the Kremlin’s lies. Yet, dialogue should be based on a clear understanding that dialogue in itself is not a compromise and engaging in it does not mean we should make concessions, especially in questions that are vital for us.

At the same time, dialogue does not work miracles. It does not annihilate the root causes of the tensions between the West and Russia or change Russia’s strategy of weakening the West and expanding its sphere of influence. And it is Russia that benefits from tensions among EU member states, as it aims to undermine the unity of Europe.


The opinions in this article are those of the author. Cover: Gulf of Finland satellite image – both Estonia and Finland have a border with Russia (image by Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC; Wikimedia Commons).

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