Why does Russia need an Estonian hostage?



by Vitaliy Portnikov

“Over all, it’s hard to believe something like this is possible. This case breaks all the rules,” said the well-known Estonian politician Eerik-Niiles Kross commenting on the kidnapping by Russians of the employee of the Estonian Security Police on Estonian territory.

In Tallinn people are seriously worried. Estonian officials are trying to convince themselves that this is a tragic exception that has nothing to do with politics. They are contacting Russian colleagues, hoping for their assistance in the rapid release of the man who had been kidnapped   by “unknown” persons. But the most interesting part is that Russia is not even attempting to hide anything. The public relations office of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) announced that the arrest of the Estonian employee happened on the territory of the Russian Federation despite the fact that the border police of both countries held a special meeting at the scene of the crime — on Estonian territory, naturally, not in Russia. But Moscow has already carried out a similar exercise with Nadiya Savchenko. Now it simply repeated it.

In principle, I could even agree that this kidnapping may have nothing to do with politics. The (Estonian) Security Police authorities stated that their employee was kidnapped in the line of duty while attempting to stop a corruption offense. Since the FSB and Russia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs serve as a “shield” for all kinds of shady dealers, (the Russians) may have disrupted that kind of operation. But it could have been something much simpler — and directly connected to politics. Since US President Barack Obama came to Tallinn, Russia may have decided to teach the Estonians a lesson and remind them that Americans are far away and that Russia, if need be, can arrive in Tallinn in a matter of hours.

The bottom line is this — the West’s demonstrated caution on the Ukrainian crisis is perceived by Moscow as an opportunity to do whatever it wants in neighboring countries. A sanction here, a sanction there — what difference does it make? The neighbors will live in terror and will understand that they must go to pay homage to the real tsar and not rely on the EU and NATO.

And one more thing is clear. Putin’s appetites are not limited to Ukraine.

By Vilaliy Portnikov, Radio Svoboda, September 6, 2014

Translated by Anna Mostovych

Source: Radio Svoboda


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