The Kremlin explained on Tuesday the issuance of wanted notices against Baltic officials, including Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, by accusing them of hostility towards Russia, due to their vision of the History of their relationships.
“These people are responsible for decisions that are de facto an insult to History, these are people who carry out hostile actions against historical memory, against our country“, said the spokesperson for the Russian presidency, Dmitri Peskov. The Baltic states, which fear the military ambitions of the Kremlin, consider that the USSR has occupied them, while Moscow sees itself as a liberator and judges any other approach as a “falsification of history», a crime in Russia.
Monuments inherited from the USSR dismantled
Kaja Kallas, the Estonian Prime Minister, is being prosecuted in Russia in “a criminal case», Indicates this notice, which does not specify what crime or offense the manager is accused of. The Estonian Secretary of State, Taimar Peterkop, was also targeted by a wanted poster, as well as the Minister of Culture of Lithuania, Simonas Kairys.
A Russian security source, quoted anonymously by the state news agency TASS, said that the two Estonian officials and the Lithuanian minister were being prosecuted for “destruction and degradation of monuments (tribute) to Soviet soldiers» of the Second World War. In recent years, several of these monuments inherited by the USSR after the Second World War have been dismantled in the Baltic countries, as a sign of rejection of the Soviet period, these states considering having been occupied by the USSR.
A Russian minority resides in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, three former Soviet republics now members of the EU and NATO which have tense relations with Moscow. These relations have further deteriorated with the conflict in Ukraine. The Baltic countries, which consider the threat of a Russian invasion to be real, actively support kyiv in its fight against the Russian army.
Accusation of “sabotage” of the Russian presidential election
Last week, Russia summoned the charges d’affaires of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, accusing them of “sabotage» the Russian presidential election in March by refusing to ensure the security of polling stations in Russian embassies on their soil. In mid-January, Latvia and Estonia decided to end their legal assistance agreements with Russia, with officials from these two countries citing Moscow’s attack on Ukraine as the reason.
Earlier, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky toured the Baltics in January. In January, Estonia also refused to extend the residence permit of the head of the Estonian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, a citizen Russian, believing that he represented a risk to national security.