Estonia. According to
COUNTRYAAH, when Estonia went to the elections at the
beginning of the year, a tense security policy situation
prevailed with the Russian Federation's involvement in
Ukraine, Russian military maneuvers near the Baltics and
repeated violations of Estonia's airspace. The government
appealed to NATO to send more troops to Estonia, which has
so far received 150 US soldiers.
A few days before the election, a military parade was
held in Narva at the Russian border, where about 95% of the
city's residents are Russian-speaking. Soldiers and military
vehicles from the United States and NATO took part in the
parade with the Estonian military on Estonia's Independence
Day. At the head of the military vehicle column, the
Swedish-made Tanks drove 90, led by Dutch NATO soldiers. It
was NATO's first official show of strength near the Russian
Federation. Moscow responded with a few thousand
paratroopers practicing in the Pskov region, bordering
Estonia and Latvia.
The parliamentary election was a loss for Prime Minister
Taavi Rőiva's coalition government, which lost its scarce
majority. Although Rőiva's Liberal Reform Party was the
largest with 27.7% of the vote, the Social Democratic
coalition partner backed to 15.2%. The leftist opposition
party Center, which mainly has Russian-speaking voters, rose
slightly to 24.8%. The Right Alliance IRL, also in
opposition, returned. Two newly formed right-wing parties,
the Free Party and the Conservative People's Party, entered
After difficult negotiations, Rőivas formed a new and
broader government with the Reform Party, the Social
Democrats and the right-wing Alliance IRL. It took office in
The new Foreign Minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus soon
faced political problems due to a family business that went
bankrupt. A court ruled that the minister was partly
responsible for the company's debts. She was forced to
resign, and as new Foreign Minister, the experienced
diplomat Marina Kaljurand was appointed ambassador to Moscow
and Washington, among others. Kaljurand's mother tongue is
In August, Estonian security police Eston Kohver was
sentenced by a Moscow court to 15 years in prison, accused
of spying, crossing the Russian border illegally and
illegally possessing weapons. Kohver, who has been detained
in the Russian Federation for nearly a year, was robbed
under gunfire from Estonian territory, according to Estonia.
The Russian verdict received harsh international criticism,
including from the US Foreign Ministry and from the EU
Foreign Minister, who, like Estonia, demanded release.
Following the ruling against Kohver, the Tallinn
government declared that Estonia should erect a fence along
the border with the Russian Federation beginning in 2018.
The motivation was that the security of Estonia and the
Schengen area should be protected.
In September, Kohver was released by the Russian
Federation in exchange for an Estonian citizen sentenced to
prison in Estonia for espionage on Russian behalf. Kohver's
release came just before the Russian president would speak
before the UN General Assembly.
Several high-level corruption deals were discovered
during the year. The biggest attention was given to the
prosecution in September against opposition leader Edgar
Savisaar. The center leader and Tallinn's mayor Savisaar
were accused of receiving large sums of money in bribes,
which he refused.
A fierce debate raged during the year about refugee
reception. There was widespread popular resistance to
refugee reception, and Estonia had accepted eight asylum
seekers per year over the past decade. The government
therefore rejected the EU's quota of 1,064 refugees. A
former foreign minister talked about threats against the
white race and ran a campaign against refugee reception,
which received strong support on Facebook. President Toomas
Hendrik Ilves then explained that Estonia cannot count on
solidarity in its own distress unless it is prepared to take
responsibility in the EU refugee crisis. During the autumn,
the government decided to receive 500 refugees in two years,
which will be redistributed from Italy and Greece, among
Estonia's only refugee facility was set on fire in
September. Police suspected murder, but none of the 70
people in the building were injured.
The Center for Human Rights in Estonia noted in November
that racial incidents have increased in the country in
connection with the refugee crisis in Europe. Dark-skinned
people had been harassed in public.
During the year, the state television launched a
Russian-language channel with news and social information in
Russian to Estonian Russian-speaking residents, who mostly
watch TV channels from the Russian Federation.