I SAW THIS news item on ERR and felt like saying something. President Kersti Kaljulaid sent a congratulatory message to Putin in the even of his re-election. Some people are obviously not thrilled by the Estonian head of state congratulating the Russian president, who has been in power for more than 18 years and runs an illiberal country. Russia’s recent botched assassination in the UK certainly has left a cloud of gaseous stink over any relations with the Kremlin.
In times like these though, when it seems that Estonia is becoming “Finlandized,” I remember that Estonians actually wanted that to happen 30 years ago. The drive for independence was for a) national preservation; b) material gain; c) to achieve the same successes of their Finnish neighbor. They wanted to be a free country, as free as Finland.
Bringing about political changes within Russia weren’t at the top of that list, though there is a strong argument that they might increase Estonian security. That being said, any kind of political collapse in Russia could have an opposite effect. It could actually lead to a full-scale European war across the east. I recall something that Finnish President Tarja Halonen said in the prior decade about Finnish-Russian relations. “We’ve never had it so good.” The reality is, in her lifetime, which started at the peak of the Second World War, up to the moment she uttered it, the Finns probably hadn’t had it so good. It does leave one feeling a bit uneasy. It’s not easy to bite your tongue all the time. It feels dishonest.