Prominent Estonians Call for Move Against German-Russian Gas Pact

The idea to thwart the Russian-German Gas Pact by moving the Estonian seaborder in the Gulf of Finland to its maximum extent is catching on. Today, the Estonian daily Eesti Päevaleht – one of the two national quality papers in Estland – devotes a front page article to the joint appeal by former Prime Minister Juhan Parts (Res Publica party, opposition), MP Igor Gräzin (Reform Party, a member of the governing coalition), former Tallinn Mayor Hardo Aasmäe and professor Heiki Lindpere (Professor of Maritime Law, Tartu University) to move the Estonian seaborder to the maximum limit.

Their arguments correspond with those made by me last week in the Brussels Journal. The four men indicate that the Russian-German Gas Pact is their reason for proposing to change the current arrangement. They say that Russia’s contribution to the global economy cannot be done at the expense of other nations or the environment. They emphasise that extending the border would not constitute a new territorial claim by Estonia (or Finland) but merely a repossession of territory that was voluntarily given up in 1993.

The main question in the debate seems to have become who decided to give up the sea territory in 1993 and why. At the time Mart Laar and his Pro Patria party were in government, but it is almost certain that former president Lennart Meri was behind the move. After Meri’s retirement strong evidence has surfaced for accusations that he was involved with the former Soviet secret police KGB.

I am told that the issue of the seaborder will soon be raised by Estonian MEP Tunne Kelam (Pro Patria, opposition). Kelam’s party is desperate to show a stronger stance on matters of national interest.

The four men represent various segments of Estonian society. Former Prime Minister Juhan Parts was forced out of office in March this year. He was the leader of the yes-camp during the EU accession referendum campaign. Igor Gräzin is a backbencher in the currently governing Reform Party. He is a Thatcherite and a Eurosceptic who was involved in the no-campaign. Former Mayor Hardo Aasmäe is a public figure, but not involved in party politics. He is the director of Encyclopedia Estonia Publishing house. Heiki Lindpere, who is not involved in politics at all, is Estonia’s most prominent expert on international law.

More on this topic:

Berlin-Moscow Gas Pact Easy to Thwart... if Balts Have Guts, 21 December 2005

Schröder Exchanges Berlin for Kremlin, 14 December 2005

Bad move. Only can

Bad move. Only can strengthen Russian fears (Creeping Nato; Baltics starting to mess around; Kaliningrad surrounded & no direct landlink; Ukraine revolution).