Estonian Riigikogu Reached Rare Consensus When Declaring Russia Terrorist

Edvard Munch: The Assassin // Public domain

The Estonian Riigikogu recently condemned the annexation of the territory of Ukraine and declared the Russian regime terrorist.

“This picture shows Vika. Just last weekend she was enjoying her favorite work; she was a sommelier. She had a loving family and big dreams. She and her husband were expecting the birth of their first child. Yesterday morning changed everything at once, Vika was killed in a Russian terrorist drone attack, a new life was not born.”

Photo by Tairo Lutter
Photo by Tairo Lutter

With these words, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Marko Mihkelson, started the Riigikogu session yesterday, which passed a statement declaring the Russian regime terrorist.

Mihkelson then spoke about Oksana – an oncologist at the Kyiv Children’s Hospital, who had saved the lives of hundreds of children. Last Monday, she was killed in a Russian terrorist attack in the center of Kyiv, and her five-year-old son, whom she had just taken to kindergarten, became an orphan.

“The stories of Vika and Oksana are just two stories out of thousands,” he said. “This terrible tragedy in the middle of Europe must not leave anyone indifferent, because if we are silent or tired, the evil empire that feeds on violence and impunity can quickly find new victims.”

Mihkelson said that by adopting the statement, the Riigikogu strongly condemns the Russian Federation’s military activities against Ukraine and the illegal annexation of the territory conquered during the aggression. “Estonia will never recognize the destruction of Ukraine’s territorial integrity as a result of aggression and fake referendums,” he added.

The statement did not provoke any questions among the Center Party members and they only polished the text to make it as correct as possible. “We wanted the statement to send a very clear signal about Russia’s actions in Ukraine to both the international and Estonian public,” said party member Maria Jufereva-Skuratovski.

“We did not declare terrorist the state, but the regime – there is a big difference. Secondly, we must distinguish between the regime and the people. Whether they are gray passport holders or Russian citizens, they can at the same time condemn the war and want it to end as soon as possible.”

To the daily’s question about supporting Russian political prisoners, Jufereva-Skuratovski answered that in cooperation with them we can build a democratic world in the future.

The Riigikogu adopted the statement with 88 votes in favor. No one voted against, Kersti Sarapuu and Siret Kotka, who were not in the Riigikogu building at the time, and former party member Mihhail Stalnuhhin abstained from voting. Both Kotka and Sarapuu were among the initiators of the statement and support it; according to Kotka, she had another commitment at that time.

EKRE submitted five amendments to the statement, but the parliament did not support them. One of EKRE’s amendments called for closing the state border with Russia.

“Under certain conditions, they can still cross it,” said Henn Põlluaas. “We cannot be confident and certain that these people do not pose a threat to our security. We should act much more radically. Especially if we declare the Russian regime terrorist and the Russian Federation a state which supports terrorism, then we must also take appropriate steps, instead of merely declaring it.”

How would EKRE solve the problem of the people of Setomaa in case of an even stricter closure of the state border? Many of them have relatives in Petseri region and they also go there to take care for the graves of their relatives.

“They have not been able to cross the border for three years; their situation would not become any worse,” Põlluaas explained. “We have agreements with the people of Petseri region who take care for these graves. The graves would not be neglected. But our people cannot get there, and this has been a purely Russian action.”

Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu introduced the statement of the Riigikogu in Germany

“I welcome today’s (yesterday’s – ed.) decision of the Riigikogu to adopt the statement which condemned the annexation of the territory of Ukraine and declared the Russian regime terrorist. This is an important step in blocking Russia’s activities in the international arena,” said Urmas Reinsalu to Postimees.

“The statement of the Riigikogu is a political and moral judgment, and I presented this decision in Germany today. I call on other countries to take this step as well.”

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