Russia: Is Estonia next?

posted at 10:41 am on March 20, 2014 by Bruce McQuain

One of the excuses Russia used to move into the Crimea was its right to protect the Russian speaking minority there.  It is pretty thin cover for the expansionist move, but it isn’t without precedent.  Back in the late ’30s, Germany used the same excuse to expand it’s borders, eventually leading to WWII.

One assumes Russia isn’t very much concerned how thin their excuse is, since it sees no one on the horizon willing to step up and stop them, so, given some recent statements, Estonia has to wonder if it is next:

 Russia signaled concern on Wednesday at Estonia’s treatment of its large ethnic Russian minority, comparing language policy in the Baltic state with what it said was a call in Ukraine to prevent the use of Russian.

Russia has defended its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula by arguing it has the right to protect Russian-speakers outside its borders, so the reference to linguistic tensions in another former Soviet republic comes at a highly sensitive moment.

“Highly sensitive moment” is an understatement.  Signalling such “concern” is a blatant warning, not necessarily just to Estonia, but to the West as well.  It is issued in the face of VP Biden’s visit to Poland and with the Obama declaration we won’t go to war militarily over the Crimea still in the air.

If one had to guess as to whether Russia would make a move on Estonia, one would have to factor in one difference between the Ukraine and Estonia that may prove significant enough to prevent that.  Estonia is a member of NATO, having joined in 2004.  Any move, militarily, on Estonia, would be considered an attack on NATO.

Of course that doesn’t mean Russia won’t try to find someway to act in order to ameliorate its “concern”.   Putin isn’t the crazy man as some in the West would like to portray him.  He’s a very calculating person and it is clear the Crimean adventure was set up according to a plan to acquire it.

Estonia isn’t as easy a mark to acquire.  That said, even if it isn’t as easy a mark, that doesn’t mean Russia isn’t going to try to influence what happens there.  It may not be able to overtly occupy Estonia as it did the Crimea, but it may be satisfied with the “Finlandization” of that country.  And, at the moment, there aren’t any countries in the West willing to oppose that … even in NATO.

~McQ


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The Obama administration is being forced into a major increase in Defense spending. Estonia is a NATO country and unless they want to end postwar European peace and initiate World War 3 the Obama administration has no other choice.

MTF on March 20, 2014 at 10:49 AM

Any move, militarily, on Estonia, would be considered an attack on NATO.

So what? NATO is a joke. With Barky the standing dictator of the American Socialist Superstate and the backstabbing lowlifes of France having, once again, full NATO membership, there’s no chance that NATO would ever do anything.

The most likely event to occur if Russia invaded Estonia would be for Barky and Hollande to get NATO to attack Israel for building apartments in the Jerusalem suburbs … because that’s what causes all the problems, as Barky has maintained since he first slimed into office.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on March 20, 2014 at 10:49 AM

Putin isn’t the crazy man as some in the West would like to portray him.

I think George Will’s description is accurate. Putin is Stalin’s spawn.

Happy Nomad on March 20, 2014 at 10:51 AM

The administration just issued this blanket statement that will be in effect until cancelled:

“We are not going to be getting into a military excursion in -INSERT NEWLY INVADED COUNTRY HERE-.”

rlhjax on March 20, 2014 at 10:53 AM

During the 14th century, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was the largest country in Europe: present-day Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, and parts of Poland and Russia were the territories of the Grand Duchy.

Maybe they should be looking to annex Russia instead of the reverse.

vityas on March 20, 2014 at 10:54 AM

They risk some very tersely-worded letters from Obama, eyebrow-raising from Kerry and head-shaking from Biden. So I seriously doubt they’ll do anything.

mankai on March 20, 2014 at 10:55 AM

Maybe the sneaky Putin will arrange for Estonia to annex Russia. Then Russia will finally become a voting member of NATO. /sarc

Stendec on March 20, 2014 at 10:57 AM

Libya, Egypt, Iraq…Russia?

vlad martel on March 20, 2014 at 10:57 AM

A gambit to break NATO?

forest on March 20, 2014 at 10:58 AM

Putin is a clever bastard

workingclass artist on March 20, 2014 at 10:59 AM

The Obama administration is being forced into a major increase in Defense spending. Estonia is a NATO country and unless they want to end postwar European peace and initiate World War 3 the Obama administration has no other choice.

MTF on March 20, 2014 at 10:49 AM

World War III might be a bit of a stretch…but you’re right, Estonia is part of NATO, and even the clowns in the current US administration know they’ll have to get tough real quick should Russia move in. My guess is there’s some sort of secret “deal” here, where we leave Russia to annex the Crimean Peninsula, but that’s it.

Any other move would have to be met with a show of force. That must include all member nations of NATO, so it’s not seen as some unilateral action by the US. The Obama administration knows they can’t spin themselves out of that.

JetBoy on March 20, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Secretary of State Chuck Hagel.

Murphy9 on March 20, 2014 at 11:00 AM

How Europe and Obama Lost Leverage with Putin
Putin was changing the map while Europe was saving the climate

- See more at: http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Columns/2014/03/19/How-Europe-and-Obama-Lost-Leverage-Putin#sthash.7yBEZBiO.dpuf

workingclass artist on March 20, 2014 at 11:01 AM

Secretary of State Defense Chuck Hagel.

Murphy9 on March 20, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Doofuses in both positions.

Murphy9 on March 20, 2014 at 11:01 AM

During the 14th century, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was the largest country in Europe: present-day Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, and parts of Poland and Russia were the territories of the Grand Duchy.

Maybe they should be looking to annex Russia instead of the reverse.

vityas on March 20, 2014 at 10:54 AM

And a bit later there was this guy.

forest on March 20, 2014 at 11:02 AM

World War Gay.

vlad martel on March 20, 2014 at 11:02 AM

How Europe and Obama Lost Leverage with Putin
Putin was changing the map while Europe was saving the climate

- See more at: http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Columns/2014/03/19/How-Europe-and-Obama-Lost-Leverage-Putin#sthash.7yBEZBiO.dpuf

workingclass artist on March 20, 2014 at 11:01 AM

Yeah, I’d love to see some criticism of the EU. it’s been strangely missing from all this.

vlad martel on March 20, 2014 at 11:03 AM

We don’t have the capacity to mount a show of force in Europe, I wouldn’t imagine. That’s why a bigger commitment to Defense spending may be Obama’s only real option, assuming he’s willing to try to oppose Putins imperial moves. Of course, he may not be willing to do that, because he is a total moron and thinks the Russians will “only” take this country or that one and it’ll end. Obama doesn’t see that what Putin gets away with, the Chinese will emulate, the Iranians will emulate and any other scumbag will emulate. Obama doesn’t understand the world, if he fails to oppose Putin, and that’s why WW3 is no stretch. We live in very dangerous times.

MTF on March 20, 2014 at 11:16 AM

This is worrisome. Paul Krugman was the Estonian’s president’s whipping boy, heh,

22044 on March 20, 2014 at 11:20 AM

Putin’s not stupid … he won’t go into Estonia.

He’s simply trying to keep the West off balance and guessing what his next real intentions are.

HondaV65 on March 20, 2014 at 11:26 AM

obama is LilliPutin’s lilliputian.

He is the pretend president of a nation of fools, in the majority.

They brung and then kept the idiot.

He’s now off to FL, to preach about “equality”, he who hates the middle and lower classes.

Schadenfreude on March 20, 2014 at 11:28 AM

Hagel and obama have turned our military into a collection of every sexual deviate known to man. This county will pay dearly in our next war. Every week our country is downgraded by this illegal imposter!

nobama1267 on March 20, 2014 at 11:32 AM

m
Russia announces sanctions against US officials in retaliation against US visa bans and asset freezes – @Reuters
end of alert

Murphy9 on March 20, 2014 at 11:41 AM

What should be done here? Do I want to see Americans go to war? No, but do I want to put Russia in check? Yes, how can that be done with out putting American lives at risk?

Politricks on March 20, 2014 at 11:55 AM

My bet is on Slovakia

Brock Robamney on March 20, 2014 at 11:58 AM

For the sake of argument, let’s suppose that Russia does invade Estonia under the pretext of protecting ethnic Russians. Then let’s say NATO invokes article 5 and a real shooting war breaks out. Would it be like Korea with the fighting limited to the actual contested territory, ie only in Estonia, or would it involve other nations’ territory like World War II, ie Russia, Poland, Alaska, etc.? The latter scenario assumes no nukes as neither side would seriously entertain the notion of conquering the other, just relatively limited incursions to disrupt troop movements or to spread forces thin.

Anyone with more knowledge and understanding than me I would like to hear your thoughts. Thanks in advance!

Wisdom_of_Homer on March 20, 2014 at 11:59 AM

What should be done here? Do I want to see Americans go to war? No, but do I want to put Russia in check? Yes, how can that be done with out putting American lives at risk?

Politricks on March 20, 2014 at 11:55 AM

The best idea I’ve heard is that we open up our natural gas and oil industries and export like crazy. That would drive the price of those commodities down quite a bit and cut the Russian economy off at knees while making us prosperous again with a massive energy boom. But, globull warmening and all so it ain’t gonna happen with this bunch in power.

Wisdom_of_Homer on March 20, 2014 at 12:04 PM

What should be done here? Do I want to see Americans go to war? No, but do I want to put Russia in check? Yes, how can that be done with out putting American lives at risk?

Politricks on March 20, 2014 at 11:55 AM

End the foolish New START Treaty, fulfill the pledge on a nuclear weapons shield for the Czech Republic and Poland, kick Russia out of the G8 and IMF, ban American banks from doing business with Russians (who have moved nearly $1 trillion out of Russia for ‘laundering’ and safe-keeping since 2008), provide weapons to the Kiev government (since we did promise to protect them if they gave up their weapons), approve the Keystone pipeline, build LNG port facilities, and expand drilling onshore and offshore.

Those would be a good start.

Resist We Much on March 20, 2014 at 12:09 PM

“He’s a very calculating person and it is clear the Crimean adventure was set up according to a plan to acquire it.”

No that’s not clear at all. Putin was playing (and winning) a very patient game of bribe vs. bribe, softly-softly-catchee-monkey, competing with the EU, till the coup, and till the junta proved virulently anti-Russian. Then all bets were off.

The American media, including Hot Air, are consistently misreporting this crisis.

David Blue on March 20, 2014 at 12:14 PM

They risk some very tersely-worded letters from Obama, eyebrow-raising from Kerry and head-shaking from Biden. So I seriously doubt they’ll do anything.

mankai on March 20, 2014 at 10:55 AM

See? You already have it all wrong!

Kerry (Lurch) is incapable of raising his eyebrows, due to all the Botox injections.

ZeusGoose on March 20, 2014 at 12:54 PM

End the foolish New START Treaty, fulfill the pledge on a nuclear weapons shield for the Czech Republic and Poland, kick Russia out of the G8 and IMF, ban American banks from doing business with Russians (who have moved nearly $1 trillion out of Russia for ‘laundering’ and safe-keeping since 2008), provide weapons to the Kiev government (since we did promise to protect them if they gave up their weapons), approve the Keystone pipeline, build LNG port facilities, and expand drilling onshore and offshore.

Those would be a good start.

Resist We Much on March 20, 2014 at 12:09 PM

All good ideas. I’d add that increasing our naval presence in the Baltic, the Pacific and the Med would also help. Weakness leaves a vacuum, and obvious strength protects us from having to risk lives defending Europe from Russia or Taiwan from China. The last thing I’d want to have to do is actually get into a shooting war with either country.

MTF on March 20, 2014 at 1:03 PM

Russia: Is Estonia next?

Don’t be silly. That would mean automatic invocation of Article 5 and World War III.

End the foolish New START Treaty, fulfill the pledge on a nuclear weapons shield for the Czech Republic and Poland, kick Russia out of the G8 and IMF, ban American banks from doing business with Russians (who have moved nearly $1 trillion out of Russia for ‘laundering’ and safe-keeping since 2008), provide weapons to the Kiev government (since we did promise to protect them if they gave up their weapons), approve the Keystone pipeline, build LNG port facilities, and expand drilling onshore and offshore.

Those would be a good start.

Resist We Much on March 20, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Agree. I would also add fast track of Ukraine and Georgia as new NATO members.

Norwegian on March 20, 2014 at 1:07 PM

writing from Estonia, I tend to think this statement was intended to just rattle our and in general the west’s cage a little.

It is of course disconcerting to be the subject of speculation as to the location of next war. We wouldn’t be an easy target like Crimea and the Russians are concentrated in specific towns (where they were transplanted during Soviet occupation) not in distinct geographical areas. Also the living standards here are higher than in Russia and people move from Russia to here not vice versa which no doubt has a cooling effect on the majority of local Russian population.

Finally although our guns per capita is woefully behind its pre-Soviet occupation numbers it has been picking up and we have volunteer local defence units whose members have weapons in their homes. To specifically avoid the repeat of 1940 and what happened in Crimea, there’s a standing order to shoot strange foreign troops on sight and ask questions later.

kittysaidwoof on March 20, 2014 at 1:30 PM

Wisdom_of_Homer, given the geographical realities it is higly unlikely that Russia would invade only Estonia. The geography of eastern Estonia is very favourable for defence and the historical avenue of succesful invasion is from southeast and south which requires Russia to invade Latvia as well. Since the main air base of the region is in Lithuania, it is difficult to imagine an invasion without at least air strikes against that base. Finally since Kaliningrad is very exposed to a strike by a relatively strong Polish army, I would assume any invasion plan includes some kind of operation in Poland to safeguard Kaliningrad. Thus in their planning invasion of Estonia would have to be assumed to involve at least four EU and NATO countries directly.

Given Estonia’s relationships with Sweden and Finland, any Russian invasion would also have to have contingencies for at minimum blocking aid from these countries and possibly deterring air strikes.

kittysaidwoof on March 20, 2014 at 1:44 PM


kittysaidwoof on March 20, 2014 at 1:30 PM

Thanks for the local information. Your last sentence makes me yearn for that kind of directive here in the U.S……

HomeoftheBrave on March 20, 2014 at 1:58 PM

During the 14th century, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was the largest country in Europe: present-day Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, and parts of Poland and Russia were the territories of the Grand Duchy.

Maybe they should be looking to annex Russia instead of the reverse.

vityas on March 20, 2014 at 10:54 AM

I’m with you, bro:

Aš esu amerikietis bet mano širdis lietuviškas…

affenhauer on March 20, 2014 at 2:14 PM

to expand it’s borders

its

John the Libertarian on March 20, 2014 at 2:20 PM

End the foolish New START Treaty, fulfill the pledge on a nuclear weapons shield for the Czech Republic and Poland, kick Russia out of the G8 and IMF, ban American banks from doing business with Russians (who have moved nearly $1 trillion out of Russia for ‘laundering’ and safe-keeping since 2008), provide weapons to the Kiev government (since we did promise to protect them if they gave up their weapons), approve the Keystone pipeline, build LNG port facilities, and expand drilling onshore and offshore.

Those would be a good start.

Resist We Much on March 20, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Arm Kiev with arms, Apaches and meals, let them self determine.

John the Libertarian on March 20, 2014 at 2:22 PM

kittysaidwoof on March 20, 2014 at 1:44 PM

Thanks for the info. Hope we never have to find out for sure.

Wisdom_of_Homer on March 20, 2014 at 2:24 PM

End the foolish New START Treaty, fulfill the pledge on a nuclear weapons shield for the Czech Republic and Poland, kick Russia out of the G8 and IMF, ban American banks from doing business with Russians (who have moved nearly $1 trillion out of Russia for ‘laundering’ and safe-keeping since 2008), provide weapons to the Kiev government (since we did promise to protect them if they gave up their weapons), approve the Keystone pipeline, build LNG port facilities, and expand drilling onshore and offshore.

Those would be a good start.

Resist We Much on March 20, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Freakin’ awesomeness.

Axe on March 20, 2014 at 2:44 PM

What was different in the 30s was that Hitler wanted a war. Putin doesn’t. He’s just maximizing the opportunity that has been given him by Obama.

claudius on March 20, 2014 at 3:02 PM

Estonia? Hell I’m wondering how long it’ll be before Putin takes Alaska back.

Oldnuke on March 20, 2014 at 3:08 PM