A deal intended to define Russia and Estonia’s joint border appears to have fallen at the final hurdle after years of negotiating. Moscow said it was pulling out of the treaty in protest over the way the Baltic country’s parliament had ratified it.
The Kremlin objected to clauses which made indirect references to Soviet occupation. Estonia was occupied by Soviet forces in 1940. They returned in 1944, drivingout German troops, and establishing a presence which lasted until the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991. But while Estonia sees it as occupation Moscow argues Soviet troops liberated the country. At a conference marking the 60th anniversary of the end of the war, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the Soviet victory made it possible for Estonia, in his words, “to play these games.” A foreign ministry spokesman said new negotiations on the border would now be required. Russia has had a troubled history with all of its Baltic neighbours. This latest setback could complicate wider efforts to improve relations with the EU which now incorporates, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.