Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 8

The Estonian parliament yesterday adopted a law on the procedure for declaring a state of emergency in the country. A state of emergency may be declared in the entire country or part of it for up to three months by the president, the cabinet of ministers, or the parliament under certain conditions in order to defend constitutional order. The law defines threats to the constitutional order as stemming from terrorist activity, actions by violent pressure groups, attempts to subvert the political system by force, clashes among population groups, or attempts to isolate parts of Estonia from the rest of the country. A state of emergency empowers governmental authorities to restrict travel into and out of Estonia; to forbid rallies, demonstrations, and labor strikes; and to restrict publication of information in the mass media. The internal affairs minister assumes the post of head of internal defense forces during a state of emergency. (11)

The provisions of the new law reflect the complexities of Estonia’s internal security legacy from the Soviet period, including the possible need to combine internal and external defense. Addressing a related issue in an interview yesterday, President Lennart Meri said Estonia would not repeat the mistake it made in 1939-40, but institute "total mobilization" if threatened again by a Russian invasion. (12)

Ukraine Has Upper Hand in Oil Transit Dispute with Russia.