Addressing the parliament yesterday, Estonian President Lennart Meri urged that Estonia join the Nordic countries in programs of humanitarian assistance to Russia; and also that Estonian aid–“according to possibilities”–be sent directly to the nearby Russian regions Leningrad, Pskov and Novgorod. Meri described Russia’s crisis as a source of economic and political risks to European countries including Estonia. Under the impact of crisis, “influential Russian politicians are prepared to turn their backs on market economics and political pluralism,” Meri observed. However, he said, “it is imperative that Russia stays that course, which is crucial to the security of Europe” (BNS, Russian agencies, September 14).
Last week, Latvia and Lithuania announced their readiness to contribute aid to Russia (see the Monitor, September 9, 11). Even if such offers stem largely from reasons of state–as Meri defined them–the humanitarian aspect provides a stinging response to Moscow’s pressures upon the Baltic states.
…WHILE RUSSIAN TROOPS RATTLE ARMOR IN KALININGRAD REGION.