Russia’s Foreign Ministry yesterday criticized Estonia on two counts: for refusing to heed the recommendations of a group of the Ministry’s own experts on improving the situation of Estonia’s "Russian-speakers," and for violating an alleged understanding reached by the foreign ministers of the two countries to hold follow-up meetings of expert groups on conditions for Russians in Estonia. The Estonian ambassador was called in and told that his country "lacks the will to normalize relations with Russia… Russia’s goodwill is running out," spokesman Mikhail Demurin warned. (Itar-Tass, Interfax, January 30).
When Foreign Ministers Yevgeni Primakov and Siim Kallas initialed the border treaty last November, Kallas invited a group of Russian Foreign Ministry experts on "humanitarian affairs" to visit Estonia and to ascertain the situation of Russians there. The visit took place in December. The Russian side now claims that there must be follow-up visits and bilateral talks to work out specific measures regarding Russians in Estonia. The retroactive claim that Estonia has violated this alleged agreement, reached in Petrozavodsk, appears designed to support Moscow’s own refusal to sign the border agreement that it initialed there (see Monitor, January 29).
Tehran Attacks Baku Over Radical Islamists.