Estonia Next? Russia "Signals Concern" For Its Citizens In The Baltic Republic

Tyler Durden's picture

Amid the growing Crimea crisis, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania - which like Ukraine were all parts of the old Soviet Union and have very significant concentrations of ethnic Russian-speaking citizens - have expressed growing apprehension over Moscow's intentions. As Reuters reports, 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. "Language should not be used to segregate and isolate groups," the envoy noted, referencing the same 'linguistic tensions' that supported its annexation of Crimea.


Via Reuters,

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.




"Language should not be used to segregate and isolate groups," the diplomat was reported as saying. Russia was "concerned by steps taken in this regard in Estonia as well as in Ukraine," the Moscow envoy was said to have added.




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.


Russia fully supported the protection of the rights of linguistic minorities, a Moscow diplomat told the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, according to a summary of the session issued by the U.N.'s information department.

Making all the Russian border nations nervous

Amid the growing Crimea crisis, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania - which like Ukraine were all parts of the old Soviet Union - have expressed growing apprehension over Moscow's intentions.


U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is currently in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius as part of a trip to reassure the three countries, all European Union and NATO members, of Washington's support.

But, the market knows best and stock took Putin at his word that he was done with taking Crimea... or are markets "wrong" and merely an illusory peak at the marginal flow of carry slooshing around the globe?

It is perhaps not entirely surprising that Estonia would be "next" since the concentration of ethic Russians there is the highest of all the former Soviet Republics...


As NPR adds, it's not just The Batics that are worried...

EU Borderlands

In the region roughly southeast of the Baltic states that includes Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova, all three have sizable ethnic Russian populations.

Belarus, with about 8 percent of its population Russian, enjoys warm relations with Moscow and has signed on (along with Kazakhstan) to join Russia's "Eurasian Union" trade bloc that The Guardian says Putin hopes will grow into a " 'powerful, supra-national union' of sovereign states like the European Union."

Meanwhile, Moldova's smaller Russian population (about 6 percent) is concentrated in Transnistria, an autonomous region that is trying to separate from the rest of the country. The analogy with Ukraine and Crimea couldn't be more stark, suggests The International Business Times.

Some 2,000 of the Kremlin's troops are enforcing a cease-fire in Transnistria between Russian separatists and the Moldovan government. Although the region borders Ukraine and not Russia, given the instability in Kiev and Transnistria's proximity to Crimea and the Black Sea coast, Moldova eyes it warily.

What's more, since the Crimean crisis broke out, Transnistria's local Parliament has asked Moscow to grant the breakaway region Russian citizenship and admission to the Russian Federation.

The Baltic States

Latvia and Estonia have significant ethnic Russian populations. About 27 percent of Latvia's 2 million people are Russian, as are about a quarter of Estonia's 1.3 million. According to The Telegraph, the Russians in Latvia migrated there during Soviet rule when they were able to occupy the top rungs of civil and political society.

"But ever since communism's collapse, the boot has been firmly on the other foot. Latvian, not Russian, is the official language, and the country is now one of NATO's newest — and keenest — members, along with fellow Baltic states Lithuania and Estonia," the newspaper writes.

According to Reuters, Latvia and Estonia in particular "are alarmed by [Putin's] justification for Russian actions in and around Ukraine as protection for Russian speakers there.

"While all three Baltic republics have joined NATO — and Lithuania next year should be the last of the three to adopt the euro — these small countries are largely dependent on energy from Russia and have strong trade ties," Reuters writes.

"Last weekend, as pro-Russian forces were surrounding Crimea, Moscow's ambassador to [Latvia] caused further unease by saying that the Kremlin was planning to offer passports and pensions to ethnic Russians in Latvia to 'save them from poverty,' " The Telegraph says.

Central Asia

Kazakhstan, with just under a third of its population ethnic Russia, is one of the Kremlin's key allies. The BBC says it's "Moscow's strategic partner and the two countries regularly hold joint military exercises. They have close trade links as both are trying to develop a common market." The relationship, it says, is comparable to the one enjoyed between the U.S. and the U.K.

"But Russia's military action in Crimea has created unease among Kazakhs. They are worried that a 'Ukrainian scenario' could also apply to this Central Asian nation," the BBC says.

Kazakhstan's northern Kostanay region is about half ethnic Russian, and in other regions, especially to the east, "there are fewer ethnic Kazakhs than ethnic Russians," according to The Washington Post.

On Monday, Kazakhstan's pro-Russian President Nursultan Nazarbayev was said to "understand" Russia's position vis-a-vis Crimea, according to Reuters, "which struck many as a very carefully worded way of phrasing it," according to the Post.

Kyrgyzstan, with about a 12 percent ethnic Russian population, also has a Kremlin-leaning president, Almazbek Atambayev. But the country has carefully balanced East and West until now, allowing both a Russian military base and a U.S. air base on its soil. That is set to change, however.

While the Caucasus is home to only small minorities of ethnic Russians, it's a region that has suffered from the Kremlin's attentions. Chechnya has been the locus of a brutal separatist conflict with Moscow. Georgia saw its South Ossetia region cleaved by Russia's 2008 incursion.

In 1992-93, the breakaway Abkhazia region of Georgia also underwent a civil war in which ethnically Georgian militias, supported by the Georgian state, were pitted against "ethnically Abkhazian militias supported both by North Caucasus militants ... from Russia and by the Russian state itself, which provided weapons and training to the fighters and carried out airstrikes against ethnic Georgian targets."

It's clear too that the Crimea situation has raised concerns in Azerbaijan.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Dollar Bill Hiccup's picture

Brighton Beach baby, here we come.

GetZeeGold's picture



Don't see anything to stop them.


We've used every community organizer trick in the book.....still nothing.

Stackers's picture

Slight difference in that Estonia is already a member of NATO and is bound by mutual defense treaties that Ukraine and other ex-Soviet states are not

philipat's picture

Yes, absolutely, you beat me to that sentiment. If Putin really wants to play high stakes "Russian Roulette", the Baltic States are the way to go. Fortunately, Obama will probably go and play Golf somewhere so we are all safe??

Incidentally, Lavrov is such a class act. Especially compared to Kerry?

Latina Lover's picture

Just cheap agitation propaganda for the sheeple...the world leaders understand why Putin reclaimed Crimea, to protect their most important naval base in their entire fleet,  in response to an American led coup in Kiev.

HoofHearted's picture

"If it's Tuesday, we must be annexing Belgium." - Vladimir Putin

fx's picture

Tyler playing the neo-con anti-Russian propaganda drum is getting ever more annoying by the day...

Ferrari's picture

The internet is a big place bro. I hope you find a home.

highly debtful's picture

Putin would be well advised not to start stirring trouble within the borders of a Nato member, because that's an entirely different ball game. He is not thát powerful and apart from its energy resources, Russia does not have many economic aces up its sleeve. Bear in mind that this is a two trillion dollar economy for a population of about 145 million souls. That's not what I call impressive, especially when you take the energy export out of the equation.

Each former super power still has it's own backyard, and the Crimea was clearly part of his playfield. Estonia isn't any more, Russian minority or not. Maybe the POTUS and the EU are weak and indecisive, but that might change very, very quickly if Putin overplays his hand.

Martian Tourist's picture

Yes about 43 countries would be obliged to defend them

Crash Overide's picture

Coalition of the "oh shit did we really sign on to that one"...?

ncdirtdigger's picture

28, and I don't think Albania scares anybody

Independent's picture

Look what a minority of neo nazis did in Ukraine, if Putin arms the ethnic Russian, 25% of the population angry and with AKs can do a lot of damage, and NATO does not include coming into a country and defending it from a interior conflict LOL

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

Russia should be careful that the US does not keep inflating their ego at this point, to the point of getting "suckered" to roll into Estonia.

That would give the US and NATO all the PRETEXT they need to start the hot war they desperately want.

Russia just needs to consolidate its position, "play defensive hockey", and wait for the UST sales to Belgium to turn into a blatant and open farce, for the world to see.  Note also that it is NOT a coincidence that China has been sidelined with its financial problems.  This is Russia vs the NWO at this point.  If they tread very carefully, they will be ok.

Crash Overide's picture

"Russia should be careful that the US does not keep inflating their ego"

Serious stuff here:

Independent's picture

I think Kirk that Putin thinks along the same lines, he is just rattling the saber, forcing NATO to have to focus on several areas rather than just Ukraine.

Mike in GA's picture

Not to worry, The Administration has just begun to employ Joey and his new, gravelly voiced gravitas personified.  I personally sleep better knowing Joey and ACORN are on it.

SafelyGraze's picture

not to neglect the ethnic russians in poland

RadioactiveRant's picture

Has anyone tried started a petition to get Crimea back? Is there an international "We The People" thing our fearless leaders could all sign?

BennyBoy's picture

'linguistic tensions'

Are russians unable to learn a second language?

Give them all a Rosetta Stone course.

layman_please's picture

Citizens of empires don't speak any other language. Soviet Union doesn't exist anymore but the memory is still vivid enough to not to accept it.

Harrison's picture

Moscow signals concern for Russians in New York City

Russia signaled concern on Wednesday at New York City's treatment of its large ethnic Russian minority, comparing language policy in the city with what it said was a call in Ukraine to prevent the use of Russian.

New York City residents, meanwhile, expressed hope that they would be rescued from the evils of capitalism by a Russian takeover.

Stuck on Zero's picture

The Russians are protesting that they have to learn Spanish to get work anywhere.


GeezerGeek's picture

How long before the Mexican government masses its forces to invade the American Southwest? Oh, wait, they already did, mostly without guns. 

Meanwhile, NYC residents have already been rescued from the evils of capitalixm by electing a commie mayor.

Is it just me, or is the whole world going crazy?

Newsboy's picture

Me too.

I'm a threat to NATO and freedom and democracy too!

LawsofPhysics's picture

Completely "unforeseen" - /s


Let me be clear; people define boarders, not the other way around...


(note: the corporate owners still "win" either way)

Bangin7GramRocks's picture

Well now, that's it! Amass 500,000 troops and load the pallets with 100 dollar bills. It's time for some GDP boosting. If a few thousand brave American boys die for the cause, it's all in the name of freedom.
Stay the fuck out of it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dollar Bill Hiccup's picture

And now for a new surge of separatist violence in the Caucus region.

Independent's picture

I think the people in that region are still licking their wounds and grieving from all the strife from the past few centuries.  They know how traumatic conflict can be, I would say they are the most averse to it right now, I think they just want to rebuild and enjoy some normalcy for a change.

Dr. Engali's picture

We can't be bothered with this right now. Obama just turned in his NCAA picks and we need to find out who he is picking to go all the way.

John McCloy's picture

    Putin is turning in his picks too just like Pres...He's picked Dontesk, Kharkiv, Moldova & Estonia. 

olle's picture

But these countries has been occupied by the Soviet Union for 70 years, and then the situation was the opposit...... they might just give back some...

Rising Sun's picture

The strategy will be to financially collapse Russia.


Barry is a useless piece of shit, but the days of conventional war are long gone.


Putin is a scum sucking communist pig and he can have all that he can afford - which is very little.


Get the fucking Orville Redenbacher - not for this bullshit, but for the pending financial collapse in China - more interesting.

GetZeeGold's picture



The strategy will be to financially collapse Russia.


Right after the US of course.

Mi Naem's picture

The financial destabilization strategy is global. 

Unified currency control and centralized governance is coming quite soon with Brussels or something like it federating control over nation states like DC controls NY, TN, UT etc. 

First though, we need economic collapses and wars so most folks will cry for order at any price. 

Tsar Pointless's picture

"Putin is a scum sucking communist pig..."

Note to self: Never give any credence to any comment Rising Sun posts.

Whoa Dammit's picture

When will Russian become concerned about the safety of its countrymen that own luxury condos in Manhattan and London?


williambanzai7's picture

If they sign up to liberating the Hamptons of banksters and billionaire shitheads, count me in.

IridiumRebel's picture

now that is a beachhead I'd like to see retaken.

GeezerGeek's picture

I can hear it now: The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!

sushi's picture

Putin is eyeballing the high concentration of Russian speakers in Belgravia. If they vote to secede from the UK then Putin is ready to annex them as part of Russia. Cameron sees this coming and threatens to unlike Vlad's Facebook page. Boris says as long as the Russian border gaurds arrive by bicycle all is OK. Obama was fighting his balls on the 17th and was unable to comment.

medium giraffe's picture

But does Putin want to create a situation where he is forced to negotiate with the Labour party after they win the next UK election?  He's probably thinking twice about having to deal with those crazy Marxist goons. 

Winston Churchill's picture

The Baltic countries have been pretty rough on the Russian descendants living

within their borders since the fall of the USSR. Instead of integrating them they have isolated,

and treated them in an apartied sort of way.Latvia ,and Lithuania in particular.

Looks like its going to bite them in the ass.

Squiddly Diddly's picture

Sounds to me like your blaming the victims of the former and soon to be again empire.