August 21, 2015

Crossroads: Migrants and Russia

Reuters/Scanpix

What should Europe, including Estonia, do with the throngs of migrants heading to the continent? How should we approach this? Should we allow them in and, if so, how? The debate on the issue has surpassed any reason, divided communities, and turned friend against friend.

Uku Särekanno, an expert on migration policy, writes about the delicate situation regarding the migrants. He argues that guarding the borders is not the first and top priority for Europe. More crucial is the development of effective expulsion policies.
“Europe has taken the path of the sugar daddy,” writes Särekanno. “Neighbours are being offered money and visa waivers to guard their borders more closely and to take back their own citizens as well as people from the developing world as fast as possible. For example, the price of the readmission agreement between the EU and Russia was visa waivers for holders of Russian diplomatic passports, which was difficult for the Estonian security forces to swallow.”
On television, we often see horrific catastrophes whose many casualties have shocked the world. Estonia’s Gert Teder, who has been to several such regions, gives a detailed overview of how the victims are actually assisted and about the work in these areas. 23 August is, as we all know, the anniversary of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. Sergei Mironenko, the long-serving director of the Russian State Archives, speaks very negatively about the pact. He believes it to be tantamount to a criminal act – a rather particular stance, given the widespread hysteria in Russia against different viewpoints about World War II and its prologue.
Kalev Stoicescu, a Senior Research Fellow at the International Centre for Defence and Security, is certain that the confrontation between the West and Russia will be a long-term one, something Estonia has to take into consideration. “As long as Putin reigns over Russia, there is no reason to hope that the climate will change for the positive or to believe the Kremlin’s promises,” he writes.
Oliver Ait, an expert in Asian affairs at the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute, expatiates on the possibility that China is reconsidering its relatively peaceful foreign policy, and that the new direction would mean a considerably more aggressive interference in other states’ internal affairs.
Ago Gaškov and Aimar Ventsel review books on Russian history and Russia’s modern politics.

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