Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the use of new, creative forms of warfare in the eastern part of Ukraine raise difficult questions for Estonia, a small Baltic nation bordering Russia. Since the conflict started, Estonian and Western security experts have been pointing out the vulnerabilities of the Baltic states. Speculation such as “will Narva be next?” is more common than one would like to admit. How vulnerable is Estonia to such kinds of unconventional attack? Could the Ukraine scenario be repeated in Estonia?
The main question is whether Estonia’s Russian-speaking minority would provide a sufficient incentive for Russia to intervene militarily, or at least to create instability. Would the Russian speakers really be receptive to Russian propaganda and raise weapons against Estonia if the moment came?
Fear is being fuelled by both sides, Russia and the West. While Russia traditionally plays the card of ethnic discrimination and NATO’s increasing presence in the Baltic states which, in their view, forces them to use countermeasures, the West is reaffirming the possibility that Russia will, in fact, use these measures.
A war narrative hangs in the air, creating suspicion and even panic, among Estonians whatever language they speak.
Download full analysis: Estonia’s “Virtual Russian World”: The Influence of Russian Media on Estonia’s Russian Speakers