No. 34




Estonia’s security on the border of free world

14 December 2016


RiTo No. 34, 2016

  • Marko Mihkelson

    Marko Mihkelson

    Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu, Pro Patria Union

The geographical position and smallness of Estonia are a great possibility and at the same time also an inevitable challenge for us. Estonia is the smallest country in Europe and in the whole Western world that has managed to survive and succeed in spite of its political-geographical location.

Estonia’s location on the geographical and political map of the world is one of the important foundations of our success story. The Nordic Countries are a great example and model to us, and Russia never allows us to stay in the comfort zone in our development.

The history of Estonia is a convincing proof that the border area of two different civilisations is a heightened security risk area. Our security does not depend only on the independent political will of Estonia, it is directly connected with the relations between civilisations, between the East and the West. The more critical the relations between the great powers are, the higher is the threat factor for us.

Estonia is a North European country, and we belong to the Nordic space. Although from time to time we tend to speak of ourselves as an East European country or a transition country, it is time to stop doing that. Estonia is a democratic country, and for some years already, quite a few of its economic indicators have been better than in several older European democracies. We have nothing to be ashamed of because in several fields (for example, in cyber security) we are the pioneers.

We are closer to the formation of unified North than ever before. Historically, all preconditions for it have been created. We think and act in the same way. The enlargement of NATO to the whole Nordic territory would change the security of our region in the way no earlier agreement has been able to do.

Estonia is understandably interested in predictable and good-neighbourly relations with Russia. Nerve-racking tension and continuous feeling of threat are not in our interests. At the same time it is very important to keep in mind that we can exist as an independent and internationally competitive Western country in the neighbourhood of Russia only if we take belonging to the Western cultural space seriously.

No matter how we describe the current situation in the relations between Russia and the West, is it a continuation of the Cold War or its new hybrid form, it is a fact that the situation will calm down only if both sides can agree upon common rules of the game or, even better, Russia returns to the space of international law and the principles defined in the UN Charter.

Estonia’s security on the border of the free world is like continuous creative work which requires alertness, determination and courage. From everybody and all the time. Estonia never has too much time.