“common knowledge” about this matter among Estonian foreign policy elite that helped to rule out accepting Russia’s – we could say even “friendly”- offer. In its official statement from 03.11.1997 Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs explicitly rejected these guarantees, stating that: Unilateral security guarantees do not correspond to the spirit of the new Europe; these kinds of guarantees and regional security agreements have never been and are not also now on the agenda of Estonian foreign policy 44 . With accepting the U.S. security offer – the U.S.-Baltic Charter - in January 1998, Estonia made it clear that it wanted security guarantees from the West, not the East. 52
ESTONIA AND NATO – A CONSTRUCTIVIST VIEW Volume 8, 2006 Signing the U.S.-Baltic Charter was interesting in the sense that it broke down one of the “taboos” in the Estonian foreign policy, namely – no signing of any kind of unilateral security political agreements, aiming at security guarantees. This might suggest that Estonia has gone through a learning process à la “we want security but not the one proposed by Russia”. Especially, since Estonia became a member of NATO in 2004, dealing with Russia seems to depend not so much on how threatening it might be perceived, but rather on Russia's change of its identity into a more Western one (i.e more appropriate one), as concerned in the next statement: As I also noted at our spring foreign policy guidelines debate, the improvement of Estonia's relations with Russia would be helped along by the international condemnation of the crimes of Communist regimes, by Russia admitting what happened in the past, as well as by the signing of the border treaties 45 . At the same time Estonia has echoed implicitly that it does not expect Russia to be a part of “us”, but instead regards Russia as a necessary “other” against who it might be possible to measure Estonia's own degree of adoption of Western values and make appropriate foreign and security policy decisions. For example, Russia is regarded as “a significant obstacle” to stability in the Caucasus region: There are obvious obstacles on the road towards liberal democracy and economic stability in South Caucasus. The so-called “frozen conflicts” constitute a particular challenge. The continuing existence of Russian military bases in Georgia is another significant obstacle to achieving stability in this country in particular 46 . During the debates on signing Estonian-Russian border agreement in April 2005, such a pressure from Estonia on Russia to change its “thinking” was even more explicitly expressed by then foreign minister Urmas Paet: 53
Baltic Security & Defence Review Volume 8, 2006 It is very important that Russia readmit illegal immigrants having come from there, no matter, which country's citizens they are. Here we cannot compromise; we cannot alter the meaning of the agreement. The absence of an agreement is better than a bad agreement, because in the case of a bad agreement we cannot foresee the potential consequences.
- Fall '16