Estonian PM, Former Latvian Minister 'Wanted' in Russia for Destroying Soviet-era Monuments

Russia has placed numerous Baltic politicians, spanning municipal deputies to national parliament members, on its wanted list.
  • bureau
  • 12:03 PM, February 13, 2024
  • 654
Estonian PM, Former Latvian Minister 'Wanted' in Russia for Destroying Soviet-era Monuments
Estonian PM Kaja Kallas with Ukraine's leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy

The Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs has placed Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas on its wanted list, accusing her of the destruction of monuments dedicated to Soviet soldiers in Estonia.

The country's Secretary of State Taimar Peterkop and Lithuanian Culture Minister Simonas Kairys are also wanted in connection with the alleged acts.

Kallas, who has been at the helm of Estonia since 2021, is the first sitting head of a foreign state to face criminal charges in the Russian Federation. The Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs has expanded the list to include Minister of Justice Inese Libinu-Egnere, Ministry of Finance head Arvils Asheradens, and former Latvian Minister of Internal Affairs Maria Golubeva. All three are implicated in the destruction of Soviet-era monuments on Baltic soil.

Maria Zakharova, the official spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry, commented on the situation, stating, "Putting Kallas on the wanted list is just the beginning." Russian authorities have made it clear that their pursuit of justice will not stop with the current wanted individuals.

The accusations against Kallas are centered around her support for a robust anti-Russian policy, with allegations that she played a direct role in the demolition of monuments honoring Soviet soldiers who perished during the Great Patriotic War. Kallas has also been a vocal advocate for continuing arms supplies to Ukraine and endorsing measures that limit the rights of the Russian-speaking population in Estonia.

Maria Zakharova emphasized the severity of the accusations, stating, "Crimes against the memory of the world's liberators from Nazism and fascism must be prosecuted."

The Baltic nations, formerly part of the Soviet Union, had previously announced plans to dismantle Soviet-era monuments. Kallas had declared in 2022 that Estonian authorities aimed to dismantle between 200 to 400 such monuments. In response, Alexander Bastrykin, the head of the Russian Investigative Committee, initiated a criminal investigation into the matter.

While the Baltic politicians risk arrest only if they cross the Russian border, their inclusion on the wanted list underscores the heightened tensions between Russia and the Baltic states. As of now, Estonian and Lithuanian authorities have refrained from commenting on the latest developments.

In total, Russia has included several dozen Baltic politicians of various levels on its wanted list, ranging from municipal deputies to members of national parliaments. The Interior Ministry database, however, does not specify the criminal code articles under which they are being prosecuted.

Also Read

GPS-Based Devices in Baltic States Disrupted as Russia Jams Signals

February 5, 2024 @ 07:35 AM

Russia Sets up Monuments to War Heroes in Syria

May 12, 2023 @ 08:07 AM