Now it appears the cavalry is on its way, but not just due to the fact that Estonian Ambassador Marina Kaljurand was attacked this morning during a press conference by activists from Nashi, a Kremlin supported youth group.
Today, the youth group attacked the Estonian ambassador's vehicle, ripping off its Estonian flag. But it later attacked the vehicle of the Swedish ambassador to Russia, Johan Molander, pictured, also ripping off his vehicle's Swedish flag. The event drew instant protests from the Swedish Foreign Ministry, and -- no suprise here -- whether for the sake of Kaljurand or Molander, an EU delegation is on its way to sort things out with the Russians.
The issue here is Russia's adherence to Article 22, Item 2 of the the Vienna Conventions of April 1961, which states:
The receiving State is under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the premises of the mission against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the mission or impairment of its dignity.
I am begining to think that Russia's reluctance to clear it's openly endorsed youth group may have more to do with domestic politics. How will Russia's leaders look when its most "patriotic" citizens are removed, perhaps violently, in order to protect the diplomatic mission of a country that has been subjected to a propaganda war for most of the last 16 years?
I can imagine Russian officials are figuring out ways out of this right now. One might be to attend the ceremony on May 8 in Tallinn, bite their lip, and recognize that this is over. Talk of integration issues can resume, and they need to. But as for this issue, it needs to be put to rest immediately. Perhaps the EU can talk some sense into Moscow.