The global financial crisis has many victims, but over the past 24 hours the name of one small, northern victim has been on many lips, and, no, it's not "Estland"; it's Iceland.
In what has become standard practice during the past few weeks, the Icelandic state nationalized two large banks, Landsbanki and Glitnir, while it attempted to rescue a third, Kaupthing.
Kaupthing has also received Swedish support to the tune of $702 million for its arm in Sverige, which is now looking for a local buyer. Perhaps the most interesting twist is the appeal by Reykjavik for a $5.4 billion loan from Russia. While it isn't a done deal, Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin has said Moscow viewed the request "positively."
In Eesti, the banking system is moaning and groaning, but much of that is coming from Stockholm, home to Swedbank and Ühispank parent SEB. It's not hard to imagine anything at this point, but a Swedish bailout to cover Baltic losses could occur sooner than any spokesperson for the banks is willing to concede.
The second option though, of seeking Russian money to keep the country solvent, would be highly controversial in Eesti, where Russia is seen as still having political goals and meddling in domestic politics. But if the Icelanders have to turn to Moscow to keep their economy afloat, to whom could the Estlanders turn in a similar, hypothetical scenario? If not Stockholm and Helsinki, then who?