reede, juuni 10, 2005

Just sign it...

Estonia's newest government, led by Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, who took over the reins from Juhan Parts' government in April, seems to be one of the more mature governments I have witnessed in my fling with the Republic of Estonia.
My guess is that because the coalition, which is made up of the Reform Party, Center Party, and Estonian People's Union, were accidental rulers, not exactly linked by a common mission statement, they have been forced to fall back on the boring business of representing the Estonian people's interests, rather than their own.
One of the better products of an alliance that includes such odd ministerial fellows like Economic Minister Edgar Savisaar and Foreign Minister Urmas Paet has been the signing of the border agreement with Estonia's eastern neighbor, Russia, on May 18.
Paet has urged the Riigikogu to approve the treaty before the nation's lawmakers break for the summer. The second reading, and probable vote, will come next week.
There have been a few elements in the government, most prominently Isamaalit (Fatherland) that wish to make claims for the territory annexed by Soviet Russia following the Second World War that included the Petseri (Pechory) district, as well as some territory on the otherside of the Narva River.
However, Estonian President Arnold Rüütel, in a surprisingly candid interview with Postimees on May 24, said that Estonia essentially has no real use for the Petseri district and the land on the other side of the Narva river.
"Kui arvestada Petserimaa ja Narva-tagused alad kokku, elab seal umbes 40,000 venekeelset inimest, Setusid aga umbes 500."

Basically, there are only 500 Setu (an Estonian-related Finnic group living in the Petseri district) so it makes no sense to claim land where an overwhelming majority of Russian nationals live. Ansip has also promised that the government will help Setu families relocate within the Estonian border.
And while it may sound grossly nationalistic, it makes sense that Estonia would renounce its claims to that land de jure, because the government doesn't need to be responsible for integrating 40,000 more people (in a country where 29 percent of the total population - including Russian citizens living in Estonia, some 7 percent - are Russian speakers) into Estonian society.
"Making sense" may be an even better slogan for Estonia than "Positively transforming." Let's hope that next week, the Riigikogu makes the right choice, and inks that border deal with Russia, so the two countries can move forward in their relations.

Kommentaare ei ole: