Russia balks at doling out part of Siberia

  • 2004-05-20
  • From wire reports
TALLINN-MOSCOW - Estonia's attempts to raise the issue of compensation for damages caused by the alleged Soviet occupation and of receiving an apology have no chances of succeeding, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on May 18.

"It must be perfectly clear that such attempts have absolutely no prospect of success," the Russian news agency Interfax quoted the ministry as saying in a comment on the "White Book" presented to the Estonian Parliament.
The book, which describes the damage caused to Estonia by the occupation regimes during World War II was submitted to the legislature last week by the chairman of a state committee investigating repression policies, Vello Salo. (See story on Page 1.)
The Russian ministry said that it is in principle supportive of objective examination of events of the past.
"But an obligatory precondition for this must be a truly unprejudiced approach, which requires abstaining from attempts to highlight some periods of history to the detriment of a study of others, and taking into account the combined effect of all facts and international law in effect at one or another point of time," the statement reads.
The statement goes on to say that, "Russia's position on the circumstances concerning Estonia's entry into the Soviet Union and the subsequent period is well known, and it is pointless to reiterate it. This applies to both attempts to present to Russia material claims of one or another kind in this connection and the demand for an apology."
Russia was no doubt particularly perturbed by Salo's suggestion that it compensate Estonia some $104 billion in damages for the war and occupation and that the best way to repay would be to handover an entire Russian region such as Novosibiirsk Oblast.
The ministry notes that in accordance with Article 8 of a Russian-Estonian agreement on the withdrawal of troops, all monetary, material and other claims related to the stationing of troops in the Estonian territory, including environmental and other damage, are considered fully settled.
Urmas Reinsalu, chairman of the Estonian Parliament's constitutional committee and a member of the ruling Res Publica party, has earlier promised the panel will propose in Parliament that the government make an analysis of possible compensation claims.