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Estonian passport holders at risk

May 21, 2008
In cooperation with BNS

PSKOV- Persons with dual Estonian and Russian citizenship living in the Pechory district of Russia's northwestern Pskov region pose a threat to Russia's territorial integrity, the chief of the regional border service said.

Ivan Bobryashov, the chief of the Federal Security Service's Border Department in Pskov, said Estonia has been conducting an active policy of granting citizenship to residents of the Pechory district since 1992 and by now more than 10,000 residents have both Russian and Estonian citizenship, Russian news agency Interfax reported.

Yet there is still no border agreement between Estonia and Russia, Bobryashov stated.

"The main reason for this is the unsolved question of our, I stress this, our Pechory district," the border guard chief said. "Analysis shows that the Estonian authorities conduct active expansion of their political, economic, social and information impact in the Pechory district."

The Pechory district was part of the Estonian territory prior to World War II.

He also voiced the opinion that people with dual nationality working in local governments, public agencies and law enforcement bodies could be used for various ends, including against Russian citizens and the country as a whole.

Bobryashov stated that the Estonian policy vis-a-vis the Pechory district is being used as leverage which the Estonian authorities and radical nongovernmental organizations may use towards people with dual citizenship in order to implement their own ambitions in economic and political expansion into Russia.

Another serious problem of the Pechory district is conscripts who prefer to serve in the troops of a NATO member state rather than in the Russian army, Bobryashov said.

"Young men of conscription age at present make attempts to undergo and actually undergo military service in the armed forces of Estonia, a NATO member, to escape service in our armed forces," the border chief said. In his opinion, the reason for this is that military service lasts eight month in NATO troops and 12 months in Russia.

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