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Estonian passport holders at risk

  • 2008-05-21
  • In cooperation with BNS

PSKOV- Persons with dual Estonian and Russian citizenshipliving in the Pechory district of Russia's northwestern Pskov region pose athreat to Russia's territorialintegrity, the chief of the regional border service said.

Ivan Bobryashov, the chief of the Federal Security Service's BorderDepartment in Pskov, said Estonia has been conductingan active policy of granting citizenship to residents of the Pechory districtsince 1992 and by now more than 10,000 residents have both Russian and Estonian citizenship, Russian newsagency 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 stressthis, our Pechory district," the border guard chief said. "Analysisshows that the Estonian authoritiesconduct active expansion of their political, economic, social and informationimpact 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 inlocal governments, public agencies and law enforcement bodies could be used forvarious ends, including against Russian citizens and the country as a whole.

Bobryashov stated that the Estonianpolicy vis-a-vis the Pechory district is being used as leverage which the Estonian authorities and radicalnongovernmental organizations may use towards people with dual citizenship inorder to implement their own ambitions in economic and political expansion intoRussia.

Another serious problem of the Pechory district is conscripts who preferto 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 undergoand actually undergo military service in the armed forces of Estonia, a NATO member, toescape service in our armed forces," the border chief said. In hisopinion, the reason for this is that military service lasts eight month in NATOtroops and 12 months in Russia.