Russian politician says borders could be ratified simultaneously

  • 2005-02-16
  • By The Baltic Times
TALLINN 's A Russian lawmaker has suggested that Estonia and Russia's parliaments ratify the border agreement simultaneously.

Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the foreign affairs committee in the lower house of Russia's Parliament, told a news conference in Tallinn on Tuesday that simultaneous ratification would prevent one of the parliaments from finding itself in an embarrassing situation.

He said that problems could emerge in Estonia's legislature since, in his opinion, there were political forces who had territorial claims on Russia. He said that since the peace treaty of Tartu had lost its validity in 1940 there were no grounds for such demands.

Still, Marko Mihkelson, head of Estonia's foreign affairs committee, told a meeting of the countries' parliamentary committees that a roundtable of Estonian parties had backed the border treaty as it stands.

Kosachev refrained from any speculations as to when the border treaty could be signed, saying that the matter was not to be decided by parliaments. Mihkelson said that Estonia has been ready to sign the border agreement since it was initialed in 1999.

Mihkelson also said signing of the border treaty cannot be linked to any other document.

Kosachev spoke about the need to adopt some kind of joint document. He said that while not being a goal in itself, it would dot a number of i's and help determine the nature of relations between the two countries. He suggested that the joint document doesn't have to be a political declaration. He hinted that it would be enough if Estonia recognized the Estonian-Russian agreement from January 1991.

Mihkelson expressed hope that Russia will have the courage to recognize the mistakes of its former leaders that brought suffering to many nations, including Estonians. Kosachev said Stalin was not a savior of nations and his actions were denounced even in the Soviet Union and were not being hailed in present-day Russia.

He added that while the Soviet Union's steps vis-a-vis the Baltic states in 1940 could be condemned morally and politically, the same couldn't be done based on today's understanding of law. He argued that international law at the time regarded "occupation" as having a different meaning than it does today.

He nevertheless listed a number of Moscow's reproaches to Estonia, including the treatment of Russian-speaking population to the alleged glorification of Nazism, the Baltic News Service reported.