Eesti in brief - 2005-10-26

  • 2005-10-26
The pro-Kremlin United Russia party congratulated Center Party chief Edgar Savisaar on the party's election victory in Tallinn. "In local Estonian elections, persons without citizenship can also take part, and in this respect they are more representative than in Latvia," said United Russia MP Konstantin Kossachev, chairman of the Russia State Duma's foreign affairs committee. "That a party which isn't afraid of cooperation with a Russian party despite domestic pressure has taken the victory speaks of the population's great support for such policy of the Center Party," he said. The Center Party, part of Estonia's three-party ruling coalition, in the past has concluded a cooperation agreement with United Russia, a move that met much hostility from right-wing and nationalist politicians.

Meeting with Toivo Tootsen, chairman of Parliament's national defense committee, President Arnold Ruutel emphasized the importance of compulsory military service in Estonia's national defense and the cultivation of the people's defense. After becoming defense minister at the beginning of October, Reformist Jurgen Ligi has declared his support of a transition to professional defense forces. However, on assuming the minister's seat, he admitted that the idea would apparently not be supported by the present Parliament.

A Russian An-26 aircraft entered Estonian airspace without authorization on Oct. 24. The aircraft, flying in the direction of Kaliningrad, entered sovereign air space to the depth of 0.2 nautical miles at 16:46 hours in the Vaindloo Island area, staying less than a minute in Estonian air space, the defense forces headquarters reported. The headquarters said the aircraft had a flight plan, the transponder transmitting information about the flight and the aircraft was switched on and the aircraft contacted the Tallinn flight control center. It posed no threat to civilian aircraft. Russian aircraft have recently repeatedly violated Estonia's air space above the Gulf of Finland.