Eesti in brief - 2005-12-21

  • 2005-12-21
Former president Lennart Meri remains in the hospital under doctors' care, his press attache reported this week. Meri, 76, was hospitalized a week ago because of a fever believed to be caused by a viral infection and prior to that due to thrombosis. The fever has since gone down, and the president reportedly no longer suffers from symptoms. Though he was released from the hospital last month, doctors have decided to continue regular remedial exercises because of a weakness in his left hand and leg.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's special envoy to the European Union again accused the bloc of not fulfilling its obligations to solve problems with the Baltic states' Russian-speaking population. "The European Union is acting timidly and sometimes doesn't do anything at all to solve the problems facing thousands of our compatriots who have the shameful status of non-citizens," Sergei Yastrzhembsky was quoted as saying by the Interfax agency. He also said that the rights of ethnic Russians in the Baltic countries are among issues complicating Russia's relations with the European Union. "We find that the EU is not fulfilling its obligations to solve the problem of noncitizens 's a status that is unknown in present-day European law," Yastrzhembsky stated. Putin also expressed support for the idea of repatriating some ethnic Russians in the Baltics to the Kaliningrad province (see story on Page 2).

A memorial plaque to British sailors killed in the 1918-19 Baltic campaign was unveiled in the Portsmouth Cathedral in England. Prince Andrew and commander of the Estonian defense forces Vice Admiral Tarmo Kouts unveiled the plaque, the Defense Ministry reported. The monument is a copy of the memorial tablet in the Holy Spirit Church of Tallinn and is dedicated to 14 naval officers, 92 sailors, four air force officers and one airman. "These valiant soldiers died in the name of freedom and democracy," Prince Andrew said. "We will never forget their valor and belief in a better future."

A court in the city of Taganrog in southern Russia has convicted an Estonian national of drug trafficking and given him a 20-year prison sentence. A representative of Russia's drug control authority told the news agency RIA Novosti that, two years ago, businessman German Goncharov bribed two persons to disseminate synthetic narcotics in Rostov-on-the-Don and other cities of the region. Under the court ruling, Goncharov has to serve his sentence in a penal institution with a strict regime. The man has contested the sentence. "Goncharov shipped fish products into Estonia and drugs from there," the drug control authority official said. The agency said Goncharov was found to be in possession of 300 grams of amphetamine, eight grams of cocaine and 200 tablets of ecstasy during a search.