Estonia ready for long-term guerilla war: Meri

  • 2000-02-17
TALLINN (BNS) - In case of an invasion, Estonia is ready to wage a long guerilla war, but he hopes it will not be necessary when Russia becomes democratic, Estonian President Lennart Meri said in an interview with a French newspaper.

"In case of aggression, we are ready to wage a long guerilla war in the woods," Meri told the newspaper Politique Internationale. "Moscow knows this, and it is up to it to choose either imperialist policies or good-neighborly cooperation with the Baltic countries."

Meri said he is convinced that Russia understands where its interests lie and therefore one shouldn't take seriously some Russian leading politicians' extremist opinions of expansion and restoration of Warsaw Pact period borders.

"You might think Estonia is heroic only because it lives and acts just outside Russian borders," Meri told the French newspaper. "For us it is no heroic feat: Northern Europe is our home and we have no return ticket to Paris . . . ."

The Estonian president said he has no doubts that Russia will become a democratic country.

"I clearly believe more than you do in Russia's ability to become a democratic country," Meri said. "Reorientation of the Russian economy is not a question to be solved by one stroke of the pen. Above all it presumes a change in the Russian leaders' way of thinking, and such a change in people's brains takes time. I think that because Russia is face to face with very complicated problems it can effect the breakthrough. Economic logic will defeat guerilla ideology."

Meri confirmed in the interview that he has as much faith in the Russian people as he does in the Estonian people.