Police conclude probe into alleged riot ringleaders

  • 2007-09-06
  • By TBT staff and wire reports

NO PROOF: Defense Minister Jaak Aaviksoo admits there is no direct link between the cyber attacks and the Kremlin

TALLINN - Estonia's security police have concluded their investigation into the three leaders of the Night Vigil movement accused of co-ordinating riots last April.

The Public Prosecutor's Office is expected to send the results of the investigation to court in the next few weeks, after they have been translated into Russian, spokesperson Julia Zmarjova said.

"After that the files will be delivered to the Public Prosecutor, who expects to send the case to a court at the end of September or at the beginning of October," Zmarjova told BNS.

On April 28 security police gained permission to take Night Vigil activists Dmitri Linter (33), Maksim Reva (32) and Mark Siryk (18) into custody. Linter and Reva remain under arrest but Siryk has been released with the consent of the prosecutor.

Riots broke out in Tallinn on April 26 when the Defense Ministry began preparations for the removal of a Soviet-era war memorial from the city center and the exhumation of Red Army soldiers' remains buried on the site. Police detained nearly 1,200 people for public order violations.

Once the riots had gained momentum, Estonia faced another threat in the form of 'cyber attcks' attempting to take down its websites and disrupt IT systems throughout the country. The seemingly co-ordinated nature of the attacks led to fingers being pointed in the direction of Russia, but Estonia's Defense Minister confirmed Sep. 6 that he had no evidence that the cyber attacks were carried out by official Russian government agencies.

"Of course, at the moment, I cannot state for certain that the cyber attacks were managed by the Kremlin, or other Russian government agencies," said Estonia's Defense Minister, Jaak Aaviksoo, on the Kanal 2 TV channel.

Aaviksoo compared the cyber attacks with the blockade of Estonia's Embassy in Moscow, organized by the Russian nationalist youth movement Nashi.

"Again, it is not possible to say without doubt that orders [for the blockade] came from the Kremlin, or that, a wish was expressed for such a thing there," said Aaviksoo.

The Estonian Defense Ministry had previously stated that the IP addresses of some of the computers involved in the cyber attacks could be traced to the Russian government. A report into the attacks by a leading Israeli cyber security expert is believed to suggest that the attacks were largely improvised by individuals or small groups of techno-savvy surfers rather than being part of a governmental strike.