Security Police are keeping an eye on secret unarmed combat training by a Russian-speaking youth group linked to the radical Night Watch organization, suspecting they may be preparing for new action against the Estonian state, the Postimees daily reported on Dec. 7. At training courses in Tallinn youths belonging to the Voluntary Movement, a group that sprang up this summer, are getting in shape and learning self-defense. The reported leader of the 40-member group, 17-year-old Alexander Kotov, has listed the struggle for the Russian-speaking minority's rights in Estonia and release of "political prisoners" as its main objectives. A Night Watch spokeswoman denied formal ties to the Voluntary Movement.
Expansion of the Schengen border-free area to cover Estonia will not lead to a massive inflow of foreign workers or a labor exodus from Estonia, Prime Minister Andrus Ansip said on Dec. 11. Speaking on Russian language public radio station Raadio 4, Ansip said that polls showed fewer people moving to other countries seeking jobs and that the number of Estonian residents who have gone to work in a foreign country in recent years is between 20,000 - 30,000. "That is not very much," he said.
Hunters on Saaremaa island have found the remains of a German soldier killed in 1944, the daily SL Ohtuleht reported on Dec. 8. The moss-covered remains, discovered in the woods near a World War II defense line, were lying visibly on the ground only a few meters from a well-trodden path. A knapsack containing cartridges and a grenade found nearby were removed by explosive ordnance disposal experts. The soldier's dog tags identified him as a member of the 68th regiment of the 23rd infantry division. The remains will be reburied in the Narva military cemetery.
The United States hopes that Estonia will extend the country's military mission in Iraq, Juy Garber, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of European and Eurasian affairs, has said. The United States highly values the allies' contribution in safeguarding peace and security in foreign missions in Afghanistan and Iraq, Garber told BNS on Dec. 6. Estonia's parliament votes on Dec. 19 whether to extend its Iraq mission.