Estonian embassy in Moscow attacked

  • 2000-05-11
  • By Jaclyn M. Sindrich
TALLINN - Despite Prime Minister Mart Laar's claim that Russian and Estonian relations are "better than ever," news of spats between the two nations are frequent, involving everything from alleged human rights violations of Estonia's Russian speaking population to airline battles cutting off all flights to Moscow.

The early morning attack on the Estonian Embassy in Moscow on May 5 is the most recent addition to a long list of inflammatory events between the nations, when still-unidentified persons hurled bottles containing a dark and pungent combustible liquid at the building.

One window was smashed and the walls were smeared, shocking workers at the embassy and consular department, but injuring no one, according to reports. No fire broke out.

Embassy officials have said that security cameras show one person throwing the bottles at the unguarded side of the building and then running away.

The assault may be the work the National Bolshevik party, a group of Russian extremists, according to a Baltic News Service report. Leaders of the party neither confirmed nor denied the day following the attack that the party's members were involved.

"The party as an organization has no connection whatsoever to the incident, but I do not rule out that it was someone of ours, because the handwriting is the same," Anatoli Tishin, head of the Moscow chapter of the Russian National Bolshevik party, told BNS.

The party's members were suspected to be behind similar attacks on the Latvian and Swiss embassies in Moscow in March. Estonian ambassador Tiit Matsulevitsh immediately issued a protest to the Russian Foreign Ministry, while the embassy itself sent a letter to the ministry expressing grave concern over its security, said Estonian Foreign Affairs press spokesman Vahur Soosaar.

Soosaar said the area where the embassy is located in Moscow needs to be more tightly secured, and he hopes it will be done through Russian-Estonian police cooperation. They have yet to receive a response from Russian officials, he said.

Security has been tightened at the Russian embassy in Tallinn to prevent possible retaliatory acts.