Last week Russian security forces abducted an Estonian security officer along the country’s border with Russia. The incident is a serious development, but is also merely one of several that have analysts looking at Estonia as the possible next theatre for Russian ambitions.And concludes:
Now analysts are having to contend with a real possibility that the Baltic states will be the next of Putin’s foreign adventures. If so, despite their small size, it will have far wider consequences than the current conflict in Ukraine.
With their NATO membership, any attack on Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania will inevitably lead to a much wider conflict between the West and Russia, the type that can reshape Eastern Europe as we know it today.So far Putin has met with little opposition from the West as he seeks to reassemble, if not the Soviet Union, then Russia's 19th-century empire.
We were silent over Georgia, near silent over the Crimea and tonight there are rumours that many European nations are resisting the sanctions over Ukraine that were agreed last week.
What I fear is a return to the situation when I was young where, not only was Estonia not an independent nation, but any thought that it might be was near ridiculous.
This is what I wrote about John Le Carré's Smiley's People and its television adaptation three years ago:
One thing that interests me about Smiley’s People is that it reminds us how much the world has changed since it was written in 1979. The plot begins with the murder by the KGB in London of an elderly former Soviet general who has defected to become the head of an Estonian nationalist organisation.
To the realists who have taken over the Circus since Smiley’s retirement – and to an extent to Le Carré himself – the Estonians are relics of the past and somewhat ridiculous. The future lies in détente with the Soviets. I take this as a true picture of the official view under Harold Wilson and Jim Callaghan’s governments of the 1970s.If we are to avoid a return to a world like that - and it is not hard to find left-wingers who will bend over backwards to find excuses for Putin's imperialism - then the West is going to have to stand up to Russia and its ambitions.