WikiLeaks: ‘Putin has a personal gripe with Estonia’

The Moscow Times reports on a diplomatic cable obtained by the Russian newspaper Kommersant featuring a bit of amateur psychology on why the prime minister seems so ill-disposed toward Estonia:  A cable dating back to December 2009 cites the Estonian Foreign Ministry’s undersecretary and ambassador to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Harri Tiido, as saying that “Estonia seeks pragmatic relations with Russia and has ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
DMITRY KOSTYUKOV/AFP/Getty Images
DMITRY KOSTYUKOV/AFP/Getty Images
DMITRY KOSTYUKOV/AFP/Getty Images

The Moscow Times reports on a diplomatic cable obtained by the Russian newspaper Kommersant featuring a bit of amateur psychology on why the prime minister seems so ill-disposed toward Estonia: 

The Moscow Times reports on a diplomatic cable obtained by the Russian newspaper Kommersant featuring a bit of amateur psychology on why the prime minister seems so ill-disposed toward Estonia: 

A cable dating back to December 2009 cites the Estonian Foreign Ministry’s undersecretary and ambassador to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Harri Tiido, as saying that “Estonia seeks pragmatic relations with Russia and has managed a number of productive working level meetings over 2008.”

But relations remained “difficult at the political level” because of Putin, who alone decides the policy toward Estonia even after trading the presidency for the prime minister’s post in 2008, Tiido said.

“Putin has a personal gripe with Estonia,” Tiido is quoted as saying.

Putin’s father, also Vladimir, fought in the Red Army during the war and parachuted into Estonia for an unspecified operation. But locals, still disgruntled with the country’s occupation by the Soviet Union in 1940 — a year before the Germans invaded Estonia — handed him over to the Nazi forces, Tiido said. Putin’s father later managed to flee but was injured as he left, he said.

Eh…maybe. Putin has never seemed particularly fond of any former Soviet republic that actively seeks to escape Russian influence. Does he have particular emnity toward Estonia? At least he’s never threatened to hang any of the country’s leaders by the balls.

Russian-Estonian relations hit a low point in 2007 following the removal of a controversial Soviet war memorial in Tallinn. The move prompted an official rebuke from Moscow and was followed shortly after by a massive cyberattack, allegedly orchestrated by Russian nationalists. 

Joshua Keating is a former associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

More from Foreign Policy

Children are hooked up to IV drips on the stairs at a children's hospital in Beijing.
Children are hooked up to IV drips on the stairs at a children's hospital in Beijing.

Chinese Hospitals Are Housing Another Deadly Outbreak

Authorities are covering up the spread of antibiotic-resistant pneumonia.

Henry Kissinger during an interview in Washington in August 1980.
Henry Kissinger during an interview in Washington in August 1980.

Henry Kissinger, Colossus on the World Stage

The late statesman was a master of realpolitik—whom some regarded as a war criminal.

A Ukrainian soldier in helmet and fatigues holds a cell phone and looks up at the night sky as an explosion lights up the horizon behind him.
A Ukrainian soldier in helmet and fatigues holds a cell phone and looks up at the night sky as an explosion lights up the horizon behind him.

The West’s False Choice in Ukraine

The crossroads is not between war and compromise, but between victory and defeat.

Illustrated portraits of Reps. MIke Gallagher, right, and Raja Krishnamoorthi
Illustrated portraits of Reps. MIke Gallagher, right, and Raja Krishnamoorthi

The Masterminds

Washington wants to get tough on China, and the leaders of the House China Committee are in the driver’s seat.