A Russian newspaper says that Russian activists will hold two demonstrations in Tallinn in April to express solidarity with the Crimea and southeastern regions in Ukraine and "support the possibility" of holding a separatist referendum in northeastern Estonia. Estonian authorities say the rallies are likely to be marginal, on a background that has thus far been unreceptive to attempts to sow tensions.
"Two meetings will be held in Tallinn, organised by the association Russkije v Estonii (Russians in Estonia)," reported the Russian daily Izvestia.
"The first is planned in front of the Russian Embassy on April 12, and the second demonstration will take place on April 20 in front of Parliament," the paper said in an unclearly attributed passage. "At this one, the organizers want to point to the fact that most Estonian cities were founded by Russians or have been part of Russia. This concerns Tartu (Yuryev), Narva, Tallinn (Revel). It is also planned to raise the question of the option of holding a referendum on self-determination."
Both demonstrations are registered with Tallinn city government, uudised.err.ee confirmed.
The paper also interviewed historian David Vseviov, who said the events will not have any particular impact.
"It's a free country here and people can assemble where they want and when they want," Vseviov told Izvestia.
The Estonian national security agency said the individuals who organised the demonstrations are known to them as provocateurs. Office director Andres Kahar told Delfi: "We have nothing more to say but that two Russian extremists - (Dmitri) Linter and (Juri) Zhuravlyov - are trying to ratchet up tensions, using fictitious organizations and movements as window dressing."
Linter played a part in the April 2007 riots, although he was not convicted of any wrongdoing. But the other, Zhuravlyov was involved in looting - such as in the Westman shop on a main commercial street - and received probation after being convicted for stealing a half case of beer, uudised.err.ee reported.
Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Marko Mihkelson told Postimees that the "pro-Kremlin" demonstrations in Tallinn are attempts to sow tension and should be disregarded by the public, saying it was no surprise that special services in Russia would include Estonia in their destabilization attempts.