Igor Kopõtin, a historian and former Defense Forces soldier who also served in Afghanistan and wrote a book about his experience, said he is sure that ethnic Russians living in Estonia will fight for the nation if the need arises, as they did in the War of Independence.
“If that difficult moment arrives when the Estonian people must protect our freedom and our nation the ethnicity of one or another soldier will not be an issue. Strong identity with the state can be built during conscription service, where young people from different ethnicity serve together,” Kopõtin told ETV on Thursday.
He said it takes many stages for people to become attached to their countries. “The primary factor is cultivation by the family, then it is education, which is part of the culture. A person receives values, which are shared by the society, from education. After that comes conscription, which should be the final stage in bracing the identification with the state."
Besides writing about his time in Afghanistan, which he undertook to learn about fear during conflict, he has also written about Russian officers in the Estonian armed forces between 1918-40, and in the War of Independence.