Russian spy revelations aim to discredit Estonia, say ministers ({{commentsTotal}})

Hanno Pevkur Source: (ERR)

Minister of the Interior Hanno Pevkur and former minister Ain Seppik said on Monday that the objective behind the latest spy revelation, which came from Russian media, is to undervalue Estonia and its security services in the eyes of its partners.

Pevkur drew attention to the wording of the Russian broadcast, which he said were meant to raise doubts in Estonia's partners. "In any case, it is aimed to depreciate the Republic of Estonia," he told Delfi.

Former Minister of the Interior Ain Seppik expressed a similar view.

"It appears that our small but sturdy Internal Security Service (ISS) have stepped on someones toes again, for it is quite without a precedent that the big bear gets so angry and takes such a step," he told ERR's uudised.err.ee.

"If we talk about that particular case, then we should be very careful with drawing any conclusions. I understand that this man called Puusepp [the alleged spy], whom I am not familiar with, lives in Moscow. These days, people in Moscow can suddenly say the most surprising things," he added.

"This step was made with an objective to discredit the Estonian state. It's not made in the context of internal politics but with an eye to more global aims. It doubtlessly sows some uncertainty in relation to the enlargement of NATO. It could also have a destabilizing effect on the relationships within the EU and especially on that between Estonia and the US," Seppik said.

"We have to understand that the media was given a bone, and if it continues to chew it with joy and vigor, the objective has been met."

Seppik expressed doubt over the accuracy of Puusepp's claims. "Every piece of information that Puusepp has been credited with: he couldn't have known it. I'm somewhat familiar with how ISS works and the information that Puusepp is said to have had, is simply not accessible there. It concerns NATO and the US relations, for example. Who gives an old KGB officer access to this kind of information?"

Seppik said that the employment of former KGB officers by the ISS is probably explained by the lack of specialists in the early 1990s, when Estonia regained independence. There simply weren't enough people who knew how to handle the available technology. "Why they were left in office later on is a mystery to me. I guess they were no longer seen as a threat, as their KGB past was well known to the public," he added.

The Russian media channel NTV claimed last week that Uno Puusepp, an Estonian and a former employee of the ISS, was in fact a long-term Russian mole.

Puusepp said that he started working for the Russians in 1996 and revealed sensitive information about ISS and the security services of other NATO member states, including the US.

Editor: P. Luts, A. Krjukov, M. Oll, S. Tambur



Opinion
Kallas, Kasemets, Maasikas: EU is strong, no upside to losing the euro

Speaking on Vikerraadio's "Reporteritund" ahead of the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, Siim Kallas, Keit Kasemets and Matti Maasikas agreed that despite its prblems, the EU remained strong as a union.

Opinion digest: How can Estonia shed its reputation as a frontline state?

In a recent opinion piece in Postimees, Propastop, a blog maintained by Estonian Defence Forces volunteers, listed suggestions on how Estonia could shed its international reputation as a frontline state.