Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said at the press conference in Moscow on Wednesday that the reason behind Barack Obama's Estonia visit last September was to annoy Russians, rather than friendly bilateral relationship between USA and Estonia.
At the traditional press conference where Lavrov concluded the last diplomatic year, he also commented on the US president's Estonia visit, which took place in early September, ahead of NATO summit in Wales.
“At the time, the US representative said that by stopping in Estonia, Obama will send out a clear signal to Russians that Russian Federation's behavior is unacceptable,” Lavrov said. “But can you imagine how much offense has one actually caused to Estonia, by saying that the sole reason to visit your country is to screw Russians – excuse me by using this unpleasant expression,” Lavrov said.
“For that reason I would hope that the US, and especially their president, will develop relations with its allies not to specifically harm other countries, but according to the interests of the country itself and its partners,” Lavrov added.
Commenting on Lavrov's outburst, Eiki Berg, a professor of international studies at the University of Tartu, said that Russian foreign minister was aiming to "show Estonia its place".
“I have to admit that Lavrov's way of thinking is not that straightforward and understandable. Why should Estonia feel offended in the named situation? I believe that Lavrov was trying to undermine us, indicating that Estonia and Estonian foreign policy is in the hands of Washington and an independent foreign policy is non-existent,” Berg said to ERR.
“Obviously, it is Lavrov's opinion, but Estonia should not in any way react. There is no doubt that for us, Obama's visit had an important symbolic meaning. I believe that Russia took a notice that Obama's strategically important visit to a small, neigboring country, took place at the time when the Ukraine crisis had a created a tense period in the region," he added.
Berg also reminded that Eston Kohver's affair started just few days after Obama visit. “These things are probably correlated. Obama's visit clearly aggravated Russia,” Berg said.
Russian foreign minister also said that his country could soon be ready to go ahead with the Russian-Estonian border treaty. “I am certain that the treaty will be ratified. In Estonia, this process has not been completed yet, either. In Russia it is the government’s prerogative to initiate the ratification process by submitting a corresponding bill to the State Duma. I hope that we will start this process in the near future,” Lavrov said.
According to Berg, Lavrov is trying to send out a positive signal, in an otherwise complicated foreign policy situation where the conflict in Ukraine has again intensified.
“I think that it was a show, a signal to avoid a perception that there will be no good news coming out of Kremlin. It was a positive message among the many negative ones,” Berg said.
Berg's opinion was backed up an Estonian political analyst Karmo Tüür who said that in reality, it is unlikely that Russia will step up the process to ratify the border treaty.
Tüür also said that probable reason for Russia's public readiness to ratify the treaty is the hidden agenda to ease the economic sanctions that have been imposed on Russia by the EU and USA.
“I noticed Lavrov said at the conference that almost half of the EU member states are keen to give up the sanctions, but are under pressure by the United States,” Tüür said to ERR. “Russia is trying to break the united stance by European and Western countries when it comes to sanctions. It is logical to conclude that it is trying to send out positive messages to those countries that have certain bilateral matters or agreements to settle with Russia. Every country have these and for Estonia, it is the border treaty,” Tüür added.
Editor: S. Tambur