State to begin buying up border land ({{commentsTotal}})

The Police and Border Guard has launched a program to put a price on privately owned land next to the Russian border as the first step in buying up the land.

Aimar Köss, of the border guard, said most of the owners of the 99 private plots have already signaled their willingness to sell up, while authorities are negotiating with others, or are yet to contact them, Postimees said.

“We want to complete the sales quickly and without the need for expropriation,” Köss said, adding that the entire process could be completed before the end of the year.

The need to shore up Estonia's eastern borders became a hot topic for public opinion and politicians after the apparent kidnapping of internal security official Eston Kohver in September. After the Kohver incident, the state drew up plans to better monitor the border, setting up a special border guard unit, promising to clear the border of brush, and now buying up land around the border.

The Russian-Estonian border treaty was signed a year ago, but is yet to be ratified. The treaty does change the border line, but most changes are cosmetic.

Editor: J.M. Laats