Foreign Minister Marina Kaljurand revealed that the abducted, now released, Estonian official Eston Kohver was surprised to hear his case received international attention and thought he was already forgotten about, at the first meeting between Kohver and an Estonian consul in Russia.
“I can say, as the foreign minister, that the entire foreign ministry was the whole year – slightly over a year – consumed by the matter of getting Eston Kohver released. We tried to keep him connected to Estonia as much as we could. Our consuls did a superb job, taking those meetings [with Russian authorities], humiliating themselves, enticing, appealing, but the goal was clear: to speak with Eston Kohver, speak to him in Estonian, to forward him messages from home,” she told ETV's "Pealtnägija" program.
“But let me be clear, this does not mean we will forget the incident,” she said, adding that the case will cloud Estonia's relationship with Russia.
“I can only tell you that the head of KaPo (Estonian Internal Security Service) and the interior minister have repeatedly told that I have no reason to doubt that they are telling the truth,” Kaljurand said, answering a question about Kohver's exact location during the abduction.
Kaljurand said a consul had to sometimes wait for hours, in order to meet Kohver. She said Estonian officials had to send repeated requests and sometimes had to speak in Russian with Kohver. All topics concerning the trial and the investigation were off the table and a consul could only speak about personal matters with Kohver.
Kohver thought that perhaps only the interior ministry and KaPo was dealing with his abduction, Kaljurand said, adding that Kohver was surprised to hear how the Estonian society reacted to the matter, and that the case was well known internationally.
Kaljurand said many people abroad sighed with relief after Kohver's release, as they felt they had helped along. She said that Federica Mogherini, the EU's foreign affairs chief, told her the news of the release was the best news she heard all week.
Speaking about the timing of the release, just ahead of Vladimir Putin's speech at the UN General Assembly, Kaljurand said the two are connected.
“International community is interested in Russia being more constructive on a few topics. There is a positive experience from the Iran negotiations and people are hoping for a similar scenario on Syria,” she said.
At the end of the day, it makes little difference how Russia sees the Kohver for Aleksei Dressen exchange, because Estonia knows the truth, and so do Estonia's allies, partners and friends, she added.
Editor: J.M. Laats