Estonian Information Board presents first public threat assessment
The Estonian Information Board (EIB) presented its “International Security and Estonia” report on Wednesday, the first time the Information Board ever made the results of its work public.
The 48-page report was divided into two main parts. The first was on Russia, the second on various threats.
The first part of the report described Russia as an unpredictable and complicated neighbor. The EIB’s analysis saw the country remain the biggest threat to security in the Baltic in the near future, and pointed out that “Russia’s disagreement with the West, growing voluntary isolation, and unpredictable and aggressive actions in executing its plans” had a profoundly negative effect on it.
The report didn't rule out a Russian attack on the Baltic countries, but stated that Russia’s military capability remained “unbalanced.” It saw NATO’s effort to deter Russian aggression as a success in that it lowered the risk of direct military threats to Estonia.
The second part of the report commented on Islamic terrorism, saying that the current wave of Islamic terrorism was the worst the world had encountered. Though international terrorism wasn’t a direct threat to Estonia, the Information Board still considered it a threat to Estonian citizens abroad.
The EIB expected the movement of refugees towards the European Union to continue, quoting the security situation in the countries in the Mid-East as a reason. The popularity of far-right and nationalist movements in the EU of recent months was used very skilfully by Russia to achieve its foreign policy aims, the report said.
Another threat the report identified was the possibility of cyberattacks. These attacks, directed at critical infrastructure, presented a cheap and effective way to destabilize a country, the report said. It pointed out that the line between activists, criminals, and state-paid hackers were getting increasingly blurry.
Background of the report
The EIB decided to prepare a first report after the events in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine opened up the Estonian public sphere to fear mongering, half-truths and sensationalism, said its Director General Mikk Marran.
Marran stressed that politics and influencing the course of the state’s policies wasn’t the Information Board’s task. He described the EIB's main purpose as making sure that the government had the best threat assessments it could get.
The report didn't touch on otherwise confidential information, and was written for public use, Marran said.