Putin sends border treaty to Duma for ratification

Estonia's eastern border (Postimees/Scanpix)
3/20/2015 11:05 AM
Category: Politics

Russian President Vladimir Putin has given the Russian-Estonian border treaty to the Russian Parliament for ratification.

The Estonian Parliament has already passed the first reading of the bill, but chose to wait for similar steps from Russia, before moving forward. Estonia has said it will only ratify the treaty once Russia has also gotten that far.

Russian officials said they are likely to begin the process on April 8.

The nation's foreign ministers signed the treaty on February 18, last year, but it will first need to be ratified to come into effect.

The wording, and the new border, is similar to the 2005 treaty, which was signed but not ratified, except an addition to the sea-border preamble in which both sides relinquish territorial claims against the other state, and a sentence highlighting that the treaty only regulates state border matters.

On the border, 128.6 hectares of land, roughly the size of Tallinn's Old Town, and 11.4 square kilometers of lakes will be swapped.

Estonia will gain a boot-shaped piece of land near Värska, which currently belongs to Russia but has a road cut through it used by Estonians, although it is not allowed for people driving through to stop.

Amendments will also be made on Peipsi lake to make life easier for fishermen.

Once ratified, Estonia can then go ahead with building up the eastern border. The topic became highly political after KaPo official Eston Kohver was taken from the Estonian side across to Russia, where he is still awaiting trial in Moscow’s infamous Lefortovo Prison.

J.M. Laats

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