Experts weigh in on Kohver exchange
Security experts say handing Aleksei Dressen to Russia will not compromise Estonian security, but a solution to the Eston Kohver saga will allow Estonia to move on with other topics.
Former Internal Security Service (ISS) head and current IRL MP Raivo Aeg said Russia could use Dressen in preparing information operations against Estonia or help in recruiting sources, adding that the ISS has analyzed the problems which allowed Dressen to remain undetected for that long, and has reorganized its work procedures. Aeg said Dressen, who has spent the last three years in prison, poses no further threat to Estonia.
On Saturday, September 26, abducted ISS official Kohver was exchanged for Dressen, a former ISS employee who was arrested and imprisoned in Estonia in 2012 for treason.
Karmo Tüür, an expert on Russia, said that the swap must be put into a wider perspective. Russian President Vladimir Putin will address the UN soon and a good-will sign goes down well with general perception of Russia, and with the media, Tüür explained. “The Kohver vs. Dressen switch is a small detail in a larger game,” he added.
Tüür said Kohver's abduction could well have been only made to get Dressen back.
Political commentator Ahto Lobjakas said he does not believe US-Russian relations had anything to do with Kohver's release. He said the problem was between Estonia and Russia, adding that although not much will change in the larger plan, focus can now be shifted to other topics.
“I personally believe Estonia would have found it difficult to continue with the ratification of the border treaty, considering how he [Kohver] was abducted and how this effects the border rhetoric,” Lobjakas said.