Reinsalu: No progress expected with Estonian-Russian border treaty in 2020

Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

No progress is expected with the ratification of the Estonian-Russian border treaty in 2020, foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) said on Saturday.

Speaking on Kuku raadio's Nädala tegija programme he said he did not foresee any movement being made on the issue in the centenary year of the Tartu Peace Treaty, where the initial border agreement was laid out in 1920. "Do I predict that the new border treaty will come into force in 2020? No, I do not predict it," he said.

Reinsalu said that in previous comments Russia has linked the ratification of the border treaty to the precondition that Estonia must give up its Russophobic policy.

"But we are not pursuing a Russophobic policy! We are not changing the essence of our sovereign state on this issue," Reinsalu said.

Estonia and Russia still have very different views on the treaty, he said: "So I predict that things will not get any worse or better on this issue."

The treaty signed in 1920 between the newly-independent Estonian Republic, and the fledgling Soviet Russian state, contained a border demarcation which includes territory now in the Russian Federation, beyond the south-eastern border of present-day Estonia and including the former Estonian town of Petseri, now Pechory, in Russia.

When Estonia became independent in 1991, following the occupation of Estonia by the Soviet Union during and after World War II, the border looked somewhat different from how it had in the treaty.

After the restoration of independence, several Estonian politicians have raised the question of restoring the borders laid out in the treaty. However, the Russian Federation has not recognized the validity of the treaty and the Estonian-Russian border specified within it. 

The Tartu Peace Treaty has never been ratified and the last attempt was in 2005.

At present, there is a temporary border line between Estonia and Russia which has been largely unchanged since 1945 and is different to the border agreed in 1920. 

The current coalition does not have a unified view on the ratification Reinsalu said in May 2018.

February 2, 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Tartu Peace Treaty. By signing the treaty on February 2, 1920, Russia recognized the independence of the Republic of Estonia and ended the War of Independence. The treaty led to international recognition of Estonia.

Tartu Peace Treaty. Source: EV100


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Editor: Helen Wright

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