The trial of Aivo Peterson, charged with treason, kicked off at the Harju County Court on Tuesday.
If convicted, Peterson could be looking at a prison sentence of 6-20 years.
According to the charges, Peterson, who is a member of the board of the Koos/Vmeste movement, and his codefendant Dmitri Rootsi between October 2022 and March 10, 2023 knowingly and systematically aided Russia and persons working under orders from Russian agencies in nonviolent action against the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Estonia based on guidance received from the Russian Federation.
The accused are charged with participating in conscious influence activity to create a political organization in Estonia promoting Russia's foreign and security polity narratives. The charges outline that the organization served the purpose of giving Russia the opportunity to jeopardize Estonia's constitutional order, meddle in Estonia's domestic politics and influence its foreign policy.
Peterson is also charged with aiding Russian citizen Andrey Andronov in nonviolent action aimed against the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Estonia based on which the latter has also been charged.
Peterson is a leading member of the Koos/Vmeste movement. He ran for parliament in the ranks of the United Left Party in Ida-Viru County and got 3,969 votes. Peterson has previously made statements supporting Russia's current policy and visited occupied parts of Ukraine, recently in March of this year.
The Estonian Internal Security Service (ISS) detained Peterson, Rootsi and Andronov in March.
Rootsi and Andronov were also members of the Night's Watch. Andronov is a Russian citizen who has a permanent residence permit in Estonia.
The accused remain in custody.
Editor: Mirjam Mäekivi