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ISS: Russia's interest toward Estonian defense sphere intensifying

Director General of the ISS Arnold Sinisalu.
Director General of the ISS Arnold Sinisalu. Source: (ERR)

Russia is displaying increasingly intense interest toward the defense field in Estonia, Director General of the Estonian Internal Security Service (ISS) Arnold Sinisalu said in the foreword of the ISS yearbook presented on Wednesday.

"There is increasing interest in the field of defense," said Sinisalu. "The increased presence of NATO allies in the Baltic countries and in Poland is vexing for Russia. It is this vexation in particular that Russia demonstrates in words and actions, trying to make it as unpleasant as possible for NATO member countries to support their allies."

This means more work for Estonian security authorities, but it is highly beneficial with regard to improved safety and stability.

Sinisalu said that in 2016, it became evident at all levels, both in Estonia and elsewhere in the world, that the explosive growth of social media has had an impact that was not entirely foreseen.

"Moreover — the onslaught of false claims and misleading information have made many of us thing that we have reached a post-truth stage," he said. "Perhaps we here in Estonia have sensed that false and misleading claim and untruthful facts influence our way of life, and that truth has been ignored or twisted for a long time."

He said that manipulations with history are not over and that the world was not living at the "end of history." The Western democratic and peaceful way of life is not a self-explanatory or desired social development for everyone.

"We are still witnessing attempts to erode our society," he explained. "Sometimes our enemy will achieve a tactical victory. Most recently, ten years ago, the long-term persistent influencing activity by the Kremlin culminated in a public attack on the national flag in May 2006 and riots against the police and looting in Tallinn and Ida-Viru County in April 2007. I daresay we have learned our lesson from this as a society here in Estonia."

Russian intelligence agencies are continuing espionage against Estonia, Sinisalu noted. In counterintelligence, there is an ongoing tendency to recruit "ordinary" people and criminals for secret collaborations.

"Again this year we must include regrettable examples of how some people have begun carrying out anti-Estonian tasks given by Russian intelligence agencies," said the agency's director general. "We have identified these cases and, in collaboration with the Office of the Prosecutor, we have prosecuted these criminals."

Editor: Aili Vahtla

Source: BNS

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