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Special envoy: Russia would consider invitation to Estonia's centennial

Russia's Special Presidential Envoy for International Cultural Cooperation Mikhail Shvydkoy.
Russia's Special Presidential Envoy for International Cultural Cooperation Mikhail Shvydkoy. Source: (Valery Sharifulin/ITAR-TASS/Scanpix)

The Russian government would consider Estonia's invitation to visit should Estonia invite representatives of Russia to the celebrations of the country's centennial, said Russia's Special Presidential Envoy for International Cultural Cooperation Mikhail Shvydkoy on a visit to Tallinn on Tuesday.

Shvydkoy told Interfax that Estonia has yet to hand over an invitation and this may be linked to the difficult relations between the two countries.

"Firstly, high level contacts between our countries have been frozen since 2007, after known events around the Bronze Soldier..." the special envoy noted. "The recent expulsion of two Russian diplomats working at the Narva Consulate does not help ensure that high level or highest level relations could be possible."

At the same time, if "the Estonian side issues an invitation, it will be reviewed," Shvydkoy added.

The special envoy drew attention to the fact that this summer, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Finland in the framework of the country's 100th anniversary celebrations.

"Finland is also a member of the EU, cooperates with NATO, but this does not hinder our bilateral relations, which are developing very actively," Shvydkoy said, suggesting that Estonian colleagues should follow th example set by their neighbors.

"It is of course not my place to give advice — I do not wish to interfere in the internal matters of a sovereign state — but there are examples of the Russian president being invited to celebrations like this," the special envoy said.

Shvydkoy added that the issue does not only concern Estonia, but also Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. "It would be unlikely that they would have achieved their statehood as quickly if it had not been for the events of 1917 in Russia," he noted.

Shvydkoy arrived in Tallinn on Monday, where he met with Minister of Culture Indrek Saar (SDE), Minister of Education and Research Mailis Reps (Center) and Tallinn deputy mayor Mihhail Kõlvart (Center).

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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