Tony Lawrence is a Research Fellow and the Head of Defence Policy and Strategy Programme at the International Centre for Defence and Security in Tallinn, Estonia.
Estonia is a very small state, with limited resources to counter hostile Russian activities. Like any small country, it must concentrate on some instruments of national power more than others and use them as intelligently as possible.
Estonia has thus followed two complementary approaches to applying elements of national power since regaining independence in 1991:
- participating in international frameworks and
- using elements of national power to insulate itself from hostile Russian actions.
Within international frameworks, Estonia uses diplomatic, information, military, economic, financial, intelligence, legal/law enforcement, political, social, and infrastructure (DIMEFILPSI) instruments to counter Russia in two ways. The first is to directly target Russia in coordination with others to create an impact that would be unachievable should Estonia act alone. The second is to enhance Estonia’s profile by influencing allies within the international framework, increasing the chances that these allies will support Estonia’s agenda and interests regarding Russia. Such indirect use of the instruments of national power is frequently seen in small states’ efforts to “punch above their weight” by developing and marketing particular skill sets that may be attractive or useful to others.
Estonia’s second, more inward-facing approach to applying elements of national power is to use them to insulate itself from hostile Russian actions.1 This approach might be labeled resilience-building; examples include programs to erase uneven development across Estonia’s regions, as well as strategic communications policies to engage and inform the population about national-security-related activities. The importance of resilience in modern security thinking is evident in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)’s recognition that it is “an essential basis for credible deterrence and defence and effective fulfillment of the Alliance’s core tasks.”2
This second approach is more important for Estonia’s security on a day-to-day basis. Resilience-building measures can increase societies’ abilities to deal with a range of risks, making them able to counter Russian political warfare. Russia has a clear, long-term objective to achieve a more prominent place in the European and global security systems, so it acts to weaken the current Western-dominated architecture. It finds and exploits opportunities that challenge Western security structures and Western cohesion, such as its ongoing aggression against Ukraine, 2008 attack on Georgia, military intervention in the Syrian civil war, and probable orchestration of the 2007 cyber attacks against Estonia. Although such major challenges are rare, Russia also pursues its long-term objective by subjecting Western states to a steady stream of low-key antagonistic actions to create uncertainty and confusion, undermining the targeted states’ confidence.
Russia’s day-to-day hostile actions against Estonia include regular incursions into its national airspace, cyber intrusions, allegations of discrimination against the 23.7 percent of the Estonian population that is ethnic Russian, and hostile information policies such as alleging that Estonia’s Russophobic attitudes caused the failure to ratify the Estonia-Russia border treaty.3 These actions are well thought out and often well timed. For example, Russian operatives kidnapped an Estonian agent from the Estonian side of the Estonia-Russia border during NATO’s 2014 Wales Summit and just two days after U.S. President Barack Obama’s reassurance-building visit to Tallinn.4
Russia may thus be considered to be waging political warfare—“a form of strategy that leverages all of the diplomatic, informational, military, and economic capabilities at a nation’s disposal to achieve its strategic objectives”5—on the West. This malign statecraft has the potential to create unease and undermine security in the target states, requiring vigilance and an appropriate response from state authorities.6 DIMEFILPSI instruments provide a range of possible resources.
Concepts and Context
Estonia’s national security approach is outlined in its National Security Concept, first published in 2001 and updated in 2004, 2010, and 2017.7 Shortly after regaining independence, the Baltic states rejected options such as neutrality, some form of alliance with the Nordic or Central European states, and an association with Russia within the “near abroad.” They agreed that their security could be ensured only as part of the West and within NATO. The presidents of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania issued a joint statement to this effect in 1993, even while Russian troops remained on their territories.8 They recognized that the Baltic armed forces could not resist a large-scale Russian military invasion and that their main function was as a tool of integration with NATO.9 Estonia’s parallel push for membership in the European Union (EU) required diplomatic, legal, and economic efforts to reform its economy and adapt legislation to meet the requirements of the EU’s acquis communautaire.
During this period, state resources were limited, and security thinking focused mostly on military considerations and the military as the major instrument of national power. Much such thinking continues today, with aspects of Estonia’s overall concept of defense commanding broad political and public consensus: defense should be funded in accordance with NATO targets, involve the whole of the state, and be based on universal male conscription. Estonia’s aspiration for NATO membership demanded substantial diplomatic efforts to persuade the skeptical West of the merits of NATO enlargement. Unsurprisingly, these integration efforts were the focus of Estonia’s 2001 National Security Concept, which devoted particular attention to the role of the defense forces. The concept’s discussion of EU integration was largely framed in terms of Estonia’s prospective military participation in the EU’s developing European Security and Defense Policy and operations that might be conducted under it. Because of this, “support the achievement of Estonia’s Euro-Atlantic integration goal”10 was added as a second task for the defense forces. But the 2001 concept also recognized the importance of other instruments of power in building resilience (although it did not use any term resembling “instrument of power,” nor did it recognize “resilience” as a concept). The rule of law, human rights, a strong free market economy, and internal security and law enforcement were all cited as important components of national security—as were health, agriculture, and environment policies.
The three later versions of the National Security Concept were adopted after Estonia joined both NATO and the EU, in 2004. These versions each outlined a broader concept of security threat, which in turn required a broader response. Much of the focus of these documents was on the use of DIMEFILPSI instruments to build societal resilience and on Estonia’s overriding objective of conducting security policy within international frameworks.
By mid-2004, Estonia was under the umbrella of both the world’s most powerful military alliance and one of its largest economies. The postmodern threat assessment and range of responses set out in the 2004 concept reflected the sense of euphoria that accompanied these changes. But Russia, though barely mentioned in the concept, remained Estonia’s primary security concern. The concept was a strong signal to Estonia’s new allies that it shared their postmodern outlooks and concerns and was ready to contribute to solutions along with the rest of the club, illustrating how declared security policies may also be informational instruments of national power.
The 2010 concept covered similar themes to those of its predecessor—working within alliances and building societal resilience—although placing greater emphasis than before on resilience. The term “resilience” was used in this version and discussed in a chapter that outlined, in very broad terms, the requirements for securing critical services, electronic and cyber assets, transport infrastructure, energy infrastructure and supply, the environment, the financial system, and public health, and for having appropriate policies in place for regional development and integration. The 2010 concept also introduced the idea of “psychological defense,” a controversial and ambiguous idea broadly understood in hindsight by the research community as intended to “protect the mentality and values of Estonia’s society against hostile information-based (influence) operations.”11 The concept did not, however, provide any guidelines as to how psychological defense should be generated.
The 2017 National Security Concept is the most recent and maintains a similar approach but includes language that more closely reflects the DIMEFILPSI model in its prescriptions for resilience-building:
Countering security threats and risks calls for preventive measures and if they do not prove sufficient, [the] state should be ready to take active steps. The cumulative impact of diplomatic, informational, military, economic and social measures must create sufficient deterrence to prevent attacks against the state and its citizens and maintain stability.
The concept also notes, “In addition to political, diplomatic, informational and economic means, Russia has used military power to achieve its objectives.” Although the current concept thus nods to the DIMEFILPSI paradigm, it is only partly used as an organizing principle for the material therein. The main operational chapter—“goals and guidelines”—contains subchapters dealing with diplomacy, military defense, protection of the constitutional order and law enforcement, conflict protection and crisis management, economic security and the supporting infrastructure, cyber security, protection of people, resilience and cohesion of society, and the distant future (demography, sustainable development, and technology). The concept continues to stress the importance of psychological defense and introduces the related notion of “strategic communication.”
Finally, it is worth noting the evolution of material related to Russia in successive versions of the National Security Concept. Whereas the 2004 concept barely mentioned Russia, the 2010 version (written after Russian cyber operations against Estonia in 2007) noted Russia’s use of political, economic, military, and energy tools to achieve its goals. Nonetheless, the 2010 concept remained optimistic about relations with Russia and stated Estonia’s wish for open dialogue and pursuit of practical cooperation. The 2017 concept, written after Russian illegal operations in Ukraine, however, makes clear that Russia is a source of instability: “Russia’s unpredictable, aggressive and provocative activity, e.g., airspace violations, offensive military exercises, and nuclear threats, is generating instability.” While it continues to advocate open dialogue and practical cooperation, this version also supports “continued enforcement of the restrictive measures imposed until their reasons have been eliminated,” explicitly recognizing for the first time the value of the direct use of DIMEFILPSI tools to counter Russia.
Iga Okas Loeb/Every Quill Counts: The Military
Estonians place great value on the military as an instrument to directly influence Russia, as well as allies, and to support resilience-building. Estonia’s system of comprehensive defense aims to involve the whole of society with an integrating effect, all of which serves to counter Russia, either directly or indirectly.
The importance of the military as an instrument of national power reflects more broadly the privileged position it holds in Estonian society. The roots of this position are deep and may in part be traced to the events of 1940, when Estonia’s political class naively expected that it could avoid war by acquiescing to a Soviet ultimatum demanding the stationing of forces on Estonian territory. In fact, this submission to Moscow led to the Soviets’ annexation of Estonia, its involvement in WWII, and its subsequent 50-year Soviet occupation. Many Estonians believe bitterly that had the politicians permitted the military to resist, Estonia could have preserved its independence as its brother nation Finland did.12 Of course, this notion was never tested, but still the armed forces are viewed—and have sometimes viewed themselves—as the true guardians of the Estonian Republic and more patriotic than feckless politicians. That Estonia found itself alone in 1940 caused a debate about the extent to which the country should rely on a collective defense system, versus the extent to which it should rely on itself through the mobilization of a massive reserve. In general, the civilian Ministry of Defense has preferred a more cooperative model of defense while the Estonian Defense Forces have tended to advocate greater self-reliance.
One effect of this situation has been the placing of defense and the military in a very visible and influential position in society and the accordance of special importance to Estonia’s defense forces, as manifested by the defense forces’ attempts to influence legislation and even claims to a constitutional standing equal to that of the state’s legislative, executive, and judicial bodies.13 The forces’ status is also evident in the post-military careers of the five chiefs of defense staff: three have been elected to Parliament and one elected to the European Parliament.
More broadly, the prevalence of military thinking in society is evident through legislation requiring all men to serve as conscripts for 8 to 11 months and then enter the reserve, where they remain for years. Furthermore, national defense is an elective subject in the national curriculum for upper secondary schools, and the Ministry of Defense financially supports 70 courses inside and outside the classroom.14 The voluntary Estonian Defense League has 17,000 members, and there are 11,000 members altogether in three affiliated organizations: the Women`s Volunteer Defense Organization, the Young Eagles, and the Home Daughters.15
There is a strong public consensus on defense matters in Estonia. Eighty percent of the population see the defense forces as trustworthy, behind only the rescue service and the police. The ethnic breakdown is revealing: 89 percent of ethnic Estonians and 63 percent of the Russian-speaking minority trust the defense forces.16 Sixty percent of the population is ready to participate in defense activities if attacked (Estonians, 66 percent; non-Estonians, 46 percent), and 91 percent of the population believes that conscript service is somewhat or completely necessary (Estonians, 93 percent; non-Estonians, 83 percent).17
It is, perhaps, unsurprising that Estonia emphasizes the military as an instrument of national power. The likelihood of a large-scale Russian military attack may be small, but it is not negligible. Since 2008, Russia has invested substantially in the reorganization and modernization of its armed forces. Although NATO has a substantial advantage over Russia in military capability globally, before its war in Ukraine Russia had (and it will later likely wish to reconstitute) a considerable local advantage: according to the assumptions of a RAND Corporation wargame series, it would be able to field at short notice almost two-and-a-half times the number of combat troops as NATO, almost six times as many main battle tanks, and over 10 times as many self-propelled howitzers for a conflict in the Baltic region.18 A determined Russia could rapidly seize one or more of the Baltic states and use its extensive investments in long-range weapons to execute an anti-access/area-denial strategy to prevent NATO forces from expelling it.19 Estonia’s military would be an indispensable, and most likely the primary, response to an aggressor. Its determination to fight to the end is clearly stated in its national defense strategy:
Estonia will defend itself in all circumstances and against any adversary, no matter how overwhelming. Should Estonia temporarily lose control over part of its sovereign territory, Estonian citizens will still resist the adversary within that territory. . . . Military defence planning will incorporate paramilitary operations, such as guerrilla activity and resistance movements.
To further build credibility for its independent defense, Estonia has for several years achieved defense expenditures above 2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).20
The military’s second role as an instrument of national power is to ensure Estonia’s commitment in international crisis response operations. Estonia has participated in operations in the Middle East, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, and central Africa since its first deployment, in 1995, to the United Nations Protection Force in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.21
In the early days of independence, Estonia operated abroad to demonstrate its readiness to assume the obligations of NATO membership. After joining, Estonia did so to press the case, alongside Latvia and Lithuania, for its own interests within the Alliance—for example, regional defense plans, the conferral of permanent status on the Baltic Air Policing mission, and a permanent Allied presence in the region. Baltic officials strongly believe that this indirect use of the military instrument has been important in giving them the confidence to pursue their own agenda in the Alliance and to steer NATO policies in directions favorable to Baltic interests in countering Russia.22
The fact that Estonia’s Foreign Intelligence Service exists under the Ministry of Defense reinforces the emphasis placed by society on the military. Given the necessarily secretive nature of intelligence organizations, it is hard to assess their value as an instrument of power. Anecdotal evidence, however, suggests that Estonia’s intelligence services are well regarded and respected for their knowledge of Russia, which is valuable to allies and partners.23
Russia treats Estonia as a priority intelligence-gathering target. Russian intelligence services are certainly active in Estonia. A number of high-profile agents have been arrested and sentenced24—which could suggest that Estonia’s intelligence services suffer from a high level of Russian penetration,25 or, alternatively, may reflect the effectiveness of Estonia’s domestic intelligence service, known locally as the Kaitsepolitseiamet (“Kapo”), which is considered to be one of the best services of the former Eastern Bloc.26 Kapo reports its activities in an annual review, which describes Russia’s attempts at intelligence gathering in Estonia and Kapo’s successes in defeating them, as well as identifying organizations and individuals suspected of cooperating with Russia. Kapo thus also acts as a valuable information domain instrument.27
Before Russia’s full-scale attack on Ukraine, diplomatic relations between Estonia and Russia had been cool but at least stable, and neither side had any expectations that this situation would improve at any fundamental level.28
Russian diplomats do not, and never did, take Estonia seriously. Pressure from the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe and the United States was instrumental in getting the Russians to withdraw from Estonia following the restoration of independence, revealing how a small state has few means to influence an obstructive neighbor without international backing.29 Today, Russia shows no interest in resolving a longstanding disagreement about the Estonia-Russia border treaty.
Estonia’s diplomatic relations with its allies and partners have been considerably more successful. Joining both NATO and the EU in 2004 demonstrated Estonia’s ability to sell the case for enlargement to these two organizations—which previously was by no means guaranteed.
Alongside traditional state-to-state diplomacy, Estonia makes efforts in what might be characterized as public diplomacy, cultural diplomacy, or soft power, all of which involve building influence through attraction rather than coercion. Estonia is, after all, the home of the “singing revolution.”30
Estonia’s greatest success in this area, however, is in its promotion of itself as a digital state. Software services of Estonian origin, such as Skype and Wise, are globally known. Equally well known are the cyber attacks of likely Russian origin that Estonia suffered in 2007. The relocation of a Soviet war monument from central Tallinn to the military cemetery led to rioting on Tallinn’s streets and several days of distributed denial of service attacks on web sites of the Estonian government, banks, telecommunication companies, and so forth.31 These events prompted Estonia to develop a pioneering cyber security strategy and institutions such as the Cyber Defense League (a voluntary organization aimed at protecting Estonian cyber space) and the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Centre of Excellence (a multinational organization that conducts research and provides training in the technological, strategy, operations, and legal aspects of cyber defense).32 As an exercise in soft power, Estonia also makes efforts to advise and lead in the broader digital discipline of e-governance.33 A digital Europe with free movement of data was one of the four priorities of Estonia’s presidency of the Council of the EU in 2017.34
However, there are concerns that Estonia’s lack of investment in digital infrastructure, shortages of information technology workers, and underinvestment in research and technology more broadly will undermine its ambitions and erode this soft power asset. In fact, international rankings of the digital economy have recently placed Estonia further down their lists than in earlier years.35 While Estonia retains considerable standing in this field, this decline illustrates the challenge of maintaining long-term credibility for states that wish to market themselves based on particular knowledge and skill sets.
Fake News, Psychological Defense, and Strategic Communication
Global awareness of the importance of the information domain has grown in recent years as high-profile cases of Russia’s use of information tools to pursue its objectives in other states have come to light. Estonia faces a somewhat different challenge from what most other Western states face, in that it has a large (23.7 percent) ethnic Russian population, which could be manipulated by Moscow’s propaganda to act against Estonia’s interests. Such concerns were amplified by Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, where the Russian-speaking population was persuaded by television messaging that they would be treated as second-class citizens in Ukraine and should rather favor secession to Russia.36 Given the resonance of this messaging and the frequent Russian attacks on the Baltic states’ supposed discrimination against, or even oppression of, Russia’s “compatriots” in their countries, it is understandable that analysts and the media have fretted over the question “Will Narva be next?”37
RAND researchers have found that although Estonian and Latvian officials monitor potential Russian provocations in their predominantly Russian-speaking areas, they doubt that Moscow could sustain a mobilization of the Russian-speaking population. The researchers noted that their interviewees may have had hidden motives for their claims (for example, any reported dissatisfaction among the Russian-speaking population would make it harder to sustain Baltic reluctance to make concessions on citizenship and language issues), but also argued that the threat of NATO’s involvement would deter Russia from escalating lower-order disruption into a full-blown crisis. Furthermore, Estonia and Latvia are “well-functioning states” with “effective internal security services and border guards that are more capable of protecting their territory than the ones Ukraine had.”38 The importance of well-functioning states was also underlined by RAND’s interviews in non-Baltic countries and chimes well with the idea that Russian hybrid war is fundamentally a war on governance and is most successful where governance has failed; by corollary, hybrid defense is about ensuring legitimate and effective governance.39
Yet Estonia would prefer to be able to tackle mischief in the information domain before any need for the security services and NATO to become involved. Efforts are complicated by the fact that the Russian- and Estonian-speaking populations exist in separate information spaces, with Russians tuning in to Russian-based television and social media channels. The effect of Russian disinformation messages on these channels is not fully clear, not least because there is no agency, either in Estonia or elsewhere, charged with the systematic monitoring of the consumption and impact of Russian disinformation.40 Evidence seems to indicate, however, that while Russian disinformation messages may not persuade most Estonian Russian speakers to actively support the Kremlin’s agenda, they do appear to increase levels of cynicism about news sources in general, risking the further alienation of disenchanted Russian speakers, and to distract consumers from other, perhaps more pressing, societal issues.41
Furthermore, the Russian-speaking community is not homogeneous, but socioeconomically fragmented. There is a sizeable ethnic Russian middle class, particularly around Tallinn, which has supported Estonia’s EU membership and taken advantage of the opportunity to successfully engage in private entrepreneurship.42 Yet at the same time, more than 66,000 Estonian residents still have undetermined citizenship, the northeastern counties where much of the Russian-speaking population is concentrated are among Estonia’s least developed, and the labor market is ethnically and linguistically segregated, with doors effectively closed to sections of the population.43
It is also not clear that Estonians take the threat of disinformation sufficiently seriously. In part this may be because Estonian speakers have, or at least believe they have, a “cognitive shield of protection” when it comes to processing disinformation. As an anonymous independent media expert explained in a 2018 study, fresh memories of the Soviet occupation and anti-Russian narratives in many families have given ethnic Estonians an immunity to the lies propagated by today’s Kremlin.44 Or, as The Economist more succinctly puts it, “most disbelieve anything that sounds Putinny.”45 But most of Moscow’s disinformation is not aimed at Estonian speakers, and it may be that this sense of immunity has allowed Estonians to become complacent about its impact. For example, a November 2018 Eurobarometer poll ahead of the 2019 European elections found that only 56 percent of the Estonian electorate was concerned about disinformation and misinformation on the Internet, compared with an EU average of 73 percent, while 43 percent were satisfied with the fight against false, exaggerated, or misrepresented stories in the media, compared with an EU average of 40 percent.46 A local media expert characterized this situation thus: “Estonia is at the top of Europe’s naive. We are very, very naive when it comes to false news.”47
Estonia’s strategy in the information domain is to focus its activity inward—on the building of societal resilience—rather than on the development of tools to directly influence Russia. Here, the notion of psychological defense is relevant. The strategy is somewhat loosely defined in the National Security Concept as “informing society and raising awareness about information-related activities aimed at harming Estonia’s constitutional order, society’s values and virtues.”48 The concept continues:
Psychological defence is needed to neutralize attacks by terrorist organisations as well as assaults proceeding from the military doctrine of certain states with the help of efforts to influence the society under attack with cognitive methods. Appropriate measures must be drawn up for this. The purpose of psychological defence is to prevent crises in Estonia, facilitate security awareness in society and neutralise information attacks that provoke violence in the population by manipulation and the provision of false information, or that promote crisis management with resources that are not compatible with constitutional order.49
In Estonia’s security thinking, psychological defense has a more active counterpart, strategic communication, which “involves planning the state’s political, economic and defense-related statements and activities, preparing a comprehensive informative whole on the basis of these, and transmitting it to the population.”50 Strategic communication is aimed at both Estonian society and foreign target groups and, in line with broader Estonian thinking on comprehensive defense, relies on the support of networks of people and the media.51 It is managed centrally by Estonia’s Government Office and, in line with Estonia’s broader emphasis on hard security, is focused on national security and defense.52
In practical terms, the state strives to implement strategic communication by providing the public with factual information according to the guidelines set out in a government communication handbook.53 Good examples are the yearbooks issued by organizations such as the Police Financial Intelligence Unit, the Cyber Security Unit of the Estonian Information Systems Authority, the Internal Security Service (the previously mentioned Kapo), and the Foreign Intelligence Service. The rationale for such publications is well explained by the former director general of the Foreign Intelligence Service in his foreword to his organization’s 2016 yearbook:
The idea for preparing a document describing the international security environment which surrounds Estonia, and is orientated to the Estonian and foreign public, first occurred as a response to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. Not a day went by in the wake of annexation of Crimea and conflict escalation in eastern Ukraine without Estonian or foreign press asking: “Is Narva next?”. Not to mention the numerous attempts to analyze the Kremlin’s hidden agenda with regard to the Baltics. Yet public officials remained laconic or altogether silent in their statements resulting in burying the few competent messages that existed under an avalanche of inadequate information. This, in return, led to the public space being filled by doomsday scenarios, half-truths, and with a hunger for sensation. Without a doubt, such developments have a negative effect on a nation’s psychological defense. At the same time, Estonia has its foreign intelligence service whose main task is to ensure that those with the “need to know” have the best possible threat assessments at their disposal. With this publication, we are sharing these assessments with the wider public.54
Another means for presenting unbiased information to the Russian-speaking population is the Russian-language television channel ETV+, operated by the Estonian public broadcaster, ERR. The establishment of this channel was a somewhat controversial idea and was rejected for many years, despite the clearly polarized viewing habits of Estonia’s Estonian and Russian speakers. Various arguments against national broadcasting in the Russian language were advanced, including cost, the perceived inability to compete with programming of Russian origin, and a lack of need—the expectation was that in the long run the entire population would understand Estonian and that providing Russian-language broadcasting in the meantime would reduce the motivation of the Russian-speaking population to improve their Estonian-language skills.55 The parliament approved funding of the new channel in late 2014, following Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. Rather than try to compete with Russian entertainment channels or to counter Russian propaganda, ETV+ focuses on local interest stories. The aim is to tackle the disengagement of the Russian-speaking population by persuading them to feel more connected to the state, to Estonian speakers, and also to other Russian speakers.56 According to polling, although ETV+ has only a 1.5 percent share of daily viewing time, 57 percent of Estonia’s “other nationalities” tune in to ETV+ on a regular basis.57
In information domain interventions aimed at more directly countering Russia, Estonia has taken steps to deny support to organizations that are deemed non-independent or that do not follow good journalistic practice and has denied accreditation to and even issued entry bans to the employees of certain organizations. There is an obvious tension between the state’s wish to block “fake news” and its democratic requirement to preserve freedom of speech, but there is also a risk that counter-disinformation actions can themselves be used in further disinformation operations that claim state censorship.58
Estonia has also promoted the internationalization of the disinformation problem. It was among the early supporters of the establishment, within the EU European External Action Service, of the East StratCom Task Force, which “reports on and analyses disinformation trends, explains and exposes disinformation narratives, and raises awareness of the negative impact of disinformation that originates in pro-Kremlin sources and is disseminated in the Eastern neighborhood’s information space and beyond.”59 Estonians have also been prominent among those calling for the task force to be larger and better funded.60 Further, Estonia is a sponsoring nation of the NATO StratCom Centre of Excellence in Riga, where it holds the deputy director position.
Economy and Finance
Estonia’s booming economic development following the restoration of its independence is well known. The early implementation of painful “shock therapy” economic reforms, including price liberalization, privatization and restitution, flat-rate taxation, and monetary reform, led to rapid growth (with rates as high as 12 percent in the mid-2000s), high levels of economic freedom, foreign investment, the integration of Estonia’s economy with the economies of the West and, ultimately, the country’s joining the EU in 2004.61 The economy proved to be a powerful tool in repositioning Estonia as a Western state and removing it from Russia’s orbit and influence. Economic policies continue to have the same aims and effects today: insulation from Russian economic interference is an important contribution to Estonia’s resilience in the face of potential hostile Russian actions.
One sector where this approach is very apparent is energy. Estonia is fortunate in having oil shale deposits that allow it to meet 90 percent of its electricity generation needs and thus to have the lowest energy dependency rate in the EU.62 Oil shale is, though, something of a mixed blessing. It is a notoriously carbon-intensive fuel, and Estonia faces some pressure to lessen its environmental impact by introducing new technology to reduce emissions and increasing the share of renewables in its energy mix. For renewables, Estonia presently achieves about twice the EU average percentage of gross final energy consumption.63
Estonia is attempting to integrate its energy infrastructure more closely with those of other EU nations. The electricity grid is currently connected to those of Russia, Latvia, and Finland (via the undersea Estlink 1 and Estlink 2 cables), and Estonia is seeking to de-synchronize its grid from the Soviet legacy IPS/UPS wide area interconnector and synchronize instead with the European Continental synchronous area—a project with geopolitical just as much as energy significance.64 Projects are also under way to connect the Estonian gas supply systems to the Central European gas networks and to construct an additional liquefied natural gas terminal in Estonia, again aimed at reducing dependency on supply from Russia.65 Estonia has been a harsh critic of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, which it argues serve Russia’s geopolitical interests in contravention of EU energy policy.66
In a more direct application of the economic instrument of power, Estonia has been very supportive of the economic and financial sanctions imposed on Russia by the EU following the annexation of Crimea and intervention in Donbas in 2014 and the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022. The economies of the Baltic states have been damaged more than those of most other EU countries by Russia’s counter-sanctions against agricultural products, notably in the dairy and canned fish sectors, and by fewer tourists because of rising oil costs. However, upholding international law far outweighs any economic loss.67 Trade with Russia has been important for Estonia’s economy, but not overly so. In 2019, Russia accounted for about 5 percent of Estonia’s exports and 8 percent of its imports.68 Tourism from Russia had begun to increase, but the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a substantial fall in numbers in 2020. In September 2022, Estonia, alongside Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland, introduced a bar on entry to all Russian nationals holding a short-stay Schengen visa.69
On the financial (and legal) side, Estonia has also proved itself resilient against Russia’s active weaponization of corruption and organized crime. Its anti-corruption strategy aims to promote corruption awareness, to improve transparency of decisions and actions, to develop the capabilities of investigative bodies, and to prevent corruption that could jeopardize national security.70 In 2021, the country ranked 13th in the world in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (making it the least corrupt former communist country) and in 2018 ranked 10th best in terms of the costs imposed on business by organized crime in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index.71
More recently, however, large financial scandals have been unearthed in the private sector. The Russian-Moldovan Laundromat, the Moldova II Laundromat, and the Azerbaijani Laundromat together laundered some $13 billion of questionable origin through the Estonian financial system, almost entirely through accounts held by nonresidents. Partly in response, the new Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Act entered into force in Estonia in the same year, and Estonia led the process of amending the EU’s Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive during its presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of 2017.72
But the reputation of the Estonian financial sector suffered still greater damage the following year when a whistleblower triggered an investigation into the Estonian operations of Denmark’s Danske Bank. Over €200 billion of suspicious transactions were uncovered.73 Estonia’s state prosecutor also expanded the investigation to include Sweden’s Swedbank, which dominates the Baltic financial sector, for failing to combat money laundering.74
Russia has used such schemes—the carrot of corruption—to capture regional elites, establish patron-client political relationships, and spread influence at home and in its “near abroad.”75 Clearly, efforts to prevent corruption in Estonia and Europe as a whole need to be stepped up. Unfortunately, this is a challenging endeavor, because tracking the origins of the funds is complicated and time-consuming, thus making it difficult to confirm their legality or to control or halt the flow of such funds.76
The Invasion of Ukraine
Unsurprisingly, Estonia reacted rapidly and strongly to Russia’s 2022 full-scale invasion of Ukraine, directing considerable additional resources to military defense. Even prior to the invasion, in January 2022, it allocated an additional €380 million over four years to the defense and interior ministries, and a budget supplement in March added a further €476 million to the defense budget and €86 million to comprehensive defense.77 These measures will mostly be used to rapidly increase existing capabilities. The present government is also seeking to increase defense spending to 3 percent of GDP by 2024. Defense spending is not a controversial issue, and the measures adopted so far have received broad cross-party and public support; even so, it is unlikely that without the war in Ukraine defense spending could have risen so much and so rapidly. Estonia has also, with its neighbors, pressed hard for greatly increased NATO presence in the Baltic region.78 At their summit in Madrid in June 2022, NATO’s heads of state and government agreed on measures aimed at strengthening deterrence and defense, including on the Alliance’s eastern flank.79
In the economic domain, Estonia has strongly supported the EU sanctions regime and has even, following domestic media pressure, introduced additional unilateral sanctions.80 It has also committed to stop importing Russian gas; this commitment will require the construction of a facility to handle a floating liquefied natural gas terminal in the town of Paldiski.81 In the information domain, it has banned some Russian and Belarusian media outlets and expelled Russian diplomats for spreading propaganda.82
Estonia has directly assisted Ukraine in various ways. Politically, the three Baltic states have been among the most vocal supporters of Ukraine. (The foreign ministers were in Kyiv on the day Russia’s invasion began.) In material terms, the three states announced their intention to assist Ukraine militarily even before Russia’s invasion, and by early April, Estonia had donated €220 million worth of weapons, ammunition, and protective equipment.83 In approximately the same period, humanitarian assistance, largely from private donations, had reached €15 million, and almost 27,000 refugees had arrived in Estonia from Ukraine.84
Despite its small size, Estonia has had some success in the application of instruments of national power across the whole DIMEFILPSI spectrum to counter Russia. In recent years, infrastructure considerations have been included, with well-advanced plans for Rail Baltica to connect the Baltic states to the wider European and the more speculative idea of a tunnel to connect Tallinn and Helsinki.85 Aside from the economic benefits of such projects, there are security advantages to be gained from closer integration with other European states.
Indeed, the case might be made that Estonia has had most success in countering Russia when it has directed instruments of national power toward allies, rather than directly at Russia itself. Skillful diplomacy secured Estonia’s NATO and EU memberships, and the country has since demonstrated its readiness to adopt and contribute to the agendas of these organizations and those of its allies. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has underlined the threat it poses to Western states. Whatever the outcome of the war, it seems likely that an embittered Russia will continue to challenge its neighbors through political warfare. But should it challenge Estonia, it will also have to face 29 (and soon 31) NATO states and 26 EU states. The classic small-state approach has served Estonia’s security well, and Estonia should continue to advocate for multinational solutions and the sharing of best practices when it comes to dealing with Russia’s misconduct.
Efforts to build resilience will continue to be important, and there is a growing body of international scholarship and practice to build upon. The best countermeasures for addressing the potential challenges posed by the Russian-speaking minority continue to be good governance, socioeconomic solutions, and supporting those who are loyal and integrated citizens.86 PRISM
1 Ahto Lobjakas, “Estonia: Fearing ‘Decoding’ by Russia,” in The Different Faces of “Soft Power”: The Baltic States and Eastern Neighborhood Between Russia and the EU, ed. Toms Rostoks and Andris Spruds (Rīga: Latvian Institute of International Affairs, 2015), 217.
2 North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), “Commitment to Enhance Resilience. Issued by the Heads of State and Government Participating in the Meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Warsaw, 8–9 July 2016,” press release no. (2016) 118, July 8, 2016, available at <https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/official_texts_133180.htm>.
3 “NATO Jets Scrambled Six Times Last Week in Baltic Air Policing Duties,” ERR News, March 25, 2019, available at <https://news.err.ee/923424/nato-jets-scrambled-six-times-last-week-in-baltic-air-policing-duties ; “Russia at UN: Estonia, Latvia Violating Human Rights,” ERR News, September 23, 2015, available at <https://news.err.ee/116798/russia-at-un-estonia-latvia-violating-human-rights ; and “Moscow: Border Treaty Won’t Be Ratified If Estonia Doesn’t Change Conduct,” ERR News, May 23, 2018, available at <https://news.err.ee/833760/moscow-border-treaty-won-t-be-ratified-if-estonia-doesn-t-change-conduct>.
4 “Officials: Estonian Counterintelligence Officer Abducted to Russia at Gunpoint From Estonian Soil,” ERR News, September 5, 2014, available at <https://news.err.ee/113544/officials-estonian-counterintelligence-officer-abducted-to-russia-at-gunpoint-from-estonian-soil>.
5 Douglas A. Livermore, “A Primer on Understanding the Threat - Russian, Iranian, and Chinese Political Warfare,” Small Wars Journal, 12 January 2018, available at <https://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/primer-understanding-threat-russian-iranian-and-chinese-political-warfare>.
6 Jyri Raitasalo, “America’s Constant State of Hybrid War,” The National Interest, March 21, 2019, available at <https://nationalinterest.org/feature/americas-constant-state-hybrid-war-48482>.
7 “Eesti Vabariigi julgeolekupoliitika aluste heakskiitmine [Approval of the bases of the security policy of the Republic of Estonia],” adopted March 6, 2001, available at <https://www.riigiteataja.ee/akt/72805>; National Security Concept of the Republic of Estonia (2004) (Tallinn: Government of Estonia, 2004, available at <https://www.files.ethz.ch/isn/156841/Estonia-2004.pdf>; National Security Concept of Estonia (Tallinn: Government of Estonia, 2010), available at <https://www.files.ethz.ch/isn/156839/Estonia%20-%20National%20security%20concept%20of%20estonia%202010.pdf>; National Security Concept 2017 (Tallinn: Government of Estonia, 2017), available at <https://www.kaitseministeerium.ee/sites/default/files/elfinder/article_files/national_security_concept_2017_0.pdf>.
8 Erik Männik, “The Evolution of Baltic Security and Defense Strategies,” in Apprenticeship, Partnership, Membership: Twenty Years of Defense Development in the Baltic States, ed. Tony Lawrence and Tomas Jermalavičius (Tallinn: International Centre for Defence and Security [ICDS], 2013), 21–22, available at <https://icds.ee/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/RKK_Apprenticeship__Partnership__Membership_WWW.pdf>.
9 Vaidotas Urbelis, Defense Policies of the Baltic States: From the Concept of Neutrality Towards NATO Membership, NATO-EAPC Individual Fellowship Report 2001–2003 (Vilnius, 2003), 5.
10 “Eesti Vabariigi julgeolekupoliitika aluste heakskiitmine” [Approval of the bases of the security policy of the Republic of Estonia], adopted March 6, 2001, Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], available at <https://www.riigiteataja.ee/akt/72805>.
11 Ivo Juurvee, “Estonia’s Approach to Societal Security,” in Societal Security in the Baltic Sea Region: Expertise Mapping and Raising Policy Relevance, ed. Mika Aaltola, Boris Kuznetsov, Andris Sprūds, and Elizabete Vizgunova, (Rīga: Latvian Institute of International Affairs, 2018), 106, available at <https://liia.lv/en/publications/societal-security-in-the-baltic-sea-region-expertise-mapping-and-raising-policy-relevance-716?get_file=1>.
12 Andres Kasekamp, A History of the Baltic States (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), 125–126.
13 Sintija Oškalne, “Supreme Command and Control of the Armed Forces: The Roles of Presidents, Parliaments, Governments, Ministries of Defense and Chiefs of Defense,” in Apprenticeship, Partnership, Membership: Twenty Years of Defense Development in the Baltic States, 124–135.
14 “National Defence Education at Upper Secondary Schools,” Eesti.ee, available at <https://www.eesti.ee/en/education-and-research/national-defense-education/national-defense-education-at-upper-secondary-schools/>.
15 “Estonian Defense League,” Kaitseliit [Estonian Defence League], available at <http://www.kaitseliit.ee/en/edl>.
16 Juhan Kivirähk, Public Opinion and National Defense (Tallinn: Turu-uuringute AS, 2019), 22–23, available at <https://www.kaitseministeerium.ee/sites/default/files/elfinder/article_files/public_opinion_and_national_defence_2018_march_0.pdf>.
17 Ibid, 41, 57.
18 Scott Boston, Michael Johnson, Nathan Beauchamp-Mustafaga, and Yvonne K. Crane, Assessing the Conventional Force Imbalance in Europe: Implications for Countering Russian Local Superiority (Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2018), 7–9., available at <https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR2402.html>.
19 See, for example, Stephan Frühling and Guillaume Lasconjarias, “NATO, A2/AD and the Kaliningrad Challenge,” Survival 58, no. 2 (March 2016), 95–116; Alexander Lanoszka and Michael A. Hunzeker, “Confronting the Anti-Access/Area Denial and Precision Strike Challenge in the Baltic Region,” RUSI Journal, 161, no. 5 (2016), 12–18.
20 NATO, “Defense Expenditure of NATO Countries (2011–2018),” press release no. (2019) 034, March 14, 2019; Henrik Praks, “Estonia’s Approach to Deterrence: Combining Central and Extended Deterrence,” in Deterring Russia in Europe: Defence Strategies for Neighbouring States, ed. Nora Vanaga and Toms Rostoks (London and New York: Routledge, 2019), 154.
21 Piret Paljak, “Participation in International Military Operations,” in Apprenticeship, Partnership, Membership: Twenty Years of Defense Development in the Baltic States, 210.
22 Ibid. 225.
23 Kadri Liik, “The EU Gives a Small Country Like Estonia a Voice,” The Guardian, June 15, 2016, available at <https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jun/15/eu-gives-small-country-estonia-voice>.
24 Ivo Juurvee and Lavly Perling, Russia’s Espionage in Estonia: A Quantitative Analysis of Convictions (Tallinn: ICDS, 2019), 3–4 available at <https://icds.ee/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/ICDS_Analysis_Russias_Espionage_in_Estonia_Juurvee_Perling_November_2019.pdf>; Grzegorz Kuczyński, “Estonian Spy Hunters,” The Warsaw Institute Review, March 12, 2018.
25 See, for example, Emily Ferris, “Probing the Baltic States: Why Russia’s Ambitions Do Not Have a Security Dimension,” RUSI, November 21, 2018, available at <https://rusi.org/explore-our-research/publications/commentary/probing-baltic-states-why-russias-ambitions-do-not-have-security-dimension>.
26 Michael Weiss, “The Estonian Spymasters: Tallinn’s Revolutionary Approach to Stopping Russian Spies,” Foreign Affairs, June 3, 2014, available at <https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/central-europe/2014-06-03/estonian-spymasters>.
28 “Russia,” Republic of Estonia Ministry of Foreign Affairs, August 13, 2018, available at <https://vm.ee/en/countries/russia?display=relations .
29 Alessandra Stanley, “Russia Agrees to Full Withdrawal of Troops in Estonia by Aug. 31,” The New York Times, July 27, 1994, available at <https://www.nytimes.com/1994/07/27/world/russia-agrees-to-full-withdrawal-of-troops-in-estonia-by-aug-31.html>.
30 The protests against the Soviet regime that preceded the restoration of Estonia’s independence included spontaneous gatherings at Tallinn’s song festival grounds to sing patriotic and culturally significant songs. The term “Singing Revolution” was coined by Estonian activist Heinz Valk to describe these and similar events in Estonia and the other two Baltic states.
31 For a useful review, see Ivo Jurvee and Anna-Mariita Mattiisen, The Bronze Soldier Crisis of 2007: Revisiting an Early Case of Hybrid Conflict (Tallinn: ICDS, 2020), available at <https://icds.ee/en/the-bronze-soldier-crisis-of-2007/>.
32 “Estonian Defence League’s Cyber Unit,” Kaitseliit, available at <http://www.kaitseliit.ee/en/cyber-unit ; “About Us,” NATO Cooperative Defence Centre of Excellence, available at <https://ccdcoe.org/about-us/>.
33 “Estonia is trying to convert the EU to its digital creed,” The Economist, July 6, 2017, available at <https://www.economist.com/europe/2017/07/06/estonia-is-trying-to-convert-the-eu-to-its-digital-creed>.
34 “Priorities of the Estonian Presidency,” EU2017.
35 Tomas Jermalavičius, Small State Power in the Digital Era, available at <https://www.americanacademy.de/small-state-power-in-the-digital-era/>.
36 Michael Kofman and Matthew Rojansky, A Closer Look at Russia’s “Hybrid War,” Wilson Center Kennan Cable 7 (April 2015), 4, available at <https://www.wilsoncenter.org/sites/default/files/media/documents/publication/7-KENNAN%20CABLE-ROJANSKY%20KOFMAN.pdf>.
37 Narva, located on Estonia’s northeastern border with Russia, has a Russian-speaking population of 97 percent.
38 Stephanie Pezard, Andrew Radin, Thomas S. Szayna, and F. Stephen Larrabee, European Relations With Russia: Threat Perceptions, Responses, and Strategies in the Wake of the Ukrainian Crisis (Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2017), 19–20, available at <https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR1579.html>.
39 Octavian Manea, “Hybrid War as a War on Governance. Interview With Dr. Mark Galeotti,” Small Wars Journal, August 19, 2015, available at <https://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/hybrid-war-as-a-war-on-governance>.
40 Edward Lucas and Peter Pomeranzev, Winning the Information War (Washington DC: Center for European Policy Analysis, August 2016), 44.
41 Jill Dougherty and Riina Kaljurand, Estonia’s “Virtual Russian World”: The Influence of Russian Media on Estonia’s Russian Speakers (Tallinn: ICDS, 2015), 16–17; Dmitri Teperik, Grigori Senkiv, Giorgio Bertolin, Kateryna Kononova, and Anton Dek, Virtual Russian World in the Baltics: Psycholinguistic Analysis of Online Behaviour and Ideological Content Among Russian-Speaking Social Media Users in the Baltic States (Riga: NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence, May 2018), 39.
42 Vassilis Petsinis, “In Estonia, We Should Be Careful Not to Overstate the Impact of the Information War,” openDemocracy, May 30, 2016, available at <https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/odr/in-estonia-we-should-be-careful-not-to-overstate-impact-of-information-w/>.
43 A 1992 Russian law decreed that all Soviet citizens resident outside Russia, including 494,000 mostly Russian-speaking Estonian residents, would not automatically receive Russian citizenship. Those who did not wish to apply for Estonian, Russian, or other citizenship were granted residence permits and aliens’ or “grey” passports. While they have undetermined citizenship, they have the same rights as Estonian citizens except the ability to stand or vote in general elections, join the army, or work in state or local government. Liis Velsker, “Ülevaade: millised õigused annaks halli passi omanikele Eesti kodakondsus” [Overview: What rights would Estonian citizenship give to grey passport holders], Postimees, January 24, 2017, available at <https://www.postimees.ee/3990789/ulevaade-millised-oigused-annaks-halli-passi-omanikele-eesti-kodakondsus>; “Citizenship and Migration,” Republic of Estonia Ministry of the Interior, October 9, 2018, available at <https://www.siseministeerium.ee/en/activities/citizenship-and-migration>; Dougherty and Kaljurand, Estonia’s “Virtual Russian World,” 18.
44 Dmitri Teperik, “Estonia,” in Disinformation Resilience in Central and Eastern Europe, ed. Olga Chyzhova (Kyiv: Strategic Policy Institute, 2018), 120, available at <https://stratpol.sk/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/DRI_CEE_2018.pdf>.
45 “How the Baltic states resist Russia,” The Economist, February 2, 2019, available at <https://www.economist.com/europe/2019/01/31/how-the-baltic-states-resist-russia>.
46 “Democracy and Elections Factsheet—Estonia,” European Union Eurobarometer 477 Democracy and Elections Factsheet, September 2018, available at <https://europa.eu/eurobarometer/surveys/detail/2198>.
47 “Survey: Estonians Most Unquestioning Information Disseminators in EU,” ERR News, February 20, 2019, available at <https://news.err.ee/912300/survey-estonians-most-unquestioning-information-disseminators-in-eu>.
48 National Security Concept 2017, 20.
52 “Strategic communication,” Republic of Estonia, January 17, 2018, available at <https://www.valitsus.ee/en/press-information-contacts/government-communication/strategic-communication>.
53 Government Communication Handbook (Tallinn: Government Office, 2017), available at <https://pdfroom.com/books/government-communication-handbook/Pe5xQPR1dnN>.
54 International Security and Estonia 2016 (Tallinn: Estonian Information Board, 2016), 5, available at <https://www.valisluureamet.ee/doc/raport/2016-en.pdf>. The Estonian Information Board is the former name of the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service.
55 Andres Jõesaar, “Trend Breaker: The Impact of the Launch of Russian-Language Television Channel ETV+ on Estonian Public Broadcasting’s Viewing Trends,” in Resisting Foreign State Propaganda in the New Information Environment: The Case of the EU, Russia, and the Eastern Partnership Countries (Brussels and Riga: Foundation for European Progressive Studies and Brīvības un Solidaritātes Fonds, 2016), 136, available at <http://bsf-latvija.lv/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/research_FEPS_BSF.pdf>.
56 Riina Kaljurand, “The Annexation of Crimea and Its Implications for the Baltic States’ Security,” in Fortress Russia: Political, Economic, and Security Development in Russia Following the Annexation of Crimea and Its Consequences for the Baltic States, ed. Andis Kudors (Riga: Centre for East European Policy Studies, 2016), 186, available at <http://appc.lv/eng/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2016/02/vaks-ar-tekstu.pdf>.
57 Daily share for all population; the corresponding figure for the Estonian language ETV is 17.3 percent; Katrin Männaste, “Teleauditooriumi ülevaade novembris 2020 [TV audience review November 2020],” Kantar Emor, December 10, 2020, available at < . Viewing habits: 5–7 days per week, 18 percent; 3–4 days per week, 19 percent; 2 days per week or fewer, 20 percent. The corresponding figure for Russian-based TV stations is 74 percent (41 percent/20 percent/13 percent); Kivirähk, Public Opinion and National Defense, 95.
58 Estonia stresses the value of media freedom and is ranked 4th in the most recent World Press Freedom Index. See “Press Freedom Index,” Reporters without borders, .
59 “Questions and Answers About the East StratCom Task Force,” European Union External Action Service, October 27, 2021, available at <https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/2116/-questions-and-answers-about-the-east-stratcom-task-force_en>.
60 Jakub Janda, “Open Letter of European Security Experts to Federica Mogherini: Please Start Taking the Russian Disinformation Threat Seriously!” European Values, available at <https://www.stopfake.org/en/open-letter-of-european-security-experts-to-federica-mogherini-please-start-taking-the-russian-disinformation-threat-seriously/>.
61 For an overview, see for example, Mart Laar, The Estonian Economic Miracle, Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2060 (Washington, DC: The Heritage Foundation, 2007), available at <https://www.heritage.org/report/the-estonian-economic-miracle>.
62 The ratio of net energy imports to gross inland energy consumption: Helle Truuts, “Production of Electricity from Renewable Sources Is Increasingly Important,” in Quarterly Bulletin of Statistics Estonia 2/2018, 45, 47, available at <https://www.stat.ee/sites/default/files/2020-07/Quarterly_Bulletin_2-2018.pdf>.
63 Ibid, 46.
64 “Synchronisation with continental Europe,” Elering, available at <https://elering.ee/en/synchronization-continental-europe>.
65 “Gas Market,” Republic of Estonia Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, March 18, 2019, available at <https://www.mkm.ee/en/objectives-activities/energy-sector/gas-market>.
66 “Nord Stream 2 Gas Pipeline Should Be Halted Says Foreign Minister,” ERR News, July 3, 2018, available at <https://news.err.ee/843954/nord-stream-2-gas-pipeline-should-be-halted-says-foreign-minister>.
67 Andres Kasekamp, “Are the Baltic States Next? Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania,” in Strategic Challenges in the Baltic Sea Region: Russia, Deterrence and Reassurance, ed. Ann-Sofie Dahl (Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2018), 66.
68 “Foreign Trade since 2004: FT09: Exports and Imports by Country (Months),” Statistics Estonia, April 9, 2019.
69 “Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland Stop Entry to Russian Tourists Through External Borders,” Estonian Police and Border Guard Board, September 9, 2022, available at <https://www.politsei.ee/en/news/estonia-latvia-lithuania-and-poland-stop-entry-to-russian-tourists-through-external-borders-10757>.
70 Anti-Corruption Strategy 2013–2020, (Tallinn, Republic of Estonia) 1–2, available at <https://www.korruptsioon.ee/sites/www.korruptsioon.ee/files/elfinder/dokumendid/estonian_anti-corruption_strategy_2013-2020.pdf>.
71 Comparative rankings for Latvia, 40th and 33rd: Brian Whitmore, Putin’s Dark Ecosystem (Washington, DC: Center for European Policy Analysis, 2018), 4.
72 Yearbook 2017 (Tallinn: Police and Border Guard Board Financial Intelligence Unit, 2018), 11–16, 4.
73 “Estonia Orders Danske Bank Branch to Shut,” BBC News, February 19, 2019, available at <https://www.bbc.com/news/business-47292732>.
74 “Swedbank Issued SEK 4 Billion Fine for Failing to Combat Money Laundering,” ERR News, March 19, 2020.
75 James Greene, Russian Responses to NATO and EU Enlargement and Outreach, Chatham House Briefing Paper 2012/02, June 2012, 9, available at <https://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/default/files/public/Research/Russia%20and%20Eurasia/0612bp_greene.pdf>.
76 Yearbook 2017, 13.
77 “The Government Will Allocate Over Half a Billion Euros for the Reinforcement of the Defence Capability of the State and for Extensive National Defence,” Republic of Estonia, March 24, 2022, available at <https://valitsus.ee/en/news/government-will-allocate-over-half-billion-euros-reinforcement-defence-capability-state-and>.
78 “Estonian PM: We need a NATO division.” ERR News, March 30, 2022, available at <https://news.err.ee/1608549214/estonian-pm-we-need-a-nato-division>.
79 “2022 NATO Summit,” NATO, July 1, 2022, available at <https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/news_196144.htm>.
80 “Estonia Suspends All Oil Transit From Belarus,” ERR News, February 3, 2022, available at <https://news.err.ee/1608487619/estonia-suspends-all-oil-transit-from-belarus>.
81 “Estonian Government Decides to Cease Imports of Russian Gas,” Republic of Estonia, April 7, 2022, available at <https://www.valitsus.ee/en/news/estonian-government-decides-cease-imports-russian-gas>. Estonia imports 46 percent of its gas from Russia, but gas accounts for only 8 percent of its energy consumption (2020 figures): Aisha Majid, “How Europe Is Dependent on Russian Gas,” The New Statesman, February 22, 2022, available at <https://www.newstatesman.com/chart-of-the-day/2022/02/how-europe-is-dependent-on-russian-gas>. “Estonia: Energy Country Profile,” Our World in Data, available at <https://ourworldindata.org/energy/country/estonia#what-sources-does-the-country-get-its-energy-from>.
82 Charlie Duxbury, “Estonia Fights Back Against Pro-Russia Messaging,” Politico, March 23, 2022, available at <https://www.politico.eu/article/estonia-fight-back-pro-russia-propaganda/>.
83 “Baltic States to Send Weapons to Ukraine in Face of Possible Russian Invasion, ” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, January 21, 2022, available at <https://www.rferl.org/a/ukraine-baltic-states-weapons-russia/31665474.html>; “Estonia’s €220-Million Military Aid to Ukraine Substantially Diversified,” ERR News, April 6, 2022, available at <https://news.err.ee/1608555886/estonia-s-220-million-military-aid-to-ukraine-substantially-diversified>. The figure for military donations equates to around 30 percent of Estonia’s defense budget or almost 0.8 percent of gross domestic product for 2022. International comparisons are difficult, however, because states have adopted different conventions to report their donations, some using new for old replacement costs, others using depreciated replacement costs.
84 “Humanitarian aid to Ukraine,” Republic of Estonia Ministry of Foreign Affairs, April 21, 2022, available at <https://vm.ee/en/humanitarian-aid-ukraine>. “Almost 600 Ukrainian Refugees Arrived in Estonia on Sunday,” ERR News, April 4, 2022, available at <https://news.err.ee/1608553717/almost-600-ukrainian-refugees-arrived-in-estonia-on-sunday>.
85 “Rail Baltica—Project of the Century,” Rail Baltica; “Helsinki-Tallinn,” FinEst Link.
86 Kaljurand, “The Annexation of Crimea,” 186.