After 20 years, Russia and Estonia sign border treaty

MOSCOW Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:49am EST

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a news conference after a meeting with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Moscow, February 14, 2014. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a news conference after a meeting with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Moscow, February 14, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Maxim Shemetov

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia and Estonia signed a treaty setting out the position of their joint border on Tuesday after more than 20 years of wrangling that reflected tension between Moscow and the small Baltic state.

The treaty must still be ratified by the parliaments of both Russia and Estonia, which has joined NATO and the EU since the 1991 Soviet collapse.

Russia and Estonia have a frontier with operating border posts but animus that built up over decades of Soviet dominance hampered efforts to formalize it.

"I am sure this will ... strengthen the atmosphere of trust and cooperation," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after signing the pact with Estonian counterpart Urmas Paet.

Estonia was occupied by Soviet forces in 1940. They returned, after evicting German troops, in 1944 and Estonia remained part of the Soviet Union until 1991.

Russia says Soviet forces liberated eastern Europe from Nazi Germany, and bristles at those who question its narrative of World War Two and the postwar era.

The nations signed a border treaty in 2005 but Russia refused to ratify it after Estonian lawmakers adopted ratification documents that Moscow said could have led to demands for land or compensation.

Ties remain tense. Russian officials have accused authorities in Estonia of condoning efforts to treat the Nazis as heroes and of discriminating against the Russian-speaking minority in the nation of 1.3 million - allegations that Estonia dismisses.

(Additional reporting by David Mardiste in Tallinn; Writing by Steve Gutterman; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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Comments (5)
Piret wrote:
There is a border treaty signed on 2 February 1920. Everything else is high treason. Shame on you, European Union!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Wv4qjXd9_8

Feb 18, 2014 11:34pm EST  --  Report as abuse
londonlat wrote:
What a meal-mouthed report. Gives only the Soviet/Russian side of events. Forgets to mention that Russia stole a chunk of Estonian territory and talks about Estonia as if it had willingly joined the great basketcase of ‘socialist’ nations.

Feb 20, 2014 8:40am EST  --  Report as abuse
xcasvasdfasd wrote:
Russia was a Nazi ally before Hitler attacked them. The Soviets were just as bad as the Nazis.

Feb 21, 2014 12:07am EST  --  Report as abuse
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