Aspiring Estonian Presidential Candidate Suggests “Finlandization” for Estonia

A self-declared candidate for the upcoming Estonian Presidential election, Tarmo Soomere, has suggested that Estonia’s security chief should call his Russian colleague on an annual basis. Soomere is a mathematician and the president of the Estonian Academy of Sciences.

In a recent article published by Estonia’s public broadcaster*, Soomere is quoted about his vision for Estonia’s foreign policy, in which he praises Finland’s approach to its relations with Russia – which is commonly referred to as “Finlandization.” Finlandization is a policy whereby smaller nations submissively acquiesce to the dominance of larger and more aggressive neighbours.

During the interview, Soomere warned that “it is essential to avoid demonizing our neighbor and partner” without naming the government of Vladimir Putin by name.

Soomere continued by suggesting that “maybe I’m an idealist, but I think that the director of KAPO [Estonian Internal Security Service] has to call the director of the FSB [Russian security service] once a year.”

There was strong speculation earlier this summer, that former Prime Minister, Jüri Ratas, would nominate Soomere as the Center Party’s official candidate. While it seems that the leaders of Estonia’s largest political parties have rejected Soomere as a candidate, Ratas left the door open when he told ERR that Soomere’s candidacy has “not disappeared.”

Ratas resigned and his far-right coalition collapsed in January after a corruption scandal involving the Center Party was exposed. The Center Party maintains a cooperation agreement with Vladimir Putin’s United Russia, which has been the source of international embarrassment for the party.

*In a previous version of this article UpNorth incorrectly stated that Soomere was interviewed by ERR, whereas he was quoted by the National Broadcaster.

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