Estonia condemns new Ukrainian laws introducing criminal liability for extremism, mass riots and the like. Independent Russian observers emphasise that the laws have been practically copied from a similar package adopted in Russia during last year.
“Estonia condemns the laws adopted in haste in Ukraine, which are aimed at restricting fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens, and which do not contribute to improving the current situation and create more conflicts in the Ukrainian society,” the Estonia Foreign Ministry’s press service quoted Foreign Minister Urmas Paet as saying here.
Not a big deal, huh? You just align your international rhetoric with your values. And you are a small country, a very small one, and a former Soviet. Not a big deal at all. Otherwise wouldn’t be noticed.
What’s happening here is in fact a small, very small, teeny-tiny regional superpower rising, all thanks to its very real soft power. Latvia has long ago succumbed to Estonia’s soft power, Lithuania too. Now countries further away start to make a note what Estonia has to say. Now Estonia is really getting heard, because it has something to say. Remarkable.
One might argue Latvia’s not alone in biting its lip about the illegitimate laws “adopted” in a half an hour to crack down on democratic freedoms of the Ukrainians. Finland sort of also minds its own business and didn’t say much. Right. The difference is that Latvia doesn’t have that much of its own business to mind either for that sort of an excuse.
To be fair, I need to add that Latvia did “take a note of the latest developments in Ukraine,” joining a chorus of the EU foreignmins. Phew! No more sweat than “expressing serious concern about the legislation passed…” You know the rest. Cheap.
The latest developments from the country Latvia decided not to sweat too much about? Two protesters have been shot dead in Kiyev today.