“The Brussels Diary With Yana Toom”: One-Way Traffic Towards Another Cold War


A year and a half after the start of the pandemic, the EU is finally spreading its wings – thanks to vaccines and “Green Passes” (Covid passports). Shops and resorts are reopening, while waiting lists for vaccinations are about to open for everyone in Estonia. From an economic point of view, we are promised a fairly good summer and a hot autumn – unless the virus plays another nasty trick.

It seems we can begin live more and start to rejoice little by little. But while our economy might look hopeful, then politics, on the other hand, seeks to ditch the economy. By this I mean the hope for a relatively peaceful existence. We have managed to set ourselves at odds with Russia. Well, truth be told, Russia has done so too with us.

The more I look at this tragicomedy, the less I feel like taking sides. I have repeatedly said that I am against the “solidarity with Czechia” that has spread across the Baltic states, and against the expulsion of Russian diplomats in protest, without weighty reasons for Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to do so. The simple truth is that this step was aimed at increasing confrontation. Just give our hawks a boat, and they will rock it themselves.

You have made your bed, now lie in it: needless to say, Russia did not sit idly by, as it quickly expelled the employees of our embassies in response. After that, the local hawks thought a little and decided, in response, to rock the boat even more. And they banned the entry of eight EU citizens, starting with Vice-President of the European Commission Vera Yurova, and President of the European Parliament David Sassoli.

And I do not understand this in the same way as the expulsion of Russian diplomats by Estonia and others. Well, the European Commissioner Vera Yurova has taken an active position in the information war for quite some time: in the European Commission, she is responsible for values and transparency, and her wheelhouse also includes the fight against disinformation. But what was Sassoli guilty of? Yes, he is the President of the European Parliament, but this does not mean that he is giving instructions to MEPs. We are all on our own here. Moreover, the European Parliament does not in any way form the EU's foreign policy. It can adopt a resolution in this or that area, but we must thank parliamentarians for this. Leaving Sassoli holding the bag is somehow strange.

The other names on the list are also puzzling. I, surely like the overwhelming majority of ethnic Russians in Estonia, do not have a good word to say about the Language Department, which is the former Language Inspectorate, which is also the Language Inquisition. It is a disgusting organisation, and it is high time to abolish it. But putting its leader Ilmar Tomusk on a par with the European Commissioner and the President of the European Parliament is not even funny. It is just off the scale. I am not saying that Tomusk will obviously live without the Hermitage and the Tretyakov Gallery. I do not know if his henchmen will now act more brutally, but they certainly will not act less brutally.

And the cancellation of Aeroflot's Moscow-Tallinn airline will only hit local ethnic Russians. And if they are honest in saying that we will now have problems in obtaining Russian visas, this will also be one-way traffic. Towards another Cold War.

What if we end up following this path all the way down?