Russia Just Declared a Estonia Prime Minister a ‘Wanted Person’
On Tuesday, Russia’s interior ministry listed Estonia’s Prime Minister Kaja Kallas as “wanted” under the criminal code, marking the first instance of Russia initiating a criminal case against a foreign head of government.
The 46-year-old is listed alongside Estonia’s State Secretary Taimar Peterkop and Lithuania’s Culture Minister Simonas Kairys in the database, although their specific charges are not detailed.
This move appears to be part of Moscow’s efforts to exert pressure on NATO allies. While the three Baltic politicians would face arrest if they entered Russia, actual contact has been minimal since Vladimir Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesperson, stated that Kallas is wanted for “desecration of historical memory,” according to Reuters.
He emphasized, “These are individuals who take hostile actions against historical memory and our country.”
In 2022, Kallas advocated for the removal of 200 to 400 Soviet-era monuments in Estonia to prevent them from “further fueling hostility in society and reopening old wounds,” as stated by the government at the time.
Estonia, along with the Baltic nations of Latvia and Lithuania, were the last to join the Soviet Union and the first to gain independence in 1991 following its collapse. These three nations are also members of NATO and the European Union.
The head of the Russian Investigative Committee, Alexander Bastrykin, initiated a criminal investigation into these efforts to dismantle the monuments.
Kallas, who has a legal background, joined the liberal Estonian Reform Party in 2011 as a Member of Parliament before assuming leadership of the party in 2018.
She became Prime Minister at the beginning of 2021, succeeding the Centre Party’s Jüri Ratas, who resigned.
Since the onset of the war, Kallas has been a vocal supporter of Ukraine. “We believe in Ukraine, a country with a liberal democracy and a free-market economy, which will eventually join the European Union and NATO,” Kallas expressed during a recent meeting with Zelensky. She added, “The stronger Ukraine becomes, the sooner Russia reaches its breaking point.”