Estonian authorities are pressing Russians into skipping upcoming presidential election, Moscow’s envoy says
Estonian officials and media alike have been putting “psychological pressure” on Russian nationals residing in the country ahead of the March presidential election, apparently seeking to affect the turnout, Moscow’s charge d’affaires in the country, Lenar Salimullin, has claimed.
Speaking to RIA Novosti in an interview published on Saturday, Salimullin condemned the hostile rhetoric produced by multiple Estonian officials, who had called the upcoming presidential election in Russia “illegitimate” with some even floating the idea to “ban” voting in the country for local Russian residents altogether.
“Despite relatively recent calls in Estonia at the highest level not to recognize the results of the upcoming Russian presidential elections and even to completely ‘forbid’ the embassy from organizing polling at the mission, citizens of our country living in the republic will be guaranteed their fundamental constitutional right to vote,” the diplomat said.
The hostile rhetoric is apparently intensifying in the country as the election draws closer, the diplomat noted, with multiple local media outlets issuing “warnings” to Russians about certain consequences for their participation in the polls, Salimullin noted. Some outlets have managed to equalize voting during the election to alleged “support of mass falsifications” and even purported “aggression against Ukraine,” he claimed.
“Such information background is obviously being created in order to intimidate people and ultimately minimize the turnout at the polling station” at the embassy in Tallin, the diplomat suggested.
Earlier this week, former Estonian intelligence chief and MP with Reform Party, Eerik-Niiles Kross, admitted it would not be easy for Tallin to actually bar Russians residing in Estonia from taking part in the presidential election, given the legally-questionable nature of such a move and potential retaliation it might ultimately bring.
“Russia is holding elections on its own territory, in its embassy, which is the territory of the Russian Federation, so it is protected by the Vienna Convention and several other conventions to which Estonia is a party. And we also have to consider that our diplomats are still in Moscow now, so what we do to them, they do to us,” Kross explained.
At the same time, the MP described Russian presidential elections as “illusory,” stating that Tallinn fully stands by the EU’s take on the matter, with “both the European Parliament and the Council of Europe [having] passed resolutions calling for these elections not to be recognized.”
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