Russia Puts Estonian PM And Dozens Of Baltic Officials On Wanted List For Removing Monuments


(RFE/RL) — Moscow has placed Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas on Russia’s wanted list, the first time a foreign leader has been put on the Interior Ministry’s list, for “destroying monuments to Soviet soldiers” as relations between the Kremlin and the West continue to show signs of deteriorating. 

The Foreign Ministry in Moscow confirmed the move on February 13, though it did not say when Kallas, Estonian Secretary of State Taimar Peterkop, Lithuanian Culture Minister Simonas Kairys, and about 60 of the 100 members of the previous Latvian parliament were on the list.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Kallas was put on the wanted list for the “desecration of historical memory.”

“The Kremlin now hopes this move will help to silence me and others – but it won’t,” Kallas said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

“I will continue my strong support to Ukraine. I will continue to stand for increasing Europe’s defense,” she said, adding that Russia’s move was “nothing surprising.”

Since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine nearly two years ago, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and many other former Soviet republics and ex-Warsaw pact members have demolished Soviet-era monuments.

The three Baltic states were annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940 and occupied by Nazi Germany before falling back under Moscow’s rule until regaining independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. 

All three are now members of the European Union and NATO, and strongly support Ukraine in its battle to repel invading Russian forces. 

Kallas became Estonia’s prime minister in 2021 and soon afterward pledged to dismantle as many as 400 monuments seen as an unwanted legacy from the Soviet era. 

News of Moscow’s move to put Kallas and other officials from EU countries on its wanted list comes almost exactly a year after the International Criminal Court (ICC) placed Russian President Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, Russia’s commissioner for children’s rights, alleging responsibility for the war crime of unlawfully deporting and transferring children from Ukraine during the war. 

The Russian Interior Ministry’s list also includes ICC President Piotr Hofmanski.


RFE/RL journalists report the news in 21 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established.

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