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Estonia Statue Crisis

Hon. Thaddeus G. McCotter, United States Representative United States House of Representatives

May 3, 2007

Mister/Madam Speaker, I rise to defend the sovereignty and national dignity of our friend and ally Estonia; condemn Russia's unwarranted intrusions against these free people; and affirm our commitment to America and Estonia's common cause of human freedom.

After a long, illegal, and unjust Soviet occupation, Estonia now rightly and proudly stands by our side in the ranks of free nations. Nobly and selflessly, Estonia is steadfast in its defense of civilization from our barbaric enemies, and has championed the cause of human freedom throughout our world. Disturbingly, last week this free people's very national sovereignty was threatened.

In what should come as no surprise to Americans, whose own Founding generation gained their independence from an imperial power, Estonia relocated an aging statute of a Soviet-era soldier from a central location in Tallinn to the city's Garrison Cemetery. Obstinately refusing to recognize Estonia's patent right to do so, or the obvious irony in the statue's new location, Russia used this routine act of municipal administration by the City of Tallinn to engage in a coordinated attempt to interfere in Estonia's internal affairs.

Using state-controlled TV broadcasts into Estonia, the former Soviet Union used its state controlled television broadcasts to spew propaganda into Estonia. This provocative Russian propaganda falsely claimed Estonia's relocation of the insulting Soviet statue constituted an international crisis. Russia did so to agitate and, thereby, incite the vandalism and violence which occurred in Tallin from April 26th through 29th. Prior to these outbreaks of violence, Russian Embassy officials were observed meeting with the organizers of radical pro-Russia fringe groups; and, while Russian-speaking mobs roamed Tallinn's streets, Estonia's government web servers came under cyber attack, the cause of which was later traced to IP addresses located in Moscow and owned by the Russian Presidential Administration. So too, there is a new report Russia has conveniently discovered a need to repair its rail links entering Estonia and, as a result, is suspending oil shipments to Estonia. Further, Russia continues to flout the Vienna Convention by allowing Russian nationalist extremists to surround and vandalize Estonia's Embassy in Moscow.

Mr. Speaker, when one weights this inexcusable incident along with Russia's recent refusal to adhere to the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, its recent arrest of Russian democracy advocates, and its refusal to honor past agreements to withdraw its military forces from countries, such as Moldova, one is compelled to question a former-KGB lieutenant colonel's commitment to democracy; and whether the red bear is awakening from its hibernation to once more feast upon the free peoples of eastern Europe and the world.

Mister/Madame Speaker, I urge my colleagues to join in a righteous defense of Estonia's sovereignty; a condemnation of Russia's belligerent intrusions into this democratic nation's internal affairs; and affirm, in the tradition of American Presidents from Harry Truman to Ronald Reagan, we will stand united against tyranny with our Estonian brothers and sisters as one free people.


Octobr 17, 2008 - President Bush Discusses the Visa Waiver Program
Office of the Press Secretary/ White House News

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. (Applause.) Please be seated, thank you. Welcome to the White House. I'm pleased to stand with the representatives of seven countries -- the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, and South Korea -- that have met the requirements to be admitted to the United States Visa Waiver Program. Soon the citizens of these nations will be able to travel to the United States for business or tourism without a visa. I congratulate these close friends and allies on this achievement, and I thank you for joining us here.

I also thank Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of the Homeland -- Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff for working hard to make sure this day has finally arrived. Appreciate other members of the administration here and members of the Diplomatic Corps.

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