Wanted notices issued in Russia against Baltic and Polish leaders accused of “falsifying history”

On Tuesday February 13, the Russian authorities launched wanted notices against three personalities from the Baltic countries, including the Estonian Prime Minister, Kaja Kallas, and three Poles, against a backdrop of historical litigation

Wanted notices issued in Russia against Baltic and Polish leaders accused of “falsifying history”

On Tuesday February 13, the Russian authorities launched wanted notices against three personalities from the Baltic countries, including the Estonian Prime Minister, Kaja Kallas, and three Poles, against a backdrop of historical litigation.

To justify this decision, the Kremlin invoked a different interpretation of history. Since the start of the Russian offensive in Ukraine in February 2022, this is the first time that Russia has issued a wanted notice against a sitting foreign leader.

“These people are responsible for decisions that are de facto an insult to history, they are people who carry out acts hostile to historical memory, against our country,” said the spokesperson for the Russian presidency, Dmitri Peskov .

The Baltic states, which feared the Kremlin's expansionist ambitions, were occupied by the USSR from June 1940 to July 1941 as part of the German-Soviet pact, then from 1944 to 1991, when Moscow said it had liberated them from Nazism and equates any other point of view with “falsification of history,” considered a crime in Russia.

According to a note visible on the website of the Ministry of the Interior, Kaja Kallas is being prosecuted in “a criminal case”. The ministry does not specify what crime or offense the Prime Minister is accused of. The Estonian Secretary of State, Taimar Peterkop, is also the subject of a wanted notice, as is the Lithuanian Minister of Culture, Simonas Kairys.

According to the TASS news agency, others concern the Polish head of the National Institute of Memory, Karol Nawrocki, the mayor of the Polish town of Walbrzych, Roman Szelemej, and Karol Rabenda, former deputy foreign minister. Polish.

“Intimidation tactic”

“The regime is doing what it has always done: it is trying to stifle freedom (…) and continue to create its own version, which is in contradiction with the facts,” reacted Simonas Kairys in a press release sent to the Agence France-Presse (AFP). Kaja Kallas, for his part, denounced a “usual intimidation tactic” on the part of Russia.

Russian minorities reside in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, now members of the European Union and NATO, where Moscow judges them to be oppressed. Relations have further deteriorated with the conflict in Ukraine. The Baltic countries and Poland have strongly supported kyiv for two years.

In recent years, several Soviet monuments have been dismantled in the Baltic countries, which, like Poland, say they fear Russian military intervention and are strengthening their military capabilities in the face of this eventuality.

Since March 2023, Vladimir Putin himself has been under an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court for the “illegal deportation” of Ukrainian children to Russia, which the Russian authorities deny.

Tensions between Moscow and the Baltic countries have increased in recent weeks. On February 6, Russia summoned the charges d'affaires of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, accusing them of "sabotageing" the Russian presidential election in March by refusing to provide security to polling stations in embassies.

In mid-January, Latvia and Estonia decided to end their legal assistance agreements with Russia, citing the offensive in Ukraine. A few days earlier, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky toured the Baltics.