Friday, May 18, 2007

The Russo-Estonian War, Or How Vladimir Putin Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Unrestricted Warfare

The Putin regime has over the past few years been messing around with Russia's neighboring states, seeing how far he can go before the pushback begins. Estonia is the most recent target. After decades of Soviet occupation, Estonia is now a member of NATO and so this becomes a problem for the entire alliance. Since our allies can't be bothered to field armies of any significance, perhaps they can take the initiative in developing the capability to counter Putin's unrestricted warfare.

The Cyberwar

A three-week wave of massive cyber-attacks on the small Baltic country of Estonia, the first known incidence of such an assault on a state, is causing alarm across the western alliance, with Nato urgently examining the offensive and its implications.
While Russia and Estonia are embroiled in their worst dispute since the collapse of the Soviet Union, a row that erupted at the end of last month over the Estonians' removal of the Bronze Soldier Soviet war memorial in central Tallinn, the country has been subjected to a barrage of cyber warfare, disabling the websites of government ministries, political parties, newspapers, banks, and companies.
The main targets have been the websites of:
· the Estonian presidency and its parliament
· almost all of the country's government ministries
· political parties
· three of the country's six big news organisations
· two of the biggest banks; and firms specializing in communications
"We have been lucky to survive this," said Mikko Maddis, Estonia's defence ministry spokesman. "People started to fight a cyber-war against it right away. Ways were found to eliminate the attacker."
The attacks have come in three waves: from April 27, when the Bronze Soldier riots erupted, peaking around May 3; then on May 8 and 9 - a couple of the most celebrated dates in the Russian calendar, when the country marks Victory Day over Nazi Germany, and when President Vladimir Putin delivered another hostile speech attacking Estonia and indirectly likening the Bush administration to the Hitler regime; and again this week.
"At present, Nato does not define cyber-attacks as a clear military action. This means that the provisions of Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty, or, in other words collective self-defence, will not automatically be extended to the attacked country," said the Estonian defence minister, Jaak Aaviksoo.

(h/t Red Alerts and Gateway Pundit)

Political Operations

Estonia’s national security police have said that the nation’s Constitution Party, which ran but did not win any seats in the March parliamentary elections, is managed and financed by the Russian authorities and is a project to undermine and act against Estonia. The statement was made in the police’s yearbook and reported May 18.

"It is a peculiar combination that is striving to represent the entire Russian-speaking population of Estonia, yet its main financiers and ideological supporters are diplomats from the Russian embassy in Tallinn, various departments of the Moscow city government, Russian media, and various contacts of Russian special services," the security police’s yearbook says.

The police claim Russia has been backing the party clandestinely through funding for cultural projects and other events.

"By written application from the Russian embassy, the Constitution Party would seek additional money from authorities in Moscow as well as from Russian businessmen in Estonia," the yearbook said

The party is mainly supported by the Russian-speaking minority, but received only 5.470 votes in this year’s elections. A far greater portion of Russian-speakers in Estonia support the Center Party, chaired by current Tallinn mayor Edgar Savisaar.

The Economic War

The extent of Russia’s punitive measures against Estonia for moving the Soviet war memorial became clearer last week after Leningrad region officials placed restrictions on trucks crossing the Narva bridge and oil traders revealed that shipments via the Baltic state had declined by one-third so far in May.

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