Members of the Estonian Defense League (Kaitseliit) officailly joined the Police and Border Guard Board on the border of Estonia. On March 17, President Kersti Kaljulaid permitted the Minister of the Interior to include up to 150 Kaitseliit members to ‘border control’ efforts.
According to the government, the paramilitary group’s duties will be primarily to support the Border Guard Board at the southern border, where border crossing have been closed. The formal reason for the move is a growing threat from the coronavirus outbreak.
The Estonian Defense League is a paramilitary group recreated on the basis of radical nationalist view. A notable part of its modern ideology of ‘combating the Russian threat’ in 1990. During the World War 2, the Estonian Defense League (the previous reincarnation of the organization) proven themselves as useful and loyal supporters of Nazi Germany. They were actively joining Nazi-formed Omakaitse to partcipate in operations against the Red Army and local population resisting to the Nazi occupation.
The modern variant of the Estonian Defense League is headed by Riho Uhtegi. He’s the former commander of the Estonian Special Operations Force and well known for his radical nationalist and anti-Russian views.
It also should be noted that over the past years, the nationalist propaganda and the propaganda of Kaitseliit have been on the rise in Estonia. If these ‘defenders of democracy’ deploy on the border with Russia, it’s easy to expect provocations (planned or not planned) by Kaitseliit members. Taking into account that Estonia has territorial claims to Russia, this situation may lead to a rapid growth of tensions between the two countries.
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