Defence policy and related activities, such as territorial defence and comprehensive defence, are considered a matter of national priority and consensus in Estonia since its restoration of independence in 1991. The actual meaning and its content have depended on numerous linguistic and cultural factors. Educational traditions and alliance relations have played an important role as well. In some cases, changes in actual defence policy content first required an ability to change military terminology and outlook. The current study analyses the meaning of territorial defence, comprehensive defence and total defence in official documents and based on focus group interviews among officers of BDCOL and EMA.
The current study discusses differences between Russia and the Baltic States in terms of their strategic narratives, as well as how they interpret key terms and concepts in the field of security. To frame the scope of the study, the strategic narrative of Russia for the Baltic countries and the Baltic strategic narrative(s) for Russia are compared and analysed. Both sides are also locked within the bigger framework of European Union’s economic sanctions against Russia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance’s deterrence concept. On the other hand, the Baltic States and Russia have a lot to gain from possible improvements in economic relations and reduction of regional security tensions.
The article aims to provide an insight into academic and military studies that investigate security challenges
in the Baltic region after the annexation of Crimea. To do this in a systematic way, numerous academic and military studies and analyses in this field are divided into six broad categories: literature on conventional threat scenarios in the Baltic region; studies on nuclear escalation scenarios; publications that describe Russian viewpoints in the current confrontation with the West; studies that discuss security policy and security perceptions of the Baltic countries and the national security models of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania; studies on anti-access and area denial; and articles that analyse the dilemmas and challenges in association with understanding the essence of deterrence in the context of
modern hybrid warfare and the build-up of a viable deterrence model in the Baltic region. In total, about 40 publications from the period between 2014 and 2019 are represented in this article. While some studies are already well known, others have undeservedly remained somewhat overlooked. This article attempts to correct this by highlighting and comparing the results of the most interesting and intriguing studies in this field. Through this, the author strived to maintain a balance between studies conducted both by military experts and by academics.
This study aimed to offer an in-depth insight into intellectual dilemmas associated with a comprehensive approach to national defence using Estonia as an example to demonstrate that comprehensive approach in itself may not be enough to feel safe and secure. The authors focused on two specific theoretical questions. First, how security threats are determined in Estonia, including the impact of such a phenomenon as macro-securitization? Second, how various levels of comprehensive approach relate to each other in the way that a shared security culture will be created?
In this way, the aim of this article was not only to shake the foundations of national defence in Estonia but also to contribute to the improvement of the current model to ensure that it actually works in practice.
While potential threats from Russia and NATO collective defence commitments are similar for Latvia and Estonia, both countries have adopted different approaches in the balancing exercise between territorial defence and military solidarity. Notwithstanding their differences, both are by their nature fully non-aggressive – without room for pre-emptive initiatives, extra territoriality or asymmetrical tools. Given that in a case of a hypothetical large-scale conventional attack both countries would almost entirely have to rest on the allies, external military solidarity is essential. Until the Ukraine crisis, both offered more military solidarity towards their NATO allies than the latter offered to them. As the result of the Ukrainian crisis, allies became more military-solidary with the Baltic nations, especially having established the Enhanced Forward Presence, while Estonian and especially Latvian contributions to international missions and operations dropped. Therefore, it is suggested that both countries increase their efforts to the allied international endeavours.
The current study focuses on the Estonian perceptions of security and on the defence situation both globally and locally. The dynamic results of the public opinion surveys on security risks conducted in Estonia over the last 10 years (2006-2016) will be presented. In addition, to understand whether some of the security risks could be over- or underestimated in Estonia, these results will be compared with the views expressed recently by the World Economic Forum, particularly the Global Risks Report 2016. Also, the arguments why some topics have played or are currently playing key role in the Estonian security perception will be presented and discussed.
After the establishment of the Schengen area, it was expected that its members would develop a common policy on external border management and protecting external borders. As the current refugee crisis has revealed, some countries have not met their obligations, which has led to serious difficulties in other
member states. An unusually large number of refugees are passing through the EU with the purpose of going to countries that attract refugees with better economic and social conditions. Nevertheless, in the present case the criticism at the European Union level has been targeted towards the Eastern European countries for not eagerly enough accepting the proposed refugee strategy and quotas. Estonia’s opposition to the EU-wide permanent relocation system of refugees has its roots in the conservative line that the country has followed in the national refugee policy for more than
twenty years. However in 2016 the positions among the Estonian governmental coalition differ significantly in terms of long term refugee strategy. The current article will focus on the arguments why Estonia has opted for the conservative refugee policy so far
and whether it has been in accordance with the country’s capabilities and resources. The development of Estonian refugee policy will be analysed, from regaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 to the present day. The article will also focus on security risks that might occur due to the pressure from the EU on the member states to impose decisions that do not have broad support at the national level.