Interview with Andrew Kuchins

Andrew Kuchins, the Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, in his interview with Russia Today, explained why Russia and Estonia fail to agree over their shared history.

Russia Today: Can you give us a brief account of the history of Russian-Estonian relations since the annexation of Estonia in 1940 through to the present day?

Andrew Kuchins: The Estonians have never accepted that they were part of the Soviet Union and they feel that it was an illegal annexation of Estonia, going back to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Treaty between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. Obviously, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Estonia became independent. The relationship has been a difficult one, for sure, since the collapse of the Soviet Union. And this latest incident with the Bronze Soldier's removal in Tallinn exemplifies what is the core difference, I think, between Russians and Estonians and how they view their history together.

RT:  Does this recent row over the removal of the WW2 memorial in Tallinn represent a 'last straw' scenario?

A.K.: I don't think this is a 'last straw' scenario. Although in some ways it could be so. This is the last of these unfortunate conflicting incidents between the two countries. But it probable is not, because their views of history are so different and it could be difficult to reconcile them.