Case studies of recent Russian aggressive actions in Ukraine, Russian security-related acts in Estonia, and a discourse analysis of the effects Russian aggression in Ukraine have had on Estonian discourses and policy
This master’s thesis explores gaps in research regarding the effects Russian aggression in Ukraine have had on high-level Estonian political and security discourses, and in effect, policy. Furthermore, the recent full-scale invasion of Ukraine and its effects on Estonia were examined in detail. One of the striking discoveries of this thesis was that Estonia, even though it is a small country, is particularly assertive regarding its neighbour Russia when it comes to security issues, as Estonia is fully aware that they could lose their democratic society if they are Russia’s next target after Ukraine. The aim of the thesis was not only to evaluate Russian aggression in Ukraine, and Russian-Estonian security problems, but also to understand the effects Russian aggression in Ukraine have had on Estonia. These effects were found in publicly available discourse of high level Estonian political figures and Estonian defence documents, that others have not yet analysed, and a direct correlation was seen between Russian aggression in Ukraine and changes to Estonian security policy. Furthermore, these events sparked debate in Estonia on how to deter Russian aggression. While exploring George F. Kennan’s famous theory of containment, striking similarities were found between the political culture of Soviet Russia and Putin’s regime. Furthermore, Kennan’s containment theory was found to remain relevant, as Estonia today has also encouraged a policy of containing Russia by encouraging cooperation with allies, the applying of sanctions to deter negative behaviour by Russia, adjusting Estonian security policies, and inviting NATO contingents on Estonian soil.