Intelligence: Freelance Espionage in Estonia

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March 5, 2007: Tiny Estonia (population 1.3 million) has an interesting, and rather murky, espionage scandal brewing. The head of military intelligence, Major Riho Uhtegi, was dismissed from his job and is under investigation. Uhtegi had apparently set up a system of spies to keep tabs on Ministry of Defense officials. The government has not been releasing many details, but senior officials are not very happy with the situation. Estonia was, for centuries, part of Russia. Estonia became independent in the early 1990s, when the Soviet Union broke up. It had been independent for two decades after World War I, but the Soviets took over again at the start of World War II. Since then, many more Russians have moved in, and the harsh Russian rule was not popular at all. The population is now about a quarter Russian. The ethnic Estonians are Finns (speaking an East Asian language), and worry about Russia and the Russians a lot. This particular espionage scandal apparently has something to do with that. Ethnic rivalries are typically the cause of freelance espionage in many parts of the world, but this sort of thing is rare in Europe.

 


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