Speaker of the Estonian Parliament Henn Põlluas said in his New Year’s address that the Tartu Peace Treaty, in which “the border between Estonia and Russia was agreed upon,” is still valid under international law.
The politician’s congratulatory message was published on the parliament’s website.
Põlluas reminded me that February 2020 was the hundredth anniversary of the agreement. According to the treaty, Soviet Russia became the first state in the world to recognize the independence of Estonia. Also, the borderline between the two countries was established. Thus part of Pskov province (now Pechorsky district of Pskov region) and the territories on the right bank of the Narova river (now Leningrad region) was ceded to Estonia. In 1944 these territories were returned to the RSFSR.
The parliament speaker insisted that the border agreement is allegedly still in force, and is “proof of Russia’s recognition of Estonia’s independence and inviolability.
He had already made similar statements last year and called on Moscow to return the “annexed territories.” At that time President Kirsti Kaljulaid reminded us that Estonia became a member of NATO under the condition of denial of territorial claims and keeping the borders that appeared after the Second World War.
Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said the Kremlin finds such statements unacceptable.
Moscow sees the Tartu Treaty as a historical document, which has no legal force. Tallinn insists that the treaty remains in force. The Tartu agreement has prevented the two countries from ratifying the new border treaty. It was originally signed in 2005. During the ratification process, Tallinn unilaterally added a preamble to the corresponding law that referred to the invalid Tartu Peace Treaty. Moscow saw this as an opportunity to make territorial claims against Russia in the future and withdrew its signature.