Russia declares Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas 'wanted' in Soviet monument row

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Getty Images)
Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Getty Images)

Russian police have put Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas on its wanted list for "desecration of historical memory".

Estonia’s State Secretary Taimar Peterkop and the Lithuanian Culture Minister Simonas Kairys were also given the same status, according to the Russian Interior Ministry's database.

Russian state agency TASS said the Baltic officials were accused of "destroying monuments to Soviet soldiers".

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said: "This is only the beginning.

"Crimes against the memory of the world's liberators from Nazism and fascism must be prosecuted.”

Neither Mr Kallas nor Mr Kairys have commented yet.

Baltic nations which were formerly part of the Soviet Union have announced plans to demolish Soviet-era monuments.

Mr Kallas said in 2022 that Estonian authorities would dismantle 200 to 400 such tributes.

In response, the head of the Russian Investigative Committee, Alexander Bastrykin, ordered a criminal investigation into the matter.

The Baltic politicians risk being placed under arrest only if they cross the Russian border, otherwise declaring them wanted will have no real consequences.

In total, Russia has put several dozen Baltic politicians of various levels on the wanted list - from municipal deputies of cities to members of national parliaments.

In addition, former Latvian Interior Minister Marija Golubeva was put on the list, the independent Russian media project Mediazona reported.

The Interior Ministry database does not specify under which article of the criminal code they are being prosecuted.

The moves appear to reflect an attempt by Moscow to up the ante as it faces pressure from NATO allies as fighting in Ukraine nears the two-year mark, but means little in practical terms as Russia-West contacts have been frozen during the conflict.