DThe Russian Interior Ministry has put Estonia's Prime Minister Kaja Kallas on a wanted list. This emerges from research by the Russian media Mediazona, which was published on Tuesday. According to the platform, this is the first time that the head of government of another state has been on Russia's wanted list.
Kallas is not the only European politician being investigated by Russian law enforcement authorities. Accordingly, Lithuanian Culture Minister Simonas Kairys and members of the Latvian Parliament are also on the Interior Ministry's list. According to Mediazona, the proceedings are related to the demolition of Soviet monuments.
Relations between Moscow and the Baltic states have been tense since Russia began the war in eastern Ukraine in 2014 and the annexation of the Crimean peninsula. The major Russian attack two years ago further deteriorated the relationship. Kallas, who has ruled Tallinn since 2021, is one of Russian President Vladimir Putin's harshest critics. In terms of economic performance, Estonia is Ukraine's largest military supporter.
In total, Mediazona found more than 700 foreigners on the Russian Interior Ministry's wanted list. The largest group comes from Ukraine, including Valeriy Zalushnyj, who was replaced as army chief just last week. Mediazona was founded in 2014 by two former members of the punk band Pussy Riot. The medium specializes in the Russian police and justice system.
Hardly any of the wanted people are likely to travel to Russia any time soon, so the search has more of a symbolic value. As early as March 2022, Interpol had also restricted Russia's ability to feed information directly into the international police organization's extensive network. According to the French Foreign Ministry, there had previously been “several suspected cases of attempted fraudulent use” of the Lyon-based authority’s system. For Russia, this means that the Interpol headquarters must first release so-called red notices for fugitive criminals. Red alerts allow Interpol member countries to prepare arrests and extraditions in other countries.