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This week the National Defence Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) concentrated on the issues relating to the Estonian people's will to defend their country. During the discussions, it was admitted that broad-based national defence would be of help against the increasing anti-West propaganda of Russia.

Chairman of the National Defence Committee Marko Mihkelson said that the people’s will to defend the country is the main pillar of the security of a country, and it is supported by very well planned psychological defence and strategic communication.

“In the changed security situation, where we can see the ever widening influencing activities in the information space, the government has to devote more attention than before to the developing of strategic communication and at the same time also the promoting of psychological defence. It is not possible to be satisfied with the fact that, up to now, we do not yet have a common situation and communication centre,” Mihkelson said.

The National Defence Committee of the Riigikogu also heard the results of the public opinion poll on national defence, according to which membership of NATO and developing of independent defence capability are both guarantees of security in the opinion of the people of Estonia.

Mihkelson expressed his delight that the will to defend the country has increased among the people of Estonia in recent times. Nearly two thirds of the people of Estonia are ready to participate in defence activities. This was also confirmed by the number and attitude of the participants of the large-scale military exercise “Siil” (“Hedgehog”). This week the Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces Riho Terras gave the National Defence Committee the first more detailed overview of the conclusions of the military training exercise.

Adviser of the Strategic Communications Department of the Ministry of Defence Lauri Vahtre and Research Manager of Turu-uuringute AS Juhan Kivirähk gave the Committee an overview of the public opinion poll on national defence. Adviser at the Government Communication Unit Ilmar Raag spoke about the psychological defence plans of Estonia.

The National Defence Committee expressed its support to the Youth Academy of Ida-Viru, who is working on the project “Sinu riigi kaitse” (“The Defence of Your Country”). The purpose of the project is to increase the interest of young Russian people living in Estonia in national defence and the issues of security. The leaders of the project stressed that the increasing propaganda of the values of a foreign society and the subjectiveness of the local Russian-language media space are problems.

The members of the Committee noted that the national defence training and information aimed at the young Russians living in Estonia should also be in Russian, and it should emphasise the protection of values.

The National Defence Committee is planning to hold a sitting in Ida-Virumaa in autumn.

Riigikogu Press Service
Epp-Mare Kukemelk
Phone: +372 631 6356; +372 51 53 903
Questions: press@riigikogu.ee