Estonia. The coalition government's long-standing
disintegration became acute when Prime Minister Juhan Parts
of Conservative Res Publica in February dismissed the
Liberal Reform Party's Foreign Minister Kristiina Ojuland.
The formal reason was that secretly stamped documents
disappeared from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' archives.
After a few weeks, the Reform Party was avenged by voting
with the opposition in a declaration of confidence in the
party's party brother Justice Minister Ken-Marti Vaher. As a
result, Parts and the entire government resigned.
The task of forming a new government went to the Reform
Party leader Andrus Ansip, who negotiated a coalition
between his own liberal party and the left-wing Center Party
as well as the rural party Folkförbundet. The Anip
government took office in April.
countryaah, Estonia's troublesome relationship with Russia was
further complicated during the year when President Arnold
Rüütel declined President Vladimir Putin's invitation to
join Moscow in May at the 60th anniversary of the Soviet
Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. In
Estonia, the end of the Second World War marked the
beginning of a near half-century Soviet occupation.
Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, however, traveled to Moscow
and, together with his Russian colleague, was able to sign
the border agreement that Moscow had for years refused to
sign. But the joy was short-lived. In June, Russia
unilaterally revoked the agreement, as the Estonian
Parliament had added a preface with indirect references to
the Soviet occupation of Estonia.
In August, 14 people were killed when a Finnish
helicopter crashed in the Gulf of Finland just off the coast
of Estonia. The helicopter was on its way from Tallinn to
Helsinki and, according to the preliminary investigation,
experienced technical problems shortly after take-off.
An Estonian government commission investigated Swedish
data on military transport aboard the Estonia ferry in 1994
during the year. A parliamentary commission that examined
the same issues was also extended mandate.