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Non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction

Located on the eastern border of the Western world, Estonia has had experience of export con-trols since the Middle Ages, when the strategic goods of the day were, for example, horses, rather than nuclear components or tanks. Attempts were made to regulate the export of horses from Livonia, and the first known examples date back to the 13th and 14th centuries, when the Pope prohibited Livo-nians from supplying horses, weapons and food to the Russians.

The modern concept of export control dates back to the immediate post-Cold War era, when the Western powers formed a united front against pariah states to prevent a technological arms race and future largescale military conflicts. Counterproliferation, or the fight against the spread of weapons of mass destruction, is one of the responsibilities of KAPO. The Estonian authorities are responsible for ensuring the legality of transactions going through the country. It is important that military or dual-use items do not pass through Estonia to countries subject to sanctions or into the hands of terrorist groups.

Attempts to transport illicit goods to the destination country are made through both smuggling and official export channels. In view of the latter in particular, a very important contribution is made by the Foreign Ministry-led Strategic Goods Commission, of which KAPO is a member. Before issuing an authorisation, the commission verifies the accuracy of the information submitted when applying for an import, export or transit licence and the information on the end-user of the goods, consulting with international partners where necessary. The number of applications submitted to the commission has increased every year and has almost quadrupled since 2004.

Military goods include weapons, ammunition, mines, rocket fuels, precursors of poisons, military-use parachutes, infrared equipment and software.

Dual-use items can be used for both military and civilian purposes. This category includes alloys, production equipment, chemicals with specific properties, certain types of boring mill, live viruses, lasers and navigation devices.47 To prevent the unauthorised circulation of illegal components and information, KAPO monitors individuals and companies operating in CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear) in Estonia. Equipment or technology that has fallen into the wrong hands is a clear threat to Estonia’s security.

Protecting national defence assets

The vulnerability of assets of national importance may entail a threat to the constitutional order. The Estonian government has already experienced this, during the attempted coup on 1 December 1924, as organised rebels from the Soviet Union tried to seize power.

Domestic prevention plays an important role in the fight against terrorism. To prevent attacks and manage threats, KAPO focuses on the protection of national defence assets, following national guidelines. The prevention activities aim to mitigate identified risks and minimise the negative impact of an attack.

The possessors of national defence assets are required to prepare a facility-specific risk analysis and security plan, identifying relevant threats to the facility and planning for possible measures to mitigate them. Security drills have been carried out at some facilities.

Certain physical, technical and procedural measures may impose restrictions and obligations on employees at the facilities, without which security cannot be achieved. The proprietors of the facility play a key role in ensuring security; they must organise the necessary protection and oversee the appropriate implementation of measures.