Michael Ben-Gad, a professor at London’s City University who has studied the credibility of long-term promises by governments, questions whether Nato’s commitment to collective defence is absolute and asks what would happen if Russia’s border guards crossed the bridge that separates Narva from Ivangorod and took the Estonian town.
“Would the US and western Europe really go to war to defend the territorial integrity of Estonia? I think Estonia has reasons to worry. Narva is the most obvious place; it is almost completely Russian-speaking,” he says.
More than 82 per cent of Narva’s residents are ethnic Russians and 4 per cent are ethnic Estonians. More than a third have Russian citizenship.