2011 Attack on Estonian Defence Ministry

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2011 attack on Estonian Defence Ministry was an attack on Estonian Ministry of Defence building in Tallinn on 11 August 2011 by Karen Drambjan (Armenian: Կարեն Դրամբյան, Russian: Карэн Драмбян,[1] 26 July 1954 – 11 August 2011).[2][3] He was shot dead in a firefight with the police, after he set off several explosives.[2][4][5][6][7]

Attack on Estonian Defence Ministry[edit]

On 11 August 2011 at around 15:00 hours local time Drambjan entered the Estonian Ministry of Defence headquarters building in central Tallinn armed with a pistol with about 100 rounds of ammunition and a bag containing ten to fifteen explosives. He opened fire in the entrance hall and detonated smoke bombs,[4] but was not able to pass a security gate and enter the interior of the building.[6] At the time the building was guarded by members of the Estonian Defence League.[8] He temporarily held two people captive,[9] including one security guard.[10] In a joint operation carried out by the police and the Kaitsepolitsei, the police K-Commando unit stormed the building and killed Drambjan in an exchange of fire.[11]

Defence minister Mart Laar was not in the building at the time.[7][12]


Karen Drambjan[edit]

Drambjan was born in Yerevan, and graduated with a law degree from Kaliningrad State University in 1992.[3] In 1993 he was granted Estonian citizenship.[7][8]

Drambjan ran a law firm in Maardu.[6][8][18] In 2007 he defended Larissa Neštšadimova,[18] the spokeswoman of Nochnoy Dozor on charges stemming from a standoff with police near the Bronze Soldier before the Bronze Nights,[19][20] but had to yield the case to a "more qualified" lawyer as the case moved toward the Supreme Court of Estonia.[18]

Drambjan was divorced and had two daughters from the marriage.[7][21] In 2011 he had run into financial difficulties and his apartment in Maardu was sold by court bailiffs.[7][11][21][22]

Political activity[edit]

Drambjan was a member of the Estonian United Left Party, a successor of the Estonian Communist Party,[23] which sought to represent the Russian minority in Estonia.[24] In the 2007 parliamentary elections in Estonia he was a candidate for the Constitution Party.[3] According to the Estonian Security Police the Constitution Party was a puppet-party supported and controlled from Russia, created by the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) in 2007 as part of their campaign of "political intelligence manipulations".[25]

In the 2009 municipal elections, after the fusion of the Constitution Party with the Estonian Left Party he was a candidate for the newly formed Estonian United Left Party in the Russian dominated Maardu munincipality, but failed to get elected.[4][8][26] He was known as a fierce supporter of Maardu mayor Georgi Bõstrov.[18][27]

During campaigning for the 2009 European Parliament election, Drambjan published a manifesto denouncing Estonia as a morally bankrupt neo-Fascist country, contending the Estonian government had chosen civil war in its relationship with the Russian minority and chastising the Russian community for its slavish mentality in the face of discrimination.[28][29][30][31][32][16]


  1. ^ "На Министерство обороны напал Карэн Драмбян" (in Russian). 11.08.2011. 
  2. ^ a b c "Ansip ja Laar: tulistajal olid suured kavatsused" (in Estonian). Delfi.ee. 2011-08-11. 
  3. ^ a b c Karen Drambjan 26.07.1954
  4. ^ a b c d Erkki Sivonen (2011-08-11). "Defense Ministry Shooter Was Member of United Left". Estonian Public Broadcasting. 
  5. ^ Jari Tanner (August 11, 2011). "Gunman killed in firefight with police after attack on Estonia's Defence Ministry". St. Albert Gazette. Associated Press. 
  6. ^ a b c d "Estonian defense ministry shooter confirmed member of United Left". xinhuanet. Xinhua. August 11, 2011. 
  7. ^ a b c d e "Estonian gunman shot dead". The Australian. Agence France-Presse. August 12, 2011. 
  8. ^ a b c d Nataly Koppel (11 August 2011). "Kaitseministeeriumisse tungija oli Vasakpartei liige Karen Drambjan". Õhtuleht. 
  9. ^ "Prokuratuur: Drambjan võttis ajutiselt kaks inimest oma kontrolli alla" (in Estonian). Delfi.ee. 2011-08-11. 
  10. ^ "Tulistaja lubas relvastamata inimesi mitte lasta" (in Estonian). Delfi.ee. 2011-08-11. 
  11. ^ a b Lannin, Patrick (2011-08-11). "Gunman killed after Estonian ministry shooting". Reuters. 
  12. ^ "Kaitseminister Mart Laar ei viibinud intsidendi ajal hoones" (in Estonian). Delfi.ee. 2011-08-11. 
  13. ^ "Viron pääministeri panttivanki-iskusta: Idea ehkä Norjan tapahtumista". Ilta-Sanomat (in Finnish). 11.08.2011. 
  14. ^ Teelemari Loonet (11.08.2011). "Klenski: Drambjan oli äkiline mees". Postimees (in Estonian). 
  15. ^ "Vasakpartei juht: Drambjani parteilise kuuluvuse rõhutamine on kohatu". Postimees (in Estonian). 2011-08-12. 
  16. ^ a b Eli Lake (August 14, 2011). "Estonian gunman echoed Russian propaganda". Washington Times. 
  17. ^ Meelis Mandel (15.8.2011). "Washington Times: Drambjani võis ajendada Vene propaganda". Äripaev (in Estonian). 
  18. ^ a b c d Mikk Salu (12.08.2011). "Tuttavad: äkilise loomuga Drambjan kaitses oma seisukohti vihaga". Postimees (in Estonian). 
  20. ^ "Эстонская Фемида похожа на колхозницу с безменом". Izvestia (in Russian). 21 May 2008. 
  21. ^ a b Margarita Kornõševa (2011-08-11). "Drambjani lähedalt tundnud inimene: ta lasi end teistel tappa" (in Estonian). Delfi.ee. 
  22. ^ "Karen Drambjani kinnisvara oli sundmüügis" (in Estonian). Delfi.ee. 2011-08-11. 
  23. ^ Jungerstam-Mulders, Susanne (2006). Post-communist EU member states: parties and party systems. Ashgate Publishing. p. 41. ISBN 978-0-7546-4712-6. 
  24. ^ "Explosion and shooting at Estonian Defense Ministry". RT. 11 August 2011. 
  25. ^ "Counterintelligence". Annual Review 2007. Tallinn: Estonian Security Police. 2008. p. 8. 
  26. ^ "Kaitseministeeriumi tulistaja oli Eestimaa Ühendatud Vasakpartei liige Karen Drambjan" (in Estonian). Delfi.ee. 2011-08-11. 
  27. ^ "Быстров может уйти в отставку, а к власти в Маарду придут реформисты". DzD.ee (in Russian). 19.05.2010. 
  28. ^ "Kaitseministeeriumi hõivaja manifest: valitsus on valinud kodusõja tee" (in Estonian). Delfi.ee. 2011-08-12. 
  29. ^ "Драмбян: эстонское правительство уже выбрало гражданскую войну" (in Russian). Delfi.ee. 2011-08-12. 
  30. ^ Karen Drambjan. "Если дорог тебе твой дом...". slavia.ee (in Russian). 
  31. ^ Toomas Hõbemäg (12.08.2011). "Who was the shooter in the defence ministry?". Baltic Business News. Äripeav. 
  32. ^ Heikki Aasaru (2011-08-12). "Drambjan: Eesti valitsus on juba valinud kodusõja tee" (in Estonian). Estonian Public Broadcasting.