2011 Estonian Ministry of Defence attack

2011 Estonian Ministry of Defence attack was an attack on the 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]

2011 Estonian Ministry of Defence attack
Estonian Ministry of Defence
LocationTallinn, Estonia
Date11 August 2011 (2011-08-11)
15:00 – 17:30 EEST (UTC+03:00)
Attack type
Shooting, bombing attempt
WeaponsBernardelli P One pistol
Deaths1 (the perpetrator)
PerpetratorKaren Drambjan

Attack on the Estonian Ministry of Defence


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]


  • Estonian prime minister Andrus Ansip believes Drambjan may have been inspired by the 2011 Norway attacks.[2][4][6][13]
  • Dimitri Klenski, a Russian Estonian politician, believes Drambjan was driven into his act by personal problems, not political motivations.[14]
  • Sergei Jürgens, leader of the United Left Party, accuses Defence Minister Mart Laar of unjustly associating the actions of Drambjan with the United Left Party.[15]
  • Mart Laar, the Estonian defence minister, said Estonia will investigate whether the "massive propaganda attack against Estonia" launched by Russia in the previous week was a factor that inspired Drambjan's attack.[16][17]

Karen Drambjan


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


Drambjan was a member of the Estonian United Left Party, a successor of the Estonian Communist Party.[23] 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".[24]

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 municipality, but failed to get elected.[4][8][25] He was known as a fierce supporter of Maardu mayor Georgi Bõstrov.[18][26]

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.[27][28][29][30][31][16]


  1. ^ "На Министерство обороны напал Карэн Драмбян" (in Russian). 11 August 2011.
  2. ^ a b c "Ansip ja Laar: tulistajal olid suured kavatsused" (in Estonian). Delfi.ee. 11 August 2011.
  3. ^ a b c "Karen Drambjan 26 July 1954". Archived from the original on 30 March 2012. Retrieved 11 August 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d Erkki Sivonen (11 August 2011). "Defense Ministry Shooter Was Member of United Left". Estonian Public Broadcasting.
  5. ^ Jari Tanner (11 August 2011). "Gunman killed in firefight with police after attack on Estonia's Ministry of Defence". St. Albert Gazette. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 30 September 2011. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d "Estonian defense ministry shooter confirmed member of United Left". xinhuanet. Xinhua. 11 August 2011. Archived from the original on 8 November 2012.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Estonian gunman shot dead". The Australian. Agence France-Presse. 12 August 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. 11 August 2011.
  10. ^ "Tulistaja lubas relvastamata inimesi mitte lasta" (in Estonian). Delfi.ee. 11 August 2011. Archived from the original on 8 April 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2011.
  11. ^ a b Lannin, Patrick (11 August 2011). "Gunman killed after Estonian ministry shooting". Reuters.
  12. ^ "Kaitseminister Mart Laar ei viibinud intsidendi ajal hoones" (in Estonian). Delfi.ee. 11 August 2011.
  13. ^ "Viron pääministeri panttivanki-iskusta: Idea ehkä Norjan tapahtumista". Ilta-Sanomat (in Finnish). 11 August 2011. Archived from the original on 14 August 2011. Retrieved 11 August 2011.
  14. ^ Teelemari Loonet (11 August 2011). "Klenski: Drambjan oli äkiline mees". Postimees (in Estonian).
  15. ^ "Vasakpartei juht: Drambjani parteilise kuuluvuse rõhutamine on kohatu". Postimees (in Estonian). 12 August 2011.
  16. ^ a b Eli Lake (14 August 2011). "Estonian gunman echoed Russian propaganda". The Washington Times.
  17. ^ Meelis Mandel (15 August 2011). "Washington Times: Drambjani võis ajendada Vene propaganda". Äripaev (in Estonian).
  18. ^ a b c d Mikk Salu (12 August 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 (11 August 2011). "Drambjani lähedalt tundnud inimene: ta lasi end teistel tappa" (in Estonian). Delfi.ee.
  22. ^ "Karen Drambjani kinnisvara oli sundmüügis" (in Estonian). Delfi.ee. 11 August 2011.
  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. ^ "Counterintelligence". Annual Review 2007 (PDF). Tallinn: Estonian Security Police. 2008. p. 8. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 April 2010. Retrieved 12 August 2011.
  25. ^ "Kaitseministeeriumi tulistaja oli Eestimaa Ühendatud Vasakpartei liige Karen Drambjan" (in Estonian). Delfi.ee. 11 August 2011. Archived from the original on 15 March 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2011.
  26. ^ "Быстров может уйти в отставку, а к власти в Маарду придут реформисты". DzD.ee (in Russian). 19 May 2010.
  27. ^ "Kaitseministeeriumi hõivaja manifest: valitsus on valinud kodusõja tee" (in Estonian). Delfi.ee. 12 August 2011.
  28. ^ "Драмбян: эстонское правительство уже выбрало гражданскую войну" (in Russian). Delfi.ee. 12 August 2011. Archived from the original on 8 April 2014. Retrieved 12 August 2011.
  29. ^ Karen Drambjan. "Если дорог тебе твой дом..." slavia.ee (in Russian). Archived from the original on 4 December 2017. Retrieved 12 August 2011.
  30. ^ Toomas Hõbemäg (12 August 2011). "Who was the shooter in the Ministry of Defence?". Baltic Business News. Äripäev. Archived from the original on 4 October 2011. Retrieved 12 August 2011.
  31. ^ Heikki Aasaru (12 August 2011). "Drambjan: Eesti valitsus on juba valinud kodusõja tee" (in Estonian). Estonian Public Broadcasting.