Friday, August 17, 2007

eSStonia

EUROPE

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The truth about eSStonia

Aug 16th 2007
From Economist.com


Its citizenship policy has been a success


Get article background

READ the Russian-language internet, and you will find Estonia portrayed as a hell-hole ruled by Nazi sympathisers who organise a grotesque form of apartheid hypocritically endorsed by the European Union.

“Nazi” and “apartheid” are strong words that should be used sparingly and precisely out of their original context—and probably not at all. (A good rule in most discussions is that the first person to call the other a Nazi automatically loses the argument.)

So it may be worth listing a few of the more grotesque unfairnesses and inaccuracies of the charge. Apartheid was the legally enforced separation of the peoples of South Africa, based on race (or more accurately, skin colour). Mingling of the races, from intermarriage to mixed swimming, was forbidden. Pass laws meant that blacks could not live in white areas. Apartheid was backed up by a ruthless secret police that on occasion murdered people, and had no hesitation in enforcing house arrest and exile.

Nazi sympathisers idolise Hitler, think that Jews invented the Holocaust (or, sometimes, that they deserved what they got), and believe that National Socialism was a glorious ideology destroyed by Judaeo-Bolshevism.

Absolutely none of that applies to Estonia. Not only do the authorities not prohibit contact between Estonians and Russians, they encourage it. Russians and Estonians mix freely everywhere. Some of Estonia’s top politicians, including the president and the leader of one of the main political parties have Russian family ties.

Estonians look back on the Nazi occupation with loathing. Their country was caught between the hammer and the anvil in 1939, and whatever they did, only suffering and destruction awaited them.

What really annoys the Kremlin crowd is that Estonians (like many others in eastern Europe) regarded the arrival of the Red Army in 1944-45 not as a liberation, but as the exchange of one ghastly occupation for another. That flatly contradicts the Kremlin’s revived Stalinist version of history, which puts Soviet wartime heroism and sacrifice at centre-stage, while assiduously obscuring all the historical context. Given how the Soviet Union treated Estonia in 1939-41, it is hardly surprising that those who fought the occupiers when they returned are regarded as heroes. But they were not Nazis, nor are those who admire them now.



Given how Soviet Union treated Estonia in 1939-41, it is hardly surprising that those who fought the occupiers when they returned are regarded as heroes

Secondly, Estonians (like Latvians and Lithuanians) do not accept that their pre-war statehood was ever extinguished. Russia may like to think that the Soviet Union magnanimously granted independence to the three “Soviet Baltic Republics” in 1991. But the Balts see it differently: they regained their independence. In that view they are confirmed, more or less enthusiastically, by most western countries, which never recognised the Soviet annexation of 1940, and in some cases continued to accredit Baltic diplomats in dusty and deserted embassies.

On that basis, the hundreds of thousands of Soviet citizens who moved to the Baltic from the 1950s onwards were migrants settling illegally in occupied territories. Post-Soviet Lithuania granted them citizenship automatically. But Estonia and Latvia, where the demographic position was more precarious, insisted that they apply for citizenship if they wanted it, and pass a simple test in language and history.

This was not about ethnicity: Russians who lived in Estonia before the occupation (then around 10% of the population) and their descendants regained citizenship automatically. And it has worked rather well. Nearly 150,000 people have gained Estonian citizenship; only 8.5% remain stateless.

Fifteen years on, Estonia's policy may be too tough, or just right, or even too lax. Compared to most European countries’ citizenship laws, it is quite generous. In any event, calling it “apartheid” is not only nonsensical, but stupidly insulting, to a country that has responded with intelligence and restraint to a devastating historical injury.

67 comments:

cabrero said...

Ya, ya good kinder, good...

http://russbalt.ucoz.ru/news/2007-08-02-987

http://lenta.ru/news/2005/11/10/monument/

Giustino said...

Mark Sirok, the head of Nashi in Estonia agrees with you, Ed.

"I fully support what is written in the constitution. But I don't like the rewriting of history."

"We are anti-fascist, but not anti-Estonia"

When asked who he would vote for in the next election, Sirok says:

"It's hard to say, but I think that I would support the Center Party [because] their politics are more or less normal. They aren't from the right wing or the left wing, and they defend both Russian-speakers and Estonian-speakers' interests."

http://www.ekspress.ee/viewdoc/CB6B8795DD740079C225733700664730

Mait said...

I'd just like to say thank you. It's the best and clearest english-languague piece of writing about the situation to date (sorry, Justin;)).

rusak said...

Well well... I think I can rightfully consider this little turd of an article to be Lucas' "response" to yours truly, that infernal rusak. Wow. I'm touched, really I am. I suppose what I said must have really affected Lucas and got in his head, for him to even bother writing up this crap. He probably had trouble sleeping, poor thing. I find it hilarious how this rabidly Russophobic English ninny feels like he's some kind of knight who must defend little Eestimaa, the damsel in distress. Lucas, why don't you answer me right here? Heck, you already tried that, a couple of responses, then you saw that you don't stand a chance and fell back in disgrace like a coward. Anyway, now watch me break this down.

So it may be worth listing a few of the more grotesque unfairnesses and inaccuracies of the charge. Apartheid was the legally enforced separation of the peoples of South Africa, based on race (or more accurately, skin colour). Mingling of the races, from intermarriage to mixed swimming, was forbidden. Pass laws meant that blacks could not live in white areas. Apartheid was backed up by a ruthless secret police that on occasion murdered people, and had no hesitation in enforcing house arrest and exile.

Check Webster's dictionary, Lucas. Definition 1:

Main Entry:
apart·heid Listen to the pronunciation of apartheid Listen to the pronunciation of apartheid
Pronunciation:
\ə-ˈpär-ˌtāt, -ˌtīt\
Function:
noun
Etymology:
Afrikaans, from apart apart + -heid -hood
Date:
1947

1: racial segregation; specifically : a former policy of segregation and political and economic discrimination against non-European groups in the Republic of South Africa

Clearly, when one says that Estonia is effectually an apartheid state, it does not mean that it has to be "legally enforced" or a carbon copy of South Africa. I already addressed this. The Ests can't do that because the Russian population wouldn't stand for it, because Russia is right there, and because Western institutions wouldn't condone it. So they settle for the next best thing -- nearly complete political disenfranchisement of the troublesome minority. What else would one expect? "Oh, it's not quite like in South Africa, so that means everything is all right!" False, try again.

Some of Estonia’s top politicians, including the president and the leader of one of the main political parties have Russian family ties.

This is especially odious and idiotic. Some of friggin APARTHEID SOUTH AFRICA's top politicians had "black family ties" from centuries ago. Yeah, that's right. Some "white" South Africans (including racists and apartheid supporters) have black blood. There was a famous case of a "black child" being born to "white" parents. None of this, however, disproves the fact that there was a system of racial apartheid in South Africa.

What really annoys the Kremlin crowd is that Estonians (like many others in eastern Europe) regarded the arrival of the Red Army in 1944-45 not as a liberation, but as the exchange of one ghastly occupation for another. That flatly contradicts the Kremlin’s revived Stalinist version of history, which puts Soviet wartime heroism and sacrifice at centre-stage, while assiduously obscuring all the historical context.

Ah, so anyone who doesn't approve of what's going on in Estonia is now the "Kremlin crowd"? Oh, that's cute. Speaking for myself, I could give a damn if it was an occupation or not. Let's say it was an occupation, that's fine. Certainly not any more of an occupation than the existence of the United States or the occupation of Cornwall by England, but that's OK, let's say it was an occupation. I don't care. It doesn't change anything as far as I'm concerned. If you claim to support liberal democracy in the 21st century you had damn well better support letting go of all sorts of historical grudges to the maximum extent possible. There is no other way.

This was not about ethnicity: Russians who lived in Estonia before the occupation (then around 10% of the population) and their descendants regained citizenship automatically.

It was definitely and exclusively about ethnicity. I think even the average Est will tell you that. If it wasn't, why didn't Estonia do what Lithuania did? What exactly does "demographic position was more precarious" refer to, if not ethnicity? And what would have happened if the Russians who lived in Estonia before the occupation didn't regain citizenship? International condemnation, at the least. The Ests wanted to avoid that; besides, those Russians were too few to change anything anyway, so Ests were willing to agree to this minor nuisance in order to pursue their larger goals. That's basically how things work in this world. If you can't do it openly, you can still try to pursue your ultimate goal by other means, any way you can.

And it has worked rather well. Nearly 150,000 people have gained Estonian citizenship; only 8.5% remain stateless.

Again, another distortion. 8.5% have no citizenship, but over 16% have no ESTONIAN citizenship, which is what really matters in Estonia.

Fifteen years on, Estonia's policy may be too tough, or just right, or even too lax. Compared to most European countries’ citizenship laws, it is quite generous. In any event, calling it “apartheid” is not only nonsensical, but stupidly insulting, to a country that has responded with intelligence and restraint to a devastating historical injury.

Estonia's policy could be considered "too lax" maybe by the standards of 1930s Germany but not by the standards of liberal democracy in the 21st century. As for "intelligence and restraint" -- Russia is RIGHT THERE, what could they really do? If Estonia was located somewhere in South America maybe it could be understandable, but Russia is right there, so they have to show at least some "restraint". Or else. This "be glad we didn't ethnically cleanse you" crap holds no weight. The Ests would be collectively raped and murdered if they crossed that line and they know it. So don't even go there.

Mait said...

А у вас негров линчуют

Blogaddict said...

Jeezh, Rusak! Give me a break. Chill man. Do you live Estonia? Have you spent any time with actual Estonians?

Giustino said...

Actually Rusak, if there is a racist it in the room it is you. In fact, one could argue that your right-wing attitude towards Estonians is rooted in Russian imperialist racist policies towards non-Russians that continues to this day (see the latest clip of non-Russian men being executed under the swastika in Russia).

Here are some ways in which you reveal your racism against Estonians:

1) Likening the destruction of a state, recognized by Russia in 1920, to the incorporation of indigenous peoples into a larger political union.

Your comment:

Certainly not any more of an occupation than the existence of the United States or the occupation of Cornwall by England

The United States was formed by British colonies that seceded from the British empire. The deals that were made with native peoples in North America by the Dutch, Swedes, English, and others were done at a time -- first half of the 17th century -- when the idea of 'states' -- in the Estonian, Finnish, Icelandic sense -- barely existed.

The conquest of Cornwall occurred at a time (c 900 AD) when the concept of kingdoms, let alone states, was precarious. If the Cornish had kings, then perhaps Estonians did as well at the time of the Teutonic conquest.

The Republic of Estonia, recognized by Russia in 1920, was on the same legal footing as the Republic of Ireland, recognized by the UK in 1949, or the Republic of Iceland, recognized by Denmark in 1944.

Any attempt to boil down the Russian destruction of that state -- including the brutal murders of its heads of state -- as 'enlarging into an area of indigenous people' is racist.

It was definitely and exclusively about ethnicity. I think even the average Est will tell you that. If it wasn't, why didn't Estonia do what Lithuania did?

Because it's such a hassle. In Lithuania, Soviet citizens were a small enough proportion of the population that they had already integrated into Lithuanian society -- ie. spoke Lithuanian.

In Estonia you had several hundred thousand people born in Russia that perhaps owed their allegiance to that country, rather than Estonia.

And some have gone on and acquired Russian citizenship, since they owe their allegiance to Russia, rather than Estonia. But the younger generation in Estonia, lacks that problem.

73 percent of people under age 15 - born since the restoration of independence in 1991 -- have Estonian citizenship in Narva.

If Estonia was an apartheid state, it would seem that it would look to perpetuate the disenfranchisement of Russians over time. It obviously hasn't.

Your only argument -- that the Estonians did that to "look good" in the West -- reveals your true racism against Estonians of all ethnicities. Because of your Russian imperial outlook, you cannot believe that the 'barbarian' Estonians could ever produce a fair or reasonable policy.

The Ests would be collectively raped and murdered if they crossed that line and they know it. So don't even go there.

Here's another representation of your racism against Estonians. Estonian is a nationality. As Ed pointed out quite accurately, ethnic Russians in Estonia that were there before 1940 were granted citizenship. Therefore these are the policies of all Estonians, not just one particular ethnic group within Estonia.

Yet you constantly refer to Estonians as "Ests" -- something that no person does in any debate today. Estonian leaders rightly speak of Estonians as Estonians -- a nationality -- not an ethnicity.

Furthermore, you go on to pretend that requiring non-citizens to naturalize is similar to "ethnic cleansing" and that any attempt to deport said illegal new-comers from Estonia would result in "rape and murder' of the people I live among is not only revealing of your true Russian racist imperial soul, but indicative of the nonsense that Estonians have to deal with all the time as a neighbor of Russia.

The Russian response to Estonia is constantly grounded in trying to dehumanize Estonia. Estonians are 'Nazi barbarians' who dare to try and make new-comers to their land speak the 'barbarian tongue' of the titular population of 70 percent.

Russian critiques of these policies -- that Estonian citizenship is cheap and should be handed out freely, that Estonian language is worthless and Russians should be served at home as abroad, is grounded in this myopic, 19th century version of the world, although the way you frame your arguments Rusak, I am surprised you are not living in the 13th century.

Giustino said...

I'll conclude by saying that Estonia is currently far 'greater' than Russia will ever be. Because I am far more willing to trade all the space expeditions, ballets, and boring novels for the right to walk into a polling booth on election day and choose between five or more different parties, and *not know the electoral outcome before the votes are counted*.

In Estonia you can write pieces like Prof. Marju Lauristin's Aug. 11 commentary "Estonian Intolerance Feeds the Russian Propaganda Machine" and publish it in the largest read daily newspaper and have a debate. In Russia, you can't even show up to an EU-Russia summit and protest.

It's a measure of greatness you'll never enjoy, and that's why Estonians must be dehumanized and written off. Because their post-communist transition has been a success -- record economic growth, limited unemployment, Western integration -- and Russia's transition has led to a rejection of Yelstin's revolution, which Russians themselves backed at the time, and a free fall back into the era of tsars and the cult of personality.

Agu-Enrik Ubailves said...

What You call fascism, Rusak,is normal democracy. The old men who fought in German uniforms were not friends of Hitler, they just had vague hopes to keep russians out. They had to suffer 50 years about for this brave naivety. All real war criminals got punished in Soviet time already and Estonia has apologized for them.

Every year hundreds of these old men die.(My father, who joined RAD (Reicsarbeitsdienst)as 17 years old guy, was cosncripted to Waffen SS without asking, whether he liked it or not. He shot his riffle only once towards a distant enemy, spent his best years in Siberia and had later big difficulties in getting to the university. Some job opportunities were closed for him for lifetime.He died about year ago.) There is nothing perverse, that these guys still meet. There is nothing abnormal, that the men are even (very modestly)recognized in their attempt to prevent the years of rape and murder which still seem to be a normal thing to You.

rusak said...

giustino,

Here are some ways in which you reveal your racism against Estonians:

1) Likening the destruction of a state, recognized by Russia in 1920, to the incorporation of indigenous peoples into a larger political union.


It is you who is obviously being racist here. See, I don't think Ests are any better than any other "indigenous people" anywhere -- but you do. You think different standards should apply to the Ests.

The United States was formed by British colonies that seceded from the British empire. The deals that were made with native peoples in North America by the Dutch, Swedes, English, and others were done at a time -- first half of the 17th century -- when the idea of 'states' -- in the Estonian, Finnish, Icelandic sense -- barely existed.

Hmm, but the US has "existed" outside the territory of even those original 13 colonies. What about Hawaii? That was an internationally recognized sovereign state until it was occupied and annexed by good ol' Merca. You going to admit that it was an illegal occupation and annexation? Or do you think that the Hawaiian people are not as good as the Ests?

The Republic of Estonia, recognized by Russia in 1920, was on the same legal footing as the Republic of Ireland, recognized by the UK in 1949, or the Republic of Iceland, recognized by Denmark in 1944.

It was not recognized by Russia, it was recognized by Soviet authorities. Then they decided to un-recognize it. So what's the problem? If their word is good the first time, why not the second time?

Because it's such a hassle.

In what way exactly? Oh you must mean a hassle in terms of creating an ethnocracy. Oh yeah, well that's true.

In Lithuania, Soviet citizens were a small enough proportion of the population that they had already integrated into Lithuanian society -- ie. spoke Lithuanian.

Where did you get that? That they spoke Lithuanian? Stop making things up, it's disgusting. What's next, you going to tell me that the Russians in Azerbaijan spoke that language?

And some have gone on and acquired Russian citizenship, since they owe their allegiance to Russia, rather than Estonia.

Maybe because it's much easier for them to acquire Russian citizenship than Estonian citizenship.

But the younger generation in Estonia, lacks that problem.

73 percent of people under age 15 - born since the restoration of independence in 1991 -- have Estonian citizenship in Narva.

If Estonia was an apartheid state, it would seem that it would look to perpetuate the disenfranchisement of Russians over time. It obviously hasn't.


Ha. If 27% of the American population under 15 had HIV, I don't think many people would be stupid enough to say "the younger generation lacks that problem". Let 27% of Ests under 15 in Parnu have no Estonian citizenship, then tell me how everything is OK.

Your only argument -- that the Estonians did that to "look good" in the West -- reveals your true racism against Estonians of all ethnicities. Because of your Russian imperial outlook, you cannot believe that the 'barbarian' Estonians could ever produce a fair or reasonable policy.

That the Estonians did what?

Here's another representation of your racism against Estonians. Estonian is a nationality. As Ed pointed out quite accurately, ethnic Russians in Estonia that were there before 1940 were granted citizenship. Therefore these are the policies of all Estonians, not just one particular ethnic group within Estonia.

More of your nonsense. Yeah, the blacks in the US were citizens but that doesn't mean that Jim Crow was the policy of all Americans. So "therefore", my ass.

Yet you constantly refer to Estonians as "Ests" -- something that no person does in any debate today. Estonian leaders rightly speak of Estonians as Estonians -- a nationality -- not an ethnicity.

No, I refer to Ests as Ests. I am talking specifically about the Ests as an ethnic group. What's the matter, you think Ests doesn't sound as nice as Estonians? You mad?

Furthermore, you go on to pretend that requiring non-citizens to naturalize is similar to "ethnic cleansing" and that any attempt to deport said illegal new-comers from Estonia would result in "rape and murder' of the people I live among is not only revealing of your true Russian racist imperial soul, but indicative of the nonsense that Estonians have to deal with all the time as a neighbor of Russia.

It is similar in that the goals are the same, whatever the officially proclaimed line may be. And my other point was that Ests and their defenders should stop all that tough talking bullshit. Don't write a check you can't cash.

The Russian response to Estonia is constantly grounded in trying to dehumanize Estonia. Estonians are 'Nazi barbarians' who dare to try and make new-comers to their land speak the 'barbarian tongue' of the titular population of 70 percent.

Russian critiques of these policies -- that Estonian citizenship is cheap and should be handed out freely, that Estonian language is worthless and Russians should be served at home as abroad, is grounded in this myopic, 19th century version of the world, although the way you frame your arguments Rusak, I am surprised you are not living in the 13th century.


I already said that I am not opposed to citizenship exams in principle, even though I understand what the ultimate goal is. I am however opposed to a lot of the other stuff like the school reform and the language inspectorate. What they need is a discrimination inspectorate. I am also opposed to demonstrative disrespect such as moving the monument the way they did it.

Also, you can count as demonstrative disrespect the fact that the Ida-Viru county (population only about 70% ethnic Russian) website did not have a Russian language version until the second half of 2004.

Random Est apologist: "It's OK! There's no discrimination! The internet didn't exist until 2004 anyway! Stop complaining!"

Yeah. Right. There was an English language version though. Am I really supposed to believe that this government that did not bother to create a Russian language site (but did create an English one) really acts in the best interests of the ethnic Russian population? I know you also want me to believe it's a kind of magical coincidence that there are practically no ethnic Russians in the higher (appointed, not elected) bureaucracy. Just how dumb do you have to be to think any reasonable person is actually going to believe that?

rusak said...

What You call fascism, Rusak,is normal democracy.

Where have I called anything fascism? Maybe you're talking about cabrero? But see, I must disagree with what he is doing. I think he's been making a mistake with this entire argument about Nazis and fascism. We should be talking about things that actually matter to the Russian minority now. Everything else is just a distraction from the real issues. It's just a bunch of symbolic nonsense, when there are real problems that must be addressed in the present.

Giustino said...

What about Hawaii? That was an internationally recognized sovereign state until it was occupied and annexed by good ol' Merca.

Absolutely. The US overthrew that government.

It was not recognized by Russia, it was recognized by Soviet authorities.

Wrong. It was recognized by Bolshevist Russia. The USSR didn't exist until 1922.

Then they decided to un-recognize it. So what's the problem?

Wrong again. They violated an assistance pact and invaded the country with 90,000 troops.

If their word is good the first time, why not the second time?

International law.

Maybe because it's much easier for them to acquire Russian citizenship than Estonian citizenship.

Maybe because they think Putin is a great leader who will make Russia great once again -- you know more ballets, longer, more boring novels, more useless space missions, dick waving contests with the US, Olympians on steroids ...

Ha. If 27% of the American population under 15 had HIV, I don't think many people would be stupid enough to say "the younger generation lacks that problem".

If South Africa cut the amount AIDS cases by 73 percent, I'd think they were doing a swell job.
What's the matter, you think Ests doesn't sound as nice as Estonians? You mad?

No I think you are a Russian nazi.

I am however opposed to a lot of the other stuff like the school reform and the language inspectorate.

What about discrimination against Estonians? If I live in Kohtla-Jarve and I am Estonian 920 percent) and I can't communicate with the local Russian speaking government, is that discrimination? Who defends Estonians from that?

Also, you can count as demonstrative disrespect the fact that the Ida-Viru county (population only about 70% ethnic Russian) website did not have a Russian language version until the second half of 2004.

Life is a work in progress.

I know you also want me to believe it's a kind of magical coincidence that there are practically no ethnic Russians in the higher (appointed, not elected) bureaucracy.

But your criteria is so high. Eldar Efendiev held a ministerial position, but since he has Azeri blood, I guess he doesn't count. I guess Leon Trotsky wasn't Russian either. Nor Boris Berezovsky. Maybe you can set a genetic standard for defining 'Russianness', like they had for whites in 1940s Virginia.

Mait said...

Rusak, the fact that you read 'restraint' as 'be glad we didn't ethnically cleanse you' quite aptly demonstrates your somewhat scary mindset.

Giustino said...

If Russia can default on any past settlements at will, can other former empires do the same?

If Russia can default on the 1920 treaty with Estonia, perhaps Sweden should default on the 1721 Treaty of Nystad?

Given the Swedish influence in Estonia, sometimes I wonder if the Scandinavians had in a way. The biggest investor in Estonia is Sweden. The first two countries to re-recognize Estonia were Iceland and Denmark.

Make of that what you may.

rusak said...

giustino,

Wrong. It was recognized by Bolshevist Russia. The USSR didn't exist until 1922.

I don't recognize the authorities of the RSFSR in 1920 as the legitimate government of Russia at that time.

Wrong again. They violated an assistance pact and invaded the country with 90,000 troops.

They un-recognized it. Fair and square.

International law.

Eesti fairy tales.

Maybe because they think Putin is a great leader who will make Russia great once again -- you know more ballets, longer, more boring novels, more useless space missions, dick waving contests with the US, Olympians on steroids ...

I think most of them acquired Russian citizenship before Putin became president. There was no particular reason for them to wait until 2000 to do it.

No I think you are a Russian nazi.

Look at what Lucas wrote. You lose.

What about discrimination against Estonians? If I live in Kohtla-Jarve and I am Estonian 920 percent) and I can't communicate with the local Russian speaking government, is that discrimination? Who defends Estonians from that?

The school reform and the language inspectorate have nothing to do with defending Ests.

Life is a work in progress.

So was the Soviet Union and so is Estonia's future punishment.

But your criteria is so high. Eldar Efendiev held a ministerial position, but since he has Azeri blood, I guess he doesn't count. I guess Leon Trotsky wasn't Russian either. Nor Boris Berezovsky. Maybe you can set a genetic standard for defining 'Russianness', like they had for whites in 1940s Virginia.

"Minister of Ethnic Affairs" - get the hell out of here. I'm talking about real ministerial positions, not bullshit like this.

giustino aka random Est apologist: "But the deputy ambassador to Guatemala is 1/64 Russian! Isn't that enough?! What's your problem?? There's no discrimination!"

I don't very well see why my criteria should be lower than the average African American's.

Agu-Enrik Ubailves said...

Rusak:
"my criteria", "Estonia's future punishment", "They un-recognized it. Fair and square", "International law - Eesti fairy tale". I do not need to recommend you to see a doctor. I am a doctor.

Jens-Olaf said...

Rusak said:
'Yet you constantly refer to Estonians as "Ests" -- something that no person does in any debate today. Estonian leaders rightly speak of Estonians as Estonians -- a nationality -- not an ethnicity.'

No, I refer to Ests as Ests. I am talking specifically about the Ests as an ethnic group. What's the matter, you think Ests doesn't sound as nice as Estonians? You mad?

Totally wrong. A part of our family escaped as Estonians before the Soviets entered in 1939/1940. They were russophile. With Russian language used during daily conversations. That's what they saved from beeing raped, their girls raped by Soviet soldiers in 1945. But what all the neighbour girls experienced. But this did not stop some family members to teach Russian in the future.

Andres Sehr said...

So was the Soviet Union and so is Estonia's future punishment.

Your true colours come out. Idiots like yourself who think that Estonia deserves punishment is exactly why some of the policies that exist in Estonia were put into place. People here still remember being carted off to Siberia and by the sounds of it if you had your way it would happen all over again.

Giustino said...

I don't recognize the authorities of the RSFSR in 1920 as the legitimate government of Russia at that time.

Nobody cares what you recognize because you aren't a government. Most countries recognized Estonia before they recognized the USSR.

They un-recognized it. Fair and square.

No, they organized a coup. Sort of like what Gennady Yanayev tried to do in your country.

Eesti fairy tales.

European history.

European Court of Human Rights decision on the case of Penart vs. Estonia in 2006:

Following an ultimatum to set up Soviet military bases in Estonia in 1939, a large-scale entry of the Soviet army into Estonia took place in June 1940. The lawful government of the country was overthrown and Soviet rule was imposed by force. The totalitarian communist regime of the Soviet Union conducted large-scale and systematic actions against the Estonian population, including, for example, the deportation of about 10,000 persons on 14 June 1941 and of more than 20,000 on 25 March 1949. After the Second World War, tens of thousands of persons went into hiding in the forests to avoid repression by the Soviet authorities; part of those in hiding actively resisted the occupation regime. According to the data of the security organs, about 1,500 persons were killed and almost 10,000 arrested in the course of the resistance movement of 1944-1953. Interrupted by the German occupation in 1941-1944, Estonia remained occupied by the Soviet Union until its restoration of independence in 1991. Accordingly, Estonia as a state was temporarily prevented from fulfilling its international commitments.

http://cmiskp.echr.coe.int////tkp197/viewhbkm.asp?action=open&table=F69A27FD8FB86142BF01C1166DEA398649&key=26698&sessionId=1478178&skin=hudoc-en&attachment=true

Giustino said...

I don't very well see why my criteria should be lower than the average African American's.

Edgar Savisaar's mother is Russian. He served as prime minister, minister of economic affairs, and mayor of Tallinn (several times). I gather his blood, like Khodorkovsky's, is not pure enough to be counted as Russian.

rusak said...

Edgar Savisaar's mother is Russian. He served as prime minister, minister of economic affairs, and mayor of Tallinn (several times). I gather his blood, like Khodorkovsky's, is not pure enough to be counted as Russian.

If he identified as an ethnic Russian I doubt he would have gotten higher than "assistant to the secretary of the deputy ambassador to Honduras." There are so many ethnic Russians in Estonia and the bottom line is you can't come up with anything even close to a legitimate reason why there are practically no ethnic Russians in the higher levels of an appointed bureaucracy. Why don't you just cut the crap and admit the obvious? Don't you feel at least a little bit foolish trying to pass this situation off as "normal" or "OK"? There have been ethnic Russian ministers in Lithuania, where Russians are a much smaller part of the population. Why don't you be honest for once. Stop defending the indefensible. It it beyond tiresome already. If you don't like Russians and like this situation, just say that, and stop trying to pass off shit for cake.

rusak said...

jens-olaf,

Totally wrong. A part of our family escaped as Estonians before the Soviets entered in 1939/1940. They were russophile. With Russian language used during daily conversations. That's what they saved from beeing raped, their girls raped by Soviet soldiers in 1945. But what all the neighbour girls experienced. But this did not stop some family members to teach Russian in the future.

Und? At least you have stopped pretending to be a German. Why did you tell me this? What does it have to do with anything? Is it supposed to be interesting? Do you have anything to say that actually pertains to what I was saying?

Giustino said...

There are so many ethnic Russians in Estonia and the bottom line is you can't come up with anything even close to a legitimate reason why there are practically no ethnic Russians in the higher levels of an appointed bureaucracy.

I already told you why.

1) Because they don't vote their ethnicity. Unlike in Finland, where there is a fairly successful Swedish People's Party, the Russian parties in Estonia have been a joke. They had five seats in the Riigikogu in 1999, and in the 2003 and 2007 elections got *zero* seats, even as more ethnic Russians naturalized that could, presumably, vote for them.

2) Because Estonia is geographically ethnically homogenous and Estonia's leading political party - Reform - is based in Tartu, where Russian-speakers account for some 15 percent of the population.

3) Because Russian-speakers mainly showed up in Estonia since the 1950s, and mainly were brought in to supply labor for Soviet manufacturing needs. This has given them limited access to institutions that could propel one to a successful political career in the short run -- Tartu University (like defense minister, and former rector Jaak Aaviksoo) or involvement in the finance sector (like prime minister Andrus Ansip).

Not to harp on this, but Estonia was founded in 1918. You may have noticed that Lennart Meri was the son of a pre-war Estonian diplomat. There is an Estonian elite.

4) Because there is no quota system in Estonia for ministries based on ethnicity. If we apply your quota system to the Riigikogu, perhaps one seat should be reserved for a Finn, one for a Belrussian (Krishtafovits?), two for Ukrainians, 25 for ethnic Russians (making sure that they pass a stringent blood test) and the rest -- 70 seats or so -- to those pesky "Ests".

Do you do it this way in the Duma. I mean Russia is only 79 percent Russian. Are 21 percent of the seats in the Duma held by Yupiks and Chechens and Karelians?

Und? At least you have stopped pretending to be a German.

Actually the Germans have been quite kind to Estonia. They, plus the Scandinavians, have included their old 'sphere of interest' in their new 'EU' sphere of interest.

Like I said, it's as if the Swedes have defaulted on the Treaty of Nystad. They signed in 1721, giving away Estonia to Peter "the Great". But obviously, since 1991, they've decided to take it back.

Fair and square.

Agu-Enrik Ubailves said...

Rusak,
give ma a name of just one russian guy in Estonia who is good and well-known enough (as politician) to be a minister. After pondering about your persistent request I found that estonians would not be totally unhappy, if Viktor Vassiljev (except for that he belongs to Keskerakond) could become one day a minister of social affairs. Give me just another name.

Blogaddict said...

Rusak,

There is a good article in the fascist Washington Post today by a jewish fascist Masha Lipman. It calls for Russians to atone for their past. Read this and denounce this as a fascist propaganda. I want to see that:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/21/AR2007082101418.html?hpid%3Dopinionsbox1&sub=AR

Vilhelm Konnander said...

Dear Edward,

A while back, I read in some sort of blog interview with you that you do not believe that the Baltic states will be independent in some ten years time. An interesting view indeed, but on what grounds do you reach such a conclusion?

Yours,

Vilhelm

rusak said...

I already told you why.

You are just grasping at straws.

1) Because they don't vote their ethnicity.

So the only way that ethnic Russians can get any representation is by voting exclusively for "their own"? What does say about what kind of society Estonia is?

Because Estonia is geographically ethnically homogenous and Estonia's leading political party - Reform - is based in Tartu, where Russian-speakers account for some 15 percent of the population.

Sorry, that's asinine. Ethnic Russians should have overwhelming representation in the areas where they are the overwhelming majority. It shouldn't matter where Reform is based. It shouldn't matter what the leading party in the country is for ethnic Russians to have adequate representation in their areas at least.

When I brought up the Ida-Vira county website, instead of just admitting to an example of blatant discrimination, you say "life is a work in progress"? This just kills your credibility on everything to say the least. I mean, why? What, is it going to hurt you that much, is it going to cause you physical pain to just say the obvious? That damn site was up for six years before there was a Russian version, but somehow there were English versions. And this is just one example. Why is the governor of Ida-Viru county not an ethnic Russian? Not only the governor, but also the county secretary and the internal auditor. I mean, damn, the facts speak for themselves. If ethnic Russians face this kind of discrimination in "their own" county, what must it be like in the rest of the country? I've talked about government ministers, but it's not just the ministers, but also the various deputies of the ministers as well. Everywhere there is a stunning lack of representation.

3) Because Russian-speakers mainly showed up in Estonia since the 1950s, and mainly were brought in to supply labor for Soviet manufacturing needs. This has given them limited access to institutions that could propel one to a successful political career in the short run -- Tartu University (like defense minister, and former rector Jaak Aaviksoo) or involvement in the finance sector (like prime minister Andrus Ansip).

Not to harp on this, but Estonia was founded in 1918. You may have noticed that Lennart Meri was the son of a pre-war Estonian diplomat. There is an Estonian elite.


No, that's just bullshit. One illustration of that is the fact that Russian representation in business is significantly greater than Russian representation in government, though the former has certainly been seriously hurt by this situation with the virtual absence of the later. This is not a matter of qualifications, it's a matter of systemic ethnic discrimination.

Ethnic Russians or people of obvious ethnic Russian ancestry have been government ministers and even prominent politicians in Lithuania and Latvia. So why exactly should Estonia be so "special" and different in this regard?

)Because there is no quota system in Estonia for ministries based on ethnicity. If we apply your quota system to the Riigikogu, perhaps one seat should be reserved for a Finn, one for a Belrussian (Krishtafovits?), two for Ukrainians, 25 for ethnic Russians (making sure that they pass a stringent blood test) and the rest -- 70 seats or so -- to those pesky "Ests".

Do you do it this way in the Duma. I mean Russia is only 79 percent Russian. Are 21 percent of the seats in the Duma held by Yupiks and Chechens and Karelians?


There shouldn't have to be any quota system in a civilized society. I am telling you that ethnic Russians are expressly not considered for positions on the basis of their ethnicity. Can you prove to me otherwise? You can't. You don't have any "counterexamples" because they simply don't exist. You don't have even one Russian name to throw at me. That right there should tell you everything you need to know in itself.

rusak said...

giustino, another thing, remember when you said that I am "the only one" saying all this? As if no one else cares, as if the Russians in Estonia don't care about any of this. Remember that? That was sooooo extremely stupid on your part, but I didn't dwell on it then. But just to dispel any notions you may still have to the effect that I am the only one saying this, here is an article, an interview, from 1999, saying the same thing:

http://www.moles.ee/99/Mar/02/3-1.html

He specifically talks about "not a single minister" in the government that is not an Est. There are plenty of articles which talk about the lack of representation, discrimination, etc. I could show you a million message board posts about all this stuff, saying the same things I've been saying.

Here is a recent article, from January 2007. It's a question-answer session with Reform party member Sergei Ivanov. He is asked:

Почему за все время пребывания вашей партии у власти не было назначено ни одного министра-представителя русскоязычной общины?

Why, during the entire tenure of your party in power, has there not been appointed a single minister from the Russian speaking community?

He answers that Russians have been in the Reform party only since 2002 and that there will be representatives (plural!) of the Russian-speaking community in the cabinet of ministers of the new government following the elections of 2007.

rusak said...

Here's that last link:

http://rus.postimees.ee/040107/glavnaja/estonija/10060.php

Giustino said...

Ethnic Russians should have overwhelming representation in the areas where they are the overwhelming majority.

They are. Look at the Narva, Sillamäe, or Kohtla-Järve city councils.

It shouldn't matter where Reform is based.

Now you are talking about the parliament, which is the national government. Russians are only overwhelmingly present in cities in Ida-Virumaa. In Tallinn, they are 37 percent, although the Russophone population is closer to 45 percent. That's two places in a country that has 15 counties and 1.34 million people.

It shouldn't matter what the leading party in the country is for ethnic Russians to have adequate representation in their areas at least.

They already do. If you look at the election slates, almost every major party placed ethnic Russian candidates on their lists. But they didn't get elected. Even Sergei Ivanov -- who you quoted -- got a limited number of votes and did not return to the Riigikogu.

Why? Because he failed to show up and vote on the Bronze Soldier legislation. Even the Social Democrats votes against it, but Ivanov was off somewhere hiding. He was rewarded for his cowardice.

When I brought up the Ida-Vira county website, instead of just admitting to an example of blatant discrimination, you say "life is a work in progress"? This just kills your credibility on everything to say the least.

No it doesn't. Most of the city pages I have seen from Ida-Virumaa county always (since 2002 when I began checking them occassionally) had Russian versions.

Look, there are different ways of looking at integration. And in 1992, after 50 years of Russification, the country took a hard line linguistic stance to defend the Estonian language.

In cities like Kohtla-Järve or Narva, many Estonians were unable to do basic things -- shop, talk to the city council -- without switching to a foreign language.

This was a policy created out of Estonia's precarious demographic situation, one that in some ways exists to this day where you can get beaten up on a tram in Tallinn for just speaking Estonian. Or you can be told to 'speak a human language' by some sniveling bus driver who refuses to answer your question in Estonian, the majority tongue.

After that 'goal post' was set, Russians in Estonia miraculously began learning Estonian to the point that, thanks to the language laws OR the citizenship policies OR the discriminatory policies of business, I can walk into a friggin' post office in Tallinn and pick up my package and not need a pocket dictionary.

And I am an English-speaker doing this! It's not even like I am a native speaker. So I am not sure exactly how this new reality -- non-existent during the 40-odd years of Soviet rule -- was achieved, but I am damn glad that it has been and will continue to be.

In 2004 many things began to change in Estonia. Estonia was in NATO and the EU, two organizations that it felt provided some long-term safety. At the same time, the young generation, who had all graduated university under independence came of age. Look at the ethnic Russians that work in the ministries. Look at the ethnic Russian staff of the newspapers. They are all under 35 years of age!

They are the ones that have been driving the creation of Russian-langauge versions of newspapers and hopefully the creation of an Estonian Russian TV channel -- which would be great so that ETV can broadcast only in Estonian.

That damn site was up for six years before there was a Russian version, but somehow there were English versions.

Well, English is a world language.

Not only the governor, but also the county secretary and the internal auditor.

The county government is a joke power. Most of the major Russian-speaking towns have ethnic Russian leadership.

The mayor of Maardu is Georgi Bystrov. In Sillamäe it is Jelena Koršunova. But how do you define ethnicity in a multi-ethnic state?

I know plenty of Estonians with Russian last names. How did they get those Russian last names? Could it be that their grandfathers, like my wife's great grandfather, moved to Estonia and learned the language and integrated into the Estonian nationality?

No, that's just bullshit.

No, it's not 'bullshit'. Most Russians have only been here for under 40 years. Yet there is an Estonian elite, just as in any other country.

Isn't it odd that George W. Bush is the son of a president and grandson of a senator. Isn't it odd that Carl Bildt's great great grandfather also served as prime minister. Isn't it odd that Matti Vanhanen's father is a world renowned -- and somewhat infamous -- intellectual? And isn't it odd that Toomas Hendrik Ilves is a relative of Estonia's foreign minister who held the post in 1927-28 and again in exile in 1945-49?

One illustration of that is the fact that Russian representation in business is significantly greater than Russian representation in government, though the former has certainly been seriously hurt by this situation with the virtual absence of the later.

Why don't they run for office?

This is not a matter of qualifications, it's a matter of systemic ethnic discrimination.

It's a matter of will. They choose not to run. Why? Could it be that being rich is better than being in the Riigikogu?

Ethnic Russians or people of obvious ethnic Russian ancestry have been government ministers and even prominent politicians in Lithuania and Latvia. So why exactly should Estonia be so "special" and different in this regard?

Why should Latvia and Lithuania be used to measure Estonia?

I am telling you that ethnic Russians are expressly not considered for positions on the basis of their ethnicity. Can you prove to me otherwise? You can't.

I am telling you that you are a Russian nazi. Can you prove to me otherwise?

You don't have any "counterexamples" because they simply don't exist. You don't have even one Russian name to throw at me. That right there should tell you everything you need to know in itself.

I threw at least nine members of the Riigikogu at you, but they failed your purity blood test, because even if your name is Mihhail Lotman and you were born in Leningrad and speak Russian as a native language, you are not a 'real Russian' because you are Jewish and because, like Mihhail, you voted to remove a monument in early 2007.

This is why you are a racist, and also why you have no comprehension of Estonian as a nationality. If you stopped viewing Estonia as some sort of ethnocracy, and stopped viewing it as some sort of republic in the Russian sense of the word, and understood that it is a national country where newcomers are expected to integrate, then you might begin to grasp how your definitions of ethncity are meaningless.

I know 'ethnic Estonians' that have virtually no 'ethnic Estonian' blood. I have a friend who is only 25 percent ethnic Estonian. Yet he, just like his half-Polish father, is considered one hundred percent Estonian by nationality.

Giustino said...

Honestly, I think this country puts special emphasis on integration policy, especially compared to America where people drive around with "speak English" stickers on their car. There are the hard line 'tibla valja' people, but officially I see even the rightwing supporting Russian language newspapers and integration programs.

They have special shows on TV where Russian-speaking and Estonian-speaking youth compete in mixed teams using both languages. Every issue of every newspaper has at least one editorial articulating how integration policy could be better. But society must move forward, and the reality is that stay in Estonia, learn Estonian.

How do you think I learned Estonian? I have to. I have to explain to the lady at the apteek what I need to buy. I have to tell my doctor what hurts. I am curious to know what the man on TV is saying. Older people learned Russian in school, but younger people didn't. And the birth rate is such that 72 percent of kids born today are to Estonian-speaking parents.

How else would this situation work itself out? Even if you established dual state languages, like in Finland and Canada, one would always be stronger than the other.

How many speeches does Tarja Halonen give in Swedish in public? And if Swedish is treated so well in Finland, how come half of ethnic Swedes that were there in 1917 have either moved to Sweden or become Finns? And that's a minority that's been there since the 14th century, not since the 1950s.

The EU understands this. That's why the president of the EU Parliament said this:

Poettering said wider study of the Estonian language was the only way forward. He praised the government’s school reforms, which will see one extra class delivered in Estonian at Russian-speaking schools from Sept. 1. Poettering said the program was the key to better integration.

“It will then be possible to move on. It is important that the two communities should communicate with each other,” he said, adding that such communication was only possible through the broader study of the Estonian language.


http://www.baltictimes.com/news/articles/18577/

Estonia in World Media (Rus) said...

1. Tarja Halonen though does give speaches in Estonian sometimes. Last time I saw her speaking in Estonian, I think at Meri's funeral. Cannot tell if she speaks as well or it was learned.

2. There are millions Arabic speakers in France - certainly not less than Swedish in Finland. There's no government web pages in Arabic, not even mentioning Arabministers (I think we had in Kallas' govenrment one Russian-speaking minister, E. Effendiev). So, one model for Finland, other for FFrance, third for Estonia, but same European rules for all three.

rusak said...

They are. Look at the Narva, Sillamäe, or Kohtla-Järve city councils.

No, they are not. I was talking especially about appointed positions and the fact is that Russians are underrepresented even in the most Russian areas.

Now you are talking about the parliament, which is the national government. Russians are only overwhelmingly present in cities in Ida-Virumaa. In Tallinn, they are 37 percent, although the Russophone population is closer to 45 percent. That's two places in a country that has 15 counties and 1.34 million people.

No, I am not talking about the parliament. Where are your reading comprehension skills? I am talking about appointed and technocrat positions in predominantly Russian areas. Russian-speakers are 45% of Tallinn's population and only about 10% of the city's officials.

The county government is a joke power. Most of the major Russian-speaking towns have ethnic Russian leadership.

You didn't answer my question. You ran away as usual.

The mayor of Maardu is Georgi Bystrov. In Sillamäe it is Jelena Koršunova.

The mayor of Sillamae is Ain Kivior. These examples you brought are not examples because Russians are underrepresented in the government of both towns. Check for yourself, like you should have checked before talking about who the mayor of Sillamae is.

No, it's not 'bullshit'. Most Russians have only been here for under 40 years. Yet there is an Estonian elite, just as in any other country.

It's not an "Estonian elite" - it's just discrimination by Ests. Most of these Ests in the government structures have nothing to do with the old elite.

Isn't it odd that George W. Bush is the son of a president and grandson of a senator. Isn't it odd that Carl Bildt's great great grandfather also served as prime minister. Isn't it odd that Matti Vanhanen's father is a world renowned -- and somewhat infamous -- intellectual? And isn't it odd that Toomas Hendrik Ilves is a relative of Estonia's foreign minister who held the post in 1927-28 and again in exile in 1945-49?

That is just a few people in a few positions, and I'm not talking about just a few positions but the entire administrative structure in the country. I am not talking about a position like president or prime minister. Why are there so few ethnic Russian technocrats?

Why don't they run for office?

It's a matter of will. They choose not to run. Why? Could it be that being rich is better than being in the Riigikogu?


I'm talking about appointed, non-elected positions in state agencies and state controlled companies.

Why should Latvia and Lithuania be used to measure Estonia?

What should be used to measure Estonia? Why shouldn't one make such comparisons? You tried to compare Estonia to Germany and you got smashed because the comparison is not valid. There are non-German names in the German cabinet of ministers and the minority in Estonia is much larger than in Germany.

I am telling you that you are a Russian nazi. Can you prove to me otherwise?

Lucas was right for once in his life. You have no arguments whatsoever, so you resort to this nonsense. I have said nothing which would make me a "Russian nazi" or anything like that. I ask you for some evidence that Russians are not discriminated against in Estonia and you have thoroughly failed to provide it.

I threw at least nine members of the Riigikogu at you, but they failed your purity blood test, because even if your name is Mihhail Lotman and you were born in Leningrad and speak Russian as a native language, you are not a 'real Russian' because you are Jewish and because, like Mihhail, you voted to remove a monument in early 2007.

The existence of a miserly few members of parliament does not prove that ethnic Russians are not discriminated against in the higher levels of government. You call various nobodies ethnic Russians and when I point out that they are not even ethnic Russians, you call me a racist? You must be out of your mind. These people you mention don't have any actual authority, which is why they are not valid examples. There is no substantial minority representation in Estonia, it's not just ethnic Russians.

This is why you are a racist, and also why you have no comprehension of Estonian as a nationality. If you stopped viewing Estonia as some sort of ethnocracy, and stopped viewing it as some sort of republic in the Russian sense of the word, and understood that it is a national country where newcomers are expected to integrate, then you might begin to grasp how your definitions of ethncity are meaningless.

Estonia is an ethnocracy by every standard of measurement. That's why you can't name even one ethnic Russian, or any non-Est for that matter. You are grasping for straws, trying to explain away massive systemic discrimination. You are asking people to believe in far too many little bullshit "coincidences". Expected to integrate, huh? So then not even one ethnic Russian has integrated to be able to attain a prominent position? I mean, not even one? That's just not believable. You need to stop insulting people's intelligence.

rusak said...

2. There are millions Arabic speakers in France - certainly not less than Swedish in Finland. There's no government web pages in Arabic, not even mentioning Arabministers (I think we had in Kallas' govenrment one Russian-speaking minister, E. Effendiev). So, one model for Finland, other for FFrance, third for Estonia, but same European rules for all three.

The president of France has a non-French name. There are probably more non-French names in the cabinet of ministers than French names. And the minister of justice is an Arab. Don't you dare try to compare a civilized European country like France to a dirtbag apartheid state/ethnocracy like Estonia. There is no comparison.

Mait said...

Rusak,

I don't quite comprehend your obsession with ethnicity. Estonia isn't divided between 'ests' and 'non-ests', the division line runs between 'speakers of estonian' and 'non-speakers of estonian'.

Estonian national identity is defined through the languague. Someone speaking estonian as primary languague is, by default, estonian. A person speaking russian as primary languague is, for us, russian, no matter what his passport or his parents might say.

The representatives of State must be fluent in the State languague. Would the 'arab' minister in French overnment have been offered the position if he could only speak kindergarten french? The road to these jobs leads through integration, not fighting it and begging batya Putin for help.

Once the local russophone population fully integrates, all your worries, however absurd, will be history. But the siloviki wouldn't want that, would they?

rusak said...

I don't quite comprehend your obsession with ethnicity. Estonia isn't divided between 'ests' and 'non-ests', the division line runs between 'speakers of estonian' and 'non-speakers of estonian'.

Prove it. Name some non-Ests. You should be able to name at least a handful, but you can't.

Estonian national identity is defined through the languague. Someone speaking estonian as primary languague is, by default, estonian. A person speaking russian as primary languague is, for us, russian, no matter what his passport or his parents might say.

That's just an arbitrary definition of ethnicity. If there was a large group of Russians or other non-Ests who spoke Estonian as their primary language but otherwise had a different identity and different political views, they would not be considered the same as other Ests. A black person, even they spoke Estonian as their primary or only language, would not be considered the same as other Ests. So don't tell me it's only about language.

The representatives of State must be fluent in the State languague. Would the 'arab' minister in French overnment have been offered the position if he could only speak kindergarten french? The road to these jobs leads through integration, not fighting it and begging batya Putin for help.

So what you're trying to tell me is that not a single non-Est knows Estonian well-enough to hold a prominent position in government? What did I say? That's not believable.

Mait said...

Prove it. Name some non-Ests. You should be able to name at least a handful, but you can't.

Nikulin, Smirnov, Popov, Lazrenko, Rumyantsev. You. Stupid question, stupid answer.

So don't tell me it's only about language.

You don't get the point. It's about respect. If someone has lived in Estonia for decades and hasn't bothered to learn the languague, it demonstrates his disrespect towards the country and the people. You're telling me that these people should be handed out citizenships, unconditionally?

A russophone who speaks estonian and gained the citizenship has demonstrated commitment to my country, so I don't think it's unnatural of me to trust him more than your common variety of 'на хрен мне этот собачий язык' sovok.

So what you're trying to tell me is that not a single non-Est knows Estonian well-enough to hold a prominent position in government? What did I say? That's not believable.

Languague, of course, but also qualifications, political contacts, being at right place on right time. Tokenism is for idiots.

Ray D. Noper said...

Rusak, you seem to be failing to grasp the one major point in democracy.
Members of Parliament are not appointent but elected. MP-s appoint officials by the choice of their electors. You don't like the choices, you cast your vote for someone else, voila, done. You want more Russian representatives - you better vote for them, don't you ? What do you think, why won't Russians in Estonia do that ? All you have to do is become a citizen, and that's made pretty easy - a simple language test (much easier than high school foreign language exams) and a history test (which, also, is easier than high school). Is it any way different in any other democracies (except so-called "sovereign democracy") ?

Giustino said...

There are non-German names in the German cabinet of ministers and the minority in Estonia is much larger than in Germany.

Your definition of a minority depends on the origin of someone's surname? That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. I guess Alexei Miller must be German! As well as Estonian Justice Minister Rein Lang.
Lang sure sounds German to me.

Giustino said...

Once the local russophone population fully integrates, all your worries, however absurd, will be history. But the siloviki wouldn't want that, would they?

That's already happening to the point that I cannot tell what 'ethnicity' many Estonians are. There are doctors with hybrid names at the local hospital -- Olga Tamm, Reet Ivanova. Who is what, if they are all speaking Estonian in the workplace?

That leads us back to Rusak's laughably bad idea that a person's surname defines their ethnicity. If that were the case then Robert Antropov, director general of the police board and Andres Dvinjaninov, the theater director, would be Russians, Jaan Kaplinksi, the poet, Tõnu Trubetsky, the musician, and Jaan Manitski, the businessman, would be Poles, and -- my personal favorite -- Kalev Stoicescu, the former ambassador to the US, would be Romanian, and nothing but.

This idea of Estonians as an ethnicity rather than a nationality is quite silly. I have had conversations in Estonian language with people of Korean and African backgrounds. It's not some 'apartheid-like' club. People really encourage you to learn and speak this language, the same way people encourage you to speak Italian in Rome or Russian in St. Petersburg. It's the way of the land.

space_maze said...

Re: the German cabinet as a good example of the kind of "integration" Estonia apparently lacks.

Thomas de Maizière, as the posterchild of an apparently "foreign" minister, had an ancestor that came to Prussia from France .. In the *17th century*.

How many generations back does that place his French ancestor? Something like 10? That makes him .. something like 1/1024 French.

The president of Estonia, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, is 1/4 Russian.

Yeah, Germany is a real poster child for the kind of integration Estonia lacks.

Jens-Olaf said...

And the de Mazieres immigrated to Prussia what was not Germany. Germany did not exist. The modern Germany excludes an important part of the old empire: Austria.

karLos said...

rusak makes accusations about estonia, and yet expects the onus of proof is on estonia to DISprove his allegations? i'm sorry, but nothing he has said "goes without saying", or is so obviously true that it requires no tangible backup.

traditionally, it is the role of those making the accusations to back what they say with proof, not the reverse. and no, just saying "cause that's my opinion", "or here are links to blogs who share my opinion" does not count as proof.

White Crow said...

There are no non-Germans in the German cabinet. There are barely any naturalized immigrants in positions of power anywhere in German politics. If anything, the Estonians took a leaf out of the German play book.

The most prominent 'non-Germans' in Germany are soccer players and entertainment figures.

rusak said...

mait,

You don't get the point. It's about respect. If someone has lived in Estonia for decades and hasn't bothered to learn the languague, it demonstrates his disrespect towards the country and the people. You're telling me that these people should be handed out citizenships, unconditionally?

Russians lived in Estonia for centuries and did not bother to learn Estonian. Why did you even bring up citizenship here? I didn't mention it. You were talking about "Estonian national identity" and then all of a sudden you're talking about handing out citizenship.

rusak said...

giustino,

Your definition of a minority depends on the origin of someone's surname? That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. I guess Alexei Miller must be German! As well as Estonian Justice Minister Rein Lang.
Lang sure sounds German to me.


That's not my definition. In an apartheid state these kinds of things do matter and that's why I mentioned names. It's idiotic to pretend that people would somehow just ignore names in a discriminatory environment.

rusak said...

This idea of Estonians as an ethnicity rather than a nationality is quite silly. I have had conversations in Estonian language with people of Korean and African backgrounds. It's not some 'apartheid-like' club. People really encourage you to learn and speak this language, the same way people encourage you to speak Italian in Rome or Russian in St. Petersburg. It's the way of the land.

That's more nonsense from you. Ests are an ethnicity, and there are plenty of Ests who will tell you that. You seem to have gotten Estonia confused with America. Don't bring that American crap into this. If mutts in America don't care about ethnicity, it doesn't mean that no one anywhere else in the world doesn't. Hell, I wish Estonia was like America, but it's not.

You really need to stop this bullshit already. On your blog you said something about how you know some Ests who are hostile toward an 8 year girl because of her ethnic ancestry. And here you're saying that ethnicity doesn't matter in Estonia? I don't think you mentioned that because it's some rare thing that doesn't matter, but rather because it is representative of a larger trend, a larger situation. Otherwise it doesn't make sense to even mention it. Now, if a child can face bias like this, how I am supposed to believe that adults don't face significant bias?

Mait said...

Russians lived in Estonia for centuries and did not bother to learn Estonian. Why did you even bring up citizenship here? I didn't mention it. You were talking about "Estonian national identity" and then all of a sudden you're talking about handing out citizenship.

The centuries don't count. Are you claiming that the russians living here between 1918-1940 didn't speak estonian?

Of course I talk about citizenship, because you do. Also, estonians have lived between larger natios for millenia, we're a very diverse group ethnically. Hence, the languague (i.e. culture) and citizenship are the easiest ways to define an 'estonian'.

As for the rest of your claims - as has been said above, present some proof. Preferrably non-blog and non-cyrillic.

mpechter said...

Russians lived in Estonia for centuries

Yes, they have.

Let us now reference some numbers, my dear.

Number of Russians living in Estonia at 1945: 23 000

Number of Russians living in Estonia at 1989: 602 000

Now, please do venture a guess which one of those groups did not bother to learn Estonian?

By the way, the numbers mentioned are referenced from the article: "Symbolic boundaries and national borders: the construction of an Estonian Russian identity" by Lisa Fein of the University of Michigan. No pro-Estonian bias there.

Also, next time when you present some claims, back them up with some actual scientific data, not with the hate-mongering of Russian media.

Giustino said...

Russians lived in Estonia for centuries and did not bother to learn Estonian.

Wholly untrue. This year I have been to Kallaste, Kolkja, Kasepää, and Varnja -- all places where Russians have lived in Estonia since the 18th century.

Everytime I asked a question in Estonian, I got an answer.

That's more nonsense from you. Ests are an ethnicity, and there are plenty of Ests who will tell you that.

There are hardly any Estonians I know that don't have a German or a Russian or a Swede in the family tree. These days its the Brits and Americans that are settling in to dilute the alleged gene pool.

On your blog you said something about how you know some Ests who are hostile toward an 8 year girl because of her ethnic ancestry.

You are going to tell me that the same thing wouldn't happen in Russia with all its cosmetic language support in its constituent republics?

People are idiots everywhere. In Denmark they will discriminate against Turks and Somalis. In England against Pakistanis and Jamaicans, and even Irish.

I sat on a lengthy bus ride in Edinburgh and listened to a Briton explain how it was really those evil, shanty Irish that were behind the 7/7 attacks!

Next stop is Paris, where the well-integrated Muslim minority set Paris ablaze for two weeks, cementing Sarkozy's bid for prime minister.

If you want to learn about what is wrong with Estonia, Rusak, I suggest you study France, because Estonia is sort of like a little France on the Russian border.

Think about it. Sarkozy himself was the son of an immigrant. And here he was calling other children of immigrants 'scum' for torching cars. For it, he handily won his place as PM.

Andrus Ansip basically did the same thing this year, except he helped foment the situation. And his reward? The most votes in Estonian history. Reform now has a 20 percent lead over its closest rival in opinion polls.

It's sleazy, grotesque politics -- but are you going to honestly tell me that Putin didn't get to be president because he was the most sleazy, double-dealing, downright criminal guy in the FSB?

But I digress, my post was about actual day-to-day discrimination in Estonia, which I think counts more in making someone feel an outsider than any school reform law making someone study Estonian literature.

The same thing happens in the US where Latin immigrants are ridiculed behind their backs and rightwing nationalists worry about the Latinization of the United States.

But the reality is that for immigrants to integrate, the older, more integrated part of the nationality needs to be more welcoming and tolerant of differences in names, appearance, and home language. This is the point I am trying to get at.

That little girl on the beach was 8 years old and spoke Estonian just fine. I didn't request that she do it, and the school system probably didn't force her to do it. She learned it because most of the kids on that beach speak that language, and she wanted to play with the rest of those kids.

Blogaddict said...

Sad to say, I think I am this 'right wing nationalist' although I've voted democratic all my life.

Tolerance is a luxury of youth.

Latinization of the US is a problem for me just like Russification of Estonia, muslimification of France or chechenification of Russia.

Not terribly proud of it, but hey, life is not fair. Meek shall inherit the Earth as it is written. I betya they are conservatives.

rusak said...

Wholly untrue. This year I have been to Kallaste, Kolkja, Kasepää, and Varnja -- all places where Russians have lived in Estonia since the 18th century.

Everytime I asked a question in Estonian, I got an answer.


Wholly true. Just because some seller answered you in Estonian in 2007 doesn't disprove anything I said in the least. The Old Believers in Estonia didn't speak a word of Estonian before Estonia gained independence and they had to learn Estonian in school. And if you think they were busily studying Estonian grammar books during the Soviet era you must be out of your mind.

There are hardly any Estonians I know that don't have a German or a Russian or a Swede in the family tree. These days its the Brits and Americans that are settling in to dilute the alleged gene pool.

Is this supposed to be a valid argument? It's not. Try again, Justin. I don't know what Ests you know, but I'm not buying it. First of all, there doesn't need to be some absolute 100% purity for there to be discrimination. And if Ests have German or Swedish ancestors it's probably for the same reasons that African-Americans have British ancestors, isn't it. Let's continue with this... Bosnian Serbs and Bosnian Muslims have essentially the same ancestors, so does that mean that there couldn't be any "ethnic issues" there?

You are going to tell me that the same thing wouldn't happen in Russia with all its cosmetic language support in its constituent republics?

Why did you even bring up Russia? We were talking about Estonia. No tu quoque arguments. And what the hell does "cosmetic language support" even have to do with the subject at hand - bias on the basis of ethnic background?

People are idiots everywhere. In Denmark they will discriminate against Turks and Somalis. In England against Pakistanis and Jamaicans, and even Irish.

Whoa. I think we have finally gotten an admission out of Justin that there is discrimination in Estonia. It's about time you admitted the obvious. So now, tell us, Justin, what ethnic group do the Ests in Estonia generally discriminate against?

Next stop is Paris, where the well-integrated Muslim minority set Paris ablaze for two weeks, cementing Sarkozy's bid for prime minister.

If you want to learn about what is wrong with Estonia, Rusak, I suggest you study France, because Estonia is sort of like a little France on the Russian border.

Think about it. Sarkozy himself was the son of an immigrant. And here he was calling other children of immigrants 'scum' for torching cars. For it, he handily won his place as PM.


Sarkozy was never prime minister of France. Try again, Justin. Seriously, you need to at least occasionally do a little research before saying something. Don't you ever get tired of being wrong all the time?

Moreover... your attempts to compare the ethnic Russians in Estonia to immigrants in a country like France are simply not valid because the ethnic Russians are not conventional immigrants at all. The Old Believers did not come to "Estonia" (which did not even exist then) to learn Estonian and become Estonians or anything like that. The "Soviet colonists" considered themselves to be moving to part of their own country, not moving voluntarily as immigrants to some foreign country. Since they are not conventional immigrants, why should conventional immigrant policies apply to them?

You should compare the situation in Estonia to some Indian state or Hawaii, for example, gaining independence from the United States and then pushing all their stuff, their language, their version of history, etc on the remaining white American population. Why don't you want to do that, Justin? Especially with Hawaii, you have your little formal piece of paper about an internationally recognized sovereign state and all that good stuff. No excuses for you, Justin!

You want to talk about immigrants? Talk about Ests in the cities and towns of Estonia. In 1897, Ests comprised only 56% of the urban population in Estlyand guberniya. What was it 50 years, 100 years, 200 years prior?

Another thing, if everything that ethnic Russians participated in building in Estonia was blown up tomorrow, what would be left standing? An old German cathedral and some Est peasant houses?

And another thing, what if everything that wasn't a +90% ethnic Est project (proportion of Ests in the current parliament) was blown up - what would be left standing? Est peasant houses and what else?

Again, stop trying to compare the ethnic Russian population in Estonia to Arab immigrants in France or Turkish immigrants in Germany, etc. It's not valid.

Andrus Ansip basically did the same thing this year, except he helped foment the situation. And his reward? The most votes in Estonian history. Reform now has a 20 percent lead over its closest rival in opinion polls.

There is the essential difference here that Ansip and the Est nationalists completely created this situation with the statue. That's one way how you know that Estonia is not the West.

It's sleazy, grotesque politics -- but are you going to honestly tell me that Putin didn't get to be president because he was the most sleazy, double-dealing, downright criminal guy in the FSB?

Wow, we're getting some nice admissions out of you now. Let's keep in mind, Justin, that not so long ago you and others were insisting that Ests needed this, they had to it, they had ta I tells ya! Now, at least we're getting a little more into reality. The reality is that this was no life or death kind of issue for the Ests. A very substantial part of the Ests were opposed to moving the statue the way it was done. The law to have it done just barely passed in a parliament with very little minority representation. The Est nationalists created the situation specifically with the intent to insult and humiliate the ethnic Russian population. That is the gist of it right there. It's an ugly thing, objectively speaking. I'm not surprised you didn't want to fess up to it.

rusak said...

And another thing, Justin. I'm tired of you selectively not responding to many of my main points. If you're going to do that, don't even bother responding at all.

Giustino said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Giustino said...

Whoa. I think we have finally gotten an admission out of Justin that there is discrimination in Estonia. It's about time you admitted the obvious. So now, tell us, Justin, what ethnic group do the Ests in Estonia generally discriminate against?

No one, actually. Most Estonians, of all backgrounds, are not discriminating idiots. But there are Estonians that do discriminate, not only against 'kurati venelased' but also 'neegrid' and 'kurati mustlased'. If too many Hungarians move in, perhap it will become 'kurati unkerlased'. There are always the gays and Jews too, if they run out of people to discriminate against.

Two guys once gave me some crap at a bar because I am a foreigner. Was I being discriminated against? Were all Estonians to blame? Give me a break. For all the intolerant morons in Estonia though, they don't match the murderers in Moscow who kill Caucasians just because they are different.


Sarkozy was never prime minister of France. Try again, Justin. Seriously, you need to at least occasionally do a little research before saying something. Don't you ever get tired of being wrong all the time?

Yes, I should have said president. I made a mistake. But the point was that Sarkozy benefitted politically from calling rioting immigrant youth 'scum' -- a point you did not recognize.

Moreover... your attempts to compare the ethnic Russians in Estonia to immigrants in a country like France are simply not valid because the ethnic Russians are not conventional immigrants at all.

To the Estonians they are -- why do Soviet apologists get to say who is who? The Estonians see them as immigrants. Considering most Estonians have been living here for 5,000 years, it's a valid perspective.

Here's a novel concept, there exists on earth a construct known as the British Empire, for whom Jamaicans and Englishmen are allegedly equal members. Yet no one in their right mind would deny that Jamaicans that move to London are immigrants and that the West Indian community in London is not an immigrant community. But they moved from one place in the commonwealth to another. Are they truly 'immigrants' or something else?

The Old Believers did not come to "Estonia" (which did not even exist then) to learn Estonian and become Estonians or anything like that.

They learned Estonian so they could sell their onions to the majority of the population. Just like that girl on the beach, they needed to communicate with most of the people around them. I am sure that in tsarist times, the forests separating them from the Estonians kept their cultures apart. In modern times, they obviously interact with Estonians quite a bit.

The "Soviet colonists" considered themselves to be moving to part of their own country, not moving voluntarily as immigrants to some foreign country.

Technically, the Estonian SSR was its own republic within the Soviet Union that could, legally, secede at any time. It had its own flag, own national anthem, and technically Estonian was co-official, though Russian was used in most of political life.

Pleading 'I didn't know Estonia could become independent' is as disingenuous as me pleading 'I didn't know what the speed limit was' after I get pulled over by the police for speeding.

Maybe I really didn't know the limit. That's my fault.

Since they are not conventional immigrants, why should conventional immigrant policies apply to them?

Legally, they are illegal immigrants that came during a military occupation -- which is what happens when a foreign army enters your country and overthrows the government.

The 1939 mutual assistance pact explicitly stated that the Soviet military presence would not impede Estonian sovereignty. The Soviets broke their half of the bargain.

Just because you don't like the law, doesn't mean that it isn't valid. Just because you think its mean, doesn't mean it shouldn't be enforced. I don't agree with a lot of anti-drug legislation in my country, I might think it's wrong and unfair, but it is the law, and will remain so until it is legally overturned.

Likewise there are Estonian laws I disagree with, but they are the law, and they are certainly not apartheid, Rusak.

You want to talk about immigrants? Talk about Ests in the cities and towns of Estonia. In 1897, Ests comprised only 56% of the urban population in Estlyand guberniya. What was it 50 years, 100 years, 200 years prior?

What was it 900 years prior? And 900 years before that? Do you really want to play that game? You'll lose it you know. Most of the original merchants in Lindanise were from Gotland. And isn't it ironic that most of the important businessmen in Tallinn today reside in Helsinki and Stockholm. Some things never change.

Again, stop trying to compare the ethnic Russian population in Estonia to Arab immigrants in France or Turkish immigrants in Germany, etc. It's not valid.

It's actually quite valid. French immigrants perhaps moved to France during a far more liberal period, and now find themselves at the center of a rightwing backlash. Sound familiar? They will say that 'hey, headscarves used to be allowed in school, we didn't agree to this!'

The Soviet Union may have tried to suspend reality -- like putting Tallinn on Moscow time -- but that all got tossed out in 1991, Rusak (or whatever your name is).

Estonia was reconfigured from Soviet workers paradise to European democratic republic. And at that point we went from "Soviet citizenship" to Estonian, Russian, and undefined citizenship. Again, I don't really see what your point is. That I can't compare the Russian minority to, say, the West Indian minority in London? I can compare whatever I like. You are bringing up Hawaii. Maybe we can add Algeria to the mix?

There is the essential difference here that Ansip and the Est nationalists completely created this situation with the statue. That's one way how you know that Estonia is not the West.


That's Western politics. Check out how George W. Bush led America to war. Grotesque. Lowest common denominator. In the end, legal. Western politics.

The Est nationalists created the situation specifically with the intent to insult and humiliate the ethnic Russian population.

No it wasn't. Ansip came from an economics-driven party and he needed to get right wing patriotic votes (from Isamaa) to be re-elected prime minister.

At that moment, the very stupid pro-Kremlin Russian nationalists in Estonia were busy waving their Commie flags. And why should Estonians be happy or tolerant of that?

Those are the flags that accompanied the sawing off of many limbs of their family trees. So Ansip quite cleverly made political hay of it, and, look, he's PM and his party has 43 percent of the population supporting it.

You really must think that the Russian minority is at the center of everything in Estonia. But they are not and they are not the only minority. There are swedes and Georgians and Germans and Finns in Estonia too and they are all equal under the law of the Estonian state.

Ansip wanted to win an election. He probably thought very little of trying to insult anyone.

As for Western politics, think about the Georgia senate election in 2002. Saxby Chambliss ran political ads of his opponent, Vietnam vet and triple amputee Max Cleland, juxtaposed with photos of Osama Bin Laden. Chambliss won. Was that right? Perhaps not. Did he win? You bet.

That being said, being buried under a sidewalk is a lousy place to be buried. And a war memorial to the soldiers that abetted the murder of most of Estonia's pre-war government next to the national library is sort of out of place.

So when they moved the statue, I didn't cry much. That's just me. I am not into statues that much, anyway. Statues, idols, are not holy to me. And at least now their resting places won't be trampled by neither nationalist idiots -- Estonian nor Russian. The statue in my opinion and others looks better where it is.

As a final aside, you should really use your real name if you insist on using mine. And I won't respond to all of your points because I don't have the interest or time.

Ed's post was not about the statue but that the integration process in Estonia has been working pretty well considering the history. And I agree. I have met scores of Estonians with Russian backgrounds and they never cease to impress me.

They are multilingual, intelligent, and fully welcome by the rest of Estonian society. They were the first people the president reached out to when he was elected. The image you to try to paint of Estonia is wrong. I live here, Ed has been here no doubt plenty of times more than you. Maybe you should stop kommissaring and read a bit once in awhile.

Giustino said...

And if Ests have German or Swedish ancestors it's probably for the same reasons that African-Americans have British ancestors, isn't it.

I forgot to call you an idiot for this one, my Russian nazi friend.

Here's a good piece by European Parliament Member from Estonia, Katrin Saks from a recent Eesti Ekspress. It's entitled "My grandfather was Russian."

According to Saks her grandfather was born around the turn of the century near Petersburg. His family name was Ivanov, and he was mobilized as part of the White Army, but stayed in Estonia after the war.

Saks also spends time talking to the Russian-speaking part of her constituency (I know it's hard to believe, Estonia being an apartheid state and all).

Her words:

Olen päris palju käinud vene koolides noortega kohtumas. Liiga sageli olen kuulnud, et olen esimene eestlane, kes ütleb, et nad on sellele riigile vajalikud. Et nad on meie venelased. Nii nagu oli minu vanaisa.

My translation: "I have been to many Russian schools to meet with youth. Too many times I have heard that I am the first Estonian who has said that they are needed in our country. That they are our Russians, like my grandfather."

Like I said, integration is a huge topic in Estonia. Articles like Saks' are published in every publication. In a democracy, people have debates, hopefully reach a consensus, and move forward. It's quite positive to see the process at work in Estonia.

http://www.ekspress.ee/viewdoc/357F87FD997F3B05C2257331002E8CE7

rusak said...

No one, actually. Most Estonians, of all backgrounds, are not discriminating idiots. But there are Estonians that do discriminate, not only against 'kurati venelased' but also 'neegrid' and 'kurati mustlased'. If too many Hungarians move in, perhap it will become 'kurati unkerlased'. There are always the gays and Jews too, if they run out of people to discriminate against.

You really seem to have difficulty simply constituting the glaringly obvious truth. You’re a good little soldier for Eestimaa, aren’t you. Really, why don’t you just spit it out? Afraid us evil Kremlin propagandists might seize upon it and use it against you?

Two guys once gave me some crap at a bar because I am a foreigner. Was I being discriminated against? Were all Estonians to blame? Give me a break. For all the intolerant morons in Estonia though, they don't match the murderers in Moscow who kill Caucasians just because they are different.

You know full well that bias against Americans and bias against ethnic Russians in Estonia is not even comparable, it’s not even close.

Yes, I should have said president. I made a mistake. But the point was that Sarkozy benefitted politically from calling rioting immigrant youth 'scum' -- a point you did not recognize.

I think he called them scum before the rioting began. As a point it’s not worth much because France does not have the characteristics of an ethnocracy or apartheid states like Estonia.

To the Estonians they are -- why do Soviet apologists get to say who is who? The Estonians see them as immigrants. Considering most Estonians have been living here for 5,000 years, it's a valid perspective.

Why do American apologists get to say “forget the Indians, it’s our land now”? And who is a Soviet apologist? My view of the Soviet Union is generally negative, so it wouldn’t be me. As for 5000 years, that’s nonsense; there were no “Ests” in the current sense then, only generalized Finno-Ugrians.

Here's a novel concept, there exists on earth a construct known as the British Empire, for whom Jamaicans and Englishmen are allegedly equal members. Yet no one in their right mind would deny that Jamaicans that move to London are immigrants and that the West Indian community in London is not an immigrant community. But they moved from one place in the commonwealth to another. Are they truly 'immigrants' or something else?

That’s not a novel concept, it’s an invalid comparison. Most of the Jamaicans immigrated to Britain after Jamaica became independent, so it clearly was not an internal migration. And needless to say, the black Jamaicans were never equal members of the British empire. Why don’t you compare ethnic Russians in Estonia to white British people in Jamaica? Are the white British people who were in Jamaica before it became independent immigrants? Are the white Americans in Hawaii immigrants? How about this, are the English considered “immigrants” in Cornwall and Wales? If someone calls them that there, it’s as an insult and a way of delegitimizing their presence there.

They learned Estonian so they could sell their onions to the majority of the population. Just like that girl on the beach, they needed to communicate with most of the people around them. I am sure that in tsarist times, the forests separating them from the Estonians kept their cultures apart. In modern times, they obviously interact with Estonians quite a bit.

They didn’t speak a word of Estonian until after Estonia gained independence and they had to learn Estonian in school. They never wanted anything to do with it, and neither did the Germans and the Swedes. To sell something simple like onions, all you need is a few words/phrases - you don't need to "speak Estonian" or whatever language.

Technically, the Estonian SSR was its own republic within the Soviet Union that could, legally, secede at any time. It had its own flag, own national anthem, and technically Estonian was co-official, though Russian was used in most of political life.

Technically, the USSR was a single unified state and until the secession actually occurs, it doesn’t matter. For a secession to occur, ostensibly there would have to be a plebiscite beforehand. These “Soviet colonists” did not decide to move to Estonia after hearing that there is going to be a referendum on secession from the USSR there.

Pleading 'I didn't know Estonia could become independent' is as disingenuous as me pleading 'I didn't know what the speed limit was' after I get pulled over by the police for speeding.

Maybe I really didn't know the limit. That's my fault.


Do you even know what disingenuous means? For the last 700 or so years Estonia was someone else’s (not the Ests’) property, and for the last 200 years it was property of the Russian empire. Estonia’s 20 years of independence looked like a historical aberration. If anything, it would have been disingenuous for them to think, “hey, we’re immigrating to a real, full-fledged foreign country here!”

Legally, they are illegal immigrants that came during a military occupation -- which is what happens when a foreign army enters your country and overthrows the government.

Lithuania apparently didn’t seem to think so.

The 1939 mutual assistance pact explicitly stated that the Soviet military presence would not impede Estonian sovereignty. The Soviets broke their half of the bargain.

So what? The US broke the Indian treaties whenever it wanted to. It also broke its gentleman’s word not to expand NATO.

Just because you don't like the law, doesn't mean that it isn't valid. Just because you think its mean, doesn't mean it shouldn't be enforced. I don't agree with a lot of anti-drug legislation in my country, I might think it's wrong and unfair, but it is the law, and will remain so until it is legally overturned.

Likewise there are Estonian laws I disagree with, but they are the law, and they are certainly not apartheid, Rusak.


There is no hard and fast “law” here as demonstrated by the example of Lithuania. Furthermore, if I recall correctly, the boundaries of the original independent Estonia were changed and some of its territory was taken by the RSFSR and is now part of Russia. Estonia chose to recognize this reality, but it chose not to recognize certain other realities. So don’t tell me about the law when it’s selectively applied.

What was it 900 years prior? And 900 years before that? Do you really want to play that game? You'll lose it you know.

It doesn’t matter what it was 900 or 2000 years prior because there was nothing even close to more or less recognizable cities in Estonia then.

Most of the original merchants in Lindanise were from Gotland. And isn't it ironic that most of the important businessmen in Tallinn today reside in Helsinki and Stockholm. Some things never change.

What’s ironic? Gotland is part of historic Nordic Germanic territory. Finland is a bunch of dirty Asiatics from Siberia. That’s what Swedes were saying when they weren’t worried about political correctness and don’t think that the Finns forgot, they’re still sensitive about that. So you can take your “Estonia is Scandinavia” crap and stick it.

It's actually quite valid. French immigrants perhaps moved to France during a far more liberal period, and now find themselves at the center of a rightwing backlash. Sound familiar? They will say that 'hey, headscarves used to be allowed in school, we didn't agree to this!'

The Soviet Union may have tried to suspend reality -- like putting Tallinn on Moscow time -- but that all got tossed out in 1991, Rusak (or whatever your name is).

Estonia was reconfigured from Soviet workers paradise to European democratic republic. And at that point we went from "Soviet citizenship" to Estonian, Russian, and undefined citizenship. Again, I don't really see what your point is. That I can't compare the Russian minority to, say, the West Indian minority in London? I can compare whatever I like. You are bringing up Hawaii. Maybe we can add Algeria to the mix?


It’s not valid because of the essential differences. The immigrants to France knew from the very start that they were voluntarily immigrating from their places of origin to a distinct, separate foreign land, a foreign country – and most of them immigrated after their own countries had fought for and attained independence from France. The “Soviet colonists” considered themselves to be making an internal migration within their own country, from one part of it to another.

If anyone is trying to suspend reality and history now it is Estonia. Almost the entire last 800 years of Estonia’s history was of enslavement and foreign domination. Now they want to compare themselves to a France or Germany? You must be out of your mind. I’m not even suggesting that the Ests embrace their slavery days, I’m suggesting that they not pursue policies of vengeance and spite in the present, under whatever little pseudo-justifications you can come up with like “protecting the Estonian language”.

Respond to this please:

You should compare the situation in Estonia to some Indian state or Hawaii, for example, gaining independence from the United States and then pushing all their stuff, their language, their version of history, etc on the remaining white American population. Why don't you want to do that, Justin? Especially with Hawaii, you have your little formal piece of paper about an internationally recognized sovereign state and all that good stuff. No excuses for you, Justin!

This is a "main point" that you chose not to reply to because you have no argument. Force yourself to imagine such a scenario. Regardless of the moral aspects, and the history, and who deserves what, and who's right and wrong -- how do you think the white Americans in the directly affected territory and elsewhere would react? You want to portray many Russians (notice how I cleverly got around your usual nonsense with the use of "many" ie not necessary all) in Estonia as unreasonable. But are they really so unreasonable and compared to who? You seem to want to compare Russians in Estonia to yourself like you are in the same boat, but you’re not. The level of bias against Americans in Estonia is not at all comparable to the level of bias against Russians and you know it. Moreover, you haven’t lived in Estonia for 30 or 40 or 50 years and you weren’t born there. So don’t try to compare yourself to those Russians.

That's Western politics. Check out how George W. Bush led America to war. Grotesque. Lowest common denominator. In the end, legal. Western politics.

Actually, the head UN guy said the war was illegal. A lot of what good ol’ Merca has done is thoroughly illegal and people like you need to recognize it and stop trying to lecture others. Not long ago I was looking at some pictures of lynchings in the US. You see large crowds of white Americans standing around, smiling next to the body of some hanging nigger, just having a jolly good time. And to think that any of these people (who were not brought to justice) or their descendants could be supporting something like the Captive Nations Resolution and trying to moralize to me now, it’s absolutely unacceptable.

At that moment, the very stupid pro-Kremlin Russian nationalists in Estonia were busy waving their Commie flags. And why should Estonians be happy or tolerant of that?

Those are the flags that accompanied the sawing off of many limbs of their family trees. So Ansip quite cleverly made political hay of it, and, look, he's PM and his party has 43 percent of the population supporting it.


If they were actually connected to the Kremlin, it would have been the current Russian flag or the imperial Russian flag, anything but the Commie flag. Anyway, they had already changed the inscription on the monument, which was supposedly offensive to Ests. So officially, it already wasn’t a monument to Soviet liberators but to “the fallen of WWII”. But the Est nationalists understood very well what the monument was “really” for. So when you try to portray Estonia as just following laws, I tell you that the Ests follow their nationalist whims and also certain realities they know they can’t do anything about like the territory that Russian took from Estonia.

Ansip wanted to win an election. He probably thought very little of trying to insult anyone.

This particular individual doesn’t matter. Regardless of what people like might think themselves, they know who their electorate is and what they want. A person who engages in “grotesque, lowest common denominator” politics is going to try to find something, anything, if it’s not the statue it would be something else. The reality of the situation is that Est nationalists didn’t want the Russian minority to have “its own” statue in a prominent place in Tallinn, where Russians are only… 40% of the population.

As for Western politics, think about the Georgia senate election in 2002. Saxby Chambliss ran political ads of his opponent, Vietnam vet and triple amputee Max Cleland, juxtaposed with photos of Osama Bin Laden. Chambliss won. Was that right? Perhaps not. Did he win? You bet.

Umm… unless Cleland looked like Bin Laden or was Middle Eastern or Muslim, I don’t see how this is comparable to a political action with a blatantly ethnic subtext. It’s like comparing calling an individual a “doo-doo head” to using racial slurs. It’s not the same dimension. Try again, Justin. And stop trying to tell me anything about Western politics or the West. I didn’t learn this English in Russia and you can bet your life that I know more about the West than the average Westerner.

That being said, being buried under a sidewalk is a lousy place to be buried. And a war memorial to the soldiers that abetted the murder of most of Estonia's pre-war government next to the national library is sort of out of place.

I got 15 years of independent Estonian history that says your “that being said” is a bunch of crap. Your aesthetical judgments don’t matter here. Like I said, they had already changed the inscription on the monument, so it wasn’t to those soldiers anymore, at least officially. Like I said, Est nationalists didn’t want the Russian minority to have a prominent monument in Tallinn, just like they don’t want Russian to have prominent positions in government. If it was really about the “inappropriateness” and “offensiveness” of the monument, they could have offered to replace it and the graves with something more innocuous. Like a Pushkin statue or something. Oh, but I can see it now, if someone had proposed a Pushkin statue, some great Eesti historians would have found some newly discovered verses in which Pushkin makes fun of Ests and calls them slow.

As a final aside, you should really use your real name if you insist on using mine. And I won't respond to all of your points because I don't have the interest or time.

My name is Dmitry. You apparently have had the interest and time to keep this BS going as long as you have, so don’t give me that – you damn sure have the interest and time to answer every main point, it’s just that you have no answer, so you run away.

Ed's post was not about the statue but that the integration process in Estonia has been working pretty well considering the history. And I agree. I have met scores of Estonians with Russian backgrounds and they never cease to impress me.

They are multilingual, intelligent, and fully welcome by the rest of Estonian society. They were the first people the president reached out to when he was elected. The image you to try to paint of Estonia is wrong. I live here, Ed has been here no doubt plenty of times more than you. Maybe you should stop kommissaring and read a bit once in awhile.


Stop kommissaring? What you need to recognize is what I said earlier – one doesn’t have to like anything about the Soviet Union or even current Russia to not like what’s going on in Estonia now. What exactly should I read that would make me change my mind?

The problem is that you say one thing, but all the facts are against you. You say or imply that there is no significant discrimination against ethnic Russians in government, but there are no ethnic Russians in prominent government positions. You try to point out that there is an ethnic Russian mayor in an overwhelmingly ethnic Russian town like that’s some kind of Estonian achievement. It’s like Chris Rock said: “you’re supposed to, ya dumb motherfucker! What you talkin about? What are you braggin about?” That’s the least that’s to be expected.

So then, you ask people to believe the unbelievable. See, there is no significant discrimination against Russians in Estonia, it’s all the Russians’ own fault for not knowing Estonian, not joining Estonian fraternities and all that other nonsense. That’s not believable. You actually at first tried to tell me that Russians in Estonia don’t even care about any of these issues that I’m bringing up because supposedly no politicians had said anything about it. So I showed you examples of politicians talking about it, from a member of the Russian party in 1999 to a Reform party member in 2007. That you “didn’t know” this, that you didn’t understand the symbolism of the whole statue affair just shows that you don’t know what the typical (overwhelming majority) ethnic Russian in Estonia thinks.

rusak said...

I forgot to call you an idiot for this one, my Russian nazi friend.

Truth hurts, huh? You mad? Feel free to love it. How the hell are you going to call me a nazi when you're mad that I compared Ests to black Americans? "Aw, he compared the Estonians to them damn niggers, aw he's such a racist, grrrrrr!" You American crackers really are that dense, arncha?

Giustino said...

Truth hurts, huh? You mad? Feel free to love it. How the hell are you going to call me a nazi when you're mad that I compared Ests to black Americans? "Aw, he compared the Estonians to them damn niggers, aw he's such a racist, grrrrrr!" You American crackers really are that dense, arncha?

I am not going to respond to you anymore, Dmitri. between the murdering, the raping, and the racial epithets it's really not worth my time. You can continue to perform your wounded Russian pride/hate dance for the rest of the spectators.

Nägemist from lovely Estonia, Härra Komissar.

Giustino said...

Thinking of integration into nationality, rather than assimilation into ethnicity is interesting.

Because Estonian national identity and Estonian ethnic identity are two separate things.

We know this because the pre-war republic, which was restored in 1991, created an Estonian national identity that was greater than the Estonian ethnic identity.

The NKVD orders that led to the deportation and/or deaths of many in Estonia were carried out against all Estonian nationals, not just ethnic Estonians.

Hence Estonian Jews, Russian Estonians, Swedish Estonians and others all faced the similar fate of having their property confiscated and their persons deported and or tried and executed, or sometimes not even tried at all.

With that in mind, one great measure of Estonian ethnic identity is religious identity. Most Estonians are Evangelical Lutherans.

If Estonians today wished to destroy Russian identity in Estonia, it would make sense for them to take aim also at Russian religious identity. That would mean taking specific actions to convert ethnic Russians to the Lutheran faith and to diminish the role of Orthodox in society.

The warm welcome that Alexius II got in September 2003 during his visit to Tallinn, would have never happened. Would Alexander Nevski Cathedral on Toompea still stand? Hmm.

Another measure could be inclusion in Estonian folk culture, such as song festivals. Are students in Narva forcibly included in Estonian folk culture happenings? Moreover, are Russian folk cultural events prohibited in Estonia?

The big news story in today's Postimees is about funding the Russian Theater. In a society based on destroying Russian cultural identity, why would the media pay attention to the monetary problems of a Russian-language theater?

http://www.postimees.ee/040907/esileht/siseuudised/280816.php

Why would Postimees also publish in Russian language, if the overall goal of Estonian society was to destroy Russian national characteristics and to "turn" Russians into Estonians?

If I were overseeing the assimilation of a people, I would make sure that access to that kind of quality media in their language was diminished. I mean isn't that how they do it in Russia?

There are 15,000 Chukchis, yet only half of them can speak their native language.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chukchi_language

How is it that Russian language has been able to survive in Estonia, but that native languages in Russia are all dying?

That's a good example of linguistic integration versus assimilation right there.

Blogaddict said...

Eh-eh. If we are such nazis as Rusak makes us out to be, how come we are only nazis toward rooskies? A principled nazi I think, should be an equal opportunity discriminator. Why are Eino Baskin and other prominenet and beloived jews in Estonia still walking around and not locked up by our Gestapo? How come we do not have ethnic cleaning campaigns? Something is amiss here. Why is it that there is some Rusak who speaks out against our Reich and he is not fed polonium yet? Is our Furher AnSSip asleep at the wheel?

Yet in Russia, the most tolerant and beautiful nation on Earth had 38 racial murders this year as reported today.

Giustino said...

Dude, aren't we forgetting that the evil Ests sent Dave Benton, an Aruban, to win the Eurovision song contest in 2001? So much for ethnocracy.

Estonians are actually pretty aloof. I don't think they care that passionately about much, other than their language and their Olympic medals.

On the forums you can find some oddballs, but in day to day life it's all 'palun' and 'tänan'.

Peter Vaihansky said...

Thank you, great commentary and analysis

Giustino said...

Post-Soviet Lithuania granted them citizenship automatically. But Estonia and Latvia, where the demographic position was more precarious, insisted that they apply for citizenship if they wanted it, and pass a simple test in language and history.

This is an interesting point that comes up often. But my reading of it, going back and looking at the situation, is that Lithuania's decision was influenced more by geography than anything else.

The pre-war Lithuania was far smaller than the post-war Soviet republic and restored independent republic. That is why a) it was easier for them to sign a border agreement and b) it made sense to grant citizenship to everyone in the territory of Lithuania, considering that Vilnius was a (highly contested) part of Poland during the interwar years.

Pēteris Cedriņš said...

Rusak wrote: Ethnic Russians or people of obvious ethnic Russian ancestry have been government ministers and even prominent politicians in Lithuania and Latvia.

Only one minister in Latvia, actually, and some time ago -- Vladimirs Makarovs... and back when he was a Fatherlander, i.e., from a right-wing party most Russophones would consider far-right and recoil from. Prominent politicians? Zhdanok? She couldn't even be a candidate here, having remained in the Party after blood was shed.

Unlike in Estonia, Russians/Russophones here continue to vote for "Russian" parties in large numbers -- PCTVL and now a more "moderate" and much more popular grouping called SC (Harmony Center). The so-called "Russian" parties are actually more integrated than the mainstream parties -- PCTVL is led by Zhdanok and Pliners, both Jews, and prior to splintering was dominated by Jurkāns, a Latvian. Both parties (or really lists) are ethnically rather diverse. Hence the quotes around the "Russian" -- quotes around the "moderate" because SC shares a list with the Socialists, i.e., the hardcore pro-Soviet dinosaurs (also headed by a Latvian, the notorious Rubiks, who can't be a candidate because he's a criminal).

I live in Daugavpils, a very heavily Russophone city (though not comparable to Narva). Almost 60% of the ethnic Russians hold citizenship by descent, and others have naturalized. Nonetheless, 9 of the 15 members of the city council are ethnic Latvians, as is the mayor. What does this tell you? A lot, and nothing much! Sorry, but people don't care about ethnicity when they vote, especially when the issues are close to home. Ethnicity as in what one chose to put down at registration time is also rather meaningless -- Rihards Eigims, a council member and the former mayor, is a "Latvian" but cannot speak Latvian (because he's from a mixed family and studied in Minsk). Very many people here have mixed backgrounds.

Politics determines who gets elected, not ethnicity. Whether an ethnic Russian who is not well nigh assimilated (like Makarovs) can get ahead in a mainstream party is another question, and doubtless the most worrying one. I don't deny that there's bigotry in Latvia -- there certainly is (and by most accounts, from people I know with experience of both countries, it's perhaps worse in Estonia, despite the Estonians' more pragmatic approach to the Russophones).

I've not yet been to a country without bigotry, though. There are many aspects knotted into these questions that ought to get attention. Rusak's comments on the occupation are one -- in my view, if less than one in five ethnic Russians in Latvia acknowledges historical fact (according to surveys), you're scratching four out of five from the available pool of politicians right there, and that really has little to do with ethnicity. Interestingly, the percentage of non-Latvians (ethnically) that isn't Russian (ethnically) and doesn't subscribe to Stalinist history is about double that; the non-Russian minorities rarely complain of discrimination, don't oppose the education reform, and have taken advantage of the opportunities this democracy offers. Rubiks and his ilk tend to spit upon that -- whenever the "Russian" parties indulge in their futile attempts to change the language laws and he's asked about status for the real minority languages, e.g. Polish or Romani, he says he can't imagine a time when we won't be able to communicate in Russian.

Comparisons to the Arabs in France are inappropriate. Many of France's Arabs are there because their parents took the French side in the colonialist war in Algeria. Most know French. France was not an occupied country and had full control over its immigration policies. They acted like immigrants, attempting to integrate and being prevented from doing so because of prejudice, and racism is the key issue -- with the Baltic Russians, the conquerors' mentality, asymmetrical bilingualism and totalitarianism are the key issues. Not very many Francophones know Arabic, and nobody tried to impose it. The demographics don't even come close -- Arabic is not a threat to French, which is a major language. Etc., etc.

I think Latvia's policies are working, and I agree with Edward Lucas' post. Policies designed to reverse half a century of oppression are bound to hurt here and there, unfortunately, and bound to provoke a backlash. The important thing is to protect individual rights and a civil society, and I think the Baltics have done that in excelsis.

Askolds Rodins, the senior commentator at Diena, noted a small problem with Zhdanok and her followers -- on the one hand they accuse us of apartheid, on the other of coercive assimilation. These two things (and we practice neither) just don't go together. Apartheid was meant to prevent integration -- assimilation was anathema. In reality, we're not pursuing either course -- we're just asking the Russians to learn the national languages (in addition to their mother tongue, not instead of) and respect their countries of residence, which countries were brutalized by Russia/USSR and which societies a large part of their "minorities" (majorities in many an urban area) specialized in disrespecting. It is not so much to ask, and I think that a couple of decades from now the opposition -- that is, those who cannot stomach being in small countries rather than empire -- will be even less important than it is now.

Which begs the question -- is it at all important now? Yes, because the Kremlin likes to spin it and because most people from bigger nations know little or nothing about the Baltic states. It's all well and good to mouth off about the poor, abused Russian "minority" when the fact is that elderly Latvians who were deported to Siberia can often still not get bread or medicine in their own language in a Latvian city. Russophones here have no such troubles.

Giustino said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bagrat said...

'Linguistic minorities in Estonia:
Discrimination must end'

A report by Amnesty International

http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/EUR51/002/2006/et/dom-EUR510022006et.html