Thursday, June 19, 2008

From the new Standpoint magazine


Gavin said...

They must pass a language test if they want to become citizens of the reborn countries. That policy was unsettling, upsetting, and to some extent unjust; and this needs to be bluntly acknowledged.

I am very close to interjecting a bovine scatological expression. And you talk about right and wrong. I've seen this in a number of places recently: Now that the number of stateless persons has dropped to near zero, it seems safe to intimate that that "right-wingers" called the shots in the early 1990s, that maybe there was discrimination.

This is not really true. And if we agree on 1918 and 1939, let's not start watering down 1991 with half-truths. If a country has lost control of its borders and customs, whether it is for a few weeks, months or years, or even 46 years, the people who cross in the interim DO NOT get to stay and enjoy full rights. That is a risk that they take. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. I do not care if the migrants were lackeys of, or completely brainwashed by, the Soviet regime. Full stop.

The fact that Estonia and Latvia were as forthcoming as they were toward the migrants deserves to be bluntly commended.

And on Thatcher (and by extension Reagan): Mr. Usackas can speak for himself. He is not speaking for the people who tasted totalitarian rule and would not wish the Western version of the gerontocracy on anyone either.

Giustino said...


I think the bottomline in regards to 1992 is that there were no good options. To me, the real "legitimacy test" is that the Moderates also agreed that the only way to deal with the citizenship issue was to return to the 1938 citizenship law. Even Marju Lauristin agreed that the 1938 law was the only one with legitimacy. A right-wing, ethno-nationalist she is not.

When I think about what happened to Estonia after 1940, I am surprised that Europe didn't have another Kosovo situation on its hands. I mean, you had a situation like in Narva, where the whole city was destroyed, and the native population was removed or deported, then the city was repopulated by the country that did the destroying and deporting. What is that called? Colonization? Population transfer? Most countries don't usually have to deal with situations like that.

So, we should be all glad things have worked out as well as they have. Chalk it up to nordic character or the allure of European values. Next year's presidential ball is in Jõhvi. Yay, Estonia.