Thursday, May 10, 2007

Russia's blunder, Estonia's recovery


How to fight back

May 10th 2007

Responding to Russia’s inept bullying

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IT HAS been a depressing couple of weeks for those who worry about Russian imperialism and sympathise with the underdog. But it has not been entirely hopeless. Things started off badly: Estonia’s decision to move a Soviet-era war memorial from a prominent spot in Tallinn to a military cemetery at the end of April aroused hostile passions among Russians and their sympathisers, and drew alarmingly muted and belated support from Estonia’s allies. All four of the big European countries—Britain, France, Germany and Italy—said little or nothing. NATO and the European Union waited until Russia had, as usual, undermined its position by grossly over-reacting. America came up trumps in the end, inviting Estonia’s president, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, to the White House—but the invitation could have come a week earlier.

Others sided outright with the Kremlin. Gerhard Schröder, the former German chancellor who now chairs a Russian-German gas pipeline, said Estonia had contradicted “every form of civilised behaviour”. Given that at the time of his comment thugs were blockading—and threatening to dismantle—Estonia’s embassy in Moscow, it would be interesting to know Mr Schröder’s definition of “civilised”.

But there have also been some rather encouraging signs. The Estonians, who had been leaning towards taking a share in Mr Schröder’s pipeline, abruptly cancelled his planned visit to Tallinn.

Some of Russia’s best independent journalists, initially wrongfooted by Estonia’s bungled handling of the issue, have been putting the other side of the story.

Natalya Gevorkyan on, a Russian news site, pointed out the extraordinary hypocrisy in the Soviet Union’s wartime myths—not least in the shameful treatment of disabled veterans. Why does Russia kick up a fuss about minor issues, such as the monument, and ignore bigger ones? Yuliya Latynina on Ekho Moskvy, Russia’s only independent radio station, suggested that the fracas over Estonia was a dry run for some imminent bigger and nastier stunt that will give Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, a pretext to ignore the constitution and stay in power.


Also heartening is that, after an initial burst of government panic, Estonia seems to be getting its own public-relations act together. Someone has coined the phrase “Nashism” to describe the authoritarian populist (ie, fascist) philosophy of the Kremlin-run youth movement, “Nashi” (“Ours”). After a fortnight in which Estonia’s enemies made clever use of the cheap jibe that the country is oozing with nostalgia for the Waffen SS by spelling the country’s name as eSStonia, the president’s surname as IlveSS and the prime minister’s as AnSSip, it is encouraging to see a counter-attack. Having leapfrogged into the internet age, and with a high level of competence in both English and Russian, few countries are better placed than Estonia to fight a propaganda war in cyberspace.

Estonia’s biggest advantage is Russia’s stupidity. Had the demonstrators in Tallinn pitched a peaceful tent city round the war memorial’s original location, aping the tactics of the “Orange Revolution” in Kiev, the Estonian police would have risked looking heavy-handed when they cleared it away. But instead, the assembled riff-raff quickly dropped the boring business of political protest in favour of smashing windows, looting shops, destroying “fascist bus shelters” and revelling in other acts of hooliganism. That blurred hopelessly the image that the Russian spooks in Tallinn had hoped to get across: of peaceful, idealistic young people standing up for their rights.

Crashing the Estonian government’s servers by swamping them with millions of bogus clicks may have also seemed like a good idea at the time. But the result has been to alarm NATO, which is now drawing on Estonian computer geeks’ expertise in dealing with possible threats elsewhere.

Russia remains a rather ineffective bully. But the unsettling question remains—not just for Estonia, Georgia and Poland, but for everyone—what happens if once, just once, Russia played its cards wisely and well?


Unknown said...

But the biggest achievement is still the fact, that (who?) managed to avoid clashes between different ethnic groups. If that would have happened, things would have gone really, REALLY bad.

Rein Kuresoo said...

Thank you for a balanced statement! I also appreciate cooling us off a bit earlier.

Unknown said...

These days, as usually there are two sides of the information battle - Estonian (Western) and Russian. As we say now in Estonia - two information fields.

The main characteristics of both fields is such that reading just one article would be enough - all the rest say the same bullshit.

There is the third side though, and this side is always forgotten - the Estonian Russian ethnic minority.

Ironically, all the buzz around the fact of moving the monument just distracts the attention from the real problem appeared now in Estonia.

The problem is that there is no relief for deeply hurt feelings of the minority. Both Russian and Estonian official standings are alien for this group of people.

We have been deeply hurt and now left alone by our beloved country! The worst is that there is no hope that anybody would understand it ever!

Hearing Russian propaganda is very painful. They are just using us in their dirty game. Estonian propaganda inherited best practices of Soviet period as well. The Estonian information field is by no means more fair. From both sides, there is the same ignorance of our position and our feelings.

When your own country ignores you as well as the voices of another 30% of country's population - what would you do? Where to search for understanding? The whole world is deaf...

For us, the monument was (and still is) like a voodoo doll. Treating it in a certain way means treating us in the same way. The situation around the monument symbolizes the tolerance of Estonian society. The zero-tolerance.

Let's ask Estonians - do they feel easier about the Stalin repressions now - when the monument have been moved? I doubt. The pain is still in the hears. Nothing changed.

If you ask Estonian Russians if they feel the same about the government and Estonians who fully support it? No - we lost our friends. They betrayed us... Everything changed.

I have never followed the politics, never voted (although favored Reformierakond), never ever visited the monument before (to put flowers for May 9 celebration, for instance). But when the square got covered by the huge tent - I felt like the communism is back... in a new form. From our history, we knew all these methods very well: ignorance, brute force, and propaganda. They are the leitmotif of everything that happened around the Bronze Soldier.

So far, deeply in the heart I believed that Estonians and Estonian Russians are friends and there is nothing left to dispute about. Not anymore. The next time I will vote. This is for sure. I've got my personal civic position now.
And this position is not in favor of current government, neither it supports the Russian view of the situation.

I believe, we have to fight for our most basic right - to be heard and understood.

Giustino said...

Let's ask Estonians - do they feel easier about the Stalin repressions now - when the monument have been moved? I doubt. The pain is still in the hears. Nothing changed.

I think that symbolically something changed. For so long the Estonian state didn't touch this "third rail" of Estonian politics.

They could talk about the Soviet occupation, but they tolerated it when people showed up waving the flags of their former rulers.

Maybe they felt weak in their own country. Or maybe they didn't want to stir the hornets nest.

And time went on, and when they saw that, wait a second, this isn't going away, and, oh my God, they are bringing the kids there and putting the hammer and sickle on them, then perhaps somewhere in Andrus Ansip's mind the solution came to show people in a highly symbolic fashion, the Estonian state's view of the Soviet Union.

And I think that that point has now been made quite clear. I have to say that, knowing what I do about the history of this country, every time I see a kid in a CCCP sweatshirt, I feel a little sick.

I am not an Estonian, and I get a bit more emotional about these things. I know that that country destroyed alot of lives -- lives of my in-laws. Even if they came limping back from the gulag, their lives were still ruined.

And I wonder who could be so crass as to wear that shirt, or to wave that flag for all to see? Who could be so unsympathetic to stride around ignorantly brandishing these symbols?

Some Estonians called us on the morning they moved the statue (Christ, can you believe this is just about a statue?)and were quite pleased with the gravitas Mr. Ansip had shown. Most though I think didn't care either way. It's foolish to think that they'd really care that much about a statue of a Red Army soldier. Since most of the kids on the news were yelling in Russian, your average Estonian in the countryside didn't hear what they were saying. Maybe they picked out a few words. And so even while yelling at their loudest, they weren't heard.

Personally, I was deeply saddened to see so many young people destroying their own hometown. But in some ways I was glad because I thought that it had finally awakened, as you said, civic consciousness on the part of Estonia's Russian community.

The bubble was irreparably popped. And as painful as it was, I think that in the long run it will do good because we all here in Estonia can finally hear what you have to say beyond the crap that spews forth from Klenski's mouth "blah blah blah, fascist, fascist, blah, blah, blah."

I am looking forward to seeing the Russian community in Estonia figure out exactly what it wants and how that fits into the future of Estonia. Now the community can finally stop being post-Soviet and reorganize itself into something new that acts in its own interest without the bastard Russian foreign ministry at its back. So I am glad in a way that you are now civically engaged.

Sometimes good things come out of crappy messes like these.

urr said...

bravo, giustino

urr said...

oh yes, we do feel much better when the statue of so-called "liberator" is moved. every estonian remebers too well the 9th of May in last year: the crowd of brainwashed soviets who yelled: "We have killed not enough Estonians yet!", waving the flags of Soviet Union and attacking Estonian flag - the flag which was prohibitted for us for 50 years and which is holy for Estonians.
we have to rebuild our state which was small, but beautiful, wealthy and happy one before the second world war. we have to re-establish the ideal state. we are not against of anybody who would like to participate in this process. but what do we have in common with people who are shouting: Russia! Russia!, but refusing to return to their beloved Russia and to improve it. we are wondering what's wrong with them. why they do not love their homeland? Estonia is a free country, not like Russia and everybody can choose whether they like to live here or in some other country. but the local russians have to make their decision and to tell us, are they loyal to estonia and do they wish to stay. otherwise we will remember only the russian rioters who tried only to destroy and steal. again!
so hopefully you will understand our deeply hurt feelings too. we are quiet and very patient people who are not used to complain, but now the rioters have crossed the line too far. I also hope that russians who still have any honour will apologise and will do it soon.

Unknown said...

Urr, I understand your feeling about the history, but at the same time please understand that by moving the statue you hurt people that are (were) friends and are (were) loyal to the Estonian Republic. You hurt feelings of those who don't support the standing of the Russian Federation and never did. You hurt feelings of people who are (were) ready to fight for free Estonia even against Russia if needed.

Now the feelings have changed. Now the position has changed. The fact of moving the monument is nothing else than escalating the conflict between ethnic groups, which is prohibited by Estonian law.

This march with red flags one year back was unlawful too and its initiators have to be certainly tried in a court.

Allright, moving the Soldier was, in fact, a revenge to those who marched last year and to those who deported people in 40-s.

The truth is that the number of such extremists is very small and those who guilty of deportations have passed to another world by now.

And the truth is that you just hit the normal people, who live in Estonia now and who contribute to Estonian economy and science.

You punished a handful of extremists while turning a lot of true friends into enemies at the same time. Is that what you wanted?

Is it possible to be calm and call for understanding after all of that? Being a winner, it is very easy to take such a stand. Being aggrieved, it is not easy to stay calm.

If you cannot forgive something that happened long ago, you don't have a right to expect forgiveness from the other side.

I don't belong to the looting youth crowd alike. I represent the other side of the Russian society of Estonia - the well-educated wealthy people holding Estonian citizenship. And you can be sure that many of my friends think in the similar way as I do.

The main mistake that is made in Estonian information field is making parallel between soviet extremists, defenders of the Soldier, looting crowd, Russian Federation, and Estonian Russians.

We, Estonian Russians, have our own mentality, our own brains, we can think different - different from any opinion that is "right" and "correct" - never taking the information coming from the East seriously. Now, we cannot believe Estonian government anymore.

It is a mistake to think that there are two understandings of the history. Everybody agrees that Soviet occupation took place.

We desperately need a dialog between Estonian and Russian parts of the society. We don't agree with the brute force the Estonian government used when handling this case.

I cannot look into the eyes of my Estonian colleagues without feeling a little bit of hate inside... I'm not a stable element of the society anymore... And I'm really sad about that... Do we have to wait another 15 years until all this will calm down again??? There are around 300 000 people like me...

Rein Kuresoo said...

Always look at the bright side of it. I am glad that you admit, that Russian propaganda is very painful.
That is the first sign of change. Second step would be to admit that Estonian propaganda did not inherit best practices of Soviet period as well. Estonian press is free and has expressed the oppinions for all tastes.
It will be hard tostart any dialogue,if you get stuck in oppinion, that neither Russia, nor Estonia nor West will understand you.

Unknown said...

I don't like Russia's behavior against Estonia - that's true. But this is not a progress, that has been achieved now. This understanding came at least 10-12 years ago. Another myth is that Russians long for Soviet times - not here in Estonia at least. Lenin, Stalin, his repressions are not accepted by majority of Estonian Russians.

If you think, we were excited when being schoolchildren had our brains washed, you are wrong. All this pioneer and komsomol stuff was at least boring and in reality it was hated by most of us.

We have long forgotten the swallowed resentment of the early 90-s. We thought, this is all past. Both Soviet communism and Estonian nationalism. We thought, we are now building our future together.

Our biggest tragedy now is that we are pronounced guilty for crimes committed not by us and not even by our fathers. I feel myself like being 20 years back when we being children sometimes feared to go to the streets because of Estonian "kurats" roaming around.

I remember, at the age of 10 me and my friend were beaten up by a group of Estonian boys, who were all around 15 years old - twice bigger than us. We were beaten just because we spoke Russian.

I remember fights - wall against wall - when we were teenagers in the end of 80-s. Estonians against Russians. This was very hard for me as both my grandfathers and a grandma were Estonians, while another grandma Russian.

This is all back to me now. The memories and emotions prevail. Especially when i see the rude and hateful behavior of Estonian police. In policemen, I recognize those bigger boys beaten us up 20 years back.

The society is split again into glorious winners and crowd of outcasts. Why do you do this to us? Why?!

Rein Kuresoo said...

I have also been beaten up by russian guys - I even do not remember how many times. First - when I was seven - the last time I was a young scientist. And I have to say that I am not an aggressive person.I never participated in the counter-attacks (among other reasons - these were sometimes investigated by KGB). All these incidents happened in Soviet time and my son (he is 25 now) has never been beaten up by russian. Rude colonization always has such effects. And even though somebody in the street, in the delfi forums or even at the workplace might say otherways, the majority of estonians are interested in civil society and do not hold you or russians responsible for the past.
As for the brutality of the police - I saw some incidents in TV (Estonian), where the police used the rubber stick or feet too much. It does not make these persons loveable, but also this happens everywhere in the world - in the state of pillage and looting the police has the licence to use force incl. to beat, but not kill, torture or mutilate. I think that generally the police held great restraint. Everybody has the right to turn into court with the cases if he can prove an illegal action. And I think that a few cases will be brought up.

urr said...

come on, little artur, don't cry. it's a pity that your grandparents didnt teach you about estonian history and language.
then you could be able to understand that it is impossible to steal, destroy, rape, tortue and kill 50 years - and then tell to the victims that hey, don't look back, let's be friends and let's look to the future. there has to be a public apology. it doesnt matter are the criminals still alive or not (actually some of them are still living). you can start with apologing. well, I know that you wasnt on the streets, but you are declaring same ideas as most part of russians here.
as a matter of fact, estonians have been betrayed by their western "friends" very rudely (Jalta). it's hard to forget about that either.
the ugly statue - are you really belonging to those people who like to dance, yell and drink vodka on the graves? scary... you know pretty well that the coffins were laying under the trolley-bus station. isnt it better for them to rest in peace in the cemetary? the statue belongs there too.
after all, you better try to remember that Estonia is independent state and we can move our statues whereever we like.
and please stop the complaining and whining. dont try to make Estonian Russians (or shall I say russian-speaking immigrants?)the victims and martyrs. nobody will beleave you. if you feel yourself so hurted here - there will always be huge Russia, now under the heavy pressure of putinist regime. why dont you start to help democratic Russians? they are good and nice people, I am sure.

Edward Lucas said...

Dear Urr

I respect the depth of your feelings, but I would urge you to express yourself in a less aggressive way. An outsider reading this would think that Arthur was the cool, rational thoughtful one, and you were the emotional hothead. I doubt that is what you intend.



Unknown said...

Err: you expressed another point I don't understand at all. And the point is why should I go to Russia while was being born in Estonia and never living in Russia? Moreover, I hold Estonian citizenship, which was granted me not because of passing the examination but because of being de-facto Estonian by blood.

I've already told that Russian Federation point of view has nothing in common to mine own. Russian society and people are culturally different too. I would not feel myself at home being there. BTW, being traveled much and staying long in different countries I discovered that Germany is the country I feel most comfortable in both due to personal mental relations and societal structure.

But I strongly believe that I have a right to live in Estonia though I think differently from the "general line" of our government.

It is in my blood to resist all kind of imposed opinions and ideologies. I have always had mine own thinking and will keep having it because I learned by heart about harmful consequences of any ideology that tries to bend the reality and minds colliding people by planting hate into the hearts...

This is exactly what is being done now in our country. Last year the actions were taken by a group of provocative "soviet" extremists. This year it was done in a much bigger scale by the government.

Being a citizen and caring for the future I cannot accept both actions and honestly believe that responsible people have to be condemned and punished in both cases. There is no excuse for those who are seeding hate between ethnic groups and this is what is written in the Estonian Republic's legislation.

I will repeat the main idea that has been spoken out by many Russian people in Estonia but never heard by the government, Estonian newspapers, and TV (or should I say it was sort of hidden behind all the buzz).

Basically, we were not against moving the statue to a more appropriate place. Many express this opinion. We were and still are against THE WAY it was done using the brute force and implementing the policy of total ignorance of the opinion of the ethnic minority.

Personally, with me it all started the same day on April 26. Before that I didn't even hear that something is planned at that site. Honestly speaking I could not even imagine that something like this can happen in our small calm and civilized country.

It was a shock, when I saw the tent and the three levels of defending fence around the square... It was a great shock seeing the sea of police in the city. It was something that reminds the Utopia by Orwell. It was something one could only see on the TV before.

The main question was - what happens now? Can a HUMAN really plan something like that??? Not a wild crazy person, but a thinking intelligent HUMAN always associated by me with the government...

Of course, for most of estonians moving the Soldier meant just sending an unwanted artifact away from the direct sight.

Most of them just say now very calmly that it was a necessary action that had to take place at one point in the history of the country. They say that what happened after was something similar to antiglobalists riots or football fan wars that take place everywhere around the world. It will all calm down because people just needed to let their steam off and let the need for destruction to be satisfied.

This is a common opinion of many. Unfortunately I cannot support it, because for me it lacks several important facts that distinguish it from the other street battles that are happening around the world.

First of all, football fans are just coming, destroying, and then going away - going back home - becoming more or less normal people after returning to a normal reality.

The Bronze case is different. The reality doesn't change and the people stay here. Moreover, it is all about mutual respect between nationalities. The respect is lost in the reality where we continue to live. So, the problem would not disappear quickly. Personally I feel like being 15 years back. It would be much easier for me to accept the situation if it was just the government who is involved. The hardest side of this drama is that common people support this intolerant behavior of the government towards ethnic Russian minority. This makes me really sad. And the more the public media advertises this point of view, the sadder and hopeless I become.

The mutual respect the government calls now to is not possible anymore because the government itself has shown a great disrespect that was followed by a huge disrespect by the police.

As I've told already, the Bronze Statue became a voodoo doll of the Russian society. The essence of the conflict is not about the soldier bodies buried beneath the trolleybus stop. The biggest issue is disrespect, ignorance, brute force, and propaganda.

Personally, now I started to receive Postimees in Russian to my postbox although I did not order it. In the first issue it was written that Postimees decided to help Estonian Russians who live in "another information field" in getting the "truthful" information about Estonia, Russia, and the rest of the World. In Soviet Union there used to be a newspaper called "The Truth" where information was bent in the way the government wants to see it. The methods are the same now. I believe that nowadays the media is independent, but I don't believe that journalists themselves are capable to assess the situation truly and impartially reflecting all the spectrum of opinions. The journalists are the same Estonians and Russians who are deeply involved in the societal life and would see the situation through the prism of their attitude.

Last week I also received a Reformierakond newspaper in Russian where leitmotif was about how happy I have to be now when the Soldier was moved and all the riots are over.

Personally, I don't need such governmental mentoring. I don't want them to teach me the "truth". I know the history quite well. Even 15 years back we were learned it accordingly to the Mart Laar's handbook in Russian Schools.

I don't need mentoring. I need a simple respect.

While Estonian Russians mostly learned to respect Estonians' system of values, Estonians apparently cannot do the same yet.
At least, there is such a feeling. And the mutual respect is the foundation of the long-awaited integration of the broken society.

As long as there is no respect, there will be no peace in hearts, minds, and streets.

Some Estonians call me to apologize before them. I apologize for that I was born here and dare to think different. There is nothing else I feel myself guilty of.

Rein Kuresoo said...

I do not like the reformists and Ansip, too - put simply, they seem just the right handed communists to me. Yet I advised yhe young people, who did not know, whom to give their voice to,to vote for Ansip, vote for the smaller evil.
I have vasted a lot of my valuable time spying around in internet since the bronze meddling started. I saw the V-day becoming the core of pride of russians - first in Moscow, but very quickly also here in Estonia. Then Moscow grew very bitter about "rewriting the history". And they are about to do it themselves rigt now (actually it is little to do, since the new version is largely based on stalinist concept). Then the Notshnoi Dozor emerged, repeating exactly the slogans of Kremlin (ja pomnju, ja gorzusj!). There were more and more Soviet and Estonian flags brougth to the streets, more conflicts and more bitter words in Russian and Estonian Delfi. I was listening the russian internet fora and saw more threaths about arranging "a little Paris". I assume, that Kapo and government knew a lot more about it, but even for me it was clear, that "the voodoo doll" must walk to less sensitive place.
You feel hurt, that nobody talked to you. Do you think that you represent well enough the messed up feelings and emotions of all estonian russians? Do you feel, that you are representing a group, influential enough?
Nobody expects apologies from you personally, Arthur. Just get over the woodoo and heal! We, estonians, need a healing too.

Cicero said...

Arthur, as a British friend of Estonia, I think the point is that the Estonian Russians do have a civic identity, and it is different from Russia, as you say. I think that it is important for Estonian Russians to engage with the society of which they are now apart, and to create an understanding amongst Estonian speakers of the issues amongst the minority. However this can only be done by building goodwill and trust. You speak of hurt amongst the Russian speakers by the moving of the Pronksimees, but everyone has been hurt by the trashing of Karli Puistee- it benefits no one except the rather sinister regime in Moscow. So absolutly stand up for your civic rights, but it must come in a spirit of partnership, and if some Estonians still live in the past, so do (too) many Russians. Yet, at the end of the day, it is the European future that is the important thing for Estonia's society.

urr said...

dear edward lucas,

actually i am not sure that you have understood the feelings of estonians. i have read too many messiges from russian people in estonia which are exactly like those what young artur wrote or even much worse(for example in estonian, but especially in russian language) and i can't take their complaining seriously. i can only wonder where did they got so many anger towards the country and people who had saved them from really hard life in russia. I do know the situation there and i have many russian friends - in russia. but of course it might be difficult to loose the privileges the russian colonists were used here in soviet era.
I would like to remind that there is an international convention of Geneve which demands that colonists have to be removed to their homeland (for example as France removed their colonists from Algeria etc.). It's nice of course that people like artur are now telling that they would like to stay. but it needs a lot of learning for truly understanding were they live.

urr said...

dear cicero,

there is a small russian minority in estonia - the people who have lived on the shore of lake peipsi for 200 years as they run away from the religious reforms of czar Peter the First. they are mainly so-called old-believers. as they are decent people there have never been any conflicts with them. and there is about three hundred thousands of russian speaking immigrants whose identity is not stable at all as many of them are still missing the soviet rule (remember the soviet flags and t-shirts with USSR). they moved here because baltic states were highly valued in russia as the place for living - among the officers of soviet army for example, but also among people who worked in the Far North. they have got many privileges here in soviet time.
unfortunately they are now representing themselves as the discriminated russian minority.

Giustino said...

I cannot look into the eyes of my Estonian colleagues without feeling a little bit of hate inside...


You really need to chill out. Look at what happened. The government planned to move the statue and they did. They needed police to protect the guys doing it from the several thousand drunk guys in the street yelling "fascist." One kid got knifed to death by a looter. What would have happened without the police presence? More deaths. More destruction.

Do you think the cops felt safe there with a couple thousand kids throwing rocks and bottles at them? Do you think they might have wanted to show a little force to prevent more broken limbs that some of them suffered?

You've got to think about this in perspective. After the riots calmed down, the statue was put back up and everyone was permitted to visit it. Ansip laid flowers at it himself. And this is the gaping hole in Estonian society.

I am an American, Arthur. I had to sit and watch as my government initiated its attacks on Baghdad in 2003, knowing fully that the Iraq War was going to turn into a mess and cost thousands upon thousands of lives. And I pay for it too, because I pay taxes. All that blood is technically on my hands.

And people are mad about moving a war monument?

Look, no matter what, the government is going to piss some people off. But think about the situation they were in. They had firestarting skinheads looking to start another nasty fight on May 9 should the red flag wave on Tõnismägi. Then you had these little Putin youth groups like Night Watch that exist solely to stir up local sentiment about this war monument. Then you have the 24-hour propaganda war against Estonia that is informed by the Russian Foreign Ministry, and THEN you have have the fact that the police raided an apartment in March and found enough explosives to ... hmm ... blow up a large monument in Tallinn and blame it on the Estonian nationalists?

Your community was surrounded by opportunistic cynics, Arthur. But can you imagine if they had allowed May 9 to go on, and then *boom* something bad happened. Skinheads started it. Night Watch started it. The monument gets blown up?

Who would be responsible then? The state would. And look at it again in reverse. May 9 went off peacefully in Estonia. Crowds peacefully filled the military cemetery. And nobody got hurt on that day, and there were no angry skinheads and there were no explosions.

Anyway, governments make mistakes. Often times one's encounter with the law leaves a bad impression. I don't like many of the laws and actions of my government in the US. But all I can do is vote. And that's really all you can do too.

urr said...

Hello Giustino,
thank You for Your comment, but I have to correct something. Please try to remember the 9th of May of last year. There was not a single skinhead near the statue. The only people wearing the leather jackets were russian speaking huligans who yelled and insulted estonian flag carried by only one old man, Jüri Liim. Don't You remember? all the riots were started by so-called diplomats of russian embassy. there is enough filmed material about this day in archives.
Also I must tell You that I can't wholly understand Your attitude towards Your government's policy. What would have been Your proposal how to resolve the situation in Iraq with it's criminal regime of Sadam? don't You feel any compassion for Kurdi people who still doesn't have their own state? how long they have to suffer? isn't it enough already?

Unknown said...


I just want to fully support the last comment; Giustino has shown some sober reasoning with respect to the monument' case - all the more disappointing are his views on Iraq
- lacking the perspective he elsewhere advocates...