teisipäev, september 12, 2006

"The only post-communist Nordic country"

As you may have noticed, I have changed the subtitle of my blog to remind readers that Itching for Eestimaa is about "the world's only post-communist Nordic country." I thought about what exactly that means and why I chose to pay homage to a speech by foreign Estonian Foreign Minister Toomas Hendrik Ilves from 1999, and it came back to the dilemma that Ilves and I, both - at least at one point - Americans, have found ourselves having to do. Explaining to others what exactly Estonia is if it is not just another Slavic country in East Europe, like most of the other countries that end in "ia" - Slovenia, Slovakia, Croatia, etc. etc.

The first comparison most reach for is Finland. Most people have heard of Finland. They are aware that it is cold there and that it snows a lot and that the people like skiing and taking saunas and are quite often blonde. And that's not a bad way to get people started on understanding a peculiar mostly unknown nationality.

In the global media though, and in most International Affairs curriculi, and in Estonia as well, Estonia is known as a Baltic country or state, or sometimes even republic. This is frequently confused with Balkan - which is very different but similar sounding. Baltic means some basic things to people - formerly Soviet, small, on the border of Russia, on the Baltic sea. For the history buffs they might know something of the Teutonic knights, or the Baltic German manor houses that once dotted the land. But while this appelation helps describe geopolitical location and common history, it doesn't really say much about the Estonians as a people.

And what can be said about them? They are on the quiet side, on the blue eyed sandy haired side. They like to drink - they drink beer and vodka and both. They eat a lot of fish and potatoes and use the Internet like it was some third undiscovered side of their brain. They like berry picking and hiking through bogs and their folklore is filled with menacing woodland trolls and centers around the distressing and violent tale of an Estonian guy named Kalevipoeg. They have names like Signe and Hannes and Heiki and Tuuli and Juhan. And before you know it, you aren't discussing Estonians anymore. It seems like you are talking about Icelanders or the Faroese or Finns. You are talking about a Nordic people - and that's when they ask you.



"Are Estonians Scandinavians?" You would like to say yes, because that would be so easy to file away these people in a well-known drawer of humanity. But you can't, because the Latvians will tell you that the Estonians should get back in line and remember that Riga is the capital of the Baltics, and the Lithuanians will accuse then of thinking too high of themselves, and the Finns will look down their noses and snicker at the concept that their backward cousin wants to join the Arctic Circle club, and the Swedes - well, we won't even go there.

But regardless of what others think, you are still at a loss to describe the basic culture of Estonians. And that's where the N word comes in, Nordic, because you really can't think of a better word to describe them. It leaves enough wiggle room to make sure you won't insult Scandinavian pride, but it also allows you to easily characterize a people for those who wouldn't know Tallinn from T'bilisi.

What better way to describe the absurd and slightly disturbing cartoons of Priit Pärn, or the heavy morality of Tammsaare, or the forbidding poetry of Gustav Suits. How better can you explain why the characters in Õnne 13 rarely smile then ask someone if they've ever seen an Aki Kaurismäki film? It's just too easy to reach for the magic 'N' word and wave all the questions away.

And because this blog deals greatly with what exactly Estonia is and what is going on there, I too couldn't find a better way to sum the country up for others. I hope you don't mind.

58 kommentaari:

Anonüümne ütles ...

Hi Mate,

My name is Louis and I read your blog with interest, ive been spending some time in Estonia too and spend more than a few hours grapling with what it means to "be estonian". I find these little buggers so hard to nail down and maybe thats what I like so much.

My travel blog is quickly turning Estonian based too, Im always worried whatever I write will be drastically wrong and the estonians are going to laugh no end at my simple western ways but still, I keep writing. :)

http://www.eurotrip2006.com

Ive tried learning some Estonian and theres no hiding that it is hard, still what in life doesnt come without a challenge? :)

Cheers!

Louis

Estonia in World Media (Rus) ütles ...

check out the prominent culture figures, including Kross the Elder stepping to support THI. It is in the media all over the matrix now

Radical Sasquatch ütles ...

I once asked Laar on a radio call-in show if Estonians were Scandinavian. He didn't exactly answer "no," but he did suggest that they were "Nordic," which seems to be the preferred, non-controversial descriptor.

It wasn't that long ago that Finland was not considered part of Scandinavia, and Swedes looked down upon their backward, post-Imperial Russia neighbors. Of course today there's no question that Finns are Scandinavian. Perhaps Estonia will be transformed like this too someday.

(Sorry, Latvia!)

Eppppp ütles ...

Estonia is not on the Scandinavian penninsula, though...

Giustino ütles ...

I've tried learning some Estonian and theres no hiding that it is hard, still what in life doesnt come without a challenge? :)

Cheers!

Louis


Hi Louis. What I have learned is that Estonian is a very poetic, rich language with many, many words. The more I conquer, the more there seem to be.

Sure it's hard, but it's not as hard as Finnish. :) Can we get a copyright on that?

You should also imagine what it is like for them to learn our languages. It's got to be tough.

Giustino ütles ...

Estonia is not on the Scandinavian penninsula, though...

Scandinavians are northern Germans. But Nordic culture also seems to include Finnic peoples too - like the Sami, Finns, and Estonians.

The way it probably happened is that the Nordic Council admitted Finland, and Finnish culture was circulated globally as 'Nordic' culture through the auspices of that organization. Because of the cultural similarities between Estonians and Finns, Estonians then look to use this well-known international concept - Nordic culture - as a mechanism for explaining their own unknown culture in a global context.

Anonüümne ütles ...

I wouldn't like to be the poor guy in the club. Nordic - ok, Scandinavia(n) - no. Finland shouldn't push being Scandinavia as well, since swedes and norweigians don't concider it to be one, making non-stop jokes of finns. So why to be somewhere were one is not welcomed?

cbr ütles ...

But Finland ISN'T Scandinavian because it just isn't situated on the Scandinavian peninsula. It might be Nordic if it wishes.

radical sasquatch ütles ...

True, geographically Estonia is not part of the Scandinavian peninsula--but then neither is Denmark or Iceland, and they're usually considered part of "Scandinavia." So what defines Scandinavia is much more than geography. It's this broader definition that I'm wondering might be broadened again to include Estonia--or at least Tallinn as a kind of distant suburb of Helsinki.

And sure, perhaps Estonia (or Finland) shouldn't press its case for being Scandinavian too much. What was it that Marx said--Groucho, I mean--about not wanting to be part of club that would have someone like him as a member?

Little Bugger ütles ...

Hi Louis, I like your description of them "little buggers" :-) no offence taken, as I know there was none meant.
Started thinking about trying to define ANY nation in this world, and you can't do it with one single word. For instance - try to capture the meaning of being an american? In ONE word? Controversy is the only word that comes to my mind here.
But i do like the "nordic" country and will be using it from now on when someone asks where I am from. Till now it has been all very evasive, depending on who is asking and what the context is. Thank you Giustino for a very interesting discussion.
Inga aka one of them little buggers :-)

Giustino ütles ...

True, geographically Estonia is not part of the Scandinavian peninsula--but then neither is Denmark or Iceland, and they're usually considered part of "Scandinavia."

The heart of Scandinavia is Denmark and Sweden because the wielded the most power over the longest time.

Norway has only been independent since 1814. Iceland since 1944. Greenland is a de facto member of the Nordic Council because it is a Danish possession.

These people are linked by language and a very interconnected common history.

But the ability of Finland to promote its culture abroad as 'Nordic' opens the door to Estonia to do the same.

Franz ütles ...

"Because of the cultural similarities between Estonians and Finns"
But on the other hand Estonians and Finns are quite different

radical sasquatch ütles ...

Well, if being defined as Scandinavian means being, in part, "interconnected" by a "common history," then can't Estonia claim to be, at least in part, Scandinavian? Isn't Tallinn "Danes' Town"? Wasn't Estonia a Swedish colony longer than it was a Soviet Republic?

I'm certainly not against the idea of Estonia as "Nordic." If that's what gets Estonia out of the Baltic ghetto, then great. "Baltic" has just a hint of exotic shabbiness--think Baltic Avenue in Monopoly--and is too easily confused with "Balkan" in this geographically-challenged world.

Giustino ütles ...

"Because of the cultural similarities between Estonians and Finns" But on the other hand Estonians and Finns are quite different.

And so are Icelanders and the Faroese. But to an individual in Tokyo or Sydney or Johannesburg or Rio de Janeiro, such differences are obscured by similarities. By calling Estonia 'Nordic' instead of 'Baltic' - Estonia is raised from an unknown quantity to a widely known quantity.

Well, if being defined as Scandinavian means being, in part, "interconnected" by a "common history," then can't Estonia claim to be, at least in part, Scandinavian? Isn't Tallinn "Danes' Town"? Wasn't Estonia a Swedish colony longer than it was a Soviet Republic?

I would say that Scandinavians can easily defines as northern Germans who speak a northern Germanic language. Finns and Estonians don't speak a northern Germanic language, they speak Finnic languages.

To put in simply, the Jukkas and Tarjas of the world are Finnic tree people. The Jukus and Sirjas of the world are Finnic bog people. They can be considered 'Nordic' - but they aren't members of Erik the Red's extended family.

Jens-Olaf ütles ...

Estonia is a very unique nordic country. With more danish,swedish, german and russian history. Maybe that's the way.

Estonia in World Media (Rus) ütles ...

I thought it is quite obvious, but i may be wrong. Estonians aren't appealed to the Scandinavian wellfare model, they are more like the Brits if not Americans with this regards. Estonians are reckless with alchohol monopolies like in Finland and Sweden unknown. And Estonians are distrustful of state as it should be given the recent events.

Giustino ütles ...

I thought it is quite obvious, but i may be wrong. Estonians aren't appealed to the Scandinavian wellfare model, they are more like the Brits if not Americans with this regards.

In the area of economics and politics, Nordic would not be the most apt tag for Estonia.

But in the cultural sense, it makes a handy adjective to describe Estonian song, dress, literature, folk traditions, film etc.

And Estonians are distrustful of state as it should be given the recent events.

The Scandinavians are mong the most Euroskeptical in Europe. Norway refused to even join, and both Denmark and Sweden have failed to introduce the Euro.

I am not sure what recent events you mean - do you mean the presidential election?

Jens-Olaf ütles ...

For me: It's nordic. It's a Kaurismäki like country. And Norway fits too here. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO TALK. My grandfather talked about his past in few sentences. He was an Estonian. In 1994 I've met a Norwegian farmer, he did not talk, I understood all. Cause for him I was a German. This is the way you communicate among Northern people, or am I wrong?

Franz ütles ...

"But the ability of Finland to promote its culture abroad as 'Nordic' opens the door to Estonia to do the same"
Finland has been Nordic country for a long time. From the of 12th century until 1808/1809 Finland was part of Sweden. Until 1863 Swedish was only official language in Finland. So that questin is not in promoting its culture abroad as Nordic.

radical sasquatch ütles ...

If we exclude Estonians and Finns from Scandinavia because they speak Finno-Ugric languages, then wouldn't we have to group them with Hungarians, who also speak a Finno-Ugric language? Certainly we wouldn't do this, because proximity, history and custom are more important criteria for deciding whether Estonians are Scandinavian, Nordic or Baltic. As Jens-Olaf pointed out, Norwegians and Estonians tend to be quiet peoples, and this counts more for me than the languages they (don't) speak.

If we're going to classify peoples linguistically, then Estonians and Finns aren't even Europeans, but rather Asians. This was, in fact, how Finns were classified racially for a time in the U.S. in the late nineteenth/early twentieth century.

Giustino ütles ...

If we exclude Estonians and Finns from Scandinavia because they speak Finno-Ugric languages, then wouldn't we have to group them with Hungarians, who also speak a Finno-Ugric language?

This is getting pretty deep :)

I'll say this, Estonia is a small country perched in the northern reaches of the Baltic sea.

Despite its size, Estonia produces many well qualified professional people that must look beyond Estonia for endeavors that require resources beyond what they have in Tallinn and Tartu and elsewhere.

And where can they look? Do they look south? No. Do they look east? No. Right across the Gulf of Finland there is an entrenched society that exists that they can easily adapt to.

From IT to biotech to agriculture to food production, linking Estonia to the Nordic countries and their many common efforts - the Nordic Investment Bank, the Nordic Joint Committee for Agricultural Research, the Nordic Innovation Centre, and yes, the Nordic Council - makes sense for Estonians.

It's in their best interests.

Jens-Olaf ütles ...

IT people about "nordic" Estonia:
http://redcouch.typepad.com/weblog/2006/07/ross_mayfield_o.html

Giustino ütles ...

Carl Bildt thinks so - from the most recent The Economist:

Mr Bildt puts forward his own tongue-in-cheek recipe for the perfect “Nordic model”, stretching the geography: Finland's education, Estonia's progressive tax policy, Denmark's labour market, Iceland's entrepreneurship, Sweden's management of big companies and Norway's oil. The right conclusion, in other words, is that it is wisest not to look for a single-country model at all, but just to take best practice wherever you find it.

Franz ütles ...

Estonia is not unambigously Nordic country. Estonia is in this zone, where Central Europe ends and North Europe begins

Giustino ütles ...

Estonia is not unambigously Nordic country. Estonia is in this zone, where Central Europe ends and North Europe begins.

Different parts of it seem more 'Nordic' than others. For example, the islands - Saaremaa, Hiiumaa, and the north coast all seem very 'Nordic', but south Estonia has a bit of a Central European touch - the German influence seems stronger there.

Denmark is similarly ambiguous. It's Scandinavia, but there are no reindeer there. And what's Scandinavia without some reindeer???

Franz ütles ...

Estonian government had three (?) times applied for membership in Nordic Council. And results? All these applications have been rejected.

Giustino ütles ...

Estonian government had three (?) times applied for membership in Nordic Council. And results? All these applications have been rejected.

It's all about money and bureaucracy.

It would be a real coup for Estonia if they actually accepted. Right now Estonia is party of the Baltic Assembly, and has been for 15 years. Something it tells me it will take an awfully long time for Sven Svenson to change anything in the Nordic Council's bureaucracy.

Yet then again, Svenson just threw out the social democrats and chose a center:right alliance to govern Sweden. Right wing politicians in northern Europe tend to think the sun rises in Ida-Virumaa because of the Estonian flat tax.

So who knows. Estonia probably wasn't ready to join the alliance of blonde snobs in 1999 or 2002.

They may have to get wealthier before they are allowed to enter the cross country club.

Let's check back in about 10 years.

notsu ütles ...

Well, I, being an Estonian, feel Northern-Baltic mostly and tend to view Latvians as most similar to us - every time I have been there I don't have this "foreign" feeling that I have in Finland. And when Latvians speak, it sounds like Estonian, but one I hardly can understand (which is a shame of course, I should learn some Latvian at least.) Listening long to Latvian talk, I even got the feeling that I understand - what the talk is about basically and so on. The intonation and communication models, even mimics are SO homely there. It is as if we were one nation, speaking two tongues by chance (and historically we quite are.)

Consider that during nearly all the historical times, conditions have been the same in Latvian and Estonian territory. German landlords and heavy influence from them, both on languages and customs (in this we differ from Finns)? Check. Hanseatic towns? Check. Never had an independent country before 1918? (in this we differ from Lithuanians) Check. Lutheran christianity since 16.-17. century? (again, difference from Lithuanians) Check. Even Swedish power in 17th century reached further south than just nowadays Estonia. So, even this time the bordeline between Nordic, lutheran power and Central European catholic power (Poland) ran in the middle on nowadays Latvia, not along todays Estonian-Latvian border. A bit earlier, late 16th- early 17th c., the same borderline ran between North and South Estonia. But nothing of this seems to have had very long-living influence. After all, local landlords remained German - or at least German-speaking - all the time. Even in Swedish and later, in Russian empire, this marked a difference between Estonia-Livonia-Latvia, from one part, and Finland-Korelia, from the other.

Huh... if you look at traditional costume, you are to find similarities with Latvian costumes too, not only with Swedish of Finnish. And those song festivals that we claim to be so Estonian, well, Latvians have them too. Such things were very popular in all German-dominated areas, we are just ones who have preserved them.

Sure, we have something common with Finnish too, even besides grammar and great part of vocabulary. We are definitely more similar to Finnish than Latvians are (and Latvians more similar to Lithuanians than we are). Nevertheless, when I am in Finland, I feel like a tourist and nobody would mistake me for a Finnish. I like Finns, I am in love with Finnish literature and films (and have read shamefully little of Latvian literature), but it is still kind of foreign to me.

Külli

notsu ütles ...

To add more controversy - when I am in society of Swedes, Brits, Germans and Finns, then I definitely feel a sense of closeness to Finns, and I have heard that the same applies in other way round - fellow Estonians have told me that in international conferences both Latvians and Finnish tend to keep close to Estonians. Like choosing places in dinner table and whom to go to city tour with etc.
So, maybe we really are midway between Nordic and Baltic.

Following is more genetical than cultural but I once heard about a research of some kind of antibodies or something else in blood... anyway, Estonians seemed to be a crossroad of all neighbouring blood types - all of them that can be found in North-West Russia, Latvia, Finland, even Sweden, can be found in Estonia too, but usually they don't go any further. So, there are Latvian-like blood types here that do not exist in Finland and Finnish-like blood-types that do not exist in Latvia and Russian-like blood types that do not exist further West and vice versa.
A melting pot, I'd say.

Giustino ütles ...

Actually, the big difference between Denmark, Norway, and Sweden and Finland and Estonia - I think - was the number of immigrants from the Middle East and Africa.

In Copenhagen, Oslo, and Stockholm, I couldn't walk two streets without bumping into some guy from Turkey trying to sell me a doner kebab. But that didn't happen in Finland. I think I saw one Somalian person while I was there. And I was there for 30 days.

I don't know if Finland is just not the cool place to immigrate to, but there seemed to be considerably less immigrants there. And the immigrants I saw in Helsinki - you'll love this - were Russian babushkas selling vegetables and fruits.

In Denmark, I think something like 9 percent of the population is foreign -born. In some ways it was very similar to other Western European countries like Holland and Belgium in that way.

In Finland, the girls who worked at the Indian restuarant in Helsinki I went to had blonde hair and blue eyes ;)

Also, the buildings in Helsinki - even the apartment blocks - looked similar to what they have in Tallinn, including those from the Soviet period. It's like the Finns just had better designed and built Soviet dormitories. In Central Helsinki it was the same - huge dark concrete buildings.

When I went to Finland after having visited the traditional Scandinavian countries, I did feel that I wasn't really in the "West" anymore. I thought I felt like I was in a slavic country, but I didn't feel that either. It was this strange middle feeling - a true border zone feeling.

I think that's why Finns and Estonians screw so many people up. People are like, "Well where the hell am I exactly?!"

notsu ütles ...

There was once in a Vikerkaar, few years ago, an article from a Frenchman - I guess it was Minaudier, if not him, then another estophile Frenchman - who described his first arrival to Estonia. He knew it was an ex-Soviet country and anticipated bearded muzhiks and onion-domed churches. In the plane, he sat next to a guy who turned out to be an Estonian and explained him, that no, Estonians are not Slavic; they belong to Finno-Ugrian language family instead (in this point, the French guy thought his conversation partner was a linguist, but to his astonishment he turned out to be physicist or sth similar) and are related to people like Lapps, Finnish, Mordvin, and distantly even Samoyedic nations. The Frenchman felt frustrated for his onion domes and bearded muzhiks, but soon he lightenened up to the thought: great, I'm going to see reindeers! And can you imagine his final disappointment when he stepped out of the plane and, as he says "I found myself in... Germany":P
After all, as he said, for most of Frenchmen, those beyond Rhein are all Germans. Specially if they are quiet blonde people with impossibly complex grammar.

His disappointment was of passing kind, however: soon he realised that he has found a Germany that doesn't exist anymore in actual Germany; that even some German stereotypes that have long gone in German motherland still continue to exsist. He noticed also a kind of self-irony in Estonians that he had not encountered in Germans.

And of course, he learned that Estonians will forever angrily argue that they are anything but Germans. Thus he started a very interesting train of thought about what identities are based on.

This leads to another intriguing question: Balto-Germans. Somebody told me that Germans of Germany view them as strange or different. Any Balto- or Germano-Germans here, do you sustain it? And is there a separate Balto-German identity?

Giustino ütles ...

Somebody told me that Germans of Germany view them as strange or different. Any Balto- or Germano-Germans here, do you sustain it? And is there a separate Balto-German identity?

I think what is true of them is true of all emigrant societies - they preserve an older version of the society while the 'parent' society moves on.

I am reading a book right now that focuses on the Estonian Swedes and how Swedish people see/saw them as 'Swedishness' saved in a bottle - representative of an older Swedish culture that has been lost.

Perhaps Germans saw the Baltic Germans in the same manner.

In the US there is a great book about how 17th century England has influenced American culture, particularly the regions of the emigres and the impact it had on American regionalism.

For example, the southern 'genteel' planter society of the US was based on the lives of the English immigrants who settled there - many of whom were from the south of England and lived on large sprawling plantation-like estates.

So everytime you see an American president riding around on a horse at his 'ranch' you might be catching a glimpse of a 17th century English nobleman and the kinds of activities he would participate in.

Likewise, most of the settlers of New England came from the east of England. Here's a quick description:


1. New England-the Puritans came from the East Anglia region of
England. They were pious, hardworking and intoxicated with theology and order.
2. The Middle Colonies-the Quaker influence is profound in this region of Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey. William Penn and the followers of the Quaker founder George Fox were the most liberal minded of the quartet of folk cultures chronicled by Fischer. The Quaker culture was influential in the southwest and midland counties of Britain. Their belief in religous tolerance has added much to American democracy.
3. The tidewider and coastal south was settled by southern English natives who were Cavaliers supportive of the Stuart
dynasty. This society was hierarchial and based on honor and
fueled by chattel slavery.
4. the backcountry region was settled by Englishmen from the northern border region of England, Scotland and Ulster Scotch-Irish. Exemplified by such paragons of this violent and emotional culture were men like Andrew Jackson and James Knox Polk. Composed of Hoosiers and Rednecks, Crackers and doughty pioneers this society believed in individual freedom.

helsinkian ütles ...

Vormsi is the place where the older Swedish culture that has been lost was to be found. In Finland during the late 19th Century for Finnish-speaking artists the thing to do was to go to Russian Karelia to find the Finnish culture that had been lost. But the painter Beda Stjernschantz (1867-1910), one of the leading symbolists in Finland, a Swedish-speaker originally from Porvoo, came to Vormsi to paint in the 1890s. She was one of the artists fascinated with the authentic old Swedishness to be found there. She would paint Estonian-Swedish children in their traditional costumes. One famous painting is known as "Everywhere the Voice Invites Us" (Överallt en röst oss bjuder, 1895); it's featured in the Ateneum (Finnish National Gallery) home page in the "Age of Symbolism" section. The name Vormsi comes from Swedish "Ormsö" and it really sounds like it's named after some old-time Viking chief called Orm ("the snake").

helsinkian ütles ...

Btw. is Estonian-Swedish the correct word for estlandssvensk? Or should I use Swedes of Estonia or something like that?

The problem is that in English the natural thing to say is something like "Italian American", meaning Americans of Italian origin. But in Swedish words like estlandssvensk (literally Estonia's Swede) mean Swedish-speakers in Estonia, finlandssvensk (literally Finland's Swede) mean Swedish-speakers in Finland and sverigefinsk (Sweden Finnish) is used of Finns in Sweden. Finns then use similar constructions like "vironruotsalainen" or "suomenruotsalainen" or "ruotsinsuomalainen" and Italian American is "amerikanitalialainen". I wonder if the Estonians also form words for minority nationalities like this.

helsinkian ütles ...

Indeed, if Vormsi represented for speakers of Swedish some sort of utopia of an original Viking paradise, perhaps we could think of that island as the heart of Scandinavia that simply stopped beating in 1944.

mõhk ütles ...

as another Estonian I must say for me Estonia is definitely Nordic no matter what others think. IMO Finns are pretty much interchangeable with Ests. I feel right at home in Helsinki whenever I visit. As to other Nordic countries there are of course more differences, but Gotland is just like Saaremaa.

I've never identified myself as Baltic. I don't really see anything what we have in common with Lithuania except what we share as Europeans.

Giustino ütles ...

I've never identified myself as Baltic. I don't really see anything what we have in common with Lithuania except what we share as Europeans.


It's funny, because I am reading several books on the histories of the formations of the Baltic States and Lithuania is always treated very differently. Poland is the big player there, and Lithuanian history gets tied up in Polish foreign objectives.

Latvia is really interesting because it was more industrialized so there was a greater connection to Bolshevism. They also seemed to have more of an anti-German edge - I guess the Baltic German elite was especially harsh of the Latvian people during their rule. Latvia was also the most important for the Russians and their Soviet government. From what I have read, it was their hope to retain Latvia as a Soviet country in 1918 so they could set it up as a model Western Soviet country and then export their ideology to Germany and Scandinavia.

In a way, you can see why Latvia is still seen as somehow "betraying" Russia in its current independence and Western orientation. [In current opinion polls, Latvia is seen as the greatest enemy of Russia]. Because there was genuine support for Bolshevism in Latvia and the Latvian Red Riflemen played a prominent role in the October Revolution. Latvia's Western reorientation then, in the eyes of current Russia, is a total rebuff to their great civilization. It shows that they are suffering from intellectually bankruptcy. Ouch.

The big player that these books omit is Finland, which should be included as much as Lithuania should be included. So many Estonian decisions were based on Finnish decisions - the decision, for example, to pursue full independence rather than national autonomy - is attributed to the Finnish decisions to do the same.

So the books wind up discussing Finnish internal politics at length even though they categorically try to separate them for the sake of it being a "Baltic"-focused history.

Kind of interesting.

Swede by heart ütles ...

It's American confusion to talk about Scandinavia being more than geographical term. Everyone in the Northern hemisphere of Europe knows that Scandinavia is only Sweden and Norway. Fennoscandia is Finland. Denmark and Iceland are neither one, yet all five nationstates form NORDIC.

Estonians will never fit into that category. They're too different, culturally.

Besides, Giustino seems to be talking about Tallinn only. Have you guys ever been outside of Tallinn? Don't find internet in downtown Rakvere.

Anonüümne ütles ...

Riccardo,

Swede, try lai 7 for public internet accedss in rakvere, or chose from these wifi sopts (from the wifi.ee site)

Maasika WiFi
Maasika tänav, Rakvere
SSID: Elar_+37256484606
Mailserver: mail.neti.ee
Lisatud: 2004-12-10

Tarva Pubi Kroonikeskuses
Adoffi 11. Rakvere
SSID: Rakvere WiFi
Mailserver: mail.neti.ee
Lisatud: 2003-04-06

Statoil Jõhvi
Rakvere 40.
SSID: TELE2
Mailserver: mail.tele2.ee
Lisatud: 2003-08-22

Rakvere Turuplats
Rakvere, laada 16.
SSID: Elion
Mailserver: mail.neti.ee
Lisatud: 2003-08-31

Statoil Rakvere
Näpi küla, Rakverest-> Narva suunas.
SSID: TELE2
Mailserver: mail.ee
Lisatud: 2004-01-25

Pubi/ööklubi Carola
Kuke 3. Rakvere
SSID: Carola Wifi
Mailserver: mail.neti.ee
Lisatud: 2005-11-26

Elion Laada
Laada 41, Rakvere
SSID: esindus
Mailserver: mail.neti.ee
Lisatud: 2004-02-23

Elioni esindus Kroonikeskuses
Laada 29, Rakvere
SSID: esindus
Mailserver: mail.neti.ee
Lisatud: 2004-02-23

Rakvere Teatri kohvik
Kreutzwaldi 2a, Rakvere
SSID: TEATRIKOHVIK
Mailserver: mail.neti.ee
Lisatud: 2004-04-10

Nurga külalistemaja
Narva 24. Rakvere
SSID: nurga kylalistemaja
Mailserver: mail.neti.ee
Lisatud: 2004-07-12

Neste Rakvere
Laada 22/ Tuleviku 9.
SSID: Elion
Mailserver: mail.neti.ee
Lisatud: 2004-09-30

Rakvere Munitsipaalvõrk
Rakvere kesklinn
SSID: ElionRakvere
Mailserver: mail.neti.ee
Lisatud: 2004-11-22

Villa Theresa
Tammiku 9. Rakvere
SSID: VillaTheresa
Mailserver: mail.neti.ee
Lisatud: 2006-05-07

Väljavahi Statoil,
Tõrremäe küla, Rakvere Ringtee
SSID: TELE2
Mailserver: mail.ee
Lisatud: 2005-06-23

Hagari Pitsakohvik
Vilde 4, Rakvere
SSID: hagar
Mailserver: mail.neti.ee
Lisatud: 2005-05-06

Old Victoria Pubi
Tallinna tn. 27. Rakvere
SSID: Pubi
Mailserver: mail.neti,ee
Lisatud: 2005-05-13

Hotell Wesenbergh
TALLINNA 25, 44311 RAKVERE
SSID: AP5
Mailserver: mail.neti.ee
Lisatud: 2005-05-12

Hotell Wironia
Rakvere 7. Jõhvi
SSID: Hotell Wironia
Mailserver: mail.neti.ee
Lisatud: 2005-07-05

Rakvere Tsentrum
Koidula tn. 1. Rakvere
SSID: Elion
Mailserver: mail.neti.ee
Lisatud: 2005-07-02

Elioni esindus I Jõhvis
Rakvere mnt 3. Jõhvi
SSID: esindus
Mailserver: mail.neti.ee
Lisatud: 2005-10-03

Lääne Viru Maavalitsus
Kreutzwaldi 5. Rakvere
SSID: L-Viru MV
Mailserver: puudub
Lisatud: 2006-02-13

Rakvere linnavalitsus
Lembitu 7. Rakvere
SSID: Elion
Mailserver: mail.neti.ee
Lisatud: 2006-10-01

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Each of you has your personal story; it is your history. Keeping a diary or writing your feelings in a special notebook is a wonderful way to learn how to think and write about who you are -- to develop your own identity and voice.

People of all ages are able to do this. Your own history is special because of your circumstances: your cultural, racial, religious or ethnic background. Your story is also part of human history, a part of the story of the dignity and worth of all human beings. By putting opinions and thoughts into words, you, too, can give voice to your inner self and strivings.

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"I haven't worked on Cady's Life for ages. In my mind I've worked out exactly what happens next, but the story doesn't seem to be coming along very well. I might never finish it, and it'll wind up in the wastepaper basket or the stove. That's a horrible thought, but then I say to myself, "At the age of 14 and with so little experience, you can't write about philosophy.' So onward and upward, with renewed spirits. It'll all work out, because I'm determined to write! Yours, Anne M. Frank

For those of you interested in reading some of Anne Frank's first stories and essays, including a version of Cady's Life, see Tales From the Secret Annex (Doubleday, 1996). Next: Reviewing and revising your writing

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Flasher T ütles ...

Estonia is not on the Scandinavian penninsula, though...

Neither is Denmark. :P

Flasher T ütles ...

You should also imagine what it is like for them to learn our languages. It's got to be tough.

What, English? As an English major whose mother tongue is Russian, I can tell you right now - English is very, very simple. :) In fact the greatest problem for native English-speakers when learning other languages is morphology (as there is pretty much none in English).

Flasher T ütles ...

Never had an independent country before 1918? (in this we differ from Lithuanians)

That's a historic coup by Lithuanians. The Baltic-to-Adriatic, Greater Lithuania you're thinking of was based on major chunks of Belarus and Poland, Lithuania as we know it today was actually a fairly minor part of it.

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Helstein ütles ...

Estonia as Nordic , but not Skandinavia :)