kolmapäev, oktoober 11, 2006

Remember Our Old Friend, Pronkssõdur?

From everything I read there is still a police presence around the most controversial monument in Estonia. There has been one since May. I know that the Estonian government didn't want to spend its huge surplus on redistributing some of the state wealth back to the have-nots, but, how long exactly is this going to go on?

September 22 came and went and here we are still. Prime Minister Ansip wants it gone and I understand him. It seems like a very big hassle to live in fear of dueling crowds of Slavs shouting "fascist" and rightist Fenno-Ugers vowing to blow the whole place up. Wouldn't make sense to bury the issue in a faraway cemetery on the edge of town?

But then there are those that are afraid of Lihula on steroids. Because it was ok to unleash the riot police to hold of crowds of natives hurling sticks and stones in Lihula when they took their war monument away. They could get away with that. But do they really want to revisit Lihula in Tallinn? That idea gives me the creeps.

And so the compromise has been to try and "change the meaning" of the monument. What exactly does that mean. How will the somber laying of national symbols in commemoration of the dead of the first Estonian republic manage to peacefully coexist with Soviet anthem singing and unveiling of the hammer & sickle?

None of these solutions seems to solve anything. And so the watch goes on. and on. and on. Maybe if we wait long enough, it will go away?

9 kommentaari:

plasma-jack ütles ...

http://www.epl.ee/artikkel/357998
On Monday, police stopped guarding the bronze monument. The Bronze Soldier is now guarded by a camera and a private security guard.

Somebody already put there some flowers (couple of years ago no Russian would have bothered, since there is no holiday or anything), I guess that we could expect right-extremists there on Saturday (they seem to prefer that day of the week).

Giustino ütles ...

So I guess the presidential election is over so we can all go home?

Wouldn't the surveillance camera have worked just as well months ago?

plasma-jack ütles ...

yep, you've got the point

Giustino ütles ...

yep, you've got the point

If the pronkssõdur police presence served a political purpose, who did it serve most?

plasma-jack ütles ...

If I were asked, what political party increased its electoral support thanks to the mess around the Bronze Soldier, my guess would be the Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica.
Police presence was at the moment the only measure that this particular government would and could implement. A measure which emphasized the absurdity of the whole scandal, of course. I'm an Estonian living in Tallinn and I don't give s*** if the statue goes or stays. Two years ago, almost nobody did.

Giustino ütles ...

If I were asked, what political party increased its electoral support thanks to the mess around the Bronze Soldier, my guess would be the Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica.

But it was Keskerakond's Kalle Laanet that made the decisions on the police presence, right? That's where I get confused.

Giustino ütles ...

I'm an Estonian living in Tallinn and I don't give s*** if the statue goes or stays. Two years ago, almost nobody did.

I walked past it on most days when I lived there and didn't notice it really, although it sort of looked out of place.

I think that Tallinn is a bit 'light' on political monuments. The biggest monument I recall is the one to the victims of the Estonia ferry disaster.

Oyvind ütles ...

Ok, guess you've heard this question before, but still: When did Estonia become one of the Nordic countries? We are one Finnish guy and one Norwegian sitting here discussing this just now, and to neither of us does it seem correct to refer to Estonia as one of the Nordic countries, and I should think that the same goes for most inhabitants of the "traditional" nordic countries; Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. Even though I know that which countries the Nordic consists of is not something that is written in stone, I would say that the composition of the Nordic Council is the closest we can come to an encyclopedic answer to that question, and Estonia is NOT a member of said council.
There, we've said our piece.

Giustino ütles ...

Ok, guess you've heard this question before, but still: When did Estonia become one of the Nordic countries? We are one Finnish guy and one Norwegian sitting here discussing this just now, and to neither of us does it seem correct to refer to Estonia as one of the Nordic countries, and I should think that the same goes for most inhabitants of the "traditional" nordic countries; Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. Even though I know that which countries the Nordic consists of is not something that is written in stone, I would say that the composition of the Nordic Council is the closest we can come to an encyclopedic answer to that question, and Estonia is NOT a member of said council.
There, we've said our piece.


Oh this has generated the most comments I've ever had. I think it's a good controversy too because people from the 'traditional' Nordic countries should be interested in Estonia.

I use the adjective 'nordic' to describe Estonian culture or the Estonian people. I do that because it is the best word I can find to describe them in an international setting. Nordic is not a Swedish word. Its original English meaning is just "northern."

If I tell a Brazilian that Estonians are Baltic, what does it mean? Does that explain their fondness for solitude, drink, the Internet, or cross country skiing? Does it explain why most of them are blue eyed or why their language is a colorful assortment of vowels like üüü õõõ äää and ööö?

How else do I describe life in my wife's hometown of Karksi-Nuia where kids ski to the store in winter, rather than walk? How else do I describe Estonian punctuality or the holiness of the sauna?

It's way easier for me to use the word nordic to describe all of this because it makes sense for foreigners that know little of this tiny land called Estonia. Why should I not use a word that's so convenient? Because the Nordic Council said so?

You're going to have to do better than that.