esmaspäev, detsember 11, 2006

Estonia's Slavs Get Screwed by Moscow

Just when they thought the Language Inspectorate was fear incarnate, Estonia's Slavic residents have woken up to a new menace - their cousins in Moscow. Today a group of young Muscovites, most of whom we can assume have never been to Estonia, organized a protest in front of the Estonian embassy in Moscow burning Estonian flags decorated with swastika designs on them.

The actions of the group, called "Young Russia," come just a week after a bill was submitted to the Estonian parliament that would ban the use of the swastika as well as the Soviet hammer & sickle in public places where the display could cause a public disturbance. Let me repeat that - Estonia wants to ban the use of the swastika too, but the "Young Russians" painted one anyway on their mock Estonian flag that was burned during the demonstration.

The demonstration also happened shortly after Amnesty International issued a report suggesting ways that Estonia could improve its integration policies. At a time when Estonia's Slavic residents could be enjoying a genuine debate about integration law reform, they have been ambushed by a loud, hateful protest in the streets of Moscow that arouses the displeasure, if not the fear, of genocidal Russian nationalism.

If Russians interested in Estonia wanted to do the local residents any favors they would a) shut up and let Estonia's Slavs speak for themselves; and b) actually read Estonia's laws. Sadly, the Russian audience is fed information by state-owned media that is hostile to Estonia. I wish I could somehow change the situation, but I often fear that I can't. There are too few antidotes for ignorance.

35 kommentaari:

Anonüümne ütles ...

i have for quite some time thought why haven't any russians in estonia stood up against russian propaganda.
why don't russians in estonia stand up for the country they live in?

ants ütles ...

Have You heard the interview of T.H.Ilves in radio 'Echo Moscow' Dez.8? Look www.kuku.ee

Anonüümne ütles ...

But Jevgenij Kristafovitsch has protected Estonia in quite many occasions. For that he is not the most loved person among local russians.

T. ütles ...

I can see the logic of the local Russians who usually don’t defend Estonia. It is because of their indefiniteness. The live physically here, but mentally very much in Russia. At the same time, they don’t feel that they belong here or there. Here they have all the benefits of a small, stable society with economic growth. They have usually savings or even small (shady) business and they often consume luxury goods, even if they don’t pay for apartments. Apart from the material side, they don’t feel well here – not respected or accepted, bitter deep inside /another topic here/. That’s why they turn to Russia. Identifying themselves with Moscow, they can feel superior to the tiny Estonia. At the same time, they are regarded strangers in Russia – and that’s where they figure as “Estonians”, taking pride of our higher living standards. I’ve heard E-Russians talking about visiting Russia, saying: “You know, I was totally Estonian there”:)

the other T! ütles ...

actually, I know e-russians who do feel themself as Estonians. They say:"look, I was born here, live here, pay my taxes here, speak estonian...so what the .... do I have to do with moscow?"...well, and from my point,..I also see that e-russians don't defend Estonia because (and thats unfortunately a fact) they are discriminated or better, they do feel the prejudices' of Estonians towards e-russians...

t. ütles ...

Hi the other t! I know they do feel prejudices, that’s what I was saying, too.
Often we don’t even perceive our own prejudices. For example, I have a nice young e-russian colleague, smart and intelligent. She’s the only russian in the office. Quite often our other colleagues use phrases like “smb was acting like a russian”, “it looks so cheap, like russian taste” and so on. They don’t mean to offend her and don’t knowingly scoff russians, it’s just so common things to say. But I am embarrassed to hear it in her presence.

notsu ütles ...

Actually, there are russians in Estonia besides Kristafovitsch who stand against Russian propaganda in their blogs:
read
http://nostalgie-ee.livejournal.com/

or our man in Havana -
http://plushkin-papa.livejournal.com/

- an Estonian citizen of 100% Russian origin (descendant of pre-war Russian minority), who has born in Moscow and lives there, but has learned Estonian and calls himself (probably tongue in cheek) "väliseestlane"
(Я, что называется, valiseestlane:)). His attitude reminds me somewhat of baltic-german descendants.

cbr ütles ...

Hmm.. I'm not sure if I understood the news wrong but it's my impression that those "Young Russians" didn't protest against the language reforms etc at all. They protested against the fact that Nazi and Soviet symbols are treated as equals. Because they think that it's false to ban the symbols "that liberated Europe". Obviously their standing point is wrong. So we shouldn't try to understand their intentions to "draw attention to the Russian minority's status". They're just neo-communists. Youngsters who think that the USSR was swell. Their senseless blabbering about Nuremberg etc is irrelevant. The major point they're giving out is that "We love the USSR and we will not tolerate if anybody is going to say it's wrong". They're basically the same as neo-nazis only they speak up for a different violent ideology.

notsu ütles ...

I read somewhere about "neo-nazi-communists" or "communist-neo-nazis" of Russia, but have forgotten where and what was the exact name, somebody else?
Anyhow, those two don't seem to be mutually exclusive.

Giustino ütles ...

Hmm.. I'm not sure if I understood the news wrong but it's my impression that those "Young Russians" didn't protest against the language reforms etc at all.

My point is that Estonia's Russians could have benefitted this week from the Amnesty Report and had a real dialog in the media, but they are hijacked by these fools in Moscow who reinforce fears of Russia among ethnic Estonians.

I spoke with Aleks from All About Latvia once on this and he agreed that often the Russians in Russia are the Baltic Russians worst enemy.

I mean it's not everyday you see an Estonian flag burned. Now an American flag, that's a different story!

7 ütles ...

Being so called “e-russian” myself, I do fully agree with everything that was said above. As a matter of fact, this is almost true, that each and every “e-russian” here in Estonia (who learned Estonian language, got Estonian citizenship, maybe even served in Estonia’s conscript army) still associate himself with Russia. This should be easily understandable, that you basically can’t fight the feeling of still being a part of Great’ol’Mother Russia (even though when you go to Russia you are being treated there as a traitor). Hardest thing in all of this is to finally agree with only one point of view and support it truly.
As an example – I do agree with everything that Mr. Ilves said on this recent radio interview, and at the same time I pity the old folks who fought against Hitler’s Germany for their desecrated memories. How would you feel if you were building communism all your life and on the finish line you end with nothing? Still, in my opinion, this justifies only the elders of Russian origin.
As for young people – well, we are the first generation of “e-russians” and there is no similar experience for us to rely on. Believe it or not, some of us are trying really hard to be a valuable member of Estonian society (in particular).

plasma-jack ütles ...

@notsu: the word was "national bolsheviks" and they really exist. this how their flag looks like:
http://img.search.com/f/f7/300px-National_bolshevik.jpg

it's hilarious and sad, but mostly hilarious. theses guys are mostly clowns, the Rodina thugs are lot more scary. and those guys who kill foreigners in Russia and are always getting away with it, are making our few neo-nazis (what was their greatest achievement again, saying the n-word to an American?) look as innocent as Alice in Wonderland...

plasma-jack ütles ...

hey, Giustino, you can join them, too:
http://www.freewebs.com/nationalbolshevikparty/

Giustino ütles ...

How would you feel if you were building communism all your life and on the finish line you end with nothing?

See, the Red Army vets and the Estonian SS vets are just old men. When most of them fought they were quite young. Few were calling the shots, few were probably giving orders. I think it's sad that they remain so politicized in elderhood.
They should just be allowed to gather in peace, because in ten years there won't be any of them left. Is a gathering of old farts that fought on both sides of the Narva line really so dangerous? What are these guys going to do? Throw their false teeth at one another?

50 years after the American Civil War, old veterans would meet at battlefields and shake hands. They realized that despite all of the hate of the past, they were just old men that came to honor friends that didn't get out so lucky. Why can't that happen in Estonia?

Anonüümne ütles ...

to Giustino:
Why can't that happen in Estonia?
This is the question I am asking myself every day.

cbr ütles ...

Why can't that happen in Estonia?

Mostly because the Southern States didn't deport rich people from New York to work on labour camps in the deserts of Texas. Secondly it was a civil war, when WWII was not. Thirdly I don't think that the southern and northern states still have some ideological bone to pick.

I'm sure I could come up with more reasons. The main is that those wars are not comparable.

the other mel ütles ...

'Secondly it was a civil war, when WWII was not. Thirdly I don't think that the southern and northern states still have some ideological bone to pick.'

Both those comments are misleading. To the North it was a 'civil war' but to the South it was a war of independence. Big difference. The South still has many bones to pick with the North.

Remember, it took the US a 100 years to apologise for Hawai'i and the US-sponsored coup d'etat and illegal annexation -- so we will need to wait until 2040 before one comes from Moscow!

7 ütles ...

If i speak freely estonian, am estonian citizen, and do everything I can to support estonian people. What else can I do to be a proud member of society in your eyes?

oliver ütles ...

If i speak freely estonian, am estonian citizen, and do everything I can to support estonian people. What else can I do to be a proud member of society in your eyes?

Maybe I'm missing something, but who said you weren't one already?

Giustino ütles ...

I'm sure I could come up with more reasons. The main is that those wars are not comparable.

I don't think any wars are really comparable. But I can tell you that the American Civil War was bloody and vicious and more than 600,000 men killed each other in four years.

But several decades after the war veterans of both sides could gather together in the same place without fear of a riot breaking out.

There was a lot of hatred and both sides did terrible things to one another. But that is in the past. Nobody can change it - it just seems so absurd that these two stiff groups of old men create enough controversy today that arguments should break out.

The destruction of the Estonian republic was wrong. Stalin was crazy. The Red Army should have left Estonia as soon as it was rid of Nazi troops in 1944. That's that. Give it a rest.

If i speak freely estonian, am estonian citizen, and do everything I can to support estonian people. What else can I do to be a proud member of society in your eyes?

See, you are an Estonian. The ones that have been there for thousands of years may take some time to adjust their attitude, but if I had to describe you to a friend I couldn't honestly call you a Russian.

7 ütles ...

Thank you for soothing my conscience.
P.S. To be honest, I am a cosmopolitan. But being cosmopolitan in Estonia (at present days) is a bit harder than in England (lived there for about a year).

cbr ütles ...

Well yeah, since cosmopolitan is basically the same as English-speaking.

notsu ütles ...

I'd think that it's easier to be a cosmopolitan in London than in English countryside or provincial town... and deciding by size, there are only provincial towns or countryside in Estonia. Matter of size. And we haven't been a colonial empire which usually gives good start for cosmopolitanism.

Giustino ütles ...

And we haven't been a colonial empire which usually gives good start for cosmopolitanism.

I've met many e-russians with German surnames though. I gather that they, along the line, came from "cosmopolitan" families in St. Petersburg.

Frank ütles ...

First and foremost: a girl-friend of mine, raised in Rakvere by parents with Russian (dad) and Ukrainian (mum) as a mother tongue, a dark and brown-eyed girl, as far as I know (and we shared a flat for months)never felt second best in the eyes of her blond fellow-countrymen, since she considered her education Estonian as Estonian was her principal idiom and Estonian were nearly all of her friends ... so it is definitely not the ethnic background that counts - it is the loyalty and the language!

Second point; I would never ever call the Eesti SS units "old farts" - at the same time I would also hesitate to adress veterans of the Red Army in such a way.

Frank ütles ...

Giustino - German surname and a Russian cultural background might also indicate a Jewish background one or two generations backwards - and then this certainly is no contradiction to the cosmopolitan approach or coinage ...

Anonüümne ütles ...

e-russians with german surnames can be ones we call "volga-sakslased". If someone would explain who they are or how did they end up by river Volga, would be good.

Giustino ütles ...

Second point; I would never ever call the Eesti SS units "old farts" - at the same time I would also hesitate to adress veterans of the Red Army in such a way.

It's just a term that indicates that they are aged - and nothing else. You could call them "geezers" if it suits you. That they lived through hell and survived is admirable. But they are still old gentlemen.

When I am an old geezer sitting on a park bench, I'd appreciate such honesty from my juniors. Because there's nothing I hate more than somebody kissing my ass :-)

Frank ütles ...

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

tells you all you want to know about Sakslased that opted for the wild wild East ...

By the way, the motto of the Baltic Germans is "In Treuen fest", meaning about the same as the "semper fidelis" ...

7 to fred ütles ...

...it is the loyalty and the language!

Precisely! Another thing that I really hope, is that the russians (or other non ethnic people living in Estonia) one day will realize the whole seriousness of that.
Otherwise you possibly can adress them as "backstabbers".

plasma-jack ütles ...

for me it's not even the language. if you live here and don't speak any Estonian, then it is your personal problem how successful you can be in this society.
only if one starts telling me how Estonia voluntarily joined the USSR or how our compatriots asked to be shot or sent to Siberia instead of falling prey to Nazis, I feel more than a bit insulted.

Purc ütles ...

I have two great-great uncles that volunteered to Waffen-SS to fight the Russians and my great grandfather fought the Russians in Vabadussõda. Needless to say I am very proud of them all. But later, one of the uncles "voluntarily" left to Canada and the other took a "voluntary" trip to a death camp, he enjoyed it so much there that he decided never to come home again. My girlfriend's forefathers were wealthy hardworking farmowners, they all took a group "vacation" to Siberia.

Anonüümne ütles ...

I'm so proud of our blue-black-n-white, now it proudly stands in the line of "burned flags", alongside the Stars and Stripes, the Dannebrog, and many more. Quite an achievement for a flag, which represetns a nation of 1.3 million. It brings a tear to my eye.

7 ütles ...

My grand-grandfather fought against fascist Germany. Still after the WWII he was sent to “gulag-type” camp by Stalin. Also, I am proud that not a single member of my family was a communist.

notsu ütles ...

It was typical approach from Stalin: he considered all who had had any contact with foreign forces (be it German or British of US) - even if fighting against it - to be potential spies :(((.
Even some Jews, liberated from German camps, went straight to Soviet camps with accusation that they had "cooperated with Gestapo". How mad is that?