teisipäev, detsember 05, 2006

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

That's Mister Fred Rogers there, an icon of my and many others' childhood. Each day I would watch his TV program Mister Rogers' Neighborhood and ponder like so many other children why he changed his shoes every time he came inside his house. But this blogpost is not devoted to shoes, it's devoted to neighbors and how you feel about them.

I am interested in learning from Estonians how they feel about four other nations: Swedes, Finns, Latvians, and Russians. These are the four neighbors of the Estonian people. Different Estonians are likely to know more about certain neighbors than others. Estonians from Valga probably know the Latvians well, while those in Jõhvi have a firm understanding of their eastern neighbors, the Russians. Estonians in Tallinn probably know Finns the best, while Estonians from the islands are in a position better than the others to know the Swedes. So tell me your impressions are, what you like and what you don't like, and simply what you know.

For your benefit, I will discuss my neighbors. As a New Yorker I have many neighbors, including people that live in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and, yes, Canada - both Quebecois and from Ontario. Here are my thoughts on each neighbor.

Let's start with New Jersey, perhaps New York's closest relative. People in New York look down on New Jersey as they have usually only seen it from a car window and smelled it from that position as well. The perspective is that Jersey is, in one way or another, dirty. Plus Jersey has no real cities. Its two population centers either commute to New York City or to Philadelphia. And the culture that Jersey does produce is ridiculed in New York. In Jersey Bruce Springsteen is "the boss" and Jon Bon Jovi is a native son that has done good. In New York, both of these guys are tolerated, perhaps privately enjoyed, but publicly mocked. And forget about their marketing schemes. Nobody really believes Jersey is the "Garden State" or wants to sink their teeth into a ripe "Jersey Tomato." Gross!

Beyond New Jersey is Pennsylvania. The line is that "Pennsylvania is Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with Alabama in between." It could be right. Pennsylvanians to New Yorkers, I think, come across as a bit more folksy and, yes, even Midwestern. Pennsylvanians have their share of all American working class roots, things that New York City dwellers find exotic. I mean, people in PA, as it is called, may have an uncle that worked in the coal mines! And it is hot out there in the Keystone State in the summer! There are so many parks for kids in PA, and so many memories of hot days sucking down sickeningly sweet lemonade. Uh oh, I am getting that gross feeling again ...

Connecticut, on the other hand, is a state I can deal with. Despite their somewhat more elitist attitude and inability to not dress preppie, Connecticutians, as I call them, are generally ok. The only thing is that I feel bad for them because no matter what they produce, it always seems to be less impressive than something from New York. I mean, do you want to listen to New York hip hop or Connecticut hip hop? Do you want to swimming at a sandy New York beach or a rocky Connecticut beach? See what I mean.

To their north are the people of Massachusetts, or Massholes as they are collectively known. Massholes love the Red Sox and hate the Yankees. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they harbor genocidal feelings towards all New Yorkers. You can tell them by their large pushy SUVs making their way back to Braintree with the ubiquitous "Yankees Suck" sticker on the bumper.

North of Mass. is Vermont, Howard Dean's turf.
I like Vermont because it is simultaneously culturally conservative and liberal. You can own as many guns as you want, listen to country music (you'll hear it on many radio stations up here) AND marry your gay partner in a civil ceremony. Traditionally Vermonters have disliked New York (Vermont was a part of New York during the colonial period). Vermont is known for skiing, all sorts of rugged activities, and Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream. Not a bad reputation to have.

As for the Canadians, they are a plodding diplomatic-like people that fear, above all, confrontation. They are so friendly it is scary and will engage in such Good Samaritan behavior as letting you ride the public transit bus, even after your bus ticket has expired! At the same time, they are passive aggressive. I think they secretly also despise Americans and believe that the world would be so much better if Justin Trudeau was king of the world. Truth be told, they could be right.

58 kommentaari:

plasma-jack ütles ...

I like Finns. Have met quite many of them and cultural shocks were rather rare. One Finnish guy refused to drink keefir at my place, but that's understandable. The food they're selling at Finnish supermarkets isn't very good though. And our beer is better. But they have a society that corresponds a bit more to my political ideals.

I've met only two Latvians, one Swede and one Russian-Russian, so I wouldn't be able to say anything about them. Still, judging from my trip to Riga, it seems to me that there is as little difference between Estonians and Latvians than Estonians and Finns. They speak with the same intonation as we do - you couldn't notice the difference from a distance where you can't hear exact words. You could with Finnish.

Latvian Russians speak their mother language in a funny way. It took me some time to understand that they have Latvian accent... probably the same Russians that are so indignant for having to learn Latvian.

Estonia Visitor ütles ...

This is interesting, my girlfriend and her friends have said the same thing about the Latvian language. Probably there was a lot of intermingling in earlier times and that's why the languages "sound" the same even though they are completely different. As one guy said, "It's Lithuanian with an Estonian accent!"

One thing I have always been curious about. Do Estonians notice a difference between their own Russians and the Russians from the "motherland"? When I have travelled to ex-British colonies, for example in Africa, I have found the Brits there to be more "traditional" and more loyal to the idea of the British Empire than the average Brit I see in the street in the UK.

Doris ütles ...

the more "loyal" held true during the first Republic for the Baltic Germans. Now THERE was a split identity... having been the masters here for 700 years, almost all their posessions taken away overnight, having to deal with their fallen social status but still being the core of the enterprise world over here. Longing for the home they left 700 years ago, but also sometimes being even more loyal to the Eesti Wabariik than the native Estonians.

but, to the topic at hand. I do think that there is a difference between Estonian-Russians and Russia-Russians. for their language as well, the Estonia-Russians have an Estonian accent, although it isn't nearly as horrible as the Estonian's who is trying to speak Russian. there is also the local slang, and other words that aren't even used in Russia.

now, as for the Russian's identity... I think that by and large they fall into 2 groups: 1) extremely talented, hard-working, intelligent, sensitive, artistic... you could almost say that they are the superlative of what a person should be. My deskmate in High School was like that. she spoke (and still does) 4 languages fluently, finished with honors and is now studying to be a doctor... cum laude.
2) the scum of the Earth. won't work properly even if the pay and the conditions are very favourable, drinks to excess, uses foul language normal people can't even think of. prone to violence and radical ideas...
the Russians sre very very controversial people.

Giustino ütles ...

One thing I have always been curious about. Do Estonians notice a difference between their own Russians and the Russians from the "motherland"?

Something I have noticed in Orkut is that the Russian Estonians in Tallinn often have friends that speak both languages, and their comments section usually contains Estonian, Russian, and English.

Andres Sehr ütles ...

I don't know anyone that wants Justin Trudeau to be Prime Minister let alone 'king of the world'. :-)

He's a nice guy and all but honestly, he's got a long way to go to ever be close to his father.

Giustino ütles ...

I don't know anyone that wants Justin Trudeau to be Prime Minister let alone 'king of the world'. :-)

Just a bit of humor. But who would Canadians back to lead the world? Geddy Lee? Celine Dion?

the other Mel... ütles ...

I'd like to see Geddy Lee running Canada, he'd do a better job than that joker Harper...

But seriously, the issue of "russki" and "rossiyski" is still in flux. In English and most languages it is one thing, but in Russian it is totally different. And comparing those left behind by empire (such as Russians in the Baltics compared to Brits in Africa) is a little different due to many things. One, the level of haute culture is so much more even in the Russia/Baltic case rather than the Brit/Africa case. If anything, the Balts are more European than Russians -- and that has been a direction Russia has aspirated for centuries. There has been no aspiration for Brits to become more African. It is just a matter of where the colonies were. Just like you don't see Norwegians try to be more Swedish or so forth. If the Brits arrived in Africa at a time where there's more parity, then who knows?

naem ütles ...

Okay, here we go.

Swedes - conservative and the representatives of what you would call "Nordic". At the same time money-hungry and want to steal all our savings :P (they own the biggest banks etc) A bit snobish maybe, think very well of themselves, yet in a conservative manner.

Finns - our cousins with the weird language ;) No really, sometimes Estonian looks like an enhanced version of Finnish with all the unnecessary crap cut out :P Consider them to be our friends, they own much of our real estate etc but not as "hostile" as the Swedes in my eyes.

Latvians - pretty much like us, only there is a stereotype that they're more savage than us. Well, I went to summer camp with some Latvians once. They weren't all that different, they only speak some strange archaic blabber :)

Russians - that word is like the red towel to a bull. Well, I know there are nice Russians and I have even met many, but still when you see a bunch of Estonians talking on the street, you think they're just hanging out. With a party of Russians, there's always this little suspicion: "But maybe they're planning a plot to take over the government!?" That's probably because of the language barrier too.

Giustino ütles ...

If the Brits arrived in Africa at a time where there's more parity, then who knows?

A superb argument would be to compare New Englanders to the English proper. New Englanders use many archaic words that come directly from 17th century England. And who else do the Bostonians - with their own personal Cambridge - aspire to be like and emulate?

As an Italian-American, I have noticed that Italian-Americans tend to be more conservative than regular Italians. They keep up these old social mores, whereas *real* Italians have a much more modern European outlook.

For example, in Italy we saw a young woman, recently graduated from university, blowing up condoms like balloons in Bologna as a celebration of her new life as a young woman, while old perverted Italian male relatives (is there any other kind?) gleefully snapped photos. That would NEVER happen in an Italian-American graduation party in New York. NEVER.

Anonüümne ütles ...

I have written a lot about Latvians in other threads, but some more: they may well be Finno-Ugrians who picked up the trendy Baltic language along with equally trendy agriculture. This would explain the "Estonian accent".

About local Russians, I heard this story: when the football team of Estonia won the Russian team, Esto-Russians shouted loud "Nashi vyigrali!!!" (roughly: "Our guys won!) So, they definitely do not identify with Russian Russians.

Giustino ütles ...

I have written a lot about Latvians in other threads, but some more: they may well be Finno-Ugrians who picked up the trendy Baltic language along with equally trendy agriculture. This would explain the "Estonian accent".

I think the Latvians are more genetically diverse. They look more like regular old Europeans - like thy could be from Holland or Switzerland. The Estonians mostly seem to be variations on Mart Laar.
Don't lie - you all look like him just a little bit. Even my daughter has the Estonian jowls!

Anonüümne ütles ...

Genetically Estonians are closer to Latvians and Lithuanians.

Eppppp ütles ...

About the differences between Russia-Russians and Estonia-Russians.

I have heard how young Estonian Russians speak to each other in Tallinn. Sometimes every third word is in Estonian. Names of the stores, events, public offices at least. Im not sure if a Russia-Russian would even understand what the heck are they talking about?

--

Also I remember, I asked this question once from an Estonian Russian.
He told me a story.
He and his friend went to Moscow and they were in the subway. "What stop should we get out when our address is this-and-this?" they asked privately from someone, and got the answer.
The next moment the next person next to them wanted to know what the question was, and started to argue, ant the third and the fourth. People formed mainly two big gruops: which subway stop is better for them?!
...Both Estonia-Russians felt pretty intimidated. Somehow they got out of that yelling and loud subway car and asked from each other: "What was that? about! Its not their business! Crazy people!"

And then they looked at each other and said: "Gosh, we are talking now like Estonians!"

Giustino ütles ...

Genetically Estonians are closer to Latvians and Lithuanians.

There have been many papers in this area. One interesting one showed that in regards to haplotype, Estonians were closest to ... the Sami!

http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/18/6/1077

notsu ütles ...

Some Estonians are variations of Mart Laar, but there are enough of Lennart Meri variations around as well.
Then there is the Andrus Ansip type that looks fairly Central-European.
And some people from Saaremaa and Setumaa are very dark, almost like Spanish. In Saaremaa, we can blame pirates, but in Setumaa? just strong southern sunshine?
(I was the anonymous who has "written a lot about Latvians", forgot to sign. Apologies.)

Franz ütles ...

"I am interested in learning from Estonians how they feel about four other nations: Swedes, Finns, Latvians, and Russians"
Finns are mostly nice people, but somewhat they are a bit different. Finns' "communicational models" or "behavioral patters" are a bit different.
Latvians are very similar to Estonians.
Russians ... this is special question. There are many prejudices concerning Russians. I have always felt strong cultural barrier with Russians.
I can not characterize Swedes, because I have never been in Sweden

Franz ütles ...

"The Estonians mostly seem to be variations on Mart Laar."
Mart Laar does not look like "average Estonian"

plasma-jack ütles ...

That's an interesting subject. Who does, then?

Franz ütles ...

to: Plasma-Jack
Look at this Soviet militia's instruction how to determine nationality. Estonian in this picture is quite similar to "average Estonian"
www.webpark.ru/comments.php?id=16976

Estonia Visitor ütles ...

Well, you guys can go on about the "Mart Laar" variety or the "Lennart Mari" variety but my favourite type of Estonian has to be the "Piret Järvis" type" ;-)

Estonia Visitor ütles ...

Well, you guys can go on about the "Mart Laar" variety or the "Lennart Mari" variety but my favourite type of Estonian has to be the "Piret Järvis" type" ;-)

Giustino ütles ...

That's an interesting subject. Who does, then?

We recently got a National Geographic issue from 1968 about Finland, and this one woman's picture stuck out for me. I kept feeling like I *knew* this woman - the high cheekbones, the flat nose - and then, it hit me. She looked just like my brother-in-law Priit!

Giustino ütles ...

Mart Laar does not look like "average Estonian"

Not as a whole. But each Estonian has a piece of Laar in them. I think three of the most defining characteristics are a 1) round head, 2) flatter nose and 3) high, asiatic cheekbones.

Take another look at Villu Reiljan or Karin Jaani or Urmas Paet or Edgar Savisaar. Tell me what you see! Or maybe that is just the "political type" and non-round heads (square heads) choose to flock towards the banking or IT sectors :)

Giustino ütles ...

Well, you guys can go on about the "Mart Laar" variety or the "Lennart Mari" variety but my favourite type of Estonian has to be the "Piret Järvis" type" ;-)

I'd be wary of the Estonian young woman/teenage girl. She probably uses enough beauty products to make herself quite flammable. Hence, if you must have a romantic dinner, make sure it is NOT by candlelight.

Giustino ütles ...

Finns are mostly nice people, but somewhat they are a bit different. Finns' "communicational models" or "behavioral patters" are a bit different.

All of you are too shy. Unless you are drunk (or on the Internet) you ask a question and then the Finns/Estonians sort of mutter between themselves in their tree/bog languages, and then one says something funny that sounds like:

In Finnish:

"noh, arrrrvamisenenenenen"

In Estonian:

"noh, blublublublublubid"

And everyone laughs, bot not a big laugh.

Eye contact is often non-existant.

Franz ütles ...

"3) high, asiatic cheekbones"
It's prejudice. More than 3/4 of Estonians don't have high, Asiatic cheekbones

Giustino ütles ...

"3) high, asiatic cheekbones"
It's prejudice. More than 3/4 of Estonians don't have high, Asiatic cheekbones


But my wife does. And how is that prejudice? It makes people look more interesting. I've got occidental eyes too. I can guarantee you that my Italian ancestors had roots elsewhere - Greece, Turkey, what have you.

I guess you are referencing 19th century "scientific" work that put the Estonians and Finns in with the Japanese and Koreans? I still find that humorous. Not insulting though.

I mean Estonia DID produce Baruto :)

stockholm slender ütles ...

Well, the language question certainly causes endless fun. For me Estonian is a mad machine gun language that just murders the stately, dignified Finnish cadences: basically it's Finnish on speed... (Or Finnish ridiculously slow Estonian.) For both sides the other language sounds highly comical. Then there are those maddening things where the differences are not necessarily big but very confusing. This fact of having three grades of lengths for some sounds (even four in some Southern dialects) is just killing me: my wife tries to illustrate it by mystically pronouncing the exactly very same word twice... On the other hand it is very hard for her (though otherwise having basically native fluency) to hear whether she should use one or two letters when writing certain Finnish words.

notsu ütles ...

There are many different anthropological types in Estonia, often well-mixed. There are brachy- and dolichocephalic people. There are blondes and brunettes. And the mongoloid vs caucasoid traits vary very interestingly: in most places in Eurasia and America, the mongoloid traits correlate with pigmentation. Only among Estonians and Finns the correlation is reversed: to put it roughly, the more mongoloid you are, the less pigmentation you have (i.e, our most almond-eyed people are also our blondest). Some have claimed that it is an ancient proto-race, from the time when Caucasoid and Mongoloid groups hadn't split yet; some other sustain that initially they were "normal" mongoloids, but adapted towards less pigmentation to make the most of scarce sunlight.

Anonüümne ütles ...

Most Estonians don't look like Mart Laar.
One thing that Mart Laar, Karin Jaani, Urmas Paet, Edgar Savisaar etc. have in common is that they are all chubby and they wear glasses. Chubby-faced people (with glasses) look the same all around the world.
I've seen many Mart Laars in the US as well but maybe they were of Estonian descent?!?

Giustino ütles ...

One thing that Mart Laar, Karin Jaani, Urmas Paet, Edgar Savisaar etc. have in common is that they are all chubby and they wear glasses. Chubby-faced people (with glasses) look the same all around the world.

Now that you mention it, Bill Bryson looks rather Estonian ;)

Of course you are right. Estonians don't look like anyone, including each other, don;t have any real culture, and are neither Baltic nor Nordic.

Spoken like a true Estonian!

vahet pole ütles ...

You should've set up someone more attractive than Mart Laar as the Estonian stereotype. Now, as you can see, people are upset. Don't forget - Estonians consider themselves to be among the most beautiful on the planet, especially the ladies.

Anonüümne ütles ...

"Eye contact is often non-existant."

Really? I find eye contact greater with Estonians. But it's the classic Esto piercing stare. Burns a hole right through one...and I love it. :)

Oskar

Giustino ütles ...

You should've set up someone more attractive than Mart Laar as the Estonian stereotype.

Are you saying that Mart Laar is unattractive?

Giustino ütles ...

Really? I find eye contact greater with Estonians. But it's the classic Esto piercing stare. Burns a hole right through one...and I love it. :)

As students, they are shy.

plasma-jack ütles ...

doh (: If you look at the teacher's eyes, he might start talking to you.

have you ever tried that line with Estonians: "Now I'm done talking and want to hear YOUR opinion. It's voluntary, of course. Come on guys and girls, don't be shy! Who wants to talk first?"
(: (: (:

Sorry about that, it just reminded me my old days with teachers of French origin..

Franz ütles ...

"Eye contact is often non-existant"
Americans need continous eye contact. But in other cultures eye contact is not so important

notsu ütles ...

There are some cultures where eye contact is considered aggressive... I think Estonia is somewhere in the middle.
Also, Estonians have larger personal space than Americans (or Russians), so if somebody is avoiding eye contact during a conversation, the reason might be that they feel their personal space violated already. Of course they wouldn't do anything then to make the intruder more "present"...

When I was in Hungary, I was first shocked when people said "Hi!" in lifts. I mean, the distance between people was intolerably small for me and they were even destroying my last small personal bubble. But I got used to it and when I returned, I felt like "do they all hate me? why don't they say "hi!" to me in lifts?

naem ütles ...

have you ever tried that line with Estonians: "Now I'm done talking and want to hear YOUR opinion. It's voluntary, of course. Come on guys and girls, don't be shy! Who wants to talk first?"

Haha! That's so our English lessons. The teacher is like "Come on, you need to talk" ... everybody's silent. When she forces somebody to speak by calling his/her name, they mumble something and then the next one the teacher asks, answers something like "I agree with *previous speaker*". I don't know if it's just my town, but we tend to be rather not-talkative. Unless on the Internet, though :P That's where we let out what ever has piled up in our souls :P

notsu ütles ...

Some remarks about neighbours: Swedes are hugging people. I have seen them to open a wide embrace when they actually are just welcoming total strangers, say, participants of a conference.

And they have recognizable Swedish glasses. Finns don't need glasses to be recognized, they can be discerned by physiognomy. I couldn't describe it, I just can tell. BTW, excessive vodka drinking isn't symptomatic: Finnish tourists in Pärnu and Saaremaa and Tartu are very polite and sophisticated. I guess the hard-drinking ones never make it further from Tallinn.

stockholm slender ütles ...

Well, the hard core don't even leave Tallinn harbour... Those that cross (often on all fours) into the Old Town are already more sophisticated. I had never visited Estonia before I met my wife (kind of like my interest in the US history and culture, why go, when you have books...), and boy, was that cross section of my compatriots on the boats exotic. I had never encountered such a mix of Finns before: gross over representation of certain, hmm, unfortunate parts, of the population. It was quite a shock.

Anonüümne ütles ...

Russians - worst neighbors any small nation could possibly have in this world.
Latvians - nice people but we have lost contact after the collapse of the USSR.
Finns - I don't like their patronizing attitude; and I don't appreciate the fact that dozens of vehicles with Estonian license plates have been vandalized or burned down in Helsinki over these last few days, not a very good-neighborly behavior; not to mention their leaders are most enthusiastic in sucking up to Putin.
Swedes - I hardly consider them as neighbors, my contacts with them have been brief.
I guess it is safe to say we haven't been blessed with neighbors.

stockholm slender ütles ...

This car burning thing is quite interesting - Finland is a very boring country, a cat run over by a car gets basically a headline... But so far, I believe, not a word in the Finnish media. It is hard to think that the gutter press would not seize this issue, and lovingly, but nothing yet. Strange.

Anonüümne ütles ...

Are you suggesting that this car burning thing was made up by Estonians? What could possibly be the motive for making up such a story? Like it or not, there is some obvious hostility towards Estonians in Finland, rightfully so, some would say. I mean, I am aware of the fact that some of my compatriots in Finland are being engaged in criminal activity.

stockholm slender ütles ...

No, I did not say that, at all - just that it is very mysterious that the local media would be totally quiet on the subject. This is not Russia where the media might not print or show something negative about the country, such as news of this sort. This would actually be quite a selling story.

There is absolutely no such widespread anti-Estonian feeling at all, your usual xenophobia and ignorance sure, but even this is mostly directed towards Russians and anyone with dark skin (I believe that in the EVA survey Estonians were clearly the topmost ex-Soviet bloc nationality in popularity, leading even some EU-15 members). This said, you can get individuals up to all craziness.

Still, it is most curious that there are no reports in the Finnish media. Can you link me to Estonian news on it?

naem ütles ...

http://www.etv24.ee/index.php?0568351
http://www.postimees.ee/081206/esileht/krimi/uudised/233281.php?r=

Just two I found quickly. It says the data is unconfirmed though.

naem ütles ...

There's a video at ETV24 too showing pictures taken of the cars and one of the victim talking on the phone.

stockholm slender ütles ...

Cheers! No, could not find anything from the Finnish media, even with some googling. Curious, usually they would surely notice even one case, not to talk about several and ones that would even be quite clearly ethnically motivated... I'm sure it will have to picked up sooner or later here.

Anonüümne ütles ...

There sure were some anti-Estonian feelings in 2003 while I was studying in Kuopio. This was just before the EU enlargement, almost every day someone would come to me and tell me that Estonia has no right to become a member of the EU because it is a former Soviet state and its cheap labor force will invade Finland. They couldn't care less about Poland, Lithuania, or Cyprus joining the EU, it was all about Estonia. Go figure.
This fear was, in fact, created by the media. Finnish media has a tendency to point out the negative aspects of Estonia, I know the Amnesty report made some headlines in the Finnish media. Hence, I think I've seen more positive pieces about Estonia in The New York Times than in Helsinkin Sanomat.

stockholm slender ütles ...

Well, sure, but that's just what could be expected, your regular xenophobia of a wealthy country with up to now protected work force. Taking that into consideration the ties are well established and any tension will surely be temporary. Of course, the media is sometimes quite exasperating (also Estonian - you don't exactly cherry pick positive news from Finland), one distortion is the omission of the numerous cultural connections and organizations that are very energetic and lively.

But read how the local gutter press is treating Sweden and you will see things in proportion...

stockholm slender ütles ...

Btw, yesterday's Hesari had a really unpleasant headline about the Amnesty report. Amnesty is the only activist organization that I support with a regular contribution but it sure is annoying about this Russian issue... Still, I don't think that this negative news story was due to the specific Finnish perspective, I think that's how this thing gets reported in the West. Very unfortunate.

Anonüümne ütles ...

If I would have to make a list of countries media-bashing Estonia, Finland would rank 2nd after Russia but the good news is that there would be no other coutries on this list, no significant countries at least. Even the French and Japanese media are creating a positive image for Estonia, not to mention the US and the UK.

stockholm slender ütles ...

Well, hopefully you at least see the essential differences in attitude with Moscow and Helsinki. I would find this comparison slightly out of proportion. I'm sure there is a healthy crop of traditional Swedish superiority about their reporting on the newly independent countries etc. etc. Media is there to sell copies and good news don't sell. YLE does lots of good and informative reporting on Estonia, HS is often quite good, the connections between the countries on all levels are strong and growing stronger. I find the worst excesses of the media unfortunate and unhelpful, but really, essentially, they are not that significant.

Anonüümne ütles ...

I don't know if you read Estonian but if you do then you should read these articles http://www.postimees.ee/161106/esileht/siseuudised/228985.php

http://www.ekspress.ee/viewdoc/0F59ABCAA964EC4AC22571DA002D0598

Somehow I find it hard to believe that any Swedish journalist would impose that stealing is in Estonians' blood nor do I believe that Swedish authorities would maliciously scare people with Estonian criminals. That's exactly what the Finns are doing.

stockholm slender ütles ...

I read it, laboriously... But I would absolutely say that the Estonian media gives very onesided picture of Finnish reporting, and vice versa. There are lots of small items in tv (especially YLE) that are neutral, informative and often quite positive. Yes, there is too much negative news, especially in the gutter press but that is just one side of the story. The Swedes are scared of their shadows and their yellow press is also very silly, but Estonia is not such a close country for them. Estonia has quite a special closeness for Finland. In the 2005 EVA survey 32% of respondents considered that "Estonia is felt to be a closer country to Finland than Sweden" - 39% disagreed and the reminder were uncommitted. In Finnish the question was "koetaan läheisemmäksi kuin Ruotsi". That is quite remarkable. No doubt the Estonian media chose to report some more negative aspect of the survey...

Giustino ütles ...

This was just before the EU enlargement, almost every day someone would come to me and tell me that Estonia has no right to become a member of the EU because it is a former Soviet state and its cheap labor force will invade Finland.

I hate to break it to you, but Estonians and Finns are ... the exact same people.

There is no great ethnic difference between Aino of Seinajöki and Aino of Käsmu. Compared to all other neighbors, they have the most in common, ethnically.

It's like Spain and Portugal. Greece and Cyprus. Sweden and Denmark.

Yes, yes, I know lipp is "flag" in Estonian and "ticket" in Finnish. But this "holier than thou" attitude from the Finns is a joke.

plasma-jack ütles ...

[i]Still, it is most curious that there are no reports in the Finnish media.[/i]

I asked a reporter of Hesari about it, she denied any self-censorship and said that probably the Finnish journalists didn't work at weekend and missed the news. Tomorrow's HS should break the silence :-p

Anonüümne ütles ...

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