But Estonia remains a divided country, despite a free and thriving economy. Of its 1.4 million people, about 25 percent are ethnic Russians, who according to Andrei A. Zarenkov, an ethnic Russian and chairman of the Constitution Party, live as “untouchables” in a political caste system.
He said Estonia’s government was fighting to remove the monument because “Estonia never had its own heroes.”
Right, so this guy is mad because he doesn't have any power. Boo hoo. Note to Zarenkov -- if you want to get elected in Estonia, say nice things about Estonia. Saying that Estonia doesn't have any heroes isn't going to get you elected. In fact, if you are so dumb that you would say something like that to the New York Times, then you should find another job. At least a third of Russian residents in Estonia could vote in the 2003 parliamentary elections, yet they didn't vote for you. Why is that?
Also, I seem to recall a ragtag army of 75,000 defeating the army of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic. The loss forced the Russians to renounce their claim to Estonia in perpetuity. That victory stands. Estonia today is a free republic. To add up the equation for you: Estonia fought for and won its independence in 1920 from the largest country in the world, and it's now 2007, 87 years later, and Estonia is an independent country, based on that victory. Who were your heroes again?
*Sigh* If Estonia wants to talk about wars with Russia, it should be talking about that one. They should also remind them that 3,000 Russian volunteers fought with the Estonian army and helped achieve Estonian independence. I wonder why nobody in Nashi dressed up in one of their uniforms this week. And are they honored by the Estonian state? Perhaps a monument to the Russian soldiers that helped free Estonia, attended by Putin himself is in order?
I guess some dead Russian soldiers are worth more to the Russian state than others. I've tried quizzing Russian acquaintances about how they feel about other actors in their history, ie: "How do you feel about Trotsky? How do you feel about Kerensky? How do you feel about Nicholas II?" But I usually just get shrugs. All the while, I keep wondering what Putin is trying to create here with fascist youth groups that dress up in Red Army uniforms like they actually had any balls. What do they want to do? Overun Tallinn, waving flags in grandfather's clothes and singing songs while people pause from shopping at Kaubamaja and then continue with their business.
See, in 1940, Russia still had an idea: communism. It had an ideological export. Today, it has no ideological export. They could march on Estonia, but they wouldn't win anything and their entire ideology boils down to worshipping idols. Smart historical costumes may make you feel good inside, boys, but they don't feed your family and they don't heat your home.
In the 1960s in San Francisco, they had "weekend hippies" -- young urban professionals who put on beads and went to clubs on the weekend. They weren't "genuine hippies" who actually lived communally on the bare minimum. I think it would be fair to say that "Nashi" are essentially the "weekend hippies" of communism.