teisipäev, märts 13, 2007

Vampires


Russian football fans in Tallinn. Courtesy of SL Õhtuleht.

34 kommentaari:

Andres ütles ...

I still remember them throwing flares and waving banners last time. And I also remember riot police beating them up, which was more pleasurable ;)

Giustino ütles ...

I don't care how many times people try to convince me that the USSR was "not as bad as Hitler" etc.

These guys are still as scary as run-of-the-mill Skinheads, perhaps scarier because of Putin's love affair with his communist childhood.

Being surrounded by them is about just as frightening as being surrounded by a pack of neo-Nazis in East Berlin.

Yikes!

plasma-jack ütles ...

just for the record - the text on the banner said... well, it's too polite in transaltion, but basically, "the masters are back home" (meaning the masters of a country, not masters of the math - which ended in draw, btw, thanks to OUR guy Sergei "Terja" Terehhov)

plasma-jack ütles ...

*transLAtion; *matCh

I'm not sure if I'm referring to the right game anyway. As far as I know, there have been a vistory, a draw and a loss lately, am I right? Well, the Russian team are definitely going to kick our miserable ass this time. Which is a pity. Not the best times for Estonian footballers.

Flasher T ütles ...

Not the best time for Russian footballers as well, admittedly.

And yeah, those dudes are straight out of Night Watch. (The book/movie.)

rakamon ütles ...

The belief that USSR was "not as bad as Hitler" is a core issue in Kremlins cold war against the Baltic States. Since the West was in the war with Hitler (together with Stalin) and westerners had to dig the ashes of the nazi concentration camps and did not know much about what was going on behind the iron curtain, they tend to agree. It is probably only in the Baltic states and maybe Finland, where people have predominantly the contrary belief.

Sten ütles ...

I am also afraid of russians. That causes me to hate them. There's nothing to do about it either. They're everywhere!

Giustino ütles ...

It is probably only in the Baltic states and maybe Finland, where people have predominantly the contrary belief.

The thing is that the approaches and results were in the end so similar that it's hard to differentiate even though they had different ideologies.

I am also afraid of russians. That causes me to hate them. There's nothing to do about it either. They're everywhere!

Don't be driven to hate. :)

But some of the things I have read remind me of Stephen King's book Salem's Lot, hence the blog title "vampires."

In that book, the vampires plead with their victims saying that "it's not so bad" and "it's natural" before sinking their teeth in to suck the victim into the dark.

It reminds me of these stories where the narrator says that it's natural to forget ones language, and that their grandmother spoke some Finnic language and that the Russification process is natural.

It's creepy, but I sense the same kind of melancholia in their voice. Obviously this opinion is not shared by many, but definitely by some.

rakamon ütles ...

Of course, this is not a world evil contest, but by the total of murdered people + duration of the regime, Stalin evidently left Hitler far behind. For Estonians there were additional nasty things connected to the Stalin regime - it was not good enough to be quiet an try to avoid breaking the rules - you had quite often to express in public your love and loyalty to big fat asses of Moscow. And, of course, russians are very different in all their manners and psychology . That made many estonians to choose, what they believed, was the lesser evil.

Tiia ütles ...

Just to play the devil's advocate here a bit - let's try to understand these fellas a little, shall we. I find that they evoke pity in me. Because imagine yourself, born into a country where the majority is not of the same ancestry (I went to say nationality, but then again we are of the same nationality) as you are. And who your predecessors used to rule over. Now these little shits are, in the big picture, not afraid of you anymore. You are a guest in your own home, without the opportunity to exist the way you are to succeed in life, to provide for your family. You have to merge into the dominant culture, but in a way it's telling you that yours is wrong, it does not fit. And who the hell wants to be wrong. Now these are some alpha males with Russian blood pounding through their veins, I really can't see them handling the situation any differently...

Giustino ütles ...

Now these are some alpha males with Russian blood pounding through their veins, I really can't see them handling the situation any differently...

I have a feeling that they were trying to be assholes on purpose, although obviously the skinheaded fellow with his CCCP shirt reminds one of ... skinheads.

One thing I always try to keep in mind is that Russia is physically the largest country in the world. It is also a (usually) a two hour bus ride away from most places in Estonia.

If I moved to Connecticut, and then the Connecticutians insisted that I learned to love Joseph I Lieberman or move back to New York - I'd probably move back to New York. It's not that far away. The people speak my language, etc.

OR, if Vermont decided that it had its own traditions and culture (which it actually sort of does) and that it was going back to its short-lived republic of 1777, then I'd have to say, "Good for you Vermont, wave your green flag, I hope you win an Olympic medal in skiing" If they said I would need a visa to ski, I'd go skiing in Massachusetts or Maine instead.

Estonians, however, have no place to go other than Estonia (and Finland and Ireland for work). I don't see why people have to be so uppity about the situation.

I think I learned about sharing in kindergarten.

Anonüümne ütles ...

A little off, but somewhat the this saying still applies here - "The world smells different to a midget in the crowded elevator."

My point is, that there are a lot of great, intelligent and interesting Russians. It is just that the average Estonian person does not meet them (ever!) in their lifetime. I am talking Russian high society and cultural elite. What I mean is that Russia is so big and we are such tiny midgets in comparison (population size!), that the only side of Russia we really see is just one Big Ass and it's regular representatives like the ones pictured above. Rise above that humongous ass, and you'll see a head of Russia which is quite glorious. There is so much good and beauty in Russia that is missed and it is such a loss for everyone. Mostly for us. If we could only tap into the positive energy of Russia and Russian people, we'd all be one happy bunch.

Sten ütles ...

I would wanna talk about the football game again. Last time Estonia won 2:1 and then the russians started to beat up estonian fans because of that. And they had Russian/Soviet flags out there and when I would of gone there with an american(or estonian) flag, I would of been beaten up too, and I think it's not fair. Everything is so unfair between russians and estonians, that's why I hate them.(it might sound silly to you, I know...)

Giustino ütles ...

If we could only tap into the positive energy of Russia and Russian people, we'd all be one happy bunch.

I agree with that. If I pointed out a photo of German skinheads, I'd obviously still think that all the other Germans I know in my life are swell and I enjoy their culture and wish them only the best. Ditto for the photo of our vampires.

As a sidenote, I've used my example about leaving Estonia for Russia before. I just wanted to clarify that I don't mean that anyone of Slavic descent should repatriate.

My simple point is that if you really, *really* hate Estonia, and you are of Russian background, you do have other options. In fact, the Russian government will give you about $5 to move to Kaliningrad. See, there are other options.

In the 1790s, my ancestors were SO in love with the British monarchy that they traveled for weeks over land from New York City to Lake Erie, then sailed over Lake Erie to Ontario, then proceeded to build brand new farms there. They really, really didn't like America. So they left. For about 120 years. :-)

These things have happened before.

dudette ütles ...

quite a xenophobic people here.. i would like to refer to the previous amnesty discussion. maybe I should write to them.

besides, having a USSR-shirt isn't any different than having a che guevara shirt or waving the confederation flag somewhere in Alabama.

Andres ütles ...

besides, having a USSR-shirt isn't any different than having a che guevara shirt or waving the confederation flag somewhere in Alabama.

This is a question about where to draw the line. Should a shirt with a red star be accepted and one with a swastika not? If yes, then why?

dudette ütles ...

swastika is mostly a problem in Western Europe. Besides, it has been used for thousands of years in Buddhist tradition, you can find it everywhere in Asia, for example.

Besides, USSR is much more than Nazi movement in the 1930s and 1940s. The USSR I experienced in the 1980s had really nothing to do with anything such as Hitler.

dudette ütles ...

sorry correcting:
not thousands of years but hundreds of years..

notsu ütles ...

Actually, I don't believe that those guys are Russians of Estonia, so "born into a country where the majority is not of same ancestry /.../ and who your predecessors used to rule over" argument would not apply. As far as I know, local Russians are fans of Estonian team. I once already posted a comment about young e-Russians who shouted "nashi vyigrali" after the match that the Estonian team won.

And so, Sten, no need to hate local Russians, right? at least not at a football match... and leaving aside the usefulness of any kind of hate, which I personally find improbable.

Giustino ütles ...

besides, having a USSR-shirt isn't any different than having a che guevara shirt or waving the confederation flag somewhere in Alabama.

It all depends on who is seeing the shirt. Obviously very few people really know about Che Guevara in the US. If I wore a Che shirt in South America, maybe it would have a different meaning.

For example, I used to have a jacket with many buttons. Most of these buttons were from specific places: ie. a button that said, "Praha"; a "Stockholm" button, etc.

One button was a red star that I bought at a flea market in Berlin. I wore the thing all day in the tourist areas and nobody said anything. Then at night I was asked quite seriously, "are you a communist?"

I mean the idea that there are actual communists, enough to warrant such suspicion, seemed like a joke to me. In New York, communists are the smallest, weakest group of intellectual jokers you will meet. They have no power whatsoever. They probably can't even get people to come to their meetings.

But in Eastern Europe, I learned fast that it's probably not that good an idea to walk around with a Red Star on your jacket, unless you want to get beat up.

Quite similarly, I met some guys from Virginia of African descent. Somehow the university Washington & Lee was brought up - where Robert E Lee, commander of confederate forces in the Civil War, was the president of the school after the war.

I made mention of Mr. Lee and the air grew icy. Just the way they said his name let me know that they had no warm fuzzy feelings for Robert E Lee or his horse Traveler - also buried on the school grounds. I really regretted bringing him up! And he's been dead for 137 years!!!!!

Insult is in the eye of the beholder :)

Giustino ütles ...

quite a xenophobic people here.. i would like to refer to the previous amnesty discussion. maybe I should write to them.

Better to have it out in the open. It's a funny thing - this mix of European tribalism mixed with European notions of tolerance.

Sten has reasons to fear Russian genocidal mania in Estonia - it has happened before, probably to his relatives.

But just because a bunch of jerk-offs wear stupid shirts to a football match doesn't mean that you should unequivocally despise all people because of where they come from.

In all honesty, one can see football as a healthy conduit for these nasty attitudes. Better football games than actual violence.

stockholm slender ütles ...

This battle for historical truth is really an interesting question. I guess it's the brutally realistic and pragmatic Finnishness in me that makes me say that facts really don't speak for themselves. Mere truth is simply not enough in today's media climate: you have to be effective and tactical.

First I would argue that one should have an effective slogan and a figure to be repeated ad infinitum, say "The illegal Soviet occupation cost Estonia 25% of her population." Every official statement should always use it prominently, it should be mentioned always when the issue is debated etc. etc. It should become an integral part of the media discourse. (Comparing Finnish and Estonian population statistics between 1939 - when the countries had roughly similar population structure - and the present day would make this actually quite an objective assessment, incredible as it may sound.)

Then there should be included touchy-feely type of sympathy for the other side - along the lines of "we understand fully the heroism of the Russian nation in their fight against Nazi-Germany" etc. etc.. This always goes well down in the Western media, and on the side you could mention the Estonian Truth Commissions and how Estonia has tried to come to terms with these "difficult issues and traumas" and how perhaps Russia should do the same.

Simple stonewalling and tight lipped repetition of facts is just not enough today. Maybe it's unfortunate that these real historical tragedies and the historical reality itself should be the objective of PR wars, but the world is a grim place after all.

Anonüümne ütles ...

Russians in general are fairly racist towards non-whites. Me being non-white, this doesn't really endear me to them.

The last 2 violent incidents I had were with Poles however.

Giustino ütles ...

I won't deny that Russians are masters at the art of intimidation. I recall meeting the Russian ambassador to Denmark who looked to be about seven feet tall and whose head was enormous - the size of a mailbox. He was an imposing figure.

He then proceeded to tell our class how the Baltics should never be allowed to join NATO (this was in 2001). Just the combination of his size and the overly emotional way he talked about Baltic NATO membership made me surprised when the Estonians, Latvians, and Lithuanians, were invited to join the organization.

Those NATO commanders must have some icy cold blood!

Anonüümne ütles ...

Hardly surprising when you have a KGB man in power, the same guy who built his career on spying on students, dissidents, stealing industrial secrets, and uncovering spies for assassination by the operation wings of the Stasi and KGB.

The Russians of course love Putin. He will bring glory back to Mother Russia.

andres o ütles ...

What's the big deal about a CCCp jersey? Isn't it the same as wearing a Brooklyn Dodgers cap to a Yankees game?

plasma-jack ütles ...

no, it's more like Paolo Di Canio making Fascist salute in Athens

plasma-jack ütles ...

actually he did salute, when Lazio was playing against Livorno, whose supporters are mainly communists, so it got funny in the end.

http://www.spiegel.de/img/0,1020,424466,00.jpg

does this picture look worse and why?

plasma-jack ütles ...

http://www.spiegel.de/img/0,1020,553662,00.jpg
or rather that one

Giustino ütles ...

What's the big deal about a CCCp jersey? Isn't it the same as wearing a Brooklyn Dodgers cap to a Yankees game?

It's more like wearing a Rangers jersey to an Islanders game. A big mistake.

Martasmimi ütles ...

andres o said...
What's the big deal about a CCCp jersey? Isn't it the same as wearing a Brooklyn Dodgers cap to a Yankees game?

9:51 PM

How about if your were, white, black, asian...Russian, Irish,Indian,Italian, German,or Estonian...etc.
and you chose (for what ever mindless reason)
to show up at a Boston Red Socks game, in Boston in a New York Yankee baseball jacket and hat...
...the only real "issue" here would be how fast you could run!

Scott ütles ...

Giustino: "head the size of a mailbox"

LOL. I'm gonna steal that line.

andres o ütles ...

show up at a Boston Red Socks game, in Boston in a New York Yankee baseball jacket and hat...
...the only real "issue" here would be how fast you could run!


Yeah, when I visited Boston I got the impression that Red Sox fans didn't like the Yankees very much. Must be some kind of inferiority complex.

space_maze ütles ...

I've seen loads of Russian football fans doing the alpha-male recently again on pravda. "We'll show you who the master is!"

It's so cute how even in football, Estonia is blown up as the grand enemy.

Minority complex anyone? That's kind of like if Germany played Luxembourg up as the grand football enemy.

If I was a Russian football fan though, I would dearly try to AVOID the topic of Estonia. Considering that Estonia has a hundreth of the population, and no big football traditions, as football was considered a "Slavic sport" in the Soviet Union, from what I've gathered .. (Estonians played basketball instead, I've been told. I have NO idea though if this is really true)

.. I'd just try to shut up and hope that people forget that that little dwarf has tied and beaten you :-)

No matter how many times Austria beats the Faeroe islands, they'll never be a matter of glory for Austrian football, as they, once, 15 years ago, beat Austria. And it still hurts. Russians should feel much the same way :-)