reede, mai 11, 2007

Absurdistan

As you may have experienced, Estonia has been under a cyber attack in recent days. This means that websites, such as the foreign ministry website, have been routinely inaccessible as mysterious anti-Estonian activists attempt to cripple, but mostly annoy, regular joes like me that live in this country.

Meanwhile unofficial sanctions against Estonia have commenced. A cut in oil transit. A cut in regular transport. A closure of a train line connecting St. Petersburg and Tallinn. Unpleasant posturing by Russian officials, such as Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who claims that by moving a Red Army statue to a cemetery Estonia is rewriting its history.

Nobody in Europe listens to the rambling thoughts of Russia's foreign ministry. After years of working side by side with Siim Kallas and Siiri Oviir, not to mention Toomas Hendrik Ilves, EU MPs predictably were not swayed by the "Estonia is glorifying Nazism" argument. One too many of them have been to Tallinn and gotten loaded in the company of Paks Margareeta and Pikk Hermann to buy the nonsense spewing forth from Moscow.

While Russia's visceral reaction to Estonia doing something it told it not to do is alarming, it hasn't cost us our heating or food here in Estonia. We are still living comfortably, watching the whole matter play out with detached bemusement. Before May 9 I was a bit worried that the modern day Komsomol that Russian state-monitored TV has been producing would do something rash, but it appears that they too are so awash in the luxury of stable Estonian life that they are unwilling to try anything smart with the police again, let alone Kaitseliit.

People that care about the Red Army got to lay their flowers on May 9. They got to sing their songs and wear whatever color suited them. And I have to say that images of the gathering at the verdant military cemetery did seem more appropriate than the mess that broke out on Tõnismägi last year. Vladimir Lebedev and Tiit Madisson did not meet. There was no more talk of occupation. In fact I think most people are tired of talking about the past, period.

In Estonia I think most people understand that the riots, while carried out by kurjategijad, were a symbol of general unhappiness on the part of the Russian-speaking population by their position in Estonian society. The problem stems from the fact that under the conditions of the USSR, Estonians had to learn Russian to get somewhere in the bureaucracy, but in Estonia it's the other way around. I think that 16 years on, many in the institutions in the Russian community accept that they live in Estonia and will have to recieve some Estonian education in school.

On the other hand, perhaps it's time for the Estonian rightwing, which has been driving the "Estonianization" campaign, to conceed that you can't really legislate integration. You can put the tools in place, but you can't just pass a law and make it so. So the idea that Russian language school instruction will be supplanted by Estonian instruction to the point that 60 percent of instruction is in Estonian is a fool's errand for Estonia's civil servants. Why not start with 30 percent?

Of course while all of this has been debated real integration goes in in communities across Estonia. In places like Saaremaa relative newcomers have had little trouble accessing the Estophone world. Obviously in places like Narva that's harder, and perhaps it's time to recognize that your policy for Kuressaare and your policy for Narva might need to be different. Recent developments, like making Postimees and Eesti Televisioon websites available in Russian is a welcome step.

I personally read Estonian newspapers. I am increasing my language skills daily. I can go to the insurance agency or the doctors and I have no need to use English. In fact it's easier for me to use Estonian sometimes rather than try to do business in half English and half sign language. But that doesn't mean that when I come home I don't read the Wall Street Journal or The New York Times. That's why Estonians, who are suspicious of Russian language intrusions into the Estonian language space, should not fear things like a Russian-language ETV channel.

On the other side, it would be nice if Estonia's politically awakened Russian-speakers could finally see that Russia only uses them as a political tool for domestic purposes. No one could speak with a louder voice to Moscow than they could. And they might be able to get a better deal if they spoke to the officials in Tallinn on their own rather than having the spectre of the Russian ambassador floating around them at all times.

Meanwhile, Russian nastiness towards Estonia -- a land mostly made up of bogs, forests, 1.3 million stubborn people, and farmland -- continues unabated. Some hope that Russia's anti-Estonian campaign will end when there is a new election and Russia needs new faux foes to target for domestic purposes. I hope they are right.

94 kommentaari:

McMad ütles ...

check this out: http://publicoffender.livejournal.com/755.html

"Nashi" propaganda brochure. Am i the only one who sees clearly the same style as HitlerJugend had?

margus ütles ...

Great piece.

I'm tired of this constant reassuring that Estonia actually is a real country.

btw. Why no more anonymous comments?

tambourine man ütles ...

If you reduce the whole conflict down to just to one variable you'll see that it was and is a communication failure.

We all have to learn to become better communicators.

We as a nation have all the tools and brainpower to do that. We have no other choice either.

Our weapon is going to be information and its communication at every level.

There is so much to learn and so much to do. So everybody counts.

tambourine man ütles ...

All the past wars were played out in the flesh. As the new epoch of information war has been ushered in the battleground is going to be minds and ideas. Bits and bytes and well, occasional bus shelters and window displays.

In this war every blogger is a soldier and can cause assymetric damage to the opposing side.

Changing somebody's mind is going to be the definition of victory.

There will be scientific papers written on this soon, you'll see.

It is too early to say how it all will play out in the end (if there's an end?), but Estonia is definately a testing ground for this new brand of war.

So young people, keep on training your little thumbs for combat SMSing.

The future and freedom of Estonia rests on you! ;-)

Agu-Enrik Ubailves ütles ...
Autor on selle kommentaari eemaldanud.
tambourine man ütles ...

If we loose this war, I can imageine a scenario where in the future there'll be a different bronze statue dedicated to the "Unknown Hacker" and today's teens, old by then, will be gatehering there as veterans drinking stolis and singing 00's russian electropop songs.

You and I would have recently completed our 25+5 year life sentences in Siberia and walk the streets of Tallinn with downcast eyes.

Kaur ütles ...

I think that the 60% requirement is taken from Latvia. They talked about the same number when there was this school reform a few years ago. Maybe it really is too much and 30% would be better, because our goal isn't (or shouldn't be) to make russian schools estonian schools (at least in the first place), but to teach them enough Estonian so that they could go to Estonian universities after graduation. It probably would also cause less problems and it would also ensure that the quality of educations stays the same. I think that it's quite easy to teach Estonian literature and perhaps geography in estonian (in my school I had english literature and geography in english and it wasn't that bad), but it's much more difficult to teach subjects like chemistry, mathematics and physics in a foreign language, because there students really have to understand things (not just remember what is told).

Kaur ütles ...

And btw, the Estonian word for criminal is kurjategija ;)

Giustino ütles ...

You and I would have recently completed our 25+5 year life sentences in Siberia and walk the streets of Tallinn with downcast eyes.

Just remember, we have English on our side, or as the Kremlinbots would put it, "the good English."

Vova ütles ...

With all due respect, bro, stop treating tiblastan as if it were a legitimate political entity, and its people--no matter how inferior they are--as humans.
Наблюдатель

Kristopher ütles ...

Russia doesn't need lebensraum and it certainly doesn't need resources. And access to the Baltic Sea it has -- just last year there was talk about how it was about to control the entire supply chain with acquisitions of terminals and transport companies. So very much a domestic issue. But no doubt also probing the limits of Western tolerance -- how soft are we now?

I have to say, though, I don't see how Russian versions of Postimees and other newspapers are a positive. The day the local Russian newspapers have an Estonian section -- that will be progress. Kind of like in the States, Vaba Eesti Sõna has an English section.

Giustino ütles ...

Kristopher,

What's interesting is that many of the arguments in the commentary section of the Russian language version of Postimees often devolve into Estonian.

Andres ütles ...

mcmad, that was a bit scary. Could we call perestroika the World War I of Russia? The humiliation that made them angry inside? Or is it just an isolated case? On the other hand, I don't believe every single average German approved of what Hitler was doing too... Interesting train of thought though.

space_maze ütles ...

check this out: http://publicoffender.livejournal.com/755.html

"Nashi" propaganda brochure. Am i the only one who sees clearly the same style as HitlerJugend had?


Nashi is forseeing a drastic drop in Herald Tribune's hiring standards, I see.

This is scary stuff though. That Estonia has to deal with being called fascists by these proto-Mussolinites is beyond ironic.

McMad ütles ...

As Hitler had his Hitlerjugend, so does Putin have “Nashi”: PutinJugend.
The similarities between Adolf and Putin do not end with that.
Similarities in use of symbolism, rhetoric and tricks of foreign policy are baffling.
Same kind of bigotry, claims of “greatness”, use of bluff and threats that were so typical for Hitlers Germany are almost exactly copied by Putins Russia. Same brutal and shameless meddling in the internal affairs of her neighbors, same use of ethnic Russians/Germans as 5th Columns who are then directed against the legitimate governments of their host countries, same kind of claims that their own people are somehow special, same kind of spitting on international treaties, same kind of misuse of international organizations as platforms from where to spread their shameless lies and slander – in all likelihood Hitler would see Putin as his moral heir!
But apparently Putin and his Jugend fail to see another parallel with Adolf and his gang.
Just like the end of First World War did not bring a complete defeat of Germany but only a change of regime, similarly the Cold War did not end with the defeat of Soviet Russia but with a regime change only. Regime change that bought similar social and economical difficulties, not to mention the national shame of a people who were used to see themselves as a “world power”. Exactly on top of these feelings did Hitler rise to power, as does Putin: the promise of restoring the “greatness”. By fuelling the feelings of chauvinism and xenophobia in their erstwhile humbled minions, both Hitler and Putin have showed us how easy it is to indoctrinate the masses. But at the end Hitlers “policies” steered Germany into a war against almost the whole world and we all know how that ended – with the total destruction of Germany.
Putin goes down the same road. He thinks that by manipulating the taps of the oil and gas pipes he can buy himself friends. No he can not as he has already overdone it. And similarly to Adolf will Putin (or his successor) at the end bring his country to a catastrophe. Catastrophe that the Russians (as did the Germans) fear the most: their country divided and under control of foreign powers.
So what can we say but: Full steam ahead mr.Putin and your Jugend! The sooner you get “there”, the sooner will we be freed of you!

Agu-Enrik Ubailves ütles ...
Autor on selle kommentaari eemaldanud.
martintg ütles ...
Autor on selle kommentaari eemaldanud.
admin ütles ...

From Ida Viru...
I'm told the Train SPB-Tall is back on....

(Seems GoRail have such a big hit, it can't stop like that....and have you seen the price??? 80EEK Johvi-Tallinn......blimey that's cheaper than the bus and far more comfortable!!!)

Some odd observations....

The border police are as jumpy as you can get in Narva..the queues get ever longer.....

Politsei are EVERYWHERE, except behind their radars at the moment...wow what a relief!!!

Russian consul asks....."U lived in France, UK, and all those nice places....what the F... U doing here in Estonia?"

Had to do without ANY alcohol for 10 days....bet it did wonders for the smugglers and bootleggers!

What an ordeal that was.....must have brought some shops to the border of bankrupcy....I wonder if the Gov't pays compensation????

martintg ütles ...

Giustino said...
So the idea that Russian language school instruction will be supplanted by Estonian instruction to the point that 60 percent of instruction is in Estonian is a fool's errand for Estonia's civil servants. Why not start with 30 percent?


With respect, I am surprised you seem clueless in regard to the school reforms. This so called 60% figure applies only to senior highschool. In fact one subject is added per year until five are achived in the final year of school. So they start with considerably less than 30%. The five subjects are Estonian literature, social science, geography, music and Estonian history. Hardly subjects crucial to a student's development if they are preoccupied with handling the language rather than the subject matter.

See:
http://www.hm.ee/index.php?047181

martintg ütles ...

A FAQ page in regard to the school reforms:
http://www.hm.ee/index.php?047189

Андрей ütles ...

"Information War"?

IP range 216.195.33.0/24 (Nochnoy Dozor - Night Watch site is within the range) is blocked by ISP-s?

ISP Linx telecom message:
"we received an order from Estonian authorities to limit temporarily the access to that IP address until the further notice. It was probaly caused by attacks launched towards Estonian websites. I'm sorry, but we have to obey the legally grounded instructions of our regulators
and authorities. I hope this issue will be cleared during coming days"

ISP-s Elion and Starman show the same message.

???

tambourine man ütles ...

mcmad

What you said is golden! I've said it before, jokingly as usual, that there might be a time in not so distant future, when Estonia shall to administer the territories east of Novgorod.

All said, what a great country Russia could be. I feel sad for them. Honestly.

Андрей ütles ...

Though I have some questions to Mr. mcmad concerning proofs of
claims of “greatness”, use of bluff and threats,... brutal and shameless meddling in the internal affairs of her neighbors,...use of ethnic Russians...as 5th Columns who are then directed against the legitimate governments of their host countries,..claims that their own people are somehow special,...spitting on international treaties,...misuse of international organizations as platforms from where to spread their shameless lies and slander,
I, being a non-supporter of any state-financed paramilitary organizations, be it Hitlerjugend, Kaitseliit or Nashi, call on all honest people to eliminate double standards, suspisiousness and paranoia, and to support understanding, openness and peace :)

Peace:)

space_maze ütles ...

I wouldn't call Kaitseliit paramilitary. It's just military, I'd say.

Андрей ütles ...

tambourine man said...
I've said it before, jokingly as usual, that there might be a time in not so distant future, when Estonia shall to administer the territories east of Novgorod.


En avant!
Don't forget to make use of former Estonian prime minister Uluots' Tartu University "Geographical" Commission's (1942) intense work on giving Pskov, Novgorod and Leningrad regions' topographic names a "civilized" Estonian sounding.

History teaches only those who want to learn.

Gauleiter, hmmmm...(jokingly as usual)

dresolve ütles ...

I wouldn't call Kaitseliit paramilitary. It's just military, I'd say. - space_maze

Kaitseliit is probably best characterized as paramilitary. This does not necessarily connote something negative. Check wikipedia entry on the subject.

dresolve ütles ...

...Putin (or his successor) at the end bring his country to a catastrophe. Catastrophe that the Russians (as did the Germans) fear the most: their country divided and under control of foreign powers. - mcmad

that there might be a time in not so distant future, when Estonia shall to administer the territories east of Novgorod -tambourine man

I can see the Itar-Tass headline already: Estonians call on Western powers to annex Russian motherland.

Guys, please don't give the Russian media juggernaut any more ammunition for their fallacious arguments. Believe me, the finer points of rhetoric are lost on them. Please allow the Russian media and government to continue to shoot themselves in the foot with their one-sided and farfetched account of events. As several obsevers have already noted, Russia has been hurt more by its own hysteria than anything else.

tambourine man ütles ...

and that is exactly what is so funny about it.

I'd like to see them peddle the idea of "fascist" Estonia threatening to occupy mother Russia to the world media and their own public.

That's when they'll really become absurdistanis.

Russia is such an embarrassment. Everything they've accomplished has been complete failure and utter "huinyaa."

They should really be ashamed of themselves. Nobody is taking them seriously anymore.

If they carry on like that, they'll suffer some painful national "pohmel" after losing the fight against the entire world. Let germans tell them how it goes from here.

Андрей ütles ...

You are embarassed?
Oh, well, I noticed...
Don't worry, I won'tell anyone...

"huinyaa.", "Pohmel"...
Could't get your message.
Is it in "absurdistanis"?
I'm not good at it, sorry.

Ask Germans, maybe they can tell you what to say to expect people to treat you seriously?

tambourine man ütles ...

Andryoosha,

If you love your country and your people - then take a look at this and think what you can do before it is too late: http://publicoffender.livejournal.com/755.html

tambourine man ütles ...

My point being - Russia is going to start a war. Only this time Russia is going to lose it.

Maybe it is all inevitable and necessary. Only time will tell.

We are privileged to see how it all started.

And there's not a damn thing we can do to prevent it.

Giustino ütles ...

My point being - Russia is going to start a war. Only this time Russia is going to lose it.

Maybe it is all inevitable and necessary. Only time will tell.


Russia already is at war within its southern borders in the Caucuses.

I think its chief dilemma is that it has no allies.

People say that NATO expansion has pissed off Russia but then look at what happened last week.

You can't move a war memorial in your country without 'gray' economic sanctions and political blackmail?

Christ, what nonsense!

It's events like these that make it obvious that Russia wasn't happy getting out of east Europe and it takes institutions, like NATO, to keep it out.

dresolve ütles ...

"huinyaa."?

I can hang with the eesti keelt but please help with translations of the ruuskie.

Giustino ütles ...

Don't forget to make use of former Estonian prime minister Uluots' Tartu University "Geographical" Commission's (1942) intense work on giving Pskov, Novgorod and Leningrad regions' topographic names a "civilized" Estonian sounding.

It's sad that Estonians that might have helped the country out of that mess, like Uluots and Tõnisson either wound up dead at the hands of the NKVD or dying in exile.

It appears that Uluots, who began to work on restoring independence in early '44, had brains that Päts lacked.

One thing I think that continues to escape the Russian mindset is the concept of national self-interest.

They think somehow that Estonian self-interest and Russian self-interest should be the same. But they are obviously not.

In the Estonian national perspective, independence is paramount for safeguarding society. In the Russian perspective, Estonian independence is an annoyance that they think they are responsible for.

You hear them say, "Lenin gave you your freedom" and "we gave you your freedom in 1991" -- it never takes the Estonian national self interest into account.

If you begin to think, "what is in the Estonian national interest", well, then, like no friggin' crap they want everyone in their country to speak Estonian. They obviously don't want kids to grow up admiring occupation forces -- Germans or Soviets -- because it's not in the national interest.

Even today, it's in Russia's interest to lay a pipe on the Estonian seabed off its mostly pristine coasts just to make some $$ to Germany. But that's definitely not in Estonia's interest, unless they can find some perk for Estonia.

dresolve ütles ...

one subject is added per year until five are achived in the final year of school

Am I right in understanding that Estonian government currently pays for many Estonian resident students to learn in school many of their subjects in Russian language? And Russian-speakers claim that they are being discriminated against? How can this be?

Giustino ütles ...

And Russian-speakers claim that they are being discriminated against? How can this be?

Because things in their community mostly remained status quo after 1991. The Estonian state didn't have an army of teachers to dispatch to Maardu, nor the money to pay them, nor the history books to tell history from a non-Stalinist perspective.

It's only in recent years with stability shown by accession to NATO and the EU that the state has turned its attention to 'domestic action plans' like school reform.

karLos ütles ...

unless they can find some perk for Estonia.

i'd be interested to know the location of these chemical weapons that were dumped in the ocean. (german and russian weapons, were they? i'd be interested to know that too)

i'd also be interested to know why they think estonia would be remotely interested, without direct access to the pipe's contents. if russia's plan is to bypass the baltic and eastern countries for direct access to germany (presumably to maintain a seperate "influence" from the rest of europe), i hope the government deny them access at every turn... speaking of national interest.

Giustino ütles ...

With respect, I am surprised you seem clueless in regard to the school reforms.

Martin, have you noticed that symbolic things -- Bronze Soldiers, for example -- tend to have gigantic repercussions in the Russian-speaking community, no matter how many logical, well thought out arguments one comes up with.

When people hear '60 percent' they get scared. If they heard a lower number, they might get less scared.

Try thinking in imagery and symbolism instead of being practical. Imagine Russian-speaking grandmas sitting around and talking about how bad things are and saying "60 percent!" in disbelief and shaking their heads.

Eleonora ütles ...

You taking a swipe at Nancy Pelosi types?

Eleonora ütles ...

Quote from a Russian grandmother in an Australian Newspaper

In a rare public statement of dissent for a patriotic holiday, the human rights activist Yelena Bonner called on Russians to acknowledge that the victory over the Nazis did not result in liberation for many countries.

"We didn't liberate anyone," Dr Bonner said. "We weren't even able to liberate ourselves, although for four difficult years of war we hoped for it. We even said 'After the war, if we survive it, all life will be different'. It didn't happen; not in 1945, not in 1991."

Eleonora ütles ...

Silly me. Should have said -

Quote from an Australian newspaper about a Russian grandmother and quoting her.

Agu-Enrik Ubailves ütles ...
Autor on selle kommentaari eemaldanud.
McMad ütles ...

Andrey said [i]I, being a non-supporter of any state-financed paramilitary organizations, be it Hitlerjugend, Kaitseliit or Nashi,[/i]

Kaitseliit is a legitimate military organisation, many countries in the World have similar volunteer based militia forces to strenghten the regular Armed Forces, in the United States there is National Guard, in United Kingdom there is Territorial Army etc.
PutinJugend, as was HitlerJugend , is an organistation belonging to a single party. Its a well used pattern in the history of the dictators: target the young people as they are easy to indoctrinate (being youthfully naive and black-white thinking) and they are energetic, thus making them the perfect cannon fodder.

space_maze ütles ...

In a rare public statement of dissent for a patriotic holiday, the human rights activist Yelena Bonner called on Russians to acknowledge that the victory over the Nazis did not result in liberation for many countries.

Estonia has gotten support from other authors and human rights activists in Russia. I guess human rights activist = fascist, in Russia.

The veteran politician and human rights activist Sergey Kovalyov writes in the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza[170] that Russia's position is hypocritical and implies double standards. In his opinion Russia opposes the removal of the monument because it is still led by successors of the Stalinist era, who have never apologized to the Eastern Europe for having turned it into a concentration camp.

Judging by the Nashi leaflets we've seen here though, human rights activists (as well as English teachers) ARE traitors in modern Russia though. So go figure.

(It's still cool to have Andrei Sakharov's widow on "our" "side" though.)

Agu-Enrik Ubailves ütles ...
Autor on selle kommentaari eemaldanud.
admin ütles ...

Хуйня

You have obviously never been in the North of England.
It's supposed to be a sign of affection.

The F word punctuates every sentence at least once, that is until we were invaded by Punjabis.

do your self a favour just learn some F English )))

tambourine man ütles ...

If you walk the streets of Tallinn today, you can hear this glorious word in it's multiple versions several times. Just perk up your ears next time the "liberators" pass you by.

The F word in English is such a dud in comparison. It does not give you any room for creativity.

Agu-Enrik Ubailves ütles ...
Autor on selle kommentaari eemaldanud.
martintg ütles ...

Giustino said...
Imagine Russian-speaking grandmas sitting around and talking about how bad things are and saying "60 percent!" in disbelief and shaking their heads.


I didn't think Russian speaking grandmas would read your blog, but then Kaur chipped in and agreed with you that 60 percent was too high and 30% may be better, so I guess I was wrong ;o)

Seriously, I think we ought to credit Russian speakers with more intelligence, rather than attempting to spin a more populist line. Afterall, a third have opted for Estonian citizenship, (which presumably means they have thrown in their lot with Estonia) a far greater proportion compared to Latvia who introduce similar reforms in 2004.

The following BBC article called "Russian roots, Estonian future" shows the lengths many Russian speakers go to itegrate their kids into Estonia, even putting their primary school age kids into full Estonian language immersion school in Narva:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6630197.stm

So while I agree with you that it is important that Estonia's education policies be adequately communicated, I don't think we can call these polices either ill considered or foolish. The are very practical and necessary and many Russian speakers evidently agree.

Agu-Enrik Ubailves ütles ...
Autor on selle kommentaari eemaldanud.
Kaur ütles ...

Lukas also said in his latest interview that with the current plan of adding one subject every year will not result in 60% of education in Estonian, because these subjects have only on or two lessons per week.

Maybe I have to explain myself a little more. I agree with Guistino that all this talk about 60% might make some russians feel that this just another way how the government wants to show who's the boss. (Although the law stating this 60% was passed already a few years ago)
Many Russian schools have also said that they don't have enough teachers or textbooks to teach many subjects in Estonian. On the otherhand, if these problems are solved then I don't see this as a big problem in the long term.

margus ütles ...

Education in Sweden.

Young Swedes lack knowledge about communism.

http://www.thelocal.se/7248/

Giustino ütles ...

Well, here's the thing guys. I think we all agree that there are some issues with integration. But, as predicted, most patriotic Estonians will tell you there's nothing wrong with any government policy related to integration.

So what gives? What can be done better? I hope after all of this you aren't going to tell me that everything is just fine and that it's all the Russian-speakers' fault.

Any great ideas?

admin ütles ...

Eg..Stop treating Russian speakers as 2nd class Europeans.

I get really ugly looks in Tartu when I speak russian, but I don't speak Estonian and usually no-one makes and effort to speak English....
I'm foreign btw!!

I happen to speak 5 languages, my only way of getting things done in Estonia and Russia is learning this VERY difficult language with it's crazy alphabet.

In Russia, officials are rude, Russian women stunningly beautiful,mostly trains run on time, and the health service is shambolic but better than the UK and a 100 times cheaper.

I found a lot of the Doctors in Ida Virumaa are russian trained, the buses russian driven and dead cheap, and the world will not stop tomorrow if I can't understand Estonian, but Estonia is potentially a winner....

I guess my ideal village would be on the Tallinn-Moskva express,-so much fun, people get along great, always great stories, punctuated by the nightmare customs from both sides of the River Narva.

Strange, the best company is always in some sort of stateless limbo for a night??

Giustino ütles ...

I get really ugly looks in Tartu when I speak russian, but I don't speak Estonian and usually no-one makes and effort to speak English...I'm foreign btw!!

That's because this town is 80+ percent Estonian, duh. Try speaking Estonian in Pskov ;)

Honestly, I've seen the knife cut both ways.

There's tactless Estonians that don't miss an opportunity to make a Russian-speaker feel low, and then there are the pushy Russians, usually female, that bark words at you and insist that *you* understand *them* even if *you* live in *Tartu* which is in *Estonia.*

It's like when the wife and I were in Lyon, and, how strange, everyone spoke only French and gave us really dirty looks when we attempted to speak in English.

In fact I went to towns in this pocket of France where English was essentially useless. I had to try saying 'crepes' ten different ways until they understood what I meant.

So what I did was I took my little guidebook and learned a few handy phrases so that I could communicate with other human beings in France.

The same approach has worked for me here in Estonia where most people speak Estonian. I have used a variety of approaches to be able to communicate with the inhabitants of this country, a skill I picked up in other foreign countries.

Believe it or not, even in Iceland, I met unilinguals who did not speak English. In that case again I bought a little phrasebook which I used for the purposes of communicating, as well as learning the most important phrases, like "fardu til fjandans" which means "go to hell" ;)

space_maze ütles ...

I have never been to Tartu, so I cannot say how useful or not Russian is there. Demographically, I see no reason to try Russian if you know English. One useful hint *ANYWHERE* in Europe when being abroad is: speak English. Only try the languages of former rulers if there is no other choice.

I can personally attest that you'll get snitty replies in Slovakia if you try German. I can attest the same for Hungary and the Czech Republic (mostly second-hand, as I was wise enough not to try in the first place). Also if lots of people know the language .. they don't *like* it. They can speak it when necessary, for a job or whatever, but it makes them feel demeaned. If you speak English with them, you're treating them as equals, and relations run a lot more smoothly.

Is this petty? Well .. yeah, I guess so. Especially if Russian isn't your native tongue either. But .. news flash, human beings are petty.

In no way can the Estonians compete with the French, who will snit at you even if you try to speak French with them, because obviously, you're speaking French poorly. (Same applies to French Canadias. I accumulated such nice amounts of lingual frustrations in my brief stay in Montreal last year)

I have also made experiences with Russians being snitty to me for not being able to communicate in Russian .. in Estonia. Which is also an additional level of pathetic.

You're, once again, blaming Estonians for having attributues which are the norm all across the continent. If you don't like these norms, PLEASE take it up with the entire continent, and not just with Estonia.

space_maze ütles ...

I wonder if this is actually a cultural connection with the French springing from the complete obsession Russian nobility, and Russia in general, had with all things French in the days of old?

I've been barked at by Russians for not speaking Russian .. in Estonia.

I've been barked at by Frenchmen for not speaking French .. in Austria.

I have had no similar experiences with any other nationality.

tambourine man ütles ...

Every time I am close to give up on mankind as something that is beyond repair and redemption, I remind myself of some good things and good people like my students in Moscow who were hard-core Estophiles, or that striking 30 something hairdresser in Quebec who was genuinely delighted to meet somebody form the States and for a chance to practice her English ...

plasma-jack ütles ...

unusually, a post on topic:
http://publicoffender.livejournal.com/755.html

a Naschist handbook.
wow.

Pēteris Cedriņš ütles ...

The reform in Latvia currently involves 60% of instruction being in Latvian from the 10th grade. If, as some suggest, the figure somehow provokes the so-called "Russophone minority" -- well, the main slogan of Shtab was "Russian schools -- our Stalingrad!" Pretty hard to argue with that attitude. But the opposition died down very swiftly anyhow. Most parents realize that if their children are to have a decent future, they ought to graduate from secondary school with fluency in the national language.

To Martin, re citizenship -- the distinction is that many more ethnic Russians in Estonia chose Russian citizenship than their brethren did in Latvia, whether you count it per capita or as a total. We have a larger pre-war Russian minority, over 100 000 Russuphones have naturalized, and we have a lot more non-citizens... but unlike Estonia, we haven't so many Russian citizens.

tambourine man ütles ...

The whole hoopla that's being going on lately in Estonia must be somewhat unsettling to expat Americans who were expecting to comfortably settle into this tiny futuristic skype country with all the requisite benefits (fill in the blanks here) and now find themselves dealing with the nasty aftermath of the WWII instead.

Perhaps it still beats the boring water cooler banter about kids soccer practice or baseball scores back at home?

Especially when you know that there is sure more to come.

This ain't your dad's kind of Woodstock we are talking here.

eh-eh-eh.

Eleonora ütles ...

I’m wondering if it isn’t a perception thing. My experience and that of my friends is quite the opposite. Speaking any European language without a British, other European or American accent identifies Australians as coming from a country with cute animals (kangaroos and koala bears) and with no historical baggage of past greivances and wars. (Australians, however, did participate in both WW2 and WW1 because of ties with the UK which then was considered the ‘Mother Country’!)

Australians tend to smile more than Europeans and usually start by saying hello, goodmorning etc to the person serving them. In Estonia I was often told I didn’t have to keep on saying please and thankyou but it did produce such helpful service when shopping there and in the rest of Europe.

Puu ütles ...

It will all be ok, everyone should just chill eat some haapukapsas and beer and kringle. And people should support indie music in estonia, because if there is an Estonian version of skinny jeans the Kings of Convenience and the Ravonettes the world will just be happy.
And people should listen to nice music and if they already have advanced degrees and lack substance abuse problems, make babies.
Of course I don't follow my own advice,but it sure sounds nice.
Maybe someone could undertake the translation of the complete works of the beach boys into Estonian. I have " Captain I wanna go home " if anyone wants it.
Meil merele viis corvette me rupasime soolast veet, poole meil so~bru vo~i vaenlasi siin, Kaptan sa tead et pastma meid peab, sest ma ihkan koju siin olla on piin... I don't remember anymore but I think a translation of wouldn't it be nice is in order
Kas ei oleks kena kui oleks vanemad ja me ei peak nii kaua otama... la la... Do something positive in the language and culture of today. This Russian nonsense brings people down very fast. Maybe beatles songs could be translated, even gasp , back in the USSR.

Eleonora ütles ...

Someone told me that Hamlet's famous "To be or not to be...." speech sounds much much better in Estonian than English.

Any one provide a transcription?

Heli ütles ...

Someone told me that Hamlet's famous "To be or not to be...." speech sounds much much better in Estonian than English.

Any one provide a transcription?

Olla või mitte olla :)

mpechter ütles ...

Olla või mitte olla – see on küsimus.
Mis oleks üllam – vaimus taluda
kõik nooled, mida vali saatus paiskab,
või, tõstes relvad hädamere vastu,
vaev lõpetada? Surra, magada –
muud midagi, sest nõnda uinudes
kaoks hingepiin ja kõik need tuhat häiret,
mis meie liha pärib looduselt.
See oleks lõpetus, mis hardasti
on ihaldatav: surra, magada!
Jah magada… Võib-olla undki näha?
Siin ongi konks. Sest see, mis unenäod
meil võivad tulla selles surmaunes,
kui maise möllu puntrast pääseme, -
see paneb kõhklema; siin peitub põhjus,
miks viletsusel iga on nii pikk:
kes taluks aja piitsutust ja torkeid,
rõhuja kalkust, kõrgi solvamisi,
põlatud armu piinu, kohtu aeglust
ja võimu jultumust, ning jalahoope,
mis malbe teenekus saab väärituilt,
kui ennast igaveseks vabastada
võiks palja pussiga? Kes koormat kannaks
ja higistaks ning oigaks elu vaevus,
kui kartus millegi ees pärast surma –
sel uurimata maal, kust ükski rändur
ei tule tagasi – ei rabaks tahet,
mis pigem talub tuntud halbusi,
kui pageb teiste, tundmatute juurde?
Nii kaalutlus teeb pelgureiks meid kõiki
ja südiduse loomulikust jumest
saab nukra mõtte põdur kahvatus
ning lennukad ja tähtsad ettevõtted
teelt targutuste tõttu kalduvad
ja kaotavad teo nime…

Giustino ütles ...

And people should listen to nice music and if they already have advanced degrees and lack substance abuse problems, make babies.

My advice for all pent-up Estonian nationalists worried about their country's survival.

Eleonora ütles ...

Thanks for the Hamlet guys.

Abso-bloody-lutely bonzer.
(Aussie-speak for terrific)

antonius ütles ...

Thanks Giustino, a nice article. Haven't been in Tartu for quite a while but I'm following the development of the situation in Estonia. Here's an article from Postimees translated to English which concerns the problems of integration in Estonia
http://ant0nius.blogspot.com/2007/05/who-are-we-russians.html

McMad ütles ...

Giustino zei...My advice for all pent-up Estonian nationalists worried about their country's survival.

You think only "nationalists" worry about Estonia's survival?

Puu zei.....if they already have advanced degrees..

Are you not being a tad elitist there?
There are already far too many people with "advanced degrees" than the economy actually needs. I personally have a lot more respect for someone who can TIG weld properly :D

tambourine man ütles ...

A bit off-topic as usual, but who owns Delfi.ee? They have a Russian languge section there that is dispensing openly anti-estonian propaganda. Why don't the owners make the Russian editors just translate and publish the same articles that go into Estonian version of the site (and vice versa)? It's like everybody keeps talking to themselves. That's all fine until somebody gets hurt and skulls get cracked in again.

Right now Russians should be flooded with the information about the Estonian view-point, but that is simply not happening. (At least not on russian Delfi)

Jens-Olaf ütles ...

The responsible Estonians are very naive: If they are sure about to compete against some 100 million Russian speaking people, go ahead. Talk in Estonian. Talk some English. I've seen the result in German media, the second biggest country in Europe by size of people. The source is Russian media.

Puu ütles ...

Just thought I'd raise the bar, but fine.. I don't have an advanced degree myself. And I am elist which is why I have chosen at various points in my life to live in Southwest Baltimore, el Barrio de Neuva York, and a former collective farm,granted I tried to be a modified vegan on the collective farm and introduce the natives to sleater kinney, rather than eating the regulart food and listening to radio KUKU so that is elitist. Ed. Advanced Degrees, a certificate from a reputable vocational school or 5-10 acres of arable land. I'll hold firm on the substance abuse suggestion though.

Puu ütles ...

Or an apartment with running water. And heat most of the time. That sounds like my apartment.Hey.
I don't know. I'm sure my parents would be thrilled if I made babies But I seem to be going through a late twenties adolescent rebellion. I really am mad at everyone. This would sound really incrediably stupid but it seems to be the way that fucking everyone is acting esp large world powers. What the hell is going with russia and estonia. Putin neeeds to fucking sign up for some Tantric Sex Classes with his wife and chill out. Maybe Bush and his wife can enroll too. Invade the Krelim with a mob of yoga instructors. Love and peace man.

( ooh my god that wos ssooo much fun to write)

tambourine man ütles ...

Hey puu,

Strange you say "puu" when you so obviously mean "grass". Some insider joke?

Irritability is a usual substance abuse side effect. You can't chalk it up as simply being in your late 20s.

Moral of the story - we all have our private "pronksmehed" to deal with. Put your foot down and get rid of it. Quit now.

Puu ütles ...

I'm not addicted to anything. I don't smoke pot. Not ever really. Except in college and it was a mistake literally I ate some pot brownies that my housemates made by mistake,and I was doing my statistics homework and suddenly the room was very large.And that was the last time really. I definitely wouldn't in New York because there is like turpentine in that stuff. My ex is Jamaican and he won't touch anything they sell in New York either. Jeez... what is it with people getting sex and drugs all mixed up. So not addicted to anything except coffee and masturbation.
And silliness.
You being so boring and judgemental Tambourine man. I suggest you examine your own prejudices carefully before becoming the Spanish Inquisition.
I will admit I am depressed and self absorbed. But these are separate issues and I don't like untrue labels like Fascist, pothead, loose woman stupid etc thrown on me on top of it. Anyway I need to teach a class.

admin ütles ...

"I personally have a lot more respect for someone who can TIG weld properly"

Ahh there you are right!!

People have lost sight of the real skill shortage problems in Eastern Europe.

The other one is learning how to manage a business.

In an ex soviet country I'm constantly assaulted by the waste and lack of imagination....

I mean what they put up today is constantly close to being more UGLY than they dreamed up in the past, without the advantage of centrally planning it, so it "might" look like some grand cause or be useful or symmetrical..

Just look at some of the DISASTERS in Tallinn just now........who could possibly vote for capitalism as being a "good" system after seeing Tartu and Tallinn post 91!!!

McMad ütles ...

admin zei...
..without the advantage of centrally planning it..

Erm, central planning has no advantages whatsoever.

Just look at some of the DISASTERS in Tallinn just now........who could possibly vote for capitalism as being a "good" system after seeing Tartu and Tallinn post 91!!!

I see nothing wrong. In fact just about anything they have put up in Tallinn looks better than similar stuff in Berlin, London etc. As for voting for capitalism, how about large majority of the population?

McMad ütles ...

short infomercial about "Nashi"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCFD_CXaw5w

Puu ütles ...

I think we seriously need to examine ourselves if peace and love said in a really joking theatrical manner gets you accusations of being of serious substance abuser. Also I am really sorry if I offended anyone with my suggestion about the esteemed russian leader's personal life but surely it would bring him joy and surely it would be more useful than attacking his neighbors. My intentions are peaceful really... Better roads and schools and a better medical system would be a wonderful use of his energy but maybe he needs to start with himself. And yes I realize I have many issue and people in glass houses etc etc, but I was really just trying to inject some positivity and some of the sacred Kundalini energy accessing th highest realms of human potential into what I see as an increasingly nasty and absurb situation . Perhaps Estonia and Tibet can form an alliance, being small beleagered nations being swiped in and out of existance at the whim of their large neighbor. Namaste

martintg ütles ...

tambourine man said...
The whole hoopla that's being going on lately in Estonia must be somewhat unsettling to expat Americans who were expecting to comfortably settle into this tiny futuristic skype country with all the requisite benefits (fill in the blanks here) and now find themselves dealing with the nasty aftermath of the WWII instead.


Maybe this hoopla will spook the expats, leading them to bail out of the property market, allowing me to purchase the 5 to 10 hectares required to become eligible to perform my nationalist duty one day with a fellow non-substance abusing person.

Heli ütles ...

About Delfi´s owner (not only Estonian-LV, LT etc also) in 2004 Estonian Microlink sold it to Norway´s company called Findexa and I believe that it´s also the current owner.

tambourine man ütles ...

For those of you who can read in Estonian - here's an interesting piece. http://www.delfi.ee/news/paevauudised/arvamus/article.php?id=15928569

Giustino ütles ...

The whole hoopla that's being going on lately in Estonia must be somewhat unsettling to expat Americans who were expecting to comfortably settle into this tiny futuristic skype country with all the requisite benefits (fill in the blanks here) and now find themselves dealing with the nasty aftermath of the WWII instead.

I am glad because I am more equipt with sarcasm and dirty English words to to the necessary work in exposing the douchebag Kremlin for what it is.

America may not be an empire per se, or maybe it is. Either way, I am part of that free market, liberal democratic system and I like it, despite its worst most awful parts, and I find dredged up Soviet propaganda completely idiotic and laughable.

The gentlemen banging on their chests and yelling "fascist" might as well be from some leftover Python sketch. And the Russian Foreign Ministry? Well, let's just say when I was splitting wood the other day, I had plenty of inspiration ...

The Russians arre lucky they live next to the Estonians. Image if they were surrounded by Chechens? Not only would that be fitting, but it would also mean that their precious Kremlin would probably not even exist by now.

admin ütles ...

That's rather idiotic gumph when you consider the GDP of just the city of St Petersburg a mere 200kms away is probably many times that of the entire GDP of Estonia...

You also forget that Ida Virumaa was one of the richest areas of eastern Europe some 30-40 years ago....not any more!

There are tangible signs of Estonians getting their "knickers in the twist", but trying to give a blooming great voracious bear a bloody nose from some agrarian backwater is not really in my opinion so intelligent economically speaking...

It's time Estonia got over its damn history thingy and started to face a bit of economic reality....and that is NOT coming from the EU...even the French are getting worried about farm subsidies.....
Estonians watch out! The EU money free handout is going to end!

Giustino ütles ...

It's time Estonia got over its damn history thingy and started to face a bit of economic reality

Here's the economic reality. 70 percent of direct investment in Estonia comes from two countries, Sweden and Finland. The income of most Estonians leads back to Helsinki or Stockholm. That's reality.

Also, the GDP of Russia is 10th in the world, BEHIND Italy, France, the UK, and Germany. Put altogether, the EU has the highest GDP in the world, by the way.

What your analysis lacks is the 'history thingy" and it's not about the 1940s. You fail to see Estonia from the grand perspective of globalization.

What is globalization? We talk of it as if it were new, but 350 years ago the Dutch were trading on Taiwan and on Curacao and at New York and in West Africa.

And 350 years ago, the liberal values of the Swedish empire were laying their roots in the region that would become Estonia.

The concept you have of Estonia as some kind of nugget in a Russian economic model is a false one. Why? Because the Soviet ambition to turn Estonia into a manufacturing hub failed. It failed bitterly. And today there are old Russian men living in crumbling apartment blocks waiting to die because of the failure of that experiment.

So where does Estonia fit? It fits with other northern European information economies. This is the only choice for Estonia. It is also readily apparent. Swing an arm around Tartu and you'll knock over someone that works for Playtech.

Sweden and Finland were once also poorer agrarian societies. Given the grand sweep of globalization froma historical perspective, it makes sense that Estonia will find and is finding a similar role in the global economy.

Plus, given the unreliability of Russia as any kind of trading partner, and the habit of the Russian business elite to mix wealth with the state and hoard it in foreign bank accounts, there is no real kick back for Estonia in terms of focusing on the Russian market.

A few people would get very wealthy, the rest, as in Russia, would see little improvement in their lives.

admin ütles ...

"A few people would get very wealthy, the rest, as in Russia, would see little improvement in their lives".

I'm bitterly sorry to disappoint you but....
Just exactly when was the last time you crossed the river Narva?

If you go to Moscow or SPB (where quite a few Estonians are quietly working btw) you will be shocked to learn that those unreliable and working class russians are now earning considerably more than you are in Tallinn and not living in peasants hovels any more, and Russia is the largest oil exporter in the world.

As to unreliability when was the last time a Russian rocket killed all the astronauts on board, or could we say....an aircraft industry did better than the semi bankrupt mess that's called Airbus industries...compared with say...the almost total monopoly Russia has in supplying EU's (and most of USA's) oil industry in Titanium??

IT and Sweden and Finland?
Get real, it can't even come close to competing with the gigantic resources of just ONE university (eg.Moscow state).
The only reason why Finland is interested in outsourcing the other side of the sea is to USE you,- quarter price outsourcing and low tax!!

As for the GDP of Russia...with a rapidly sinking population and 10% growth it won't take long for them to overtake most of the sluggards in the Schengen and Euro area....
In my estimate ...a mere 3 years...

Giustino ütles ...

If you go to Moscow or SPB (where quite a few Estonians are quietly working btw) you will be shocked to learn that those unreliable and working class russians are now earning considerably more than you are in Tallinn and not living in peasants hovels any more, and Russia is the largest oil exporter in the world.

I don't live in Tallinn. And I also don't get your point. As I laid it out for you, 70 percent of direct investment in Estonia comes from Sweden and Finland. Estonia is doing better economically than it has for 60+ years. It registers ~8-10 percent growth per year on average.

What does Scandinavian investment mean in Estonia? It means banks (Hanspank, Ühispank) are owned by Swedish banks.

It means that a good portion of the media (Postimees, SL Õhtuleht) is owned by Schibsted, a Norwegian firm that also owns Aftonbladet and Svenska Dagbladet.

It means that Estonian Air is owned by SAS Group -- which is divided between Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.

When I go to throw out the garbage in my town in Estonia, I put it in a green container marked Ragn Sells -- a Swedish waste management company.

When I drink an A. Le Coq beer, it's owned by Olvi, the Finnish beverage company. When I eat Rakvere meats or eat Tallegg eggs, those products are owned by HK Ruokatalo, a Finnish food company.

IT and Sweden and Finland?
Get real, it can't even come close to competing with the gigantic resources of just ONE university (eg.Moscow state).


Like I said, my money is in a Swedish-owned bank. In my pocket is a Finnish manufactured cellphone. My mobile netowrk is provided by a joint Estonian-Finnish-Swedish owned company, EMT. When I need to call people for work, I use Skype, a joint Danish-Estonian venture. Ie. Moscow State University hasn't provided me with shit.

:)

admin ütles ...

"Like I said, my money is in a Swedish-owned bank. In my pocket is a Finnish manufactured cellphone. My mobile netowrk is provided by a joint Estonian-Finnish-Swedish owned company, EMT. When I need to call people for work, I use Skype, a joint Danish-Estonian venture."
---
Yes...growth from WHAT though?
There's plenty of scope for growth when the average salary is 1/3 of the rest of Schengen....

And just like you put it so well...MOST of Estonia's economy is owned by foreigners who are here to make a quick buck!

That's not inbound investment, that's swallowing up assets when they are bargain price so as to make a killing as fast as possible.

Is that what you are so proud of?

The mere fact Estonia can't generate new EE owned businesses apart from outsourcing or under subsidy I would say should cause you serious cause for alarm!

Giustino ütles ...

Is that what you are so proud of?

The mere fact Estonia can't generate new EE owned businesses apart from outsourcing or under subsidy I would say should cause you serious cause for alarm!


I am not proud of it. It's just the reality. Estonia's affiliation with the Scandinavian cultural/economic zone is not a pride thing. It's just how it is.

Estonian businesses like Postimees and Rakvere predate their acquisitions, but they are small companies in a small market that were gobbled up by larger companies and introduced into a larger Nordic market. That's what happens in most markets, by the way. Why should capital be so nationalistic?

When Estonia started out again 1991 it had no real capital source. I think most Estonians see this period of working with a foreign cash line as an intermediate step of acquiring capital before they introduce innovative products.

Finland, Sweden, and Norway are among the wealthiest countries in the world per capita. Considering Helsinki is only 80 km away, the idea that the money moved a little southward isn't a stretch.

admin ütles ...

"Finland, Sweden, and Norway are among the wealthiest countries in the world per capita"

"That's what happens in most markets, by the way. Why should capital be so nationalistic?"
--
It's a funny debate, because there is REALLY a reverse nationalism in your arguments when it comes to talk about Russia. The antagonism is palpable, and you constantly accuse the modern Russia of being unreliable, despite the fact it supplies the countries you describe with a lot of their energy needs and raw materials.

The problem is, those scandinavian countries are just as predatorial in their capitalism as the one "rogue" one to the east.

The problem is,- the scandinavians are given a clean slate and WELCOME to Estonia....whereas the Russians (who actually are every bit as reliable long term) get foul mouthed at every turn.

You need to get some balance in there, because it's that kind of attitude is going to kill and stunt every single initiative in Ida Virumaa....and BOY do they need every possible help!

Giustino ütles ...

The problem is,- the scandinavians are given a clean slate and WELCOME to Estonia....whereas the Russians (who actually are every bit as reliable long term) get foul mouthed at every turn.

It's called a self-defense mechanism. When I was in Switzerland in 1994, I recall our host opining about how all the Germans were buying up Swiss property as part of an evil scheme to unofficially "own" Switzerland.

The antagonism is palpable, and you constantly accuse the modern Russia of being unreliable, despite the fact it supplies the countries you describe with a lot of their energy needs and raw materials.

My attitude is reactive. My posts are reactions to things that the Russian government says or does. Because the Russian government is in the habit of lying, I tend to view them as an unreliable partner for Estonia.

Estonia is a relatively young country. The Republic of Ireland is around the same age as Estonia. Go to Ireland and ask the man on the street about how they feel about the UK. Having grown up with Irish friends and having read the Irish-American press, I can tell you it's a lot less polite than how the Estonians treat the Russians.

So these are European problems. What can you do about them?

admin ütles ...

Let's get this straight.
We don't really give a damn about what some jerk says in some capital,-(Tony Blair in Iraq, Putin about some obscure statue, or Bush about just about anything which his pea brain thinks is "important" for security).

What we care about is the ability of said people to damage the business environment..
Putin can blow all the hot air, but supply is supply, demand is demand, and can't really damage anything.

The problem is Estonia is not Ireland, and simply depends too much on others to be able to afford these luxuries of being "independent", and that means knowing when to SHUT UP!

You forget Ireland has a huge advantage,- It's English speaking and close to the USA.

Estonia is at a trading crossroads, and if tomorrow it screws up on the Narva crossing, this will cause massive damage to its trading position and economy, -the business will just flow elswhere.
Simple as that.
That is NOT a European problem it's an Estonian BUSINESS problem, and a fact of life having 2 of the 4 border crossings with the Russian Federation.

Giustino ütles ...

Estonia is at a trading crossroads, and if tomorrow it screws up on the Narva crossing, this will cause massive damage to its trading position and economy, -the business will just flow elswhere. Simple as that.

I don't think Estonia has advocated economic sanctions against Russia. If something happens at the Narva crossing, it will be Russians screwing other Russians. It's not Estonia's business to genuflect and not offend Russia because Russia gets offended by everything.

They get mad because you move a statue, or because you speak your own language, or, God forbid, you celebrate the end of the war on May 8 (when it ended in Tallinn) rather than on May 9 (when it ended in Moscow).

Who wants to be trifled by such adolescent windbags? What good does it do for the average Estonian in Viljandimaa? Russian transit money doesn't benefit him much either. A future in an information technology economy sounds a bit better.

That is NOT a European problem it's an Estonian BUSINESS problem, and a fact of life having 2 of the 4 border crossings with the Russian Federation.

Estonia isn't the only country with a border with the Russian Federation. The Finns have a much longer border. The Latvians, the Lithuanians. Even Poland and Norway have small borders with the RF.

Anyway, it's stupid to depend on the Russian transit trade in the long-run. They've got their own ports and they're building a nice long pipeline to sell to their real customers in Germany.

Plus they are meddlers. Do Swedish or German parties openly fund Estonian political parties? Do Swedes or Finns appoint leaders to represent their interest in Estonia? If the Estonians moved a statue of Gustavus Adolphus, or reburied the remains of soldiers that died in the Great Northern War, do you think that Sweden would care?

They mind their own business, mostly, which is why they are perhaps more welcome.

As a sidenote, isn't is positively criminal that the Irish state is forcing all of its residents to learn Gaelic, an archaic and internationally useless language?

They even force it upon helpless immigrants from Russia or Poland or Latvia or Nigeria! The nerve of those nationalist Irish. The nerve.