teisipäev, mai 01, 2007

Demographics and Estonia: An Overview

In light of last week's clashes in the capital and the post-mortem spinning that began almost immediately afterward, many in the English-language readership have been given inaccurate depictions of what the demographic situation in Estonia is, and how this feeds into local, and international politics.

A Multi-Ethnic Country

To begin, let me make a broad statement. Estonia has been multiethnic for centuries. Estonians themselves are a distinct ethnic group, but the territory of Estonia has been home to a variety of other ethnic groups, most prominently Swedes, Germans, and Russians.

To complicate matters, the process of Estonian integration is also centuries old and predates any kind of "draconian" citizenship laws from the early 1990s. Most Estonians are not 'ethnically pure' Estonians. Instead, they have some ancestors from a variety of different countries.

Estonian Ambassador Marina Kaljurand, who is holed up in the Estonian embassy in Moscow right now, is not an ethnic Estonian. She is half Latvian and half Russian by birth. Tallinn Mayor Edgar Savisaar is also half Russian. Lennart Meri, Estonia's second president, was Swedish on his mother's side. And the blood lines between the Baltic Germans and the Estonians are notoriously intertwined.

To make matters even more complicated many of Estonia's Soviet-era Russian-speaking community have also followed this established path of integration. They have perhaps married into Estonian families or simply "Estonianized."

Two examples of this come from the same family. Estonian politicians Mihhail and Aleksei Lotman are the sons of the St. Petersburg-born semiotician Jüri Lotman. By ethnicity they are Russian Jews. Yet Mihhail is in the rightwing Isamaa-Res Publica Party, and Aleksei serves in the Green party in the Riigikogu. Hence, their ethnic origins have not precluded them from achieving rather prominent places in Estonian society.

Those that are of mixed backgrounds in Estonia are quite often multilingual. In addition to Estonian they know Russian and perhaps English. Those with ties to other minorities may speak Finnish fluently or Swedish. In fact, in the Noarootsi district in western Estonia, there is a Swedish-only high school. This is in an area where there are only 50 ethnically Swedish people living there.

Geographically Homogenous

Despite Estonia's multiethnic heritage, the country is still rather homogenous. In 13 of Estonia's 15 counties, ethnic Estonians comprise more than 80 percent of the population. This is the case of Estonia's second largest city, Tartu, as well. As people watching the news last week saw, the main centers of the ethnic Russian population are in Tallinn and in Ida Viru county in northeastern Estonia. Estonia is 69 percent ethnic Estonian and 26 percent ethnic Russian. Most of that 26 percent are located in these urban areas.

Tallinn is an interesting example of how demographics can change rapidly in Estonia. In 1989, nearly 500,000 people lived in Tallinn. Last year, it was home to 396,000 people. Six years previous in 2000 it was home to 400,000 people. Of those 4,000 people that were lost in six years, the population decline was greatest among ethnic Russians.

While the ethnic Estonian population numbers about 216,000 people in Tallinn, the ethnic Russian population numbers about 144,000. In six years, the ethnic Estonian population declined by 1,000 people, while the ethnic Russian population declined by nearly 3,000. One could insert statistics from the 1970s here to show an inverse effect of ethnic Russian population growth, but I do not have access to those statistics.

It is my interpretation that rather than feeling stronger in Estonian society with the backing of a resurgent Moscow, Estonia's Russian community in Tallinn is actually feeling weaker as the demographic balance shifts every year in the favor of ethnic Estonians. Hence, monolingual Russophones are encountering the reality of their minority status on a more frequent basis. This increases the frustration that led to things like last week's riots.

Another factor is that Estonian politics are controlled by individuals that do not come from areas adjacent to large Russian minorities. Andrus Ansip is from Tartu. Mart Laar was born in Viljandi. And, as we all know, President Toomas Hendrik Ilves was born in Stockholm, though he never apparently pursued citizenship there.

Hence, in the recent controversy, it has been Tartu politicians, like Ansip and Minister of Defense Jaak Aaviksoo, that have been making decisions that impact the lives of Tallinn residents, where Edgar Savisaar, widely considered to be more in tune to the feelings of ethnic Russians, since he technically is also one, has condemned their activities. You'll notice that other Tallinners, like Reet Aus, a fashion designer whose grandfather actually designed the Bronze Soldier, have called the removal policy a bad choice. In this instance, you could think that cosmopolitan Tallinn is being held captive by provincial politicians. It is an argument that could be made, though I decline to make it.

Stereotypically, monolingual Russians feel like they are looked down upon by Estonians, while Estonians are quietly distressed by the longterm inability of Russians to adapt to the Estonian culture on their own and their continued admiration for forces that were historically hostile to the Estonian people, like the USSR.

Carrots and Sticks

Estonia's post-1991 integration policies have both condemned and praised. One overlooked fact is that they have been working. Estonia's stateless persons decline every year, and currently only 9 percent of residents lack citizenship, compared to 32 percent just 15 years ago.

Estonia's politicians have employed a carrot and stick approach to goad monolingual Russians into integrating into Estonian society. However, these Russians that have yet to integrate see it mostly as stick and stick. Since they don't have citizenship they cannot vote on the policies that effect them the most.

Estonian school reform is another hot issue. Dealing with a monolingual minority that has difficulty in obtaining high paying jobs and status in society has spurred Estonian politicians to endore a high percentage of education in Estonian at the public school level. This has created additional pressure on ethnic Russians in Estonia.

Again, it becomes complicated, because to succeed in Estonia, knowledge of Estonian is an asset, but since obtaining that knowledge is difficult, some monolingual Russians see it as a discriminatory hurdle to "weed them out" of political and economic participation.

Therefore it remains controversial, although some in the Estonian Russian community that have integrated openly call their kin "their own worst enemy" for not acknowledging some basic facts about Estonia.

To complicate matters monolingual Russian speakers receive most of their news from Kremlin controlled Russian media. Since 1991, Russia has conducted an anti-Estonian propaganda campaign aimed at discrediting the country in the international arena with a longterm goal of bringing it back under its control. I would not like to believe this, but after reading hundreds of stories in the Russian media, I can only conclude that this is the case.

In my opinion, Russian foreign policy generally views its neighbors through a 19th century lense of "spheres of influence" and seeks to control them as a matter of course, despite what value they may actually add in end. Russian nationalists also believe that they have a right to control territories that one belonged to the Russian empire in the 19th century. Swedish businessmen perhaps think similarly.

A Lack of Leadership

While Estonian Russians in Estonia are at the center of some distressing trends -- a chauvanistic Kremlin, population decline, government pressure -- they have yet to organize and work effectively with local authorities in a potent way.

Kremlin-supported parties in Estonia actually face declining support, even as more people naturalize. "Thought leaders" like Dmitri Klenski -- who speaks Estonian, but spouts Stalinist history -- get media attention, but cannot get elected.

Edgar Savisaar's Center Party is an ethnic Russian stronghold, yet at the same time it hasn't made the group any promises to reverse language laws or citizenship requirements. And, moreover, nobody is really sure of what this group wants politically.

Some want to become an official minority, with Russian as a state language. But there are ethnic Russians that oppose this too and put their kids in Estonian kindergartens to get ahead. There are even some who still think that Estonia "belongs" to Russia, and are waiting for the "red ship" to come and continue the slow eradication of the Estonian people.

Russification and Estonia's Neighbors

As a final note, it's worth mentioning that Estonia's eastern Finnic neighbors that remained in Russia after 1918 have been largely assimilated into Russian society and have lost the characteristic that distinguished their ethnicity, their language.

Over the past 80 years the number of self-described Ingrians -- a Finnic ethnic group residing in the vicinity of St. Petersburg for millennia -- dropped from 26,100 to 300. As is noted here, due to the Second World War, "Physical extermination and russification had achieved their purpose: post-war generations of Izhorians have no knowledge of their native tongue."

The example of their ethnic kin in Ingria has left Estonians with a deep fear of the same thing happening to their land. Some extreme Russian nationalists openly joke about the extermination of the Estonian people, or the death of Estonian as a "small, obscure" language, feeding this fear and reinforcing people's support for the country's language and citizenship policies.

113 kommentaari:

Eleonora ütles ...

Giustino
For those of us outside Estonia who either cannot speak/read Estonian or have limited fluency, your latest very informative post provides an insight to the current political players and the current situation in Estonia vis-à-vis the Russian and other minority groups.
Suur, suur äitah.

karLos ütles ...

that is the best blog post i have read in a long time - thanks giustino!

Kari ütles ...

wow. must have taken you ages to compile. me like.

Kaur ütles ...

Very good overview of the situation. Keep up the good work!

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

http://www.atlanticfreepress.com/content/view/1474/32/
A vey "interesting" article about ethnical cleansing" in Estonia. Unfortunately it was the first search result when searching "Estonia" from Google News.

Giustino ütles ...

I didn't even want to read it. I am still waiting for the article on ethnic cleansing in Bretagne.

plasma-jack ütles ...

well I've read those :-p
I've studied some French in past, they also talked about regional minorities like Basques, Bretons or Alsaciens

plasma-jack ütles ...

well, and I feel a very strong sympathy towards Bretons and Basques, too, as you can imagine.

Giustino ütles ...

I think I should write two more big posts -- about citizenship laws in other European countries and about language laws in other European countries. Of course I'll put Estonia into that context.

martintg ütles ...

Well, what's an ethnic Russian these days anyway? Given the diverse number of ethnic groups that existed in the territory of the Russia Federation today, an individual Russian speaker is just as likely to be a Russified person of finno-ugric roots. Allegedly there is even a Finnish connection somewhere in Putin's ancestors.

As I said, inside every Russian speaking citizen is a little Estonian that needs to be encouraged and developed. Hence the need for Estonian language education reform in Russian language schools.

Giustino ütles ...

One solution to this problem would be to make Russian university education more accessible for Estonian Russians. That way, if they want to go to St. Petersburg or Moscow and be educated, and work and succeed there in a monolingual environment, it would work to their ultimate advantage. They would be able to retain their language in a professional setting and have greater upward mobility without having to acquire the Estonian they would need to succeed in Estonia.

Kristopher ütles ...

Giustino -- it's buried somewhere in a previous posting, but I loved your idea of a New Deal-like program to help ethnic Russians integrate by putting them to work in a civilian corps to improve local and rural infrastructure.

Someone on Raadio Kuku today made the point that Estonian classes should be completely free of charge for all monolingual Russians -- currently they are EU-funded but there is some sort of annoying co-pay that may make some people reluctant to sign up.

Do you know (I don't) what is causing the population decline in Tallinn -- natural dieoff or migration, and if the latter, to where?

Giustino ütles ...

Do you know (I don't) what is causing the population decline in Tallinn -- natural dieoff or migration, and if the latter, to where?

Both ... and abortion. I am serious, if you look at the statistics at www.stat.ee (which is a fun way to waste time if you are extremely bored) Estonia is conceiving enough children to replace its dying population every year, but a good chunk of those pregnancies are being terminated.
Therefore, you wind up with an annual population decrease.

Eppppp ütles ...

The population decline in Tallinn... I can add two reasons, looking around:
- more and more families move out of town, to suburbia (still working in Tallinn fully or part time)
- many people have left to Europe after the EU opened: studying, working etc. Some of them return, some not.

stockholm slender ütles ...

Excellent, excellent post! It is hard for many Westerners to really understand the Estonian situation next to a very archaically thinking great power that refuses to confront its awful, bloody recent past. It is true that Estonia has a long multi-ethnic past (the inter-war minority policy was a tolerant wonder in otherwise increasingly primitive and atavistic Europe) - but the present situation is a direct result from the brutal semi-genocidal (and one wonders about that "semi" there) Kremlin takeover of this peaceful, non-threatening country.

In this context it's very hard to expect very generous offers to a minority that is a direct concequence of this awful attack and which very recently was threatening the very survival of Estonian culture and language. Still, more effective integration would naturally be hugely advantageous for Estonia - the Soviet cum Russian chauvinist diehards should be divided from those of their compatriots willing and able to take benefit from Estonian independence and its Western integration.

space_maze ütles ...

I think I should write two more big posts -- about citizenship laws in other European countries and about language laws in other European countries. Of course I'll put Estonia into that context.

This is a great idea, I think, as there is so much context in Europe to put Estonia into before crucifying it.

France: Home to a wide array of languages. Breton, native to Britanny and lacking any home outside of France, has over a million speakers today, according to some report. Also, as a Celtic language, its a lot more native to France than that weird-corruption-of-Latin that French is. Yet, the constitution of France notes that the official language of France is FRENCH, and ONLY FRENCH.

Germany: Has taken almost 3 Million immigrants from Turkey over the last few years/decades, over means completely corresponding to international law. Given the size of the country, it's a lot less a "dramatic" a figure than the Russian polulation increase during the Soviet days was .. but nevertheless. You have three million people in the country, with no legal recognition.

Ireland: Kind of an Estonia + a few centuries. Irish has been so marginalised by the influx of English that when independence came, even the Irish nationalists had little knowledge of the language. It had become entirely a "peasant's language", and people have been beaten up in Dublin for speaking Irish by Irish nationalists thinking that they were speaking Polish or something.

Nevertheless, the Irish government has, in recent years, been forcing all the children, in the entire country, to learn this language in school, also if it's "obscure". A great deal of Irish that have no knowledge of the language themselves are working hard to preserve the language, as an inseperable part of the Irish cultural identity.

Scott ütles ...

Are you sure that Savisaar is half-Russian?
I know he's at least half an idiot, and was delivered in prison, but I can't find reference to him being of mixed parentage.

space_maze ütles ...

His mother was a Russian woman called Maria Berešina, if one is to trust Estonian wikipeida.

http://et.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_Savisaar

Scott ütles ...

Thanks, Space Maze. Not to fall too far off topic, but I see it came out today that Savisaar met secretly with members of the Russian Duma.
May the "rhino" is finally, finally, 5 degrees of political toast. But I'll believe it when I see it.

Kristjan ütles ...

He's dead. Trust me. ;-)

mina ütles ...

He has been announce dead before, many times. Like a cat - only hell know how many lives.

Kristopher ütles ...

Enno Tammer (Estonia's premier investigative type journalist at one point) alleged in a book that Savisaar's putative Estonian father had no access to his mother when she was in prison and that the father was Russian. It didn't lack for evidence, but I found it tedious going, and would have preferred to read more about the REAL mystery, how Vilja shacked up with this dour and controlling if intelligent man.

Kristjan ütles ...

You forgot "heartless". ;-)

Kristjan ütles ...

After hearing foreign minister Paet's official announcement on TV, I'd once again like to give three cheers to the Republic's Government.

If the EU doesn't take this absolutely golden opportunity to grow a spine, it never will.

Giustino ütles ...

Did you see Klenski today on Kanal 2? He told the reporter he represented a fascist regime :)

Free media = fascist.

Now that guy is nuts!

Kristjan ütles ...

In Estonian politics, he is now a corpse.

Another tick in the box. ;-)

Giustino ütles ...

He always was, but I think there's a difference between telling Ansip he's a fascist, and telling some 20-something guy with a camera and a mic that he represents a fascist regime.

Klenksi had no problem with appearing on Postimees online for his Q&A sessions, even though he possesses little political power.

I guess he's changed his mind.

Kristjan ütles ...

I actually thought he might cause some trouble on the political scene, since he was seen to be the most reasonable of the radicals.

No more. ;-)

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

A very interesting talk-show just ended on ETV where people from russian community discussed the current situation and looked for solutions.
What they didn't like about recent events was that the monument was removed just before May 9 and there was no dialogue with them. Russians also feel somewhat excluded from the society.
I think that the main reason why many russians don't like the dismantling of the monument is that it was a very important and holy symbol for them and that it was
taken to another place without asking them or looking for a peaceful solution. For them the relocation of the monument means the same thing what to muslims meant the parody pictures about Muhammed published in Norwegien newspaper.

Giustino ütles ...

I watched the program too. Aunaste is a great host. See here we all are watching TV and typing on our laptops. From one screen to another ...

Kristjan ütles ...

Kaur,

I know you're right, but I'd just like to point out that there was a systematic effort in the previous year to find a solution agreeable to all.

And if the Russian side hadn't been represented by radicals, I think they probably would have found it.

This is the main thing that I hope now changes - that ethnic Russians in Estonia start to be represented by respectable human beings. It's a really important prerequisite to integration.

Sofie ütles ...

Estonian blood is so mixed, that it really does not matter, how much actual Estonian DNA there is in an Estonian person. Estonian identity is based mainly on language, so if a person speaks good Estonian, he or she is perceived as an Estonian. So I think it is very inappropriate to say Savisaar is Russian. This is a good insult, but not true. Not that I like Savisaar, but he is Estonian enough, even if his mother was Russian by blood AND even if his real DNA-father were a Russian.

Kaur ütles ...

Kristjan,
I was also thinking the the same thing. There really wasn't (and still isn't) nobody senisble from russian community to discuss these matters. But still, the government could have waited a bit and let them celebrate their Victory Day. By this I don't mean that Ansip should resign right now, certainly not. I think that this government should start to look solutions for this conflict and come up with sth "clever" as was said in the talk-show.

Kaur ütles ...

Sofie, its not only language that defines an estonian, for example Klenski also speaks estonian quite well. But I agree with you, Savisaar certainly is not Russian, although the things he sometimes says are not what a proper Estonian should say.

Giustino ütles ...

By this I don't mean that Ansip should resign right now, certainly not. I think that this government should start to look solutions for this conflict and come up with sth "clever" as was said in the talk-show.

In no way should the government resign. Paet looks like he's finally getting the hang of the foreign ministry, and Ansip has made his bed, so let him sleep in it for four long years.

I hope he serves a full term and enjoys every car-honking minute of it. By the way, where is Ansip? I haven't heard from him in awhile.

Andres ütles ...

On the one hand we have quite sensible people like in the previous "Meie" (I actually liked the populationminister, let's just hope she doesn't lose that enthusiasm). On the other hand (and getting way more media attention) there are guys like Lebedev and Klenski who talk utter bullsh*t. Actually every time I see Lebedev on TV, I remember video footage of him from when the Interfront tried to conquer Toompea.

Klenski and Lebedev are widely quoted and shown in Russian media as some kind of freedom fighters. Whereas the Regular Intelligent Russian Person from "Meie" is nowhere to be seen. The points represented there were all tolerable, the sad thing is that only a fraction of the Estonian community got them. Russians did NOT receive that. They listened to how Estonians are depicted as Nazis on RIA Novosti or smth.

That's the problem with "having dialog". Estonians can't just say "OK, let's have ourselves a dialog now!" when the Russian side is apathetic. They have to try too, we can meet them half way, but they have to do the same. They have to swallow some of that Great-Russian pride. How we're going to achieve that (if we are) is a mystery to me. Demanding Russian as a second language and that the Estonian flag should be changed or smth won't definitely bring us any closer. There are just some things that aren't negotiable in Estonia. Apart from those, we are completely open.

Kaur ütles ...

The catch is that making Russian the second official language wouldn't solve any of the problems, because younger Estonians don't speaks it, even if they have learned it in school for 7 years (like I have). Making it official language would only widen the gap between the two communities and cause more conflicts.

Scott ütles ...

I went to see the Bronze Soldier today.

You can see my photos at

Now that the wall and that Soviet symbol is gone, I could appreciate that it's a pretty decent statue. And it's just a soldier of no particular army. And it's surrounded by the tombstones of hundreds of soldiers. A perfect location, IMO.

Scott ütles ...

Oops! Here's the link:

Bronze Soldier photos

Mattias ütles ...

The catch is that making Russian the second official language wouldn't solve any of the problems, because younger Estonians don't speaks it, even if they have learned it in school for 7 years (like I have).

Right. It is a nice example of how isolated the Estonian and Russian communities are here. I left high school last spring. During those interesting 12 years I studied Russian for seven and German for only three years, yet I speak and understand German much better than Russian. I'm sure that many people of my age have the same experience. There may be several reasons but I think that first, young people feel antipathy for Russian and second, young people may sometimes watch German TV channels and read something in German but never in Russian. Of course, English is the main foreign language but the runner-ups are certainly German and Finnish and not Russian.

Kaur ütles ...

The wall will be rebuilt after the 9th of May.

Kaur ütles ...

Mattias, I have exactly the same experience. Lack of experience and antipathy are certainly facotrs that influence, but for me the hardest thing is the alphabeth. After 7 years of learning I still can't read properly and it takes awfully lot of time (about 20 minutes for A4). But it's wery difficult to learn a language, if you can't read it properly. I read Jens-Olaf's blog and understand almost everything there but couldn't read anything similar in russian.

space_maze ütles ...

This is the main thing that I hope now changes - that ethnic Russians in Estonia start to be represented by respectable human beings. It's a really important prerequisite to integration.

This is very much true. Unfortunately, there's nothing Estonians can do about this really, aside from not paying any attention to people like Klenski.

I've been positively impressed by some of the things I've seen from this guy:

http://www.krishtafovitsh.ee/
http://krishtafovitsh.livejournal.com/

I believe he is a student representative nowadays .. I can only hope he continues to represent.

Kristjan ütles ...

(I actually liked the populationminister, let's just hope she doesn't lose that enthusiasm)


I didn't watch the program as I hate Aunaste's guts, but yes, Urve Palo is certainly "a good egg".

Clever swine, that Padar. ;-)

Kristjan ütles ...

Yes, Krištafovitš is also "a good egg". He's been treated very much like a Russian traitor so far in his life, however. I really hope that changes. He should certainly become a prominent Russian politician in Estonian politics.

space_maze ütles ...

Am I seriously missing out on something, or are people saying that someone called "Urve Palo" is Russian? --> huh?

Anyone know Igor Gräzin's background actually? The name sounds neither Russian nor Estonian to me..

Kristjan ütles ...

Am I seriously missing out on something, or are people saying that someone called "Urve Palo" is Russian? --> huh?


No, I just wanted to high-light her for praise, because I like her. I like her sort of person to be in government.

She's actually from Võru in South-Eastern Estonia. Speaks the dialect, too.

Kristjan ütles ...

This is the official statement that foreign minister Paet made today.



The European Union is under attack, because Russia is attacking Estonia.

The Bronze Soldier and the vandalism in Tallinn was Estonian domestic matter, but Russia’s coordinated actions against Estonia are a European Union problem. Thus, European Union-Russia relations have entered a very complicated situation.

The attacks are virtual, psychological and real.

Before the riots, representatives of the Russian Embassy met with the main organisers of the riots in Tallinn and other Estonian cities. The meetings took place in very strange locations such as the Tallinn Botanical Garden.

It has been established that cyber terrorist attacks against Estonian governmental institution websites and that of the President’s Office’s have been made from IP addresses of concrete computers and by concrete individuals from Russian government organs including the administration of the President of the Russian Federation.

The Russian State Duma delegation, which visited Estonia through the intermediation of the European Union’s Presidency, has demanded the resignation of the government and refuses to cooperate or enter into dialogue with Estonian officials. The visiting delegation only made demands and false allegations. This is interference in Estonian internal matters.

The youth organization Nashi has surrounded the Estonian Embassy in Moscow, which also is the residence for all the employees. In essence, the employees are being held hostage. Today, Russian parliamentarians indicated that if there was a desire on Russian side, the special police would be able to free the Embassy in three minutes – however, the special police have said that their orders are to ensure only the minimum of security. Today, the Estonian flag was torn from the Embassy building. These actions are all in breach of the Vienna Convention.

The direct links of hostile Russian youth organizations like Nashi and Molodaja Gvardija to the Kremlin are well known. Just as well known is the fact that each person holding Estonian Embassy in Moscow under siege is being paid 550-1000 roubles per day by the Kremlin.

Russian television channels, whose “freedom” is well known throughout the world, do not show clips of rioters in the streets, but rather of “innocent” citizens of Russian decent being “terrorized” by police officers. They also broadcast news of Estonian police killing detainees and that the Estonian Defence Forces have been given the command to shoot Russians. These are gross lies.

I affirm to you that we have sufficient material to prove our accusations.

This all clearly shows that the future of people of Russian decent in the Estonian Republic is only being used as a rhetorical pretext for “active measures” and our compatriots are being used for greater political gains.

On Thursday, I will make a proposal to the Estonian Government as to which measures Estonia believes that the European Union should apply to Russia. These measures have to influence Russia so that it ends the attacks and its interference in internal matters of Estonia as well force Russia to fulfill its obligations under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. The measures should affect EU-Russia relations in its entirety.

We believe it to be essential that the European Union react in full strength against the behaviour of Russia. This might result in the suspension or cancellation of negotiations between the European Union and Russia. The postponement of the European Union-Russia Summit must be seriously considered.

If the situation at the Estonian Embassy in Moscow has not normalized by nine o’clock tomorrow morning, Estonia will end all consular services except for consular assistance to Estonian citizens in its Moscow consulate. The services will be resumed once the situation has returned to normal. We will continue to monitor the security of our other representations in Russia.

space_maze ütles ...

Paet grew some backbone in the last two years, it seems. The last time I saw him he was standing beside Lavrov, looking completely squirmish and intimidated.

Eleonora ütles ...

Good move Kristjan posting that statement.

You seemed to have disappeared off the radar for a while, so I thought the threat you referred to in another blog had materialised and you'd been sentenced to 20 years of boredom!

karLos ütles ...

i think estonians will be left disappointed by the EU reaction to all this.

they won't do anything that will put at risk their relations with russia, cause they know modern russia. putin will just turn off the gas. remember, the colder weather is coming soon...

ee has balls for standing up to russia, but i think they'll be standing largely alone, at least for now.

Kristjan ütles ...

You seemed to have disappeared off the radar for a while, so I thought the threat you referred to in another blog had materialised and you'd been sentenced to 20 years of boredom!


For what, exactly? :-)

jaffa ütles ...

THE OWNER OF THIS BLOG PREACHES TO THE CONVERTED (HIS FLOCK OF ESTONIAN NATIONALISTS) BUT HE NEEDS TO CONVINCE THE RUSSIAN SPEAKING ESTONIANS IF HE WISHES TO SEE A “ONE COUNTRY FUTURE” FOR ESTONIA

THIS POSTER SAYS A TWO STATE SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEMS OF ESTONIA MAT SEEM ATTRACTIVE TO THE RUSSIAN MINORITY BUT IS NOT A SOLUTION

BUT COMMENTS ON THIS BLOG ALIENATE ESTONIA’S MINORITY CITIZENS

Firstly some may be thrilled by the posts in this blog but all 600,000 Estonian speaking Russians are dismayed. (The official figures by this Nationalist government, many minorities believe, are crooked) the Russian population is not falling but the Russian speakers are being taken off the electoral roll in order to deny their political rights.

WHERE ARE THE RUSSIAN SPEAKING MINORITY IN THIS BLOG?
Although many lurk here, not many Russian speakers will take part it this Blog.
As they feel looked down on, and not wanted. In this discission

So as a participant from the Russian speaking Side YOUR MINORITY COMMUNITY

LET ME EXPLAIN WHAT SOME RUSSIAN SPEAKING ESTONIANS FEEL POLITICALLY

THESE ARE NOT MY FEELINGS BUT MANY WANT THEIR OWN STATE AND THE NUMBER GROWS

IF YOU ARE PATRIOTS ADDRESS THIS ISSUE

Let me put the record straight


THERE IS AN “US AND THEM” ATMOSPHERE HERE IN THESE DISCUSSIONS

Somewhat the Estonian Russians their great language and culture, their traditions all seem to come from a lesser God as far as Estonian posters here are concerned.

It blog has nothing for Estonian Russian minorities; some of the postings make them feel like outsiders. Amnesty International, The Council of Europe, the United Nations and a host of other groups have called on Estonia not to discriminate against its Russian speaking minorities.

This issue has been ignored and does no feature in any discussion here.

Stereotypically, monolingual Russians feel like they are looked down upon by Estonians, while Estonians are quietly distressed by the longterm inability of Russians to adapt to the Estonian culture on their own and their continued admiration for forces that were historically hostile to the Estonian people, like the USSR.

By Estonian culture you mean the culture of the Estonian speaking people.

This is NOT the only culture in Estonia – There is a Russian speaking Estonian culture too which should have equal rights. These may not be trampled upon.

Estonian people

You seem to think the Estonian speakers are the ONLY Estonian people. Russian speakers are also the people of Estonia.

Your arrogant comments humiliate your fellow citizens. The Russian speaking Citizens.

Estonia's post-1991 integration policies have both condemned and praised. One overlooked fact is that they have been working. Estonia's stateless persons decline every year, and currently only 9 percent of residents lack citizenship, compared to 32 percent just 15 years ago.

I see a lot of condemnation but very little praise in the International media for Estonia’s Nationality policies.

THEY SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ILLEGAL IN THE FIRST PLACE – Read the reports from the world’s human rights organizations.


Estonia's politicians have employed a carrot and stick approach to goad monolingual Russians into integrating into Estonian society. However, these Russians that have yet to integrate see it mostly as stick and stick. Since they don't have citizenship they cannot vote on the policies that effect them the most.

EXACTY what right has one Ethnic culture to apply the BIG STICK (Or even the carrot! What arrogance) to another Ethnic Culture – Some have been illegally disfranchised. In order not to upset the political balance in Estonia. Sounds like racism to me. The Russian speakers may say “Enough is enough; we will not allow the majority to beat us any more in our own land”


Estonian school reform is another hot issue. Dealing with a monolingual minority that has difficulty in obtaining high paying jobs and status in society has spurred Estonian politicians to endore a high percentage of education in Estonian at the public school level. This has created additional pressure on ethnic Russians in Estonia.

Russian speakers think they own language important too.

THEY MAY WISH TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS
FIND A SOLUTION
PERHAPS SELF DETERMINATION & FREEDOM FROM DICRIMANATORY LAWS

Again, it becomes complicated, because to succeed in Estonia, knowledge of Estonian is an asset, but since obtaining that knowledge is difficult, some monolingual Russians see it as a discriminatory hurdle to "weed them out" of political and economic participation.

Discrimination is so rife against Russian Speakers that one cannot ihave successes if Russian is your Language.

So WHATS THE SOLUTION some say Russian speakers should curve out their own state. I do not subscribe to this view. But many Russian speakers now dream about it. They feel 100% Estonian they want equality IN THEIR OWN LAND ESTONIA.

Some Russian speakers may say. The only solution is developing separately but equally, in our own administered areas. The policies of the majority show that we cannot live in one state with equality.

This poster believes this is wrong Good sense will prevail all Estonians are not all Nationalistic; appeal to the more sane people in the Majority community them. Resolve everything peacefully within the law and constitution of the land.

Russia has conducted an anti-Estonian propaganda campaign aimed at discrediting the country in the international arena with a longterm goal of bringing it back under its control. I would not like to believe this, but after reading hundreds of stories in the Russian media, I can only conclude that this is the case.

The Russian Federation did nothing to persuade the many human rights organizations who think Estonia undemocratic in their treatment of their large minority.

People Worldwide decide for themselves. If an Ethnic Conflict starts in earnest. WHEN THE ETHNIC CONFLICT hits the news worldwide people will ask why these Russians are fighting. Just as they asked why are these Russians speakers rioting today. You can have lived sixty years in Estonia and not get citizenship. UNDER THIS ARGUEMNT EVERY ESTONIAN SHOULD HAVE HIS CITIZENSHIP TAKEN AWAY IN OTHER COUNTRIES, IF HE HAS NOT LIVED THERE FOR A MINIMUM OF SIXTY YEARS.

If the Russia Speaking Estonians do decide to campaign for an their Independent state - I hope it will be peaceful and done in a Gandhian Non violent manner. Planting bombs in cities or armed struggle will be despised by everyone in the world including this poster. No movement deserves its own state if it does that - if many thousands of innocent lives are lost.

Having Tallinn as a Capital for the new Russian speaking Estonian State although vital (some say) to make this state a success (as it can obtain revenues by giving Russia access to the sea) . I feel will not be viable given the significant number of Estonian speakers there. Perhaps it can be shared with the Estonian speakers as a capital. But if there is Ethnic conflict hatreds grow quickly and then it becomes difficult to compromise.

However this will depend on the Estonians to resolve the issue of their minorities. These are two great people in Estonia – those of the Russian culture and those of the Estonian Culture – I would love to see both cultures flourish.

I love to see in future as peace in Estonia this can only be done if the Russian speakers feel part of the present national mainstream, their language and culture is respected, and they have equal opportunities.

I reiterate

A two State solution is not viable and I hope that this does not happen.

Eleonora ütles ...

Lets hope the Foreign Ministry is media savvy and has distributed the statement widely to all international media and then whether they run with it and for how long, which to a large extent depends on official Russian response. The charges made against Russia are quite serious.

I have a google alert for the word Estonia (found this site thro it) so if it appears that will be some indication of the international interest/concern.

Kristjan ütles ...

I think we all know what to do with Jaffa. ;-)

Kristjan ütles ...

And Giustino, please don't delete anything. :-)

Eleonora ütles ...

You seemed to have disappeared off the radar for a while, so I thought the threat you referred to in another blog had materialised and you'd been sentenced to 20 years of boredom!


For what, exactly? :-)


"For trying to change the system from within", which is presumably why you thought you might be targetted.

martintg ütles ...

To Jaffa,

the simple solution is that all Russian-speaking school children will learn the Estonian language in highschool as a second language.

In 2007, the government will introduce reforms where 60% of lessons will be in Estonian in the final two years of highschool.

Eleonora ütles ...

To Jaffa and all contributors.

This is just like a very messy and angry marriage divorce – neither side appears to the other to be listening, the children are angry and squabbling and want equal share of and rights to the estate. One side says the marriage was forced, the other says it was voluntary. As in all disputes there are three sides to the story - her side, his side and the truth.

Perhaps it is time for something like a historical telemovie/documentary series of Estonia’s political history . Ants Oras’s book ‘Baltic Eclipse’, written in exile, is almost a day by day account of the events in Estonia from 1940 to 1943 and would be good source material as would interviews with people from both sides, that were alive at the time. The book was published in 1948 by Gollancz but is probably out of print.

martintg ütles ...


Eleonora said...
To Jaffa and all contributors.

This is just like a very messy and angry marriage divorce – neither side appears to the other to be listening, the children are angry and squabbling and want equal share of and rights to the estate. One side says the marriage was forced, the other says it was voluntary. As in all disputes there are three sides to the story - her side, his side and the truth.


Eleonora, Jaffa is not a resident of Estonia. His/her views have no basis in reality.

www.jamestown.org best summed up the cause of the riots:
The rioters’ social profile is extremely unrepresentative of the Russian/”Russian-speaking” population of Estonia and specifically of Tallinn. That population on the whole did not become involved in any protest activity, although many of them clearly resented the removal of the Bronze Soldier. The hard-core protest constituency that had recently assembled at the site consisted largely of Soviet-era veterans, with a sprinkling of politicized Russian youths. The rampaging groups, however, burst as new entrants upon the scene. Their activity seems at least in part to fit French sociologists’ description of Arab youths’ riots in France as “émeutes ludiques” -- rioting for the excitement of it -- barely, if at all, related to political grievances, but subject to manipulation by political forces.

Jaffa is an example of these external political forces attempting to manipulate and exploit the situation.

jaffa ütles ...
Autor on selle kommentaari eemaldanud.
jaffa ütles ...

The demonstration was spontaneous consisting of elderly people and Children. It was an outrage and condemnations are flowing in from all parts of the world. Human Rights groups are on their way to Estonia.

BT THE WAY CAN ANYONE TELL ME WHAT PERCENTAGE OF THE POLICE FORCE ARE ESTONIANS FROM THE RUSSIAN SPEAKING MINORITY – AND HOW MANY OF THEM ARE REPRESENTED IN OTHER GOVERNMENT JOBS.

Discrimination and disfranchisement that what Estonia’s large minority feel they constantly have to suffer..

I have been reading the posts in this blog. They leave a nasty taste in the minds of any Estonian Russian reading them. You guys do not know how your talk hurts your fellow Estonians from the minority community.

Most of Estonia’s large minority will tell you how absolutely disgusted they feel.

Don’t blame them if your attitude leads them to demand part of the common land all Estonians live in now, as their own state.

A Russian student blog has already drawn up a list of areas that should form the New Russian speaking Estonia

jaffa ütles ...

The EU And Ethnic Cleansing In Estonia
Written by Copy Dude
Tuesday, 01 May 2007
by Copydude



One of the EU’s many accomplishments in facilitating NATO expansion has been to ignore its own laws. Currently it is condoning a form of ethnic cleansing against Russian speakers in Estonia. Just as it turned a blind eye to punitive language laws in Latvia.

As Amnesty International explains, in EU Estonia today, every third person is a potential victim of discrimination.

The treatment of the ethnic Russian minority in Estonia is not only in contravention of UN laws, the European Council’s Human Rights Charter and the EU’s own Treaty of Amsterdam. It is also being effected in a manner reminiscent of Nazi Germany.

Estonia’s ‘Language Directorate’ operates as the new brownshirts, disbarring anyone with poor Estonian language skills from their jobs and rights. Ethnic Russians are the new ‘untermenschen’. Yet it’s a form of ethnic cleansing that the EU ‘warmly welcomed‘. This is really what is behind the current riots in Tallinn and why the ‘Bronze Soldier’ became a rallying point.

It would not be the first time ethnic cleansing has taken place in Estonia. In 1934, there were 4,381 Jews in Estonia, with most living in Tallinn, the capital city. By the end of 1942, there were no known Jews in Estonia.

During the war, an estimated 10,000 Jews were killed in Estonia after having been deported to camps from elsewhere in Eastern Europe. In 1944, The Red Army failed to liberate those who remained. The main concentration camps were evacuated by sea to Danzig. Any who missed the boat were killed a few hours before the Red Army arrived and fewer than 10 survived.

At this time, Estonia had its own SS fighting alongside the Nazis. Very effectively, too. The battle of Narva was particularly gruesome for Russians, losing 170,000 men. Certainly, the Red Army did not ‘liberate’ Estonia. Estonian guerillas - the Forest Brothers - were still harassing the Soviets until 1949. So, a monument to a Russian soldier was always inappropriate - rather like erecting an RAF monument in Dresden. Balts were largely Nazi sympathisers and many are still in holocaust denial. Though not all.

This is not the first soldier monument controversy. A monument to an Estonian SS soldier was erected in Parnu in 2002.

Whether Estonia would have fared better under Nazi occupation than Soviet Occupation is a tough one to call, to say the least. But it seems clear which one Estonians would have preferred. And to be fair, they experienced both.

So now it’s payback time for ethnic Russians and the methodology is Nazi style, with the novel variation of Russians being put in ‘no labour’ camps. The brownshirts from the ‘Language Inspectorate’ turn up, announced or unannounced, and recommend dismissal for anyone who isn’t an ethnic Estonian.

Here’s a typical mail to Amnesty International:

“I used to work as a taxi driver but lost my job thanks to the Language Inspectorate. They call you to the transport commission for the slightest infraction of the highway code where the Language Inspectorate is waiting for you.Everything is well planned. They call only the Russian speakers. They can sack you not because you are a bad worker, not because passengers have been complaining but because you don’t know Estonian well. I have three children, a mortgage and an alcoholic husband but nobody cares. I have to pay for language courses and they are not cheap — two or three monthly salaries. I don’t have a job and I cannot pay for the Estonian language courses. How am I going to live? Isn’t this discrimination?”

Since March, the Language Directorate has tightened the screws, making people who already have a language certificate re-sit a language exam and nullifying the language certificates of those who fail a re-sit - which of course, is guaranteed.

Amnesty International notes again:


People who were born and have lived all their lives in Estonia have not been able to gain Estonian citizenship. They are deprived of the possibility of working as state or municipal officials, meaning they are deprived of the opportunity to contribute to their communities according to their potential.


The stateless and jobless ethnic Russians will inevitably become homeless and be ‘disappeared’ like the Bronze Soldier. The Russians in the EU are the new ‘Jews’ and the EU continues to abandon basic human rights, in contravention of its own citizenship laws, as it has done with ‘extraordinary rendition’ and torture camps.

martintg ütles ...

To Jaffa

Several points:
1. You are a foreign agitator.
2. You are a pathological liar.
3. Your are a net kook.
4. You need to see a psychiatrist.

Eleonora ütles ...

The latest google alert for 'Estonia' with references to Paet's media release are mainly links to ITAR-TASS reports which do not mention the charges alleged against Russian authorities of meeting with the rioters beforehand and for hacking into Estonian government websites.

Kristjan ütles ...

"For trying to change the system from within", which is presumably why you thought you might be targetted.


Eleonora, no! :-) We are all very desperately trying to keep the democractic Republic of Estonia from within.

It occurred to me one tense night, however, that it probably wouldn't be very difficult for FSB to locate me and send me to the posting choir eternal, if I get in their way too much. They obviously have a great many operatives in Estonia at the present time. And the Russian Federation on the whole is becoming disturbingly desperate and unpredictable.

Kristjan ütles ...

And Eleonore, there is no point in trying to discuss anything with such vile provocators. They're certainly not interested in constructive dialogue, or anyone's life getting better in Estonia, for that matter.

Scott ütles ...

You know, I might be able to even read that twaddle, if it wasn't written by some guy named "Copydude".

For some reason, I get the picture of a Russian Big Lebowski: "The Copydude abides."

As for Jaffa's charge that he's "preaching to the converted," I'm an American, like Giustino, and have no cultural or family ties to the area (unless you consider Rudolph Ivanivitch way back in the family tree from St. Petersburg, but there's another 57 flavors in there, too).

What I do is currently live here, and have a brain between my ear holes. I have an undergrad degree in Russian (not Estonian) studies. I don't like the town I'm living in torn up by thugs and looters, which is what those people were. I saw that with my own eyes the first night.

I'm well read, have worked all my life in the media, and have a nose when I'm being fed twisted facts or propaganda. Which Jaffa and "Copydude", IMO, are supplying in equal measure.

One quick story from my trip to see the Bronze dude yesterday. My girlfriend speaks Russian, and when I was running around taking photos, she was listening to the comments of the Russian crowd. She said she sidled up to a couple of the organizers of the protests, husbands and wives -- the husbands were wearing little sashes that identified as such. One wife, though, turned to the other after looking at the statue awhile, and said to the other, "You know, I think it IS much better here than at Tonismagi. The other wife silently agreed. ;-)

Giustino ütles ...

Well, fellow Americans, here is a great article from the American Spectator. Two choice pieces:

Eight of the young Estonia republic's ten former presidents were quickly arrested. Most were shot down in dirty makeshift Soviet prison yards. One committed suicide rather than answer a Communist Party summons. Forty-seven former Estonian ministers were arrested. None survived. Can you imagine a monument in Washington, D.C. to a government that murdered eight of our ten first presidents?

That's every president from Washington to Van Buren. Would we in America tolerate a memorial to soldiers that executed Thomas Jefferson in a courtyard like a dog? Read it for yourself.

http://www.spectator.org/dsp_article.asp?art_id=11377

Pēteris Cedriņš ütles ...

Giustino,

Thanks for this brilliant and very necessary post and all of the posts you've composed since the troubles began. This has been one of my favorite places in the blogosphere of late.

By the way, Aleks at All About Latvia also has a fascinating series of relevant posts.

Eleonora ütles ...

Kristjan

Re the references boredom and changing the system from within - they come from Leonard Cohen’s song ‘First we take Manhatten’.

Re your comments about Jaffa - in my marriage divorce analogy I should have added that both parties had children from previous marriages and also that one side refuses to acknowledge the divorce. Someone has stated Jaffa is not an Estonian citizen. Be that as it may, he is a child from the previous marriage and his comments are best responded to, if at all, logically and strategically, not emotionaly. I accept it is helpful if people declare their origins. For the record I am an Australian citizen with past and current genetic links to Estonia.

Jaffa
During the recent demonstrations in St Petersburg and Moscow against Putin, was there a blog site, such as this one, where Russian people supporting the demonstrations could discuss what was happening without being afraid to say what they thought? As an Australian I would be interested to know.

Kristjan ütles ...

Eleonora,

Jaffa is one of the FSB's internet squad. Nothing more.

Eppppp ütles ...

Do you think Moira (two days ago) was also from FSB and if so, how do you know?
I asked from Giustino, he said he cant check the IP addresses in blogspot (too bad).

Kristjan ütles ...

Yes, the pseudonym Moira also participated in what was a really professional-looking provocation.

I know who they are, because I recognize the quality. ;-)

Kristopher ütles ...

How about a character limit to comments? Should be able to make your point in 1,500 characters max. If this is not enough, you can always link, or think about getting your own blog, no?

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

I wonder how many of the brave Russian flamewarriors are familiar with this interesting historical tidbit:

Hitler and Stalin invade Poland.

How's that jibe with the whole "we were brave anti-fascists" line?

Kristjan ütles ...

A competent article in The Economist.

http://economist.com/daily/news/displaystory.cfm?story_id=9102165

Kristopher ütles ...

Mm. Where's Edward Lucas, incidentally, lost in Romania? Should a missing person report be filed?

Kristjan ütles ...

I assume he is quiet, because he is biased. And everyone knows it.

plasma-jack ütles ...

Anyone know Igor Gräzin's background actually? The name sounds neither Russian nor Estonian to me..

I guess he's half Russian. http://www.reform.ee/kandidaat/igorgrazin/galerii&gallery_id=145

Kristopher ütles ...

Everyone is biased. The concern is that he would only be preaching to the choir? What possible harm would there be in another respected voice saying, "Russia wants the pipeline and a number of other things and they are doing the following to apply pressure"?

Of course there are perfectly good other reasons why someone doesn't post for a few days, I was just curious.

stockholm slender ütles ...

Dear me, I feel dirty just reading jaffa's posts... By and large the vile lies of Goebbels went to grave with him. Sure there are assorted youthful, uneducated thugs keeping up the flame, but not one of the major powers of the world. Perhaps Stalinism really is more dangerous ideology than Nazism, as it still lives on and is not an anathema to all civilized people. Certainly not everywhere. So unimaginably nasty: the dance on the graves continues in Moscow. No justice for the dead.

Kristjan ütles ...

Everyone is biased. The concern is that he would only be preaching to the choir? What possible harm would there be in another respected voice saying, "Russia wants the pipeline and a number of other things and they are doing the following to apply pressure"?


With Truth, Justice, and Civility fighting your battles for you, all you have to do is spread information. ;-)

If Lucas published something, it would only muddy the water.

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

Jah, ma tean, et see inimestele ei meeldinud. Küll aga arvan ma, et see oli õige ja vajalik.

Giustino ütles ...

Mehed, mu suur küsimus on nüüd see -- Kus on Andrus Ansip? Ta peitis või? Jööb ta Laua Viini Soome välisministriga?

Kristjan ütles ...

Küllap ta tegutseb kulisside taga. Rabeleda ei ole ju enam vaja.

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

Ma ei võta Su soovitust esialgu vastu.

Eleonora ütles ...

Jaffa

Don't go all coy now. The URL for that blog site would be useful.

plasma-jack ütles ...

http://www.thecopydude.com/?p=248

mina ütles ...

Esimene reegel om mõtte kuuldavaks tegemisel: isegi kui sa oled surmvihane ja ärritunud, ära näita seda välja. Ära ropenda, sõima või kasuta otseseid ning faktiliselt põhjendamata isiklikke rünnakuid.

Kordan mõtet - ära sõima, see jätab tektis just sõimajast halva mulje - olgu tal kui palju tahes õigus.

Kristopher ütles ...

Ah tühja neist ministritest, tüli peab lahendatama rohujuurte tasandil. Pealegi on Ansip mingi Tartu mees, kui, siis las asjaga tegeleb nt Pihl või Lang.

Kristjan ütles ...

Esimene reegel om mõtte kuuldavaks tegemisel: isegi kui sa oled surmvihane ja ärritunud, ära näita seda välja. Ära ropenda, sõima või kasuta otseseid ning faktiliselt põhjendamata isiklikke rünnakuid.

Kordan mõtet - ära sõima, see jätab tektis just sõimajast halva mulje - olgu tal kui palju tahes õigus.



Sel, mis mulje must jäi, ei ole mingit tähtsust.

Kristopher ütles ...

Aga jah, G: samas töökojas pesitseb, politseivalve all.

Giustino ütles ...

I guess Russia is ignoring this treaty now too?


Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.


Done at Vienna, on 18 April 1961

Article 22

2. The receiving State is under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the premises of the mission against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the mission or impairment of its dignity.

J. S. ütles ...

Great article!

Kristopher ütles ...

Reports from Dagens Nyheter are that the Swedish Ambassador was also attacked today in Moscow. Russia seems intent on expanding this into a regional issue.

Kristjan ütles ...

It's already a global issue. ;-)

Robert ütles ...

My guess is that the välisminister made his statement yesterday only after serious consultation with several EU governments. His statement likely has (unofficial) EU endorsement.

Eleonora ütles ...

I visited http://www.thecopydude.com/?p=248. Oh dear,oh dear!

Back in around 20 hours to check if Jaffa or friends have picked up the gauntlet.

space_maze ütles ...

Regarding Ansip's location .. I read people talking about how great it would be if he would be assasinated on a German board the other day. For a moment, I was seriously tempted to call Estonian security services, but I think it was all WAY too idle to be considered "dangerous"...

plasma-jack ütles ...

Ansip says that since he's the Enemy number 1, he wouldn't appear before the Russians. So he sends Aaviksoo instead.

somebody ütles ...

Great post! The entire blog is great but this post in particular is extremely informative.

If you write that article about language policies in Europe, I could answer your questions about Spain. Spain has a long history of centralism, but the 1978 Constitution gave regional languages official status in their own region. And now it is actually quite hard to find a Spanish school in Cataluña, since most public schools are in Catalan.

As a Spaniard who speaks and learns Estonian and loves small languages I think there is a bunch of discrimination policies against outsiders in Spain (ie against those who don't speak Catalan, Gallego, Mallorquin...). At the same time, most nationalist catalan newspapers are published in Spanish (see La Vanguardia)...

In the Bask country it is a bit different, since the language is very hard to learn and a small percentage of the local population speaks it. But there you have Ikastolas, bask-only schools that are creating new generations of bask speaking, fiercely nationalist youngsters...

juanma hotpunktee

Pēteris Cedriņš ütles ...

Somebody, a question -- why does Tatyana Zhdanok, the only Russian in the European Parliament and one of the most hated politicians among Latvia, find support from Cataluña?

admin ütles ...

"Breton, native to Britanny and lacking any home outside of France, has over a million speakers today, according to some report"

Are you crazy??

I have no idea where you get all your figures from!!!
Breton as a language is DEAD, as are all the other minority celtic languages bar ONE,-Welsh and that is the oldest language in Europe.
(I happen to speak it)

Thanks to a big campaign and the very large literary and cultural base of Welsh it now has under 1M users, something about the same as Estonian.

However we didn't use coercion and loss of citizenship rights to achieve it.
That is absolutely what is wrong with Estonia and why the current policy will fail.

Giustino ütles ...

Ma ei tea, Härra Admin. Ma arvan et eesti venelased oskavad eesti keelt parem täna kui 15 aastat tagasi. Nüüd kõige suurem küsimus on miks?

KRISTIN ütles ...

Väga tore ja informatiivne postitus! AITÄH!

As for Russians living in Estonia - I REALLY don't understand why would they think that they could be privileged and succesful here without speaking any Estonian. Call me naive, but I don't think they would expect do be all that in the USA, for example, without speaking English. I just don't understand that!!!! If you are a Russian and proud of that and want to speak only your native language and be only interested in your own culture and history, then why don't you go live in Russia???? Just think of your motives - WHY ON EARHT do you live here? For the sweet climate? I don't think so... I see those ignorant Russian old ladies yelling on TV that they brough us everything good from Russia and they now are ashemed of living in a country like Estonia - ---- what keeps them here? This is over my head. I would NEVER EVER go to Russia not even for a visit, let alone to live there, why would I?

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