kolmapäev, mai 02, 2007

Attack on Swedes Draws Stronger EU Response

For several days now, Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet has been using the EU card in his negotiations with Russia.

Now it appears the cavalry is on its way, but not just due to the fact that Estonian Ambassador Marina Kaljurand was attacked this morning during a press conference by activists from Nashi, a Kremlin supported youth group.

Today, the youth group attacked the Estonian ambassador's vehicle, ripping off its Estonian flag. But it later attacked the vehicle of the Swedish ambassador to Russia, Johan Molander, pictured, also ripping off his vehicle's Swedish flag. The event drew instant protests from the Swedish Foreign Ministry, and -- no suprise here -- whether for the sake of Kaljurand or Molander, an EU delegation is on its way to sort things out with the Russians.

The issue here is Russia's adherence to Article 22, Item 2 of the the Vienna Conventions of April 1961, which states:
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.

I am begining to think that Russia's reluctance to clear it's openly endorsed youth group may have more to do with domestic politics. How will Russia's leaders look when its most "patriotic" citizens are removed, perhaps violently, in order to protect the diplomatic mission of a country that has been subjected to a propaganda war for most of the last 16 years?

I can imagine Russian officials are figuring out ways out of this right now. One might be to attend the ceremony on May 8 in Tallinn, bite their lip, and recognize that this is over. Talk of integration issues can resume, and they need to. But as for this issue, it needs to be put to rest immediately. Perhaps the EU can talk some sense into Moscow.

48 kommentaari:

Kristjan ütles ...

I have two notes:

- The Estonian government has always acted in good faith in this matter.

- What we are seeing are the death cramps of a profoundly evil regime. Followed, soon, by death.

Agu-Enrik Ubailves ütles ...
Autor on selle kommentaari eemaldanud.
plasma-jack ütles ...

so early today, huh?

Carlito ütles ...

Incredible banana republic type behavior once again from the Kremlin. Is this how you go about winning friends and influencing the very same people you need to negotiate sensitive transit rights for your Baltic gas pipeline?

Is there a Russian equivalent for the word and concept of "blowback" ? If not maybe there should be.

How does a major part of American's politcal establishment view events in Estonia? This little tidbit from the bible of American capitalism....


Wall Street Journal 30april2007: Estonia and the Bear

"Russians rioted in Tallinn and other Estonian cities this weekend, leaving store fronts shattered, dozens injured and one man dead. Their stated grievance was the removal Friday of a Soviet war memorial from central Tallinn. The real inspiration was Moscow.

The Estonian government transferred the bronze statue of a Red Army soldier and exhumed remains of Soviet troops to a military cemetery near the capital. Estonians are generous to keep them at all. The Soviets annexed their country in 1940 and only let go 51 years later. France doesn't have a memorial to the Nazi occupation.

Since its liberation, no former Soviet republic has managed to irritate the bear as much as this plucky Baltic mouse of 1.3 million people -- including 300,000 Russians -- famous for its ultramodern economy. Moscow has for years accused Estonia and Latvia of violating ethnic Russians' rights. These countries insist, not unreasonably, that Russians learn a few words of their language to gain citizenship.

The memorial fracas gave Cold War nostalgics in Moscow an excuse to strike fresh. The upper house of Russia's parliament called on President Vladimir Putin to break off diplomatic ties, and the Kremlin warned of "serious consequences." Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, a man unafraid of irony, said Estonia "was a country where human rights are not respected." Some of the 1,000 rioters arrested arrived only in recent days from Russia. Tallinn was calmer yesterday, but other towns saw looting and clashes with police.

In spite of such scenes, many Baltic Russians are none too displeased that the Cold War ended and left them stranded in what became prosperous and free societies that have recently joined the EU. Their ethnic kin to the east aren't so lucky. And the majority of Latvian and Estonian Russians have gotten their citizenship.

As the rioting shows, the Kremlin can still stir the Baltic pot. Fortunately, as a NATO member, little Estonia doesn't fear for its life, circa 1940."

Kristjan ütles ...

I wonder if this is also the end of the Catholic Church.

Kristjan ütles ...

Wouldn't that be sweet revenge! :-)

Kristjan ütles ...

Saite, raisad!

Kristjan ütles ...

In the broadest lines of history, this is the Finno-Ugric revenge on the Indo-Europeans.

And you will end up thanking us for it. :-)

Kristjan ütles ...

Meie reliikvia on vabadus!

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

Ma arvan, et sul on mõne aja pärast põhjust mult vabandust paluda.

Andres ütles ...

Am I the only one deeply sickened and tired of this confrontation? Why can't this all go away already. Things in Estonia are calm now but the Putinjugends are still trying to keep it alive. Can't they just let it go? Their demands are unreal and childish and only serve the purpose of making Estonians hate Russia even more. Can't we all just get along finally? :P

Giustino ütles ...

Andres,

Ilves has said that the story of the monument is over. I think he is right. There are other questions about integration, yes. But the saga of the monument is over. Nashi is really hurting Russia right now. If they keep it up, the EU-Russia Summit will be canceled.

Hopefully Russia will clear them with the same zest that they cleared protestors in St. Petersburg last month.

stockholm slender ütles ...

Actually Russia seems to be one of the few semi-fascistic countries in Europe (along with Belarus I guess) - those Nashi people really bring Hitler Jugend to mind. Nasty and disgusting spectacle. Hopefully this will generate a backlash and a unified and effective Western response.

Andres Sehr ütles ...

I can't help but thinking that a lot of people that are reading about this in the paper are going to confuse Nashi (or Naši) with Nazi. I think I've 2 or 3 friends already make that comment, anyone think that? :)

Mattias ütles ...

I can't help but thinking that a lot of people that are reading about this in the paper are going to confuse Nashi (or Naši) with Nazi. I think I've 2 or 3 friends already make that comment, anyone think that? :)

Just a few minutes ago one of my friends said that we should put a big sign "Nashistõ" on our kitchen window (one politically active student-flat in Tartu) to answer to Russian slogan "fashistõ" for Estonians. So, yes, their movement has chosen quite a confusing brand. :)

Kristopher ütles ...

Nashi. It is an unfortunate name. Especially if they grow older and better organized -- will they become the Nashi Party? They are, to use a line from the WSJ, also unafraid of irony.

stockholm slender ütles ...

It is of course comforting that facts are, solely, on the Estonian side. In the long run they tend to win over falsehoods and worship of power. But not automatically, especially as these days history is not media's strong suit - it might be a useful idea to have a multilingual web portal containing the Estonian case complete with source references and literature. You would need only to factually, dryly recount what really happened during those tragic years of the occupation, no spin needed. Such crimes against humanity, largely unpunished, even today celebrated by the perpetually morally corrupt Kremlin.

Kristjan ütles ...

Stockholm Slender, I passed your good advice on to Mart Laar.

stockholm slender ütles ...

Dear me, cheers! I think such a portal would actually be quite useful - these Kremlin minions paid and unpaid are many and it would be handy to have all the informational resources and citations assembled behind one link when battling these thugs. The truth is on the Estonian side, and that is a mighty force indeed.

Kristjan ütles ...

I agree with you completely.

Kaur ütles ...

Israel is very successful in giving this type of information, their site http://www.palestinefacts.org/ is very easily found in Google. The only problem is that the information is not quite neutral:)

stockholm slender ütles ...

Yeah, Israel-Palestine conflict certainly has many gray areas - these are just completely missing when debating Estonia's encounter with Stalin (that heart of darkness quite equal to Hitler and thus totally exceptional in human history). Facts will speak for themselves, there is no real debate there. Well, sure, there were a very few actual collaborationists like in all occupied territories (including the Channel Islands of the UK) - significantly less and significantly less willing than the Vichy French ones, for example. (Not to talk about Lenin's and Stalin's multitude of willing executioners.) Otherwise is was a pure "civil society meet a hysterical terror state" situation. That is the simple, factual truth. No need for spin, no need for propaganda.

Kristjan ütles ...

I think it's also important that the collaborators get their just sentence from history.

Jens-Olaf ütles ...

Today I visited the small Korean community in Tallinn. Koreans who came to Tallinn during soviet times, also because live was better for Asians here during the Soviet Union still existed. Here they were not beaten up as in other parts of the Union. But they made it also not into the Estonian society, living as noncitizens nowadays. In best cases the children are working in the United States now. O.K. Russian is their mother tongue and Korean is rather seldom used. And they are close to other non Estonians. They feel that if - the 9th of May will be the day when something could happen. One was very convinced.

Giustino ütles ...

Zarenkov, the ugly-mustache sporting leader of the low-vote getting Constitution Party (sorry I can't stand the guy) said today that by moving the monument to a cemetery Estonia had "shit on the souls" of ethnic Russians.

And I thought, every time a person calls Estonians fascists or Nazis, they shit on the souls of Estonians. Every time a kid writes "CCCP Forever" somewhere, they shit on the souls of Estonians. Dare I say, every time a unilingual Russian-speaker bosses an Estonian around (and I've seen some pretty nasty linguistic abuse in Tallinn) they shit on the souls of the Estonians.

Finally, every time the Russian Federation denies the occupation, they shit on the souls of not just all Estonians, but all small d democrats all over the world. Having a murderous past is common. Denying it decades later is insulting to all people who use logic and empathy in their daily lives.

Is it that Zarenkov doesn't understand that or is it that he just doesn't care?

stockholm slender ütles ...

It truly is beyond belief that in modern Europe we still have a great power endorsing a totalitarian view of history. It is a total moral collapse, dancing on the countless graves - numerically actually mostly on Russian graves, unmourned, overwhelmingly innocent of any crime. All in the name of cynical state power that honours no individuals, that sees no value in individual human life. That really is vile.

Kaur ütles ...

Currently the government likes to talk about how few votes the Constitution party got on the last elections, but I'm afraid that if new elections would be now their support might have increased considerably.

Kristjan ütles ...

Maybe so, but I'm sure that by March 2011, it will be back to 0. :-)

Kristjan ütles ...

A few linguistical remarks:

- The Estonian language has not accepted the use of the phrase "Our Lord" in reference to the Christian God. The phrase the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church use is "Issand", but I'm willing to bet most Estonians don't know it's supposed to mean "master", or "isand" in Estonian.

- The Estonian word "kurat" comes from the Latin stem "curat".

Kristjan ütles ...

It is also very natural for an Estonian to use the words "kurat" and "raisk" very close to each other in a sentence or phrase.

Kristjan ütles ...

You have been raping us for 800 years. :-(

martintg ütles ...


stockholm slender said...
It is of course comforting that facts are, solely, on the Estonian side. In the long run they tend to win over falsehoods and worship of power. But not automatically, especially as these days history is not media's strong suit - it might be a useful idea to have a multilingual web portal containing the Estonian case complete with source references and literature. You would need only to factually, dryly recount what really happened during those tragic years of the occupation, no spin needed. Such crimes against humanity, largely unpunished, even today celebrated by the perpetually morally corrupt Kremlin.


I think this is a good idea too. However, if you do a google search on "Estonia", guess which site is at the top of the search results? Wikipedia.

Like it or not, Wikipedia is now the most popular place people go to in order to research information on a particular topic. The problem with Wikipedia is that any anonymous person can edit it. In fact there has been an ongoing edit war on the topic of the occupation of the Baltics for quite some time, with anonymous editors constantly disputing the fact of occupation. Ofcourse great effort has been made to ensure that the articles are properly referenced with reliable sources, which is the only defence against such disputes. But at best it is an amateur effort.

What needs to be done is that the Estonian government hires a fulltime professional editor who understands Wikipedia policies in regard to encyclopedic article editing, in order to keep an eye on all the Wikipedia pages concerning Estonia, and ensure that they are properly maintained.

martintg ütles ...


Giustino said...
Is it that Zarenkov doesn't understand that or is it that he just doesn't care?


Ofcourse Zarenkov understands, very well. His aim is to split Estonian society along ethnic lines. That's why he chooses such language. To provoke both sides.

Thankfully the majority of Russian speakers see through this and prefer to vote for a main stream party, like Saavisaar's Centre Party, rather than the Constitution Party.

I my view, the current governing parties can best combat this by putting a bit of extra money into integrating Russian speakers. For example, modify their platform so instead of aiming for an income tax rate of 18%, aim for 19% instead and spend the 1% on extra educational resources and infrastructure to ensure that Russian speakers are atleast fluently bilingual in the longer term.

I think it is in the national security interest to reduce mono-lingualism, because we don't want people to rely on only Russian media for their information, given the reduction of media freedom in Russia.

Kristjan ütles ...

How symbolic it is that it was Iceland who was the first to recognize our independence in 1991!

Kristjan ütles ...

How symbolic also that the flags of the Republic of Finland and the Republic of Estonia don't feature the colour red.

Kristjan ütles ...

And Icelanders are quite right about Christianity.

Robert ütles ...

However, if you do a google search on "Estonia", guess which site is at the top of the search results? Wikipedia.

If you do a google news search for 'Estonia', you are led to a slew of ITAR-TASS (mis)information.

Kaur ütles ...

In Terevisioon there was an interview with two russian journalists about what they think about the monument and relocating it. It will be shown again about 10 o'clock, so if anyone can please watch it.

mina ütles ...

Mis kell see intervjuu originalselt oli?

Eleonora ütles ...

Hey Jaffa and friends, just because I asked you the below question on the demongraphic post is no reason to reroute your oil shipments. It's so childish!

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?

Kaur ütles ...

Ma arvan, et õige aeg oli umbes 7.45, ma ärkasin selle saate peale üles:)

martintg ütles ...

Eleonora said...
Hey Jaffa and friends, just because I asked you the below question on the demongraphic post is no reason to reroute your oil shipments. It's so childish!


And stupid too. Apparently much of the oil transit business in Estonia is owned by Russian interests, threatening the jobs of local russian speakers. Where is Amnesty International when you need them?

Perhaps the Kremlin is intending to punish the moderate Russian speakers for not voting for the Constitution Party.

Giustino ütles ...

I don't think Constitution will ever have an impact on Estonian national politics. They lost votes from 2003, and then before that 1999, when there were six members of their predecessor party in the Riigikogu.

I don't see why another party, like the Social Democrats, doesn't start to move in here and pick up those votes.

Erik ütles ...
Autor on selle kommentaari eemaldanud.
somebody ütles ...

There is also a very interesting case law on this subject by the International Court of Justice, namely its ruling on the case concerning United States diplomatic and consular staff in Tehran.

By the way, Russia is also violating the 1963 Vienna Convention on consular relations, since the Estonian consulate is hosted in the same building.

However, Russia has nothing to fear. Both parties must agree for this issue to be taken to the ICJ. In fact, most violations of international law remain unpunished.

Robert ütles ...

I'm still new to this forum but it's clear who the resident kook is.