teisipäev, mai 08, 2007

Tomorrow it all ends

In May 1968, several gentlemen climbed the steps of Helsinki's Tuomiokirkko and unveiled several red flags featuring a golden hammer and sickle.

These were the flags of the USSR, a country that had attacked Finland only 29 years prior and had annexed most of Karelia and along with it Finland's second most important city Vyborg, displacing 400,000 people and making one out of every eight Finns a refugee.

However, those men, as loyal as they were to a country that had often been hostile to Finnish independence, were left to wave their little red flags and talk of communist solidarity. And one by one they died, and with them, their cause.

Such is the strength of liberal democracy. Rather than using the resources of the state to crack down on opponents, the liberal democracy sets the ground rules for appropriate dissent, allows opponents of policies to make their voices heard, and then, depending on internal politics, either uses those voices for political gain or ignores them.

According to Kommersant, tomorrow's great provocation will be again organized by Night Watch and with the implicit consent of the Russian Foreign Ministry in Estonia. It will again take place at Tõnismägi, which has become symbolic of the loss of Soviet space in Tallinn's city center.

The future participants of the rally are asked to wear read, which will remind Estonian police of the red flag, which they see as one of the symbols of occupation. Raising red flag at a rally might be punished by arrest. Young Russians want to tickle the authorities’ nerves with red clothes.

What should the Estonian response be? To let them wear red, of course. Let them lay flowers, let them sing Communist songs. And when their moment of irritating the authorities is over, roundly denounce them for what they are: Communists. They may not consider themselves such, but if you are wearing red, and singing songs of the USSR, then I think it's fair game to be called a Communist. And once they become known as young Communists, they will become even less politically relevant because Communism is a corpse.

Do not call them "Russian scum" and do not call all assemblies by forces hostile to the Estonian government "hooliganism". But always remember to put each and every act in the proper European context and let liberal democracy do the rest. Rioters are rioters -- as they are in Budapest and in Paris. Communists are communists, as they are in Rome and Berlin and London.

Finally, Russian nationalists in Estonia are cowards, because they are too afraid of their motherland to venture back there. Those that burn Estonian flags and chant "Rossija" are cowards because, inside, they prefer the good life of Tallinn, with its exquisite shops and charming architecture, with its growing economy, to the shantytowns that lie across the border. So, by all means, Russian nationalists should be called on this fault in their character. One good turn deserves another.

In the end, the strongest society is the one that is the most tolerant of its dissidents and puts their actions in the proper context. Whether they be young hooligans, young Communists, or displaced Russian nationalists, a liberal democracy is elastic enough to handle them. If the government stays true to these principles, tomorrow should go off without a hitch.

116 kommentaari:

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

It's exactly right.
Minorities MUST be allowed democratic protest.(no matter how ugly!look at Le Pen in France,- he's finished!)

What is wrong is the deliberate policy of Estonia to refuse citizenship to Russian speakers.

This is ridiculous and discriminatory.
It's as bad as to refuse citizenship of the UK to a gallic or welsh speaker.

For russian speakers the future of their children is not related to Estonian language tuition, it's speaking other MAJORITY languages of the EU, such as French, German, Spanish or English.

It's precisely because those languages are so badly taught that Estonia gives no viable future to people in Ida Virumaa.

karLos ütles ...

For russian speakers the future of their children is not related to Estonian language tuition

perhaps if it was they wouldn't feel so excluded from the rest of society in estonia.

it's speaking other MAJORITY languages of the EU, such as French, German, Spanish or English. It's precisely because those languages are so badly taught that Estonia gives no viable future to people in Ida Virumaa.

i've never had any issues communicating in english in estonia...

Kristopher ütles ...


It's as bad as to refuse citizenship of the UK to a gallic (sic) or welsh speaker.


Regarding your Celtic comparison, good point and not at all absolutely ridiculous. In fact all the descendants of the original Russian indigenes (before the Esto-Saxon invasions), including the ancient Russian druids who worshiped here, have been granted Estonian citizenship.

Polizia ütles ...

kristopher - could you possibly spare a lesson on how to sharpen one's rough sarcastic talent to such perfection as yours? RESPECT.

Giustino ütles ...

What is wrong is the deliberate policy of Estonia to refuse citizenship to Russian speakers.

But Estonia hasn't done that.

For one, all Russian speakers that were here before the occupation and their descendants got citizenship.

For two, 143,000 people have naturalized since 1992. In comparison 125,000 people have yet to naturalize.

So that means you are asking the Estonian government to force its citizenship upon those 125,000 people.

Here are some questions:

1) Why would a person born outside of Estonia have a right to Estonian citizenship without any kind of naturalization?

2) Why would descendants of people that entered Estonia under an occupation regime have a right to Estonian citizenship?

and

3) If we are going to do this that anyone that is born here gets citizenship, then why would that right stop at those who came or were born before 1991.

How come I can't just get citizenship for free now without passing any kind of naturalization procedure?

Finally, if you want to learn French, Spanish, English, or German -- why not move there, instead of asking the Estonian people to pay money so that you can learn a language that will allow you to leave Estonia.

Wouldn't it be in the best interests of Estonia to make more Estonian speakers capable of enriching life in this country than to prepare them for emigration?

The state has its interests too. It wants you to stay and pay taxes.

I really don't get what is so awful about having to learn Estonian. It's hard, but it's not that hard. And you'll be able to understand Finnish TV!

Kristopher ütles ...

No, my talents are too meagre, and I'm too preoccupied with my own problems.

Maybe you will sympathize with them. It is a story of...citizenship DENIED!

It's a DRACONIAN tale of utter privation -- and it plays out at the untender mercies of...the most powerful country on the face of the earth!

My wife is married to a US citizen (yours truly) and she has a son who is a US citizen, but she herself doesn't even have as much as a residence permit in the USA.

She doesn't even have a residence in the US! They won't give her one.

It's not language ability that the authorities, or should I say authoritieSS, require. They require a medical certificate, proof of financial support. Things like that. Why, it's borderline invasion of privacy! Absolutely ridiculous and discriminatory. As was the filing fee -- close to 3000 EEK. Why, that's more than the monthly minimum wage!

And get this -- to actually get the residence permit, she has to leave the US for a certain period! WHAT? A modernday catch-22?

And then for citizenship, add another few years and citizenship classes. Classes?!

To top it all off, she has to GIVE UP her Estonian citizenship!

Agu-Enrik Ubailves ütles ...
Autor on selle kommentaari eemaldanud.
stockholm slender ütles ...

That's an interesting comparison - Kekkonen certainly embraced Finnish Communism dead, there finally was no air left for real revolutionaries. Basically a paralyzing split occurred and the majority faction sided with the democratic forces. In Estonia the situation is of course different but I would think that also in that case it would be useful to effect a division: those willing to integrate to independent Western oriented Estonia should be much encouraged, and those not absolutely isolated and weakened. This latter part might actually be needed to be done with soft and polite language. Estonia's position is actually very secure indeed and the state can afford to be flexible in its tactics.

I don't know if it is widely understood in Estonia but I think that these last weeks have represented a significant loss for the Kremlin. I guess there is a natural tendency (born of decades of Western neglect) with Estonians to see Estonia practically alone as regards Moscow, but the thing that matters most is what is really thought in the chancellories of Europe and the US (though of course the media battles need to be fought), and it has been made abundantly clear that there is absolutely no acceptance of this aggressive and revanchist Russian meddling. That might be cynical (Kekkonen type!) power political thinking but that is the game Kremlin has chosen - with very bad cards.

(Btw, "revanchist" might actually be a useful label against these thugs - no democratic governments like upsets to status quo.)

admin ütles ...

Your comments below are absolutely typical of people with limited experience of the EU.

With particularly good experiences of Estonian bureaucracy, I can assure you they make just as much a mess out of the language issue as everything else, from border police, to customs, immigration and the truly DREADFUL consulate in Moscow.

Estonian in any sort of admin are being taught first to say "NO", nothing else, then being forced to recognise they are out of step.

I've never faced such a torrent of negativity as in Estonian admin, and it's wasted years of my time and 10s of 1000s of Euro.

However the people are great!
The best and most welcoming people from the black sea to the baltic, a pity the governement seems composed of a..holes!

As for your comments below,-
You should be MORE worried about other people moving here than the reverse, it will just end up putting up your house prices!
The speculators are already in Tallinn just like they were in Riga!

-------

"Finally, if you want to learn French, Spanish, English, or German -- why not move there, instead of asking the Estonian people to pay money so that you can learn a language that will allow you to leave Estonia.

Wouldn't it be in the best interests of Estonia to make more Estonian speakers capable of enriching life in this country than to prepare them for emigration?

The state has its interests too. It wants you to stay and pay taxes.

Heli ütles ...

Admin, actually it is much more discriminatory to Estonian Republic to force on everyone living here Estonian citizenship and not to give them right to choose. Don´t you undestand how ridiculous that is not to mention that indeed everyone who has citizenship of the country he lives in must speak and understand also it´s language? Thouh exactly what Russian Fed. wanted of course, but to say naively- what does know Russia about one´s right to choose at all? If anyone watched ETV last evening then there was good debate in which came out that Estonia in fact has one the most easiest Citizenship Act in the world and the millions of turks in Germany even have not such rights as non-citizens in Estonia.

Giustino ütles ...

The speculators are already in Tallinn just like they were in Riga!

You can take Tallinn, and its vodka tourists, and its Smokey and the Bandit drivers.

I'm checking out less discovered places.

As for the Estonian government -- they are abrupt and strict and every bit a product of Estonia's 19th century German-influenced school system.

You should be lucky they don't make you stand in the corner.

admin ütles ...

"2) Why would descendants of people that entered Estonia under an occupation regime have a right to Estonian citizenship?

and

3) If we are going to do this that anyone that is born here gets citizenship, then why would that right stop at those who came or were born before 1991.

How come I can't just get citizenship for free now without passing any kind of naturalization procedure?"

------------

Can't you understand, you can't put the clock back?
Any form of conditions for citizenship is expressly against the spirit and articles for what you signed up to in 2004.

That means the Estonian government is WRONG to impose a language test on any minority.

We are all Europeans now and no offical languages at all, - just what enables us to get on....

It's not the fault of ethnic russians they were born here.

I have teacher friends here who are furious about being forced to integrate Estonian language into Russian schools.

Democracy is about choice, and it's NOT discriminatory of the Estonian govt to give russian minority members what is essentially EU citizenship.

Just now travel for russian nationals throughout the non schengen area is a total nightmare composed of getting seperate visas for each and every country.

This is not the only inconvenience I can tell you, but it speaks volumes about the Baltic.
(eg. verification of a LV visa for a russian at the latvian border took an hour last summer........Is that a normal civilised way to behave for a family member????!!!)

That's only the tip of the iceberg, believe me!!

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

Admin,you are talking about equality, but don´t U understand there is none in the whole world, was not in the days of USSR and deff. not now either, you are blind if you don´t see that. EU is the union of independent coutries and every country has own laws and that I´m f.e citizen of one EU country DOES NOT make me citizen of EVERY EU country. If you find it discriminatory, go and sue whole EU to European Court or smth.Even democracy has it´s bounds and maybe your dream about countries-regions without borders will come true in couple of centuries or so but right now is the world far from there. Wake up from your dream and live in reality

Giustino ütles ...

Oh boy, people are really unhappy about the state requiring some knowledge of Estonian. Why is that?

It's like people are willing to do just about anything not to learn the friggin' national language.

The message I am getting is that people don't really want to succeed in Estonia, and they don't really want to speak to Estonians (if they have to), and they'd rather just sort of go on working menial jobs and watching Russian state television that tells them that Estonia is some kind of Nazi country.

At the same time, they want Estonia to speak to them in Russian, provide all services for them abroad that they would for regular citizens, and not get offended when they wave the Red flag.

Does that sound like a fair trade?

Let's bear in mind here that the USSR executed most of Estonia's pre-war government and those that survived had to meet in Oslo for 40 years until they got their state back.

Of course they aren't going to be all nice about it and say, "hey it's all water under the bridge" in Russian. At the same time, they didn't deport anyone, and they gave them a path to full citizenship.

Seems pretty hardass, but at the same time it's not really unfair when you think about it.

Andres ütles ...

The Russians that moan about having to know some basic Estonian (because phrases like "thank you" and "I'll take that bread over there" are a clear discrimination) are in my opinion the ones who miss the Soviet rule. Saying that Estonian is a very difficult language is bull*hit. It's not like anybody wants you to write long and perfect essays in Estonian. Saying "that cat is white" is pretty much sufficient. The reason they find it humiliating is the Great Russian Spirit. A thing that to me, as a humble Estonian, seems ignorant and foolish. Maybe this false-shame will go away with generations but looking at the rhetorics from Russia, let's not hold our breath about it.

Jens-Olaf ütles ...

"Maybe you will sympathize with them. It is a story of...citizenship DENIED!"
Even as a husband I had no real chance to settle in Korea during the 90s, my wife is Korean. I never had even the idea that Korea is playing fool. It was beyond the Korean imagination. And I did not like the laws but I could understand. I've never blamed Korea for this, I am lucky that we can do the move from Germany now. Sometimes it takes 10 years.

Thomas ütles ...

i mentioned it previously, I am foreigner, resident in estonia since two years and I struggle(d) a lot with learning this language and I still cant speak it...I am sorry, I would like, really, but I am just not good in languages and can survive here in german and english and the few russian phrases i know...hmm, and I am lazy too...but thats not the point, I do not want to get estonian citizenship, I have my own ... to speak about my home-county...there is no way to get german citizenship without german language knowledge...german is the official state language, taught in schools and spoken in admin's...still, the estonian language tests are hard and made to prove that you cant speak it, just to let you suffer a bit and then to try it again...in germany there is no language test but there is also no other way around to survive without german language skills...anyway, I mean of whom are you guys talking about, the majority of native russian speakers in estonia I know are astonishing good in estonian too...there might be still some people with their minds in SU but thats the minority...the most of the people have understood what it means to be estonian citizen and they are proud to be even though their "native" estonian fellows do not always respect them though...

Jens-Olaf ütles ...

Forgotten this was not about citizenship, still this not the option. It was about visa for permant living.

Jens-Olaf ütles ...

Right said Thomas, this group of non Estonian speakers is bigger than the media bubble is able to realize.

Giustino ütles ...

there might be still some people with their minds in SU but thats the minority...the most of the people have understood what it means to be estonian citizen and they are proud to be even though their "native" estonian fellows do not always respect them though...

The critical problem Thomas is that every time some drunk idiot on Postimees writes "tibla valja" people think that all Estonians agree with him.

And everytime some Russian Nazi clutters up my blog with posts about how Tallinn will become a "Russian-speaking capital" of the "Russian-speaking Estonia" Estonians feel like a Jew in Berlin in the 1930s. Not to mention that rioting teenagers yelling "fascisti" makes me wholly unsympathetic to their cause, whatever it is.

What's constantly missing from every debate are moderate voices. Voices that say, "60 percent Estonian schooling in Russian schools is too much -- why not 30 percent? What difference does it make?"

And voices that say, "We'll take the citizenship test, but it's too hard, and our expenses should all be compensated."

Instead, the debate is constantly between radicals. It is my hope that recent events will encourage more moderate, regular people to step up and tell all the fire starters to shut up and sit down.

Thomas ütles ...

excatly...much more moderate voices are missing in this whole discussion...for the first time, even that savisaar guy was kinda sympathetic for me with the "white flower" initiation...

plasma-jack ütles ...

admin sounds like a sufficiently moderate person to me.. He/she is not the only one that tells me that Estonian officials can act like pricks with Russians. and ta (see, how useful that word is?) hasn't called any of us fascist, yet.
I've heard crazy stories about the citizenship exam, too, but I haven't got my hand on any real materials, ie WHAT exactly you are required to know to become a citizen?

just got me an idea - if it's possible, I'll go and take the citizenship exam myself and write an article about it. If I fail, it proves that the exam is really to harsh.

Giustino ütles ...

Aga ma mõtlen et Lebedev peaks minema tagasi Venemaale. Tema on üks tõesti vastik tropp!

plasma-jack ütles ...

samas ta kaitses lõngapoodi rüüstajate eest. ei saa olla üdini kuri (:

plasma-jack ütles ...

(g, see oli grammatiliselt väga korrektselt öeldud, tropp on ka väga hea sõna. aga parem on öelda "ma arvan, et", kui tahad öelda "I think that".)

plasma-jack ütles ...

http://sloleht.ee/index.aspx?id=228525&d=20070508

hahaaaaa
the guy from Sprite-commercial made it to SLOleht, as expected

Giustino ütles ...

Nii, homme saame teada kas eesti on veel rahulik, või kas noored kuritegijad tahaks heitlusi teha politseiga jälle.

See ei ole õigus. Tallinnlased tahaved töötada läbi päeva ja olla nende perekonnaga kodus öösel.

Nad tahaks lasteekraani vaadata, mitte see vana nõukogude pask.

Painting waves in clouds ütles ...

I am already looking forward to see what funny article I get to write tomorrow.

Kaarel ütles ...

Igaksjuhuks võiks homseks väga külma ilma oodata, sest siis annaksid ehk paljud alla ja läheksid tagasi koju!

plasma-jack ütles ...

ei juhtu homme midagi erilist.

Martasmimi ütles ...

I was thinking... how many of
citizens of any country, could pass their own countries required exam to become a citizen of that country.
I often wonder if I could pass the
driving road test after having a drivers license for 43 years.
I have my own style and habits
(some bad)
after all these years.
It might be a great challange to see how many of us could pass our own countries citizen exam.

McMad ütles ...

You hit the spot.
Estonia is already extremely lenient with the russian minority, where else can minorities that have lived in that country for only 50-60 years get education in their own language? In the Netherlands we have close to one million turks, in some cities they form almost half of the populalion but not a single dutch politician would consider opening schools were lessons are in turkish or let turkish workers speak turkish in shops, offices etc. Estonia is EXTREMELY tolerant, those russkies do not realize how lucky they are.

Andres ütles ...

I actually saw a program once on ETV, where they introduced how the nationality exam looks like. It consisted of relatively easy questions like recognising pictures and some everyday dialog. Like in a shop asking for bread or something. Actually, it might have been in Subboteja on Kanal 2. One of the co-hosts did the exam too and passed with flying colours (because pretty fluent in Estonian, of course). The teachers were pretty reassuring that nobody is going to be picked on by their accent or simple mistakes, as long as it's understandable. Also there was a basic test about the constitution and you had the constitution on the table with you IIRC. So it didn't look that horrible in my opinion.

Kaarel ütles ...

Well, at least they should try to pass it. I have neighbors back in Estonia who are from Ukraine. They've lived in Estonia for over 30 years, and can hardly speak any Estonian.

Just a interesting thing I heard yesterday, which shows how different the education is in our schools:

I was talking to my mom yesterday and she told me what she heard from her friend.
Her friend has two sons - one goes to Estonian school and the other goes to Russian speaking school. One night they were both doing their history class homework and asked their mom to help them. And what turned out.. the sons were learning completely different issues and points of view. Estonian school son learned history from the Estonian point of view, where USSR occupied Estonia and so on. The son, who studied in the Russian school, learned about the same issue from the opposite point of view; therefore, where Russians were the "good guys."

Benno ütles ...

Martasmimi: In my college U.S. History courses, I often have my students take the History portion of the citizenship exam. In four years, no one has ever passed. (I did choose the hardest questions, though). I don't know if this historical ignorance is unique to my students, or to the U.S.

Are Estonian citizenship materials on-line? All of the 100+ History and Government questions for the U.S. citizenship exam are available on-line.

margo ütles ...

What if nobody but the Russians showed up tomorrow? No Estonians- No police. End of story?

Jeremiasz Koniecpolski ütles ...

This is my point exactly! Russia is still ruing its loss of power and importance, and the frustrated spasms going on in Russian communities are invariably realized in anti-social behavior.

No one gives a crap about Russia anymore, they're just afraid of it. This has always been Russia's modus operandi.

Estonian is spoken by 1.5 million people in a teeny-tiny country bordering a huge country whose population dwarfs Estonia's 100-fold. Can the Russia-speakers in Estonia not understand that?

It seems to me, Estonia's future is to be had in Scandinavia, as it Latvia's. Lithuania would do well to strengthen ties with Poland, its historical ally. Russia has very little to offer Estonia.

Andres ütles ...

Here are the questions and answers for the constitution and citizenship law exam:

http://www.meis.ee/kodanik/files/seaduste_kysimused_vastused.pdf

plasma-jack ütles ...

thanks!

can they use the constitution and other acts during the exam?

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

A little off-topic, but I found a very interesting clip from LHV.ee forum, which shows (among other things) that everybody can be facist.

http://www.myvideo.de/watch/501305#feedback

Some knowledge of russian and german would be good, but it's not essential.

Carlito ütles ...

File under: Hoist them using their own bloody petard...

YouTube video that juxtaposes shots of Hitler Jugend with the Putin Jugend (Nazi?Nashi?) Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCFD_CXaw5w

Kalevipoeg ütles ...

I read Russian Delfi to gage the general feelings of rooskies and, oh, boy - do I feel exhausted. There is no dialogue, no understanding, nothing. They basically engage in demagoguery and absurdism when running out of arguments. For example, why cannot you stand red flags? Are you bulls or something?

So there you go. How do you talk to a Russian?

I feel for Estonians, Latvians, Finns, Georgians, anybody who has to live next to or with these people. There is no talking with them. It seems like their brains are wired backwards or something. Very unusual indeed.

Jens-Olaf ütles ...

These days I trust more the people I am talking to: Today a woman from Mustvee, half Estonian, half Russian. She grew up learning Russian from her mother. Her father had an accident when she was young, and grew up with her mother only. But she was sent to an Estonian school so that she could master universty education in Estonian language later. She has a strong Russian accent. Her borthers bought appartments in Tallinn. Her mother, still in Mustvee was unemployed after the huge textile factory went to several finish and swedish owner, and the latest went bankrupt. Then the mother started her own business, working 12-14 hours a day, but she likes her work, she is 59 now. A small textile industry in Mustvee. Some 50 employes got work, they produce for the German market: "Made in Germany". Normal life, or.

McMad ütles ...

In more and more Western countries the citizenship laws are getting more tough. People start to understand that simply giving away citizenships to people on the basis that they have been in the country for a number of years is actually destabilizing the whole society. People have to "fit" into the society and to make sure that people who do not "fit", the Dutch government, for example, have introduced new citizenship exams. Learning the language is no longer enough, people have to accept the local norms and values. For example, in the Dutch citizenship exam, amongst other things, person applying for the citizenship gets to see a picture of two men kissing and he has to say whether he sees that as OK or whether it bothers him. Things like that are introduced to limit the amount of radicals in Dutch society who want to come here to enjoy the standard of living but actually hate the Western values and democracy in general.

Fred Fry ütles ...

Kristopher,

--------------------
My wife is married to a US citizen (yours truly) and she has a son who is a US citizen, but she herself doesn't even have as much as a residence permit in the USA.
--------------------
- Well this is something that has to be applied for, not something that is awarded like a prize for marrying an American, or having an American child.


-------------------
It's not language ability that the authorities, or should I say authoritieSS, require. They require a medical certificate, proof of financial support. Things like that. Why, it's borderline invasion of privacy! Absolutely ridiculous and discriminatory. As was the filing fee -- close to 3000 EEK. Why, that's more than the monthly minimum wage!
---------------------
- The proof of financial support is something you need to provide, not her and it is more to prove that you are filing your tax return and that you are earning slightly more than minimum wage. Can't see how it is an invasion of privacy as the Government is authorized to receive this information.
- The fees are insanely high, but that is because the law states that you must cover the full cost of obtaining the Green Card. Keep in mind that even refugees that are brought to the US are handed a bill for $800 for their flight to freedom.

-----------------------
And then for citizenship, add another few years and citizenship classes. Classes?!

To top it all off, she has to GIVE UP her Estonian citizenship!
----------------------
- How many countries does she want to be a citizen of?

I think you should calm down and take a minute to understand everything that needs to be done to get your wife to the US, if that is your goal. Yes, she has to apply from outside the US. Do understand that it is easy to apply for a green card from the embassy as that is what they do. Embassy staff is much better then the INS in the US.

Oh, before getting pissed off at me, I too am married to a foreigner, a Finn, and survived the process, even though it took three years.

Fred Fry ütles ...

Not only should the ethnic Russians learn Estonian if they want to become Estonian Citizens, they should all, regardless of status, be taught about the crimes of the Soviet Union, including Stalin's pact with Nazi Germany to split Europe between them. The Soviet Union was Hitler's enabler and it is high time that Russia admit it's role in starting WWII.

How come ethnic Estonians can speak 3, 4, 5 langauges, and ethnic Russians can barely speak one? I managed to learn Finnish during the three years I lived there and I had no intent on becoming a Finn. Not learning it over a lifetime is just a final insult to the culture they tried to kill off.

Strange, I have the odd desire to burn a Soviet flag.

admin ütles ...

"maybe your dream about countries-regions without borders will come true in couple of centuries or so but right now is the world far from there. Wake up from your dream and live in reality"

There you are totally crazy, and well and truly removed from modern European reality!

NO it is YOU that have to wake up to reality.

I live and work in Schengen.

It is a Europe without borders and no language or ethnic barriers.

Estonia can't qualify for inclusion in Schengen, and I'm happy about that so long as they can't comply (and other eastern Eu states) with ALL the things that implies.

The UK is NOT in Schengen, and that's equally STUPID.
There are many other things with the UK which are wrong, but they are an island. Estonia is NOT.

It seems you don't have a little comprehension of even half of the EU concept.

admin ütles ...

"admin sounds like a sufficiently moderate person to me.. He/she is not the only one that tells me that Estonian officials can act like pricks with Russians."
--------

NO I am from "first class Europe".
Baltic and Poland from Frankfurt an der Oder -on, someone decided would end up being second class.....That is equally discriminatory....And I think that is also desperately WRONG!.

Damn it, I can get away with murder in Eastern Europe just by smiling at some official, and showing my UK passport (especially in Narva)!
Then when you're on some Eurolines bus gets stopped at the Lithuanian border, and guess who's baggage they go through for 20 mins....a Russian bloke from Latvia??

Is that right??
NO it's not!!

But I can assure you "as you say Estonian officials can act like pricks" with NON russians as well.

I have first hand experience of it, and won a case with the EU commission recently about it!!!

Eppppp ütles ...

Estonia isn't an island. It's a peninsula.

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

"Not only should the ethnic Russians learn Estonian if they want to become Estonian Citizens, they should all, regardless of status, be taught about the crimes of the Soviet Union, including Stalin's pact with Nazi Germany to split Europe between them. The Soviet Union was Hitler's enabler and it is high time that Russia admit it's role in starting WWII"

--------------

Oh just get a life and get over it....!!
We are in 2007 not in 1946-47.
Estonia was abandoned by us and the USA in 1945...to our shame!

Now we are here to make a good living in the present and the future not talk about the past.

Do you want the IRA to start bombing again in Northern Ireland.
That's precisely the sort of rubbish you are advocating with this.."rub kids noses in it" sort of trash.

Anyone would think you are still living in the Sillimae uranium lake....
Well it's bad news for you...the half life of those isotopes is a long time, but the guys that did all the shit are long dead....

admin ütles ...

"According to the recent plans Estonia will join with the Schengen treaty at 28.10. 2007"

I would raise very strong objections to this in the EU parliament.
Estonia is not ready for Schengen, and should NOT be allowed to join so long as it has not resolved its border dispute with Russia.

Finland IS in Schengen and shouldn't be in it either, as they don't respect EU laws particularly on free movement of goods.

It has been condemned time and again for breaches of EU rules, and runs a protected market, always whining it will try to comply by ...when?? 2010??

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

"You hit the spot.
Estonia is already extremely lenient with the russian minority, where else can minorities that have lived in that country for only 50-60 years get education in their own language?"

--------------

That's complete tosh too...

Nobody gives a monkey about Dutch (or flemish) language because they speak English almost without exception...and pretty well it must be said....
The Netherlands understood very early on they didn't stand a dog's chance of making a living unless they could trade with the rest of the world.

In Wales we have the reverse situation....perhaps we should be asking....why should we have English schools in Wales?
Our language and culture is a 1000 years old, and most English immigrants and their grand children date from mid 19th century.

Well it's called pragmatism,-we can't put the clock back 150 years!... and Estonian is a damn sight harder to learn than any celtic language, with a lot younger problems.

I mean this Estonian thing is getting really very tiresome, and can't you understand, that in a huge country like Russia with an serious inverted demographic curve, it's going to need young well trained Russian speakers like crazy in the next 20 years and pay them heavy money in consequence...

comprendo?

Kalevipoeg ütles ...

This comment has been removed because it linked to malicious content. Learn more.

Giustino ütles ...

Admin might have a point. Give the discontents a passport, free English lessons, and a one-way ticket to Wales.

Sounds like a European solution.

Giustino ütles ...

I mean this Estonian thing is getting really very tiresome, and can't you understand, that in a huge country like Russia with an serious inverted demographic curve, it's going to need young well trained Russian speakers like crazy in the next 20 years and pay them heavy money in consequence...

Again, agreed. Estonia should open up its educational channels so that more of its Russian-speakers can go to school and find work in Russia.

It's ridiculous to expect that Estonia, a population of 1.3 million is going to support a full academic system for 300,000 people in a foreign language.

Estonia would be better suited helping those people find schooling and employment in a country where Russian is the overwhelming majority language, the native language of 79 percent of the population.

admin ütles ...

Your sarcasm is badly amiss of the mark.

600 000 poles can't be far wrong moving to the UK in under 2 years...they have earned a lot more on the UK mainland than anyone even speaking Estonian will ever earn in Tallinn, and unemployement is half or less that of anywhere in Eastern Europe.

It's not what I wanted to say in fact, (Wales wouldn't be able to absorb that many) but the number of immigrant workers to the UK in the last 2 years is equivalent to HALF the population of Estonia alone.

I would rather see a healthy economy in Estonia keep it's workers and bite a healthy bite out of the russian economy.....in fact that's where a lot of the russian speakers are currently working now.....IN MOSCOW and SPB.

Polizia ütles ...

"can't you understand, that in a huge country like Russia with an serious inverted demographic curve, it's going to need young well trained Russian speakers like crazy in the next 20 years and pay them heavy money in consequence..."
---

Admin, are you seriously suggesting that Estonia should spend money on training young people to help combat the disastrous demographic situation of Russia? Or do you simply mean to say we should adopt Russian as our official language and do away with this "difficult" Estonian?

BTW, I do believe that Welsh only survived thanks to the pigheadedness of the Welsh and their persistence in maintaining their language. The efforts to root out it were not that dissimilar to the Russians' attempts to eradicate Estonian. I do not see how one small language should be deemed more valuable than other.

But you are quite right - it is getting tiresome. Learning the language of the country you live in is common courtesy, like not throwing sunflower seeds on the floor or saying Thank you and Sorry. The latter, however, seems to be beyond the capabilities of many Russians. An interesting point was made in a discussion program that included our minister of defence and a professor of international law. According to this guy, most polls indicate that the reason the people in Estonian lack citizenship is not because the exam is so difficult, but because they find the whole requirement of an exam demeaning.

admin ütles ...

"Admin, are you seriously suggesting that Estonia should spend money on training young people to help combat the disastrous demographic situation of Russia?

Or do you simply mean to say we should adopt Russian as our official language and do away with this "difficult" Estonian?"

---------

I'm saying MAKE MONEY!
The big money is now in Russia not in heavily indebted Europe which doesn't have the means to pay its ambitions.
De facto the Russian minority learn it from their mothers, and that is not being given either social nor economic value.
That is not only wrong but particularly stupid.

Just now it becomes a nightmare for Russian minorities in the Baltic to move around (never mind plain good old family members, which are supposed to have an automatic right!!)

How do you expect such people to be friendly and useful when they have to get a visa to visit a relative in Lithuania, and spend 3 hours explaining that to the damn border police each time???

For the facts;-
Welsh language btw was not saved by being pigheaded, but by a curious combination of translating the bible into Welsh by William Morgan, ostensibly to show how superior English was.....
then 3 centuries of religious revivals.
As Estonia is predominantly Lutheran I realised early on, why the soviets could never stamp out Baltic languages, even if they had tried even more.
Churches have even survived the russian revolution and remains the place of births, deaths, marriages, and of course languages....

tambourine man ütles ...

admin,

That was interesting that you said "Wales cannot absorb that many."

In fact, what we are dealing here in Estonia is just that - a complete gag reflex of trying to absorb too many in one go.

But not to worry, entire EU is experiencing some level of immigration vomit taste in her mouth and we are being understood.

Hell, even Russia herself should understand and be sympathetic to our problems. Aren't they trying to get rid of their own "chernomazye" there? Or take their "propiska" discrimination which basically means that people outside of Moscow can not get permission to live in the city and are subject to arrest and deportation.

Russian rioters made the same mistake latino immigrants made in US last year when they came out with Mexican flags and demanded immigration rights. They were booed out of course. This year they are back waving US flags. Fear the moment when local Russians come out waving Estonian flags and sing our songs demanding education, equal rights and what not. Then we would have to listen to them. Until then, it is a go time on their asses. Thank you Lebedev, you idiot. :-)

tambourine man ütles ...

Can anyone see a scenario under which Russians wisen up and take to the streets under Estonian flags demanding better treatment?

I would like to predict that this is going to happen, but knowing Russian pigheadedness from close encounters, I am saying that they'd rather rot in misery than drop their hammer and sickle fetish.
Plus, that would make their handlers in Moscow very unhappy.

Heli ütles ...

Admin, I meant worldwide, not just EU, but good to know that you would be satisfied also just within the EU borders :).

Giustino ütles ...

Mm. I think the language situation causes, in general, domestic issues.

Because the Soviet Union isn't there to teach Russian in kindergartens to Estonian children, younger Estonian sales people are having trouble with some of their older clients that do not speak Estonian.

Then there's the infamous cab driver scenario, where your aged cabby, who does not speak Estonian and probably not English either, takes you to the wrong address!

As the years go on these kinds of issues are creating more dissonance. I mean wouldn't it be swell if any random two people in Estonia could communicate in the language that most people here speak? Talk about far out.

space_maze ütles ...

It is a Europe without borders and no language or ethnic barriers.

So I'll go to France then, and apply for a job in a call center, without speaking a word of French. Will that go well?

The whole language issue is just so daft. Common sense is NOT discrimination. As someone that loves to travel, and that has lived as a foreigner in various countries, it's just always been obvious to me that you've just got to adapt to a local culture to survive - in your own interest.

I'm not hurting anyone when hanging out in Denmark without speaking a word of Danish. So it's fine with me, and it's fine with the Danes. But I honestly doubt they'd hire me to work in a job in which I have to deal with people, considering that I just don't speak the lingo.

Jens-Olaf ütles ...

When reading kojinshugi, another blog, I've realized that I will go to a country soon that suffered from the non aggression pact between Soviet Union and Japan until 1945! I feel bad now. The whole history talk is distortion. I need some time out.

tambourine man ütles ...

Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

admin ütles ...

"That was interesting that you said "Wales cannot absorb that many."

In fact, what we are dealing here in Estonia is just that - a complete gag reflex of trying to absorb too many in one go."

-------
FYI Wales did have a flood even bigger than Estonia did.
The population of Wales more than doubled in the 19th century, with the industrial revolution and the influx of mostly English speakers from nearby Midlands & Bristol.

This is the principal reason why welsh language is barely 10% in south Wales, but up to 90% in the poor unemployment riddled north where the slate mines shut in the 40s and 50s.
What did we do about it?
Mostly lament and emigrate for 100 years....
but Wales remains fundamentally non-conformist protestants, and they integrated all those 1M+ people after a few generations...

As for a colonial force, you couldn't ever imagine a more efficient one than the English (who have a version of state sponsored catholicism dressed up in protestant clothes),- and don't think you're alone in having people shipped to Siberia.

The highland clearances in Scotland 250 years ago are widely acknowledged as a genocide....
...and again northern Ireland which was the imposition of a protestant and Scottish aristocracy on a catholic agrarian economy by a scottish king.....was a great success eh?

The point is,- you don't try to coerce people to do what is against their deepest convictions.
In the case of Russians they are from orthodox church background, while the Estonians are fundamentally protestants.
Thus the divide will remain.
It's more than cultural, it then becomes economic just like in Ireland.

What most people can't seem to get, is that catholic and protestant based states seem to be the most aggressive and warlike, but always says like JP Sartre "l'enfer c'est les autres"...

In the last 300 years Russia has been invaded time and again, the Tartars, the French, the Germans, the Swedes, and it's only after 1917 acquired an imperialist belief system which lasted a mere (?) 80 years, and is retained by who??
A little island that makes cigars???

Andres ütles ...

Estonians and Russians are very atheist. So it is not a fight between religions, such parallels won't do. Also the ranting of admin seems a bit random to me and I have already lost the point he's making. Other than dissolving all countries of the world, was there any point?

Polizia ütles ...

What about North Korea and China? ;)

space_maze ütles ...

I find it amusing that Celtic languages have come up, as Ireland *IS* actually working hard to revitalise its language, which has been damaged a lot more than Estonian ever was.

And not only for people born in the Gaeltacht .. to everyone. No matter how purely English-speaking your ancestry is, your kids learn Irish in school at present (and more power to my Irish friends).

Where is the public denouncement for the horrid discrimination Ireland is putting its inhabitants through?

space_maze ütles ...

And also, Estonian is NOT more difficult to learn than a Celtic language.

It has wonderful phonetical spelling. You actually say and write the same stuff. Which is one thing where Celtic languages are impossible - you need to learn every word twice. Once how to say it, once how to write it.

Also, Estonian grammar is logical and flexible, Estonian pronounciation is soft and mundane, Estonian words rarely have more than four letters to them, or are based on words that have four letters only. It's ridicilously easy to form more various words, with very complex meanings, from very simple words.

eri (different) --> erinema (to differ) --> erinemine (the act of differing) / --> erinev (diverse) --> erinevus (variance) / --> erinevalt (in various ways)

You generally get ten words for the price of one word, and that one word will have three or four letters.

Also, most words have indo-european equivalents which are, though not generally used by native speakers, understood. So if "teade" is too hard to remember, just say "informatsioon", and people will still follow.

I know that languages are harder to learn for some than for others. But the tales of Estonians' impossibility are greatly exaggerated. Two years ago, I had trouble ordering a bottle of water in Estonia. Yesterday, I spent all day touring two visiting people from Tallinna Ülikool through Vienna, telling them many grand tales of Viennese history .. all in Estonian(boast boast boast!). It was no problem at all, since having now established solid basics and knowing the basic rules, it's so easy to expand upon my knowledge of the language.

Martasmimi ütles ...

tambourine man said...

Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try ....

Thank you...
I too believe in the words & wisdom of
John Lennon.
I wish we might all live to see the day when such a beautiful fantasy becomes reality.

karLos ütles ...

It's ridiculous to expect that Estonia, a population of 1.3 million is going to support a full academic system for 300,000 people in a foreign language.

question in regards to different versions of history being taught in estonia - i'm wondering who actually supports the russian language system inside estonia?

if there are two different points of view being taught within estonia, who is controlling the syllabus within the estonian education system? shouldn't the books simply be different translations of exactly the same material, or are they making their own books?

isn't it the government's job (more specifically the department of education) to be tell them what to teach in government funded schools? (i find it hard to believe russian schools would be privately funded or have such a level of independence.)

Fred Fry ütles ...

"Estonia was abandoned by us and the USA in 1945...to our shame!"

Sorry, the US never recognized the occupation. The Governments in exile maintained their embassies in Washington, DC during the Soviet occupation.

Now it might be more diplomatic to forget what happened 60+ years ago, but that is not going to solve this problem as it was the events from long ago that are the source of today's problems.

With that, why isn't Russia paying for special education of Russians in the former soviet states. And why not issue these lost souls soviet passports. They were still issuing them into 2000. Right now the Baltics have been issuing alien passports.

Андрей ütles ...

Thank you.
Reasonable article.
Reasonable people.

Not without prejudice, of course, but no one is without prejudice, me including, of course.
Nothing unnatural, quite understandable.

"Tomorrow it ends"?
And what next?
The "order of things" will be restored or what?
That very "order of things" that after 16 years of balancing resulted in violence, hatred and even mutual dehumanization?
Just try to realize what's happening to us.
A couple of days ago in delfi.ee (http://www.delfi.ee/archive/article.php?id=15831177&categoryID=9738762&ndate=1178485200) a good and kind-hearted Estonian woman wrote that she had given 25 krooni to a Russian guy to buy a coach ticket, and confessed that she did so "because he was Russian" hoping that "at least one (!) Russian understands that Estonians are good people (!)".
It is not already harmless misunderstanding or suspiciousness.
We've HIT THE BOTTOM, and it should be honestly admitted.

"In the middle of the road of my life,
I awoke in the dark wood,
where the true way was wholly lost" (C)

..."Liberal democracy", "European process"... nice concepts.
Too good, too far, if ever at all.
The only thing I dare to hope now is just to go through tomorrow (it's today already) without hatred, bloodshed and provocations.

And then we can begin, just like children, to learn letters, put them into words, then little by little into phrases and sentences, and then to articulate them.
And try to talk to each other.
And try to understand.
From the very very beginning.

Tomorrow (hopefully) this can start.
Peace :)

P.S.
Just one thing more.
If you notice me tomorrow near Tõnismägi wearing a red scarf and holding traditional 2 red carnations please don't think that I do this to provoke someone or to express support to Stalin or Putin or whoever else, or that I wait for some communists in Russian tanks or for some "red ship" or whatever else one can imagine... really it could be even funny if it wasn't so sad.

For me and for everybody I know the 9-th of May has never been a day of political slogans, but of mourning, repentance and forgiveness, and tears.
Yes, we, Russians, have tears as well.
Surprised?

Peace :)

martintg ütles ...

Андрей said...
If you notice me tomorrow near Tõnismägi wearing a red scarf


Why the red scarf? Was tradition introduced by the Communist Party, or is this an ancient Russian tradition?

Giustino ütles ...

Well, red can symbolize international communism or it can symbolize blood.

As for 'it all ending' -- it means the first chapter of this mess.

After this very special holiday, Estonians can begin to try and put together a more effective integration process.

I hope the Estonian government has learned that you can't just ram policy down people's throats without their input.

And I hope the young people in the streets have learned that the Estonian state is not 'fascist' (whatever that means) and that Andrus Ansip, the very man who laid flowers at the Red Army soldier yesterday, is not a Nazi.

We all know that Stalin and hItler began the war in Europe. But I think it is just and right to mourn all the war dead, Nazis, Red Army soldiers, etc.

If anything, putting the soldier in a new context, a military cemetery, a safe place where the government can lay flowers without a fear of skinheads or nasty Stalinist apologists, was probably the right move.

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

I'm late to the party. A couple comments:

Giustino, I would quibble with you that the Finns were showing some kind of superior democratic tolerance back in 1968.
Instead, they were so pants-wetting scared of the Soviet Union that they had no choice but to ignore the provocation.
Hence, the term Finlandization

"Self-censorship and excessive Soviet adaptation

However, from the political scene following the post-1968 radicalization, the Soviet adaptation spread to the editors of mass media, sparking strong forms of self-control, self-censorship and pro-Soviet attitudes. Most of the élite of media and politics shifted their attitudes to match the values that the Soviets were thought to favour and approve, developing into a self-imposed Finlandization that often is argued to have exceeded the Soviet expectations.

Civil servants, politicians and journalists accepted the practice that, if they cared about their careers, they did not talk about injustices such as the Soviets' assaults leading to the Winter War, or Soviet contemporary atrocities, such as the fate of Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Such discussions were sanitized in the name of maintaining a working relationship between Finland and the Soviet Union.

Only after the ascendancy of Mikhail Gorbachev to Soviet leadership in 1985 did mass media in Finland gradually begin to move closer to Western standards of journalistic freedom without governmental pressure."



I've done research in the Helsinki libraries about Estonian media during the Soviet period. It's amazing the amount of denial that was going on in Finland during the 50s-70s. You would think that from some of the journal articles that I read, that Estonia was a land of puppy dogs and baby ducks under Soviet rule.
Interestingly enough, a lot of my Finnish students have never heard of this term.

Eleonora ütles ...

Australia allows dual nationality. There are Australian citizens who having documentary evidence of a parent being a citizen of Estonia in the 1918-1940 period, have applied for and obtained Estonian passports.

Of these, some have property in Estonia either bought since Independence or have applied for occupation restitution. Others just visit relatives every couple of years. They are elligible to vote by postal vote in Elections if they are registered with the Estonian Consulate here or on the internet if they have an Estonian ID card. Some Estonian born, but now naturalized Australian citizens, have not applied for Estonian passports but are able to register with the Consulate to vote in Estonian elections by providing documentary evidence of Estonian residence 1918-1940.

The majority of dual nationality Australian/Estonians do not reside permanently in Estonia. They pay little if any Estonian taxes. The level of Estonian language proficiency varies from non-existent to excellent. Australians of Irish descent are also able to apply for a Irish passports.

These dual nationals use Australian passports when exiting Australia and then Estonian and Irish passports when entering EU coutries. The recent dual nationals always point out that pride in their heritage is their motive and the benefits of free travel to and within and work in the EU, is simply a byproduct benefit.

Eleonora ütles ...

Policy decisions taken by one generation often haunts future generations. By the rules agreed for the Nuremberg War Trials, the Allies deliberately exempted themselves from charges of war crimes.

Although Robert Jackson’s opening speech at Nuremberg is always on the list of the best 20th Century speeches it contains spin with regard to Allied War Crimes, the German/Russian non-agression pact and makes no mention of Russia’s invasion of Poland and the rest of Eastern Europe prior to the German attack on Russia. How might the world be different today had the rules of Nuremberg not been ‘victor’s justice’.

From that speech on November 21, 1945 we should add to all.


We must summon such detachment and intellectual integrity to our task that this Trial will commend itself to posterity as fulfilling humanity's aspirations to do justice.


There are those who wish for revisionist history in Russia and for her to revise her self-image as the great victor and liberator. However, they should also be aware that the Russian people are not the only ones to have a myopic view of WW2 and gloat on the myths promoted by their respective governments and historians.

lounamaa ütles ...

admin said...

"In the last 300 years Russia has been invaded time and again, the Tartars, the French, the Germans, the Swedes, and it's only after 1917 acquired an imperialist belief system which lasted a mere (?) 80 years [...]"

A very interesting version of Russian history. :)

Scott ütles ...

editor:

One, there are official languages in the EU. All docs of the EU are translated into them.
Russian is not recognized as an official language in the EU.

I'm sorry that in your phrase, "Russian nationals" have a hard time moving around in the EU. But they're not citizens of the EU, and shouldn't be according the same travel rights.

Yes, people I think, are profiled by EU border guards. I have had girlfriends from all the Baltic States, and before EU accession, when going to a country like Finland, they were given 3rd degree interrogations. After all, they are single and good looking. They must be coming to Finland as a sex worker, right?

The worst I ever saw was on a bus to St. Petersburg. Four Poles were basically anal-probed, and every item they had, even aspirin bottles, opened. The Poles had a visa-free regime with Russia from the days they were socialist brothers. So they must be smugglers, right?

Our bus was at the Narva border for 45 minutes when they went through the personal effects of these poor guys.

Yes, you are right that Estonia signed up for certain rules in 2004 that they had to accept. But since Estonian citizenship laws are more liberal than some of the EU core countries, like Germany, I don't accept that this makes Estonia somehow backwards in the European context.

admin ütles ...

"I'm wondering who actually supports the russian language system inside Estonia?"

-----
err....perhaps you should pop down to Ida Virumaa and ask a few russian parents??
They're pretty keen their kids should learn through the medium of Russian, and it's pretty useful to be able to keep up contacts with guess what.....their relations on the other side of the border!!!

As for the "official language" bit below. That's rubbish!
To take again our example from Wales, there are 2 languages in which you are permitted to do all official paperwork....Welsh and English. That has nothing to do with an official language, - "permit" is the correct word.

In all EU countries it's nothing to do with official language policy. There isn't one,-bullshit,-it's pragmatism, on the basis of if there's staff able to understand and act on the paperwork sent in...

If you look carefully you will find all EU docs can be written in the languages of any member states...eg to the EU commission and you will get an answer...

Also because effectively many Russians are treated as "aliens" in the east, then of course it becomes ugly to be disenfranchised then have problems travelling...

If you read recent correspondence the EU is attempting to make life easier for Russians from the 1st June 2007 this year, and this should be reciprocal.....that is of course if the Estonians don't f...k it up for us of course!!

---------
"One, there are official languages in the EU. All docs of the EU are translated into them.
Russian is not recognized as an official language in the EU.

I'm sorry that in your phrase, "Russian nationals" have a hard time moving around in the EU. But they're not citizens of the EU, and shouldn't be according the same travel rights."

Evil Purc ütles ...

Andrei, you just don't get it. The 9-th of May also reduces me to tears, but not because of some "victory against fascism" braindead bullshit, it's because people are thick and stupid beyond all expectations. Should people really be happy about the fact that instead of being raped and murdered by nazis they now get to be raped and murdered by bolsheviks?

And what the hell is it with the "red scarf" and red clothes? Why the hell is it important to emphasize the flag of the Soviet Union? The flag of a criminal regime, the flag that is painted red in blood because of all the murder and injustice? And this on the so called "day of mourning"? Rather seems like spitting chauvinistically in the face of Estonians.

Let me explain by a blatant analogy:
Let's suppose there is a city in Russia with a large Latvian minority. In the center of the city there is a large monument of a Russians head on a bloody pike. The Latvians claim it is their holy monument for those that fell in the fight against bolshevism. The Latvians act all strange around this monument, inciting hatred against Russia and Russians. They do their weird rituals rather than mourn, they set up fires and dance around the impaled head monument playing the bongos. They claim it is their way of mourning the people that have fallen in the fight against bolshevism. After 16 years the Russian authorities have finally had enough of this behavior and move the monument to a cemetery. But now, rather than go and pay their respects in a dignified manner in the cemetery, they decide go to the old place of worship in the middle of the city carrying impaled pumpkins on pikes. They carry pumpkins instead of real heads so the authorities could not do anything about it. The local Russians feel disgusted and offended by this behavior

Now questions about this hypothetical scenario:
1) Should the Russians have left the monument to its initial place in the center of the city?
2) Is it alright to walk around the city with a pumpkin impaled on a pike regarding the feelings of the Russian population about this?
3) Do you think it is justified for the Russians to consider the behavior of the Latvians as repulsive?

Scott ütles ...

editor wrote:

If you look carefully you will find all EU docs can be written in the languages of any member states...eg to the EU commission and you will get an answer...

And Russian ain't one of them. Period.

Giustino ütles ...

To take again our example from Wales, there are 2 languages in which you are permitted to do all official paperwork....Welsh and English. That has nothing to do with an official language, - "permit" is the correct word.

Wales isn't a state. It's a nation within a state. Sort of like the Karelian republic in Russia.

Furthermore, all the forms I have seen at the migration and citizenship office have been in Estonian, English, and Russian.

And when I got my client card at Kaubamaja, there were forms available in Estonian and Russian.

At Ehitusmaja today most of the products not only had descriptions written in Estonian, but also in Russian, and, depending on origin, Latvian and Lithuanian or Finnish and Swedish.

I've been all over this country, from Kärdla to Pärnu to Viljandi to Rakvere. And I mostly hear Estonian being spoken.

So I would rather see the minority language question as a regional one, rather than a national one. This issue exists in two places -- Tallinn and in Ida Virumaa county.

I would prefer to see local authorities there make their own laws on what languages are officially permitted, rather than the state make sure that all signage in Hiiumaa, where Estonians are 98 percent of the population, is also in Russian. That would not only be a mistake, but it would be ridiculously idiotic and a waste of money.

If Noarootsi can be officially bilingual -- Swedish and Estonian, I don't see why Narva can't also be officially bilingual.

So again, I see it as a regional issue, rather than a state issue.

admin ütles ...

If you look carefully you will find all EU docs can be written in the languages of any member states...eg to the EU commission and you will get an answer...

And Russian ain't one of them. Period.

--------

It was General de Gaulle had the vision of a European trading block from the Atlantic to the Urals?
It's actually in construction before your eyes,- except Russia (or those that now control it) decided Energy would be re-nationalised, with the final dismemberment of Yukos last week, and then play the nationalist reunifying card.
(great if you want to buy in a fruit market in Moscow now!!!)

Probably most russians feel more SECURE in Estonia, not neccesarily richer, because of the inherent instability of both since 1990.

Given the choice, they no doubt would prefer the wierd form of Estonian democracy to the even weirder form of state capitalism and cronyism of Russia?

A case of the least bad system?

stockholm slender ütles ...

Well, Scott, Finlandization has to be seen against the background of Finland fully, unconditionally abandoned to Stalin in Yalta. We had to find our own settlemet with the Soviet Union unassisted by the West. The result was morally quite unpleasant (you'll find Paasikivi moaning in his diaries how we have to call black white in order to survive), but the result was a wealthy liberal democratic Finland with its economy fully integrated with West in 1989. And to think that Hertta Kuusinen proclaimed in 1948 that "The Czcechkoslovakian road will be our road". So, even if there was a price to pay, a steep price, it was I believe worth paying. (This is not to deny that especially the younger generations during late Kekkonen era did get dangerously starry eyed about our "dear friends" in the East. The older generations remembered very well, whatever they said publically.)

Scott ütles ...
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Scott ütles ...
Autor on selle kommentaari eemaldanud.
Scott ütles ...

Stockholm Slender:

I have much admiration for what Finland accomplished during its war with the Soviet Union.

I can't really condemn 'Finlandization' or any of its iterations, because the fact is that Finland survived as a nation-state throughout the Cold War, despite the costs. i do question the intelligence of people that bought the "USSR is really okay" line, which I have seen in Finnish publications from that period.

stockholm slender ütles ...

Yeah, YLE certainly was there by the 70's ("Näin Naapurissa" etc.), and much of the "intelligentsija" also but Archipelago Gulag was published in Finland, and I myself remember standing in a chilly schoolyard in 1979 in Southern Ostrobothnia commemorating the beginning of the Winter War by singing "Oath to the Flag" with all the school attending... So, elite politics can be quite a separate thing from the grass roots level.

tambourine man ütles ...

:-)

This place IS like a pub. There's a different converstion going on at every table. You got your drunks and tramps and your inspired intellectuals and your barflies.

Today I just lit a cigarette and observe. Maybe stay sober.

plasma-jack ütles ...
Autor on selle kommentaari eemaldanud.
admin ütles ...

here's about Schengen and Estonia.http://www.easyexpat.com/forums/sutra_34281.htm

"Tallinn hopes to join the Schengen zone in early 2009, officials said"

So it's not due until I imagine Russia and Estonia have had time to make up.

"Countries being admitted to the Schengen bloc have to demonstrate that their non-Schengen frontiers are secure."
ALSO

"The treaty does not cover residency or work permits for non-EU nationals"

.....So it means Russians will still have to get a Schengen visa after 2009, which is a damn sight easier than a visa to visit Tallinn from the crummy consulate in Moscow it may be said!!
So that's some progress before 2010!

Scott ütles ...

Admin: You see Estonian govt. as a "weird form." Elaborate please.

space_maze ütles ...

admin, I'm sorry to say, but I really can't see your point here. I do believe your motives are right, but all in all, it just doesn't make sense.

We are all Europeans now and no offical languages at all, - just what enables us to get on..

But *every* EU country has official languages. Luxembourg and Belgium has the most, with three, I believe. Ireland and Finland have two. Finland, Cyprus, Ireland and Malta have two. All 21 others have only one national language on a national basis. In many cases, this excludes native languages - like in the UK (where Welsh is only regionally official, or France, where Breton has no official recognition whatsoever.

The official languages of the EU are the 23 languages which are official languages on a national basis in at least one member state.

This has nothing to do with pragmatism. There is nothing pragmatic about having a little note in Estonian at the entrance of EU institutions in Portugal. It's just the structure of the EU.

So this ..

Estonia can't qualify for inclusion in Schengen, and I'm happy about that so long as they can't comply (and other eastern Eu states) with ALL the things that implies.

.. makes no sense. Estonia does comply with the "European standard" here.

You have every right to not like the European standard. I hope human society will evolve beyond needing these kinds of structures, sooner or later.

BUT.

These are European structures. There is only one reason to pick on Estonia in particular here: it's small, and thus easy to bash.

The unwillingness of some Russians to accept that their empire is gone is not a reason.

karLos ütles ...

"I'm wondering who actually supports the russian language system inside Estonia?"


err....perhaps you should pop down to Ida Virumaa and ask a few russian parents??
They're pretty keen their kids should learn through the medium of Russian, and it's pretty useful to be able to keep up contacts with guess what.....their relations on the other side of the border!!!


you have misunderstood what i said.

i have no doubt at all the russian minority LIKE having russian language schools (although it seems particularly self indulgent, im my opinion).

my question was who at an official level in the department of education regulates, finances and maintains, and administers the russian language system in estonia - and if it IS the government of estonia, why are they allowing these schools to use government funds to teach bullcrap history to their students.

is there some kind of regionalism in educational organization, funding and administration? is there no standardization in what is to be taught? i honestly have no idea, as i didn't go to school in estonia - hence my question.

admin ütles ...
Autor on selle kommentaari eemaldanud.
admin ütles ...

"why are they allowing these schools to use government funds to teach bullcrap history to their students."

I will have to ask some friends, as our history lessons in the UK were a model of integrity.

I honestly think the majority of the minority Russians in Estonia are happy to be here, and really don't think or behave in a uncivil way.
They just are fed up in my opinion with being tarred with the same brush of the hated soviets, but watch modern russian TV because the content is so much better quantity/quality.

Hand in hand with high unemployment comes civil disorder,alcoholism, high drug use but those people are the same ones called "CHAVS" living in slums in Liverpool or any EU big city.

karLos ütles ...

I honestly think the majority of the minority Russians in Estonia are happy to be here, and really don't think or behave in a uncivil way.

i think you are right - and these are the people that need to lead their fellow estonian russians in the right direction.

space_maze ütles ...

Hand in hand with high unemployment comes civil disorder,alcoholism, high drug use but those people are the same ones called "CHAVS" living in slums in Liverpool or any EU big city.

I think this is right actually - Estonia's "discrimination problem" would largely disappear if some way could be found to fix Ida-Virumaa, economically.

However, what'll you do? You have too many people, and too little work to do. It'll take some time.

Kaur ütles ...

why are they allowing these schools to use government funds to teach bullcrap history to their students.

As far as I know, the problem is not with the history books but with teachers, because history is not only what is written in books, it's also what teachers tell the students. There are not many young people who want to go to russian schools to teach history and many of the older teacher have got their education during the Soviet times. Some of them, especially those who do not speak proper estonian, tell students their version of history.

Andres ütles ...

And I wouldn't like to even imagine the reaction from Russia if Estonia would start to relieve Soviet-minded teachers from their posts. It would be a full-scale hysteria with threats of military action and accusations of labelling people and taking them to the gas chambers etc (judging on how painful it was for Russia when we moved a tiny statue). So it's not so simple to enforce something like that.

karLos ütles ...

i guess it takes time. these teachers won't be replaced by teachers trained in soviet times. with luck, in the future some of them might even speak estonian.

admin ütles ...

"Estonia's "discrimination problem" would largely disappear if some way could be found to fix Ida-Virumaa, economically"

Well funny as it may seem, the fix is coming. But put it this way....are you suprised it's coming from Russia.

Estonia seems blithely ignorant and unconcerned that the success of Ida Virumaa hangs on the projects such as Narva Bridge (in the news again today), and Sillamae port.

With their stupid and unneccessary behaviour in Tallinn, they have just torpedoed these projects, and it's far from obvious long term if the freeport scheme here will function properly without the goodwill from RZD, and a few other Russian investors.....

Tallinn is frankly not interested in Ida Virumaa...except of course unless it means they can't get Schengen entry without securing the transparent fluvial border...

I'm disgusted, and I'm just a stupid foreigner.

Benno ütles ...

One way of deciding if what Estonia is doing is "reasonable" or "discriminatory," is to compare Estonian citizenship procedures with those of other countries, such as the U.S.

A newspaper article on immigrant reactions to changes in the citizenship process:
http://www.twincities.com/news/ci_5858574?nclick_check=1

A website explaining the citizenship process:
http://www.uscitizenship.info/?ad=adword&keyword=citizenship6

The U.S., much like Estonia, requires its citizens to know its own version of its History (not some hostile, alternate one) and be able to speak, read and write a little bit of English. Keep in mind, too, that the U.S. is a nation whose identity is built around an immigrant mythology. Some of the immigrants in the newspaper article have been in the U.S. for twenty years, but they will not become citizens simply by being here. What Estonia is doing appears quite reasonable when compared with what the U.S. is doing, even more so when Estonia's history is taken into consideration. Whether it is what is best is another matter...

admin ütles ...

"The U.S., much like Estonia, requires its citizens to know its own version of its History (not some hostile, alternate one)"

Give us a break!!

Americans are far too ignorant to even understand what the word history means, never mind geography.

Since when did America have "history", (apart from ?genocide of the native american peoples,the emergence of the Mafia, assassinating 2 of its own presidents in 20 years, white supremacy, black slavery...and the list goes on).

Talk about "it's own version of history", - makes Russia look positively virtuous!!!!!

space_maze ütles ...

That's all just wonderful, but COMPLETELY beside the point.

Benno ütles ...

As space_maze pointed out above, admin is missing the point.

A state is under no obligation to present a History that undermines its very existence.

I'm not arguing that an Estonian version of the past be shoved down Russian Estonians' throats. That would be counterproductive. I'm simply arguing that the idea that state-supported History in Estonia be taught from an Estonian perspective is reasonable, given that this is what other states are doing.

Alternate interpretations of the past can and should be freely available, but no one should expect the state to deliver them. If Russian Estonians want a different story, nothing prevents them from creating and consuming it privately. Surely there's a Russian Estonian version of Howard Zinn who would not mind selling 300,000 copies of "A People's History of Estonia." ;)

Incidentally, a recent study has shown that Americans and Europeans are more or less equally historically ignorant. Not very encouraging, that...