teisipäev, detsember 18, 2007

tools of foreign policy

After reading through Chris Schüler's piece in The Independent which blends his trip through a neighborhood of Latvia with random facts about Estonia to synthesize a generic attack on 'the Baltic republics' in true "I'm a brave reporter in an unsafe place" British fashion, I got to thinking about how any random report can be used as a political weapon in the hands of foreign policy thinkers. (Hat tip to Ivan vs. Jaan by the way)

First, I would like to slime Schüler, not for insulting the fatherland of Estonia, but because he was unable to put several concepts together to better explain the situation for his readers.

Schüler writes about Estonia's large industrial ethnic Russian population brought here during the Soviet period. Then he writes about the collapse of the Soviet Union. Then he writes about high unemployment and drug use that has contributed to a high rate of HIV among Russophones in northeast Estonia. Then he writes about the high percentage of ethnic Russians in Estonian jails. And what's to blame for all of this? The Language Act.

You see, if all Estonia's institutions had Cyrillic lettering on their signs, everything would be better. Even though ETV offers news in Russian, most commercial forms are available in Russian, and even Postimees -- the newspaper of Jaan Tõnisson who encouraged the switch from German to Estonian in public life a century ago -- has a Russian edition (!), it's still not enough.

If Estonia was like Finland, then everything would be different. There would be no large unemployed minority in industrial northeastern cities that turned to crime and drug use to ease their pain and accidentally contracted HIV. Why? Because Finland kept the Soviet Union out of Finland.

If only he could have managed to connect the obvious dots of large migrant population + economic collapse = unemployment = increased crime and drug use and suicide, Schüler might have managed to serve his readers. But he didn't.

In his article he uses reports by Amnesty International and others to back up his interpretation. But that got me wondering about how Russian speakers were treated across the Gulf of Finland where they now make up nearly 1 percent of the population, putting them in striking distance of the Swedes (5.5 percent) for having their language coequal with Finnish.

It turned out that in the Council of Europe's latest report on Finland, published just last month, it was found that Russian speakers there are complaining about their level of support there too:
Representatives of the speakers informed the Committee of Experts during an "on the spot" visit that they have difficulties in developing a dialogue with the government regarding the status of the Russian language.

In addition, during the on the spot visit, the Committee of Experts was informed by the speakers about the possible closure of the Russian public library of the Institute for Russian and East European Studies. As a result, the books would be dispersed in different specialized libraries not open to the public.
Russians have difficulties in developing a dialogue regarding their status? The Finns are closing Russian libraries and dispersing their books to "specialized libraries" where they will be kept out of the hands of Russian speakers?

Did I mention that Finns like to wear rings with swastikas on them? They even defend their collaboration with Nazi Germany during the Continuation War in 1944? I know, it's really ugly up there in Halonen country.

One can only hope that the next time The Independent sends a reporter to Estonia, they'll wind up writing about Finland. Seems like a natural choice.

32 kommentaari:

Max ütles ...

One can only hope that the next time The Independent sends a reporter to Estonia, they'll wind up writing about Finland. Seems like a natural choice.

Better still, let 'em send their 'earn-while-you-learn' jerk to ANY provincial kolgas in Mother Russia, where surely ALL conditions set by the Van der Loons of this world are ostensibly met and there's wall-to-wall Cyrillic lettering, and study living conditions there. Only five months ago, I was regaled by a Russophone taxi driver in Tallinn (young, blonde, attractive female speaking pretty fluent Estonian, btw) about conditions in Arkhangelsk, which she had recently visited. She asked me whether I had been in Russia, 'real Russia, not St Petersburg or Moscow.' When I replied in the negative, she said: ' Minge! Näete, kuidas inimesed elavad!'

Kristopher ütles ...

I think I know this one. Could it be:

"Journalist, disgruntled at editor's refusal to plump for a hotel in Riga and being stuck in dismal Liepaja, gets his revenge, filing a 'RSS feed digest' story without any direct reporting".

Giustino ütles ...

(young, blonde, attractive female speaking pretty fluent Estonian, btw)

I am sure she was just as "integrated" as all the women at the Tartu Linnaraamatukogu whose ethnic identity can only be deduced by their name tags.

It is these people who I'd be interested in hearing from, as opposed to roving British journalists.

Giustino ütles ...

Here's some ideas for British reporters tackling this subject:

* Examine the link between the right-wing parties and the citizenship laws. Could it be that they don't want to streamline citizenship policy any further because they won't get any more votes?

* Examine the drug trade between Ida-Virumaa county and Russia. Why is it that there is a steady enough supply of heroin into Narva and its environs to support continuous drug use and the spread of HIV. What is being done to counter this?

* Examine the economic opportunities for the populations of places like Sillamäe, Narva, or Paldiski. Why is it that in a time when there is low unemployment, they are still hit the hardest.

and finally:

* Go to Viljandimaa and interview all the alcoholic, unemployed 50-year-old ethnic Estonian guys and examine the reasons for their social problems. They have citizenship and they speak the language, but they are still unemployed.

What gives?

Bernard ütles ...

I don't know, because the Viljandi guys have a secret desire to study Cyrllic?

I'm sitting in the Pension Karosta in Liepaja right now with a bottle of wine and a dime bag of powder I scored near the cathedral, trying to re-enact where Schüler went wrong.

If my boots are dry tomorrow after the ship canal episode, I'm taking the ferry to Viljandi to interview some men.

Pruned Samurai ütles ...

I read the article and he mentioned that "In Lithuania, which has a more relaxed relationship with Russia, the situation is less fraught. Every resident was given Lithuanian citizenship after independence and international observers regard Lithuanian law on minority issues as the most liberal in the Baltics." But he forgets to mention that Lithuania only has 5.1% ethnic Russians...

Giustino ütles ...

But he forgets to mention that Lithuania only has 5.1% ethnic Russians...

Lithuania actually couldn't do it the Estonian way for other reasons including:

1) In June 1940, Klaipeda wasn't part of Lithuania, it was part of Germany.

2) From 1921 to 1939, Vilnius was part of Poland.

So if Lithuania did the same thing, it would mean a) either the Poles in Vilnius or b) the residents of Klaipeda would have had to take a test to get Lithuanian citizenship.

It was a total geographic mess, hence the zero option, lesser Russians not withstanding. It would have based Lithuanian citizenship on who held it for about 9 months in 1939-40.

Trek ütles ...

The Schüler douche bag would have been wise to read this article regarding the history of the Estonian language and the governments position on the language law to give some balanced journalism to his article before spewing the "draconian" bull.

LANGUAGE LEGISLATION AND ETHNOLINGUISTIC SITUATION IN PRESENT-DAY ESTONIA

space_maze ütles ...

Minge! Näete, kuidas inimesed elavad

I am actually getting the chance to do that, next summer. Kinda.

I'll be spending three weeks in the Joškar-Ola, in the (now only somewhat) finno-ugric "republic" of Mari El, and a day each in Moscow, St. Petersburg and (Nižni Novgorod OR Kazan).

I would love to share my experiences there with the eesti-focused community here. As I'm a crap writer, though, I should probably visit Justin in Tartu or something, give him a full account of it, and let HIM write about it or something? Would you be interested in this? :-P

Giustino ütles ...

All are welcome at Chateau Justín.

space_maze ütles ...

Excellent. Now I just need to gain some insights into the situation of the Estonians' cousins there which someone in Estonia couldn't have.

Vidas ütles ...

"It was a total geographic mess, hence the zero option, lesser Russians not withstanding. It would have based Lithuanian citizenship on who held it for about 9 months in 1939-40."

Huh ? Lithuanian citizenship is based on law and constitution - not some snapshot back to a time 60 years ago. If you want to consider it that way - who gets to choose the period in time then ? Thats a slippery slope for nations that never existed prior to 1918.

Here's the law regarding citizenship:

"(1) Persons who were citizens of the Republic of Lithuania, children and grandchildren of such persons, as well as other persons who were permanent residents on the current territory of the Lithuanian SSR prior to 15 July 1940, and their children and grandchildren who now are or have been permanent residents on the territory of the Lithuanian SSR; (2) Persons who have a permanent place of residence in the Lithuanian SSR, provided they were born on the territory of the Lithuanian SSR, or have provided evidence that at least one of their parents or grandparents was born on said territory, and provided that they are not citizens of another state; (3) Other persons who, up to and including the date of entry into force of this Law, have been permanent residents on the territory of the Republic and have here a permanent place of employment or another constant legal source of support; such persons shall freely choose their citizenship during two years following the entry into force of this Law; and (4) Persons who have acquired citizenship of the Lithuanian SSR under this Law."

This was later adopted by the present Lithuanian constitution (which was adopted as new and not a successor to the interwar Republic) - augmented by rules allowing for naturalization.

The reason why Lithuania provided the opportunity for citizenship for its permanent residents was simply because it was a smart thing to do. The collapse of the soviet union created the stateless resident - but when nations create new laws that foster the idea that having stateless residents is acceptable - thats by definition divisive, unhealthy and undemocratic.

Vidas

Giustino ütles ...

"(1) Persons who were citizens of the Republic of Lithuania, children and grandchildren of such persons, as well as other persons who were permanent residents on the current territory of the Lithuanian SSR prior to 15 July 1940,

Ah, I see. They defined the citizenship by the territory of the Lithuanian SSR, not by the Republic of Lithuania. Smart idea.

As I said before, it would have been more difficult to adopt the Estonian or Latvian options because of the Vilnius/Klaipeda issues.

In comparison, Estonia gave citizenship to pre-war citizens who were not on the territory of the Estonian SSR -- such as people from Jaanilinn (Ivangorod) and Petserimaa (Pechory).

I am sure that the Lithuanians are generous and virtuous people. But let's not forget that during that snapshot in time from 1921 to 1939, its present capital city was a) part of Poland and b) had few Lithuanians living in it.

Territorially, Lithuania benefited from USSR membership.

but when nations create new laws that foster the idea that having stateless residents is acceptable - thats by definition divisive, unhealthy and undemocratic.

From what I understand the only compromise that could have been made between the right-wing groups in the coalition and the more center-left groups was to return to the citizenship law of 1938.

It all comes back to what is politically possible. These days there's no way Estonia could retroactively do what Lithuania did.

There are parties that have tried to liberalize the policies -- Social Democrats, Center Party, perhaps the Greens and Rahvaliit would support it -- but the right-wing parties are the most popular in the country, and -- I would add -- they enjoy the most international support.

They also have the least to gain from enfranchising the ~115,000 people without citizenship. Game over.

nipi ütles ...

Well, imagine that you have 1/3 of population settled here by the occupation forces. And this 1/3 is located - half in capitol and half close to border.
Lithuania had better situation - much less settlers. These were more or less successfully assimilated into society.
Earlier said, that Stalin promised to withdraw its forces (and those people who came with them? - consequences) and forgot it.
I have nothing against those russian-speaking people, but they shouldn't forget that they are in Estonia, not in Russia.

space_maze ütles ...

Well, imagine that you have 1/3 of population settled here by the occupation forces. And this 1/3 is located - half in capitol and half close to border.
Lithuania had better situation - much less settlers. These were more or less successfully assimilated into society.


Which is exactly why Lithuania, while chosing different policies itself, has generally supported Estonia and Latvia in their policies.

Giustino ütles ...

Well, imagine that you have 1/3 of population settled here by the occupation forces.

This 1/3 number is a bit funny. Because when I add Russians, Ukrainians, and Belorussians I get 29 percent, which is not 1/3.

I explained to a Norwegian, who used the 1/3 number with me, that actually Russians are but 26 percent of the population.

"But you have to add them all together with the Ukrainians and Belorussians," he said.

"Does that mean that I should add the Finns, Latvians, and Lithuanians to the Estonians?" I asked.

He said that I shouldn't because Estonians and Finns are not as similar.

Occasionally I get the feeling that some people find Estonia to be an inconvenient country, and would have preferred complete genocide here and not knowing about it to actually having to hear about a very unpleasant side of history.

The Russian military pensioners are the poor victims. The Estonians who lost their loved ones in Siberia? Just a bunch of whiners.

All of this foreign attention never seems to work in the way that it should work. Instead it just makes things more confusing, if not worse.

space_maze ütles ...

This 1/3 number is a bit funny. Because when I add Russians, Ukrainians, and Belorussians I get 29 percent, which is not 1/3.

I explained to a Norwegian, who used the 1/3 number with me, that actually Russians are but 26 percent of the population.


Potentially stupid question of the day .. but are you looking at figures from the present, or from 1990? I do believe they have changed, with some Russians going back to Russia, and some going to "western" countries like Finland - in higher proportions than Estonians have been.

I can't find too precise figures right now, just that 32% of the Estonian population were stateless in 1992. Add those Russians that had already gained Estonian citizenship by then, and a third seems about right - yes, including Ukrainians and the such.

Giustino ütles ...

Potentially stupid question of the day .. but are you looking at figures from the present, or from 1990?

I am looking at the Estonian Statistics Office database which tells me that as of Jan 1, 2007, the ethnic break up is (rounded): 69 percent eestlased, 26 percent venelased, 2 percent ukrainlased, 1 percent valgevenelased, and 1 percent soomlased.

Giustino ütles ...

I can't copy the link here.

Numbers are:

1,342,409 (total)
921,062 (estonians) 68.6
344,208 (russians) 25.6
28,158 (ukrainians) 2.1
16,133(belorusians) 1.2
11,035 (finns) 0.8
2,487 (tatars)
2,216 (latvians)
2,077 (poles)
2,077 (lithuanians)
1,900 (jews)
1,900 (germans)
9,084 (others)

Here's Tallinn:

396,852 (total)
217,938 (estonians) 54.9
144,764 (russians) 36.5
14,225 (ukrainians)3.6
7,593(belorussians) 1.9
2,334 (finns) 0.6
1,412 (jews)
1,222 (tatars)
810 (latvians)
952 (lithuanians)
908 (poles)
539 (germans)
4,155 (others)

and Tartu

101,965 (total)
81,795 (estonians) 80.2
16,001 (russians) 15.7
1,223 (ukrainians) 1.2
1,096 (finns) 1.1
493 (belorussians)
143 (poles)
144 (jews)
123 (germans)
107 (latvians)
90 (lithuanians)
81 (tatars)
669 (others)

space_maze ütles ...

Yeah .. today, nipi's figures wouldn't add up.

But in 1990, they would. Alas, I don't what .. tema .. was talking about - the conditions now, or the conditions under which Estonia established its laws.

John ütles ...

Let's not get too hasty. There shoudl be an "of which" line under Estonians for Mulks, Võrokenes and Eliks (of whom I am one).

And why run out of steam at 9,000 "others": these are a bunch of pure-blooded Setos, Ingermanlanders, etc. I have a suspicion the Setos outnumber the Jews and the Germans.

Here is the (proper) annotated version.

1,342,409 (total)
921,062 (estonians) 68.6
(of which: 89,167 Mulks
33,213 Võrokenes
10,314 Eliks)
344,208 (russians) 25.6
28,158 (ukrainians) 2.1
16,133(belorusians) 1.2
11,035 (finns) 0.8
2,487 (tatars)
2,216 (latvians)
2,077 (poles)
2,077 (lithuanians)
1,900 (jews)
1,900 (germans)
9,084 (others)
ca 5,000 (Setos)
ca 500 (Ingermanlanders)
...
ca 200 (Chechens)
...

Here's Tallinn:

396,852 (total)
217,938 (estonians) 54.9
144,764 (russians) 36.5
14,225 (ukrainians)3.6
7,593(belorussians) 1.9
2,334 (finns) 0.6
1,412 (jews)
1,222 (tatars)
810 (latvians)
952 (lithuanians)
908 (poles)
539 (germans)
4,155 (others)

and Tartu

101,965 (total)
81,795 (estonians) 80.2
16,001 (russians) 15.7
1,223 (ukrainians) 1.2
1,096 (finns) 1.1
493 (belorussians)
143 (poles)
144 (jews)
123 (germans)
107 (latvians)
90 (lithuanians)
81 (tatars)
669 (others)

Vidas ütles ...

"Ah, I see. They defined the citizenship by the territory of the Lithuanian SSR, not by the Republic of Lithuania. Smart idea."

Actually, it was both. The political boundaries of the Republic (but not the Constitution) and the LTSR are established as previously existing and recognized legal boundaries.

"But let's not forget that during that snapshot in time from 1921 to 1939, its present capital city was a) part of Poland and b) had few Lithuanians living in it."

The citizenship laws were created as they were precisely because there was no want to forget. To alienate the Poles, Belarusians and Russians by creating ethnic divisions or obstacles to citizenship would have likely rekindled the Klaipeda and Vilnius issues.

I can appreciate that Estonia and Latvia had a Russian problem. Lithuania had a Polish problem - with numbers not quite as high but substantial. If one wants to add the slavic residents together in Lithuania - I expect the numbers as a percentage wont be all that far off from yours.

"Territorially, Lithuania benefited from USSR membership."

Well, we can argue this one for a long time. The suggestion that occupation somehow created "benefits" is by itself abstract to put it mildly. I expect you'd argue that Estonias "membership" in the USSR had few positives.

Vilnius was accepted as the Lithuanian center in 1919 post Brest-Litovsk and confirmed by treaty in 1920. Poland subsequently violated the treaty after a staged coup by invading with military force. This shouldnt be condoned. The soviets offered the return of Vilnius in 1939 because it fit their needs. Vilnius was returned to Lithuanian stewardship by decree - but not control.

Lithuania also lost substantial areas during soviet rule including the vast majority of the Vilnius region (now Belarus) and Suvalkija (now Poland) along with losing claim to Lithuania Minor.

As for game over - Lithuanias largely is because its right wing knew that creating a new prolonged fight with Russians and Poles on ethnic lines would not bode well for a future.

space_maze ütles ...

I can appreciate that Estonia and Latvia had a Russian problem. Lithuania had a Polish problem - with numbers not quite as high but substantial. If one wants to add the slavic residents together in Lithuania - I expect the numbers as a percentage wont be all that far off from yours.

Adding up as vastly different groups, as Poles and Russians already are, does not make a comparable situation, though (not that you said it did or anything) .. integrating 50 small groups is easier than integrating 1 big group.

I experience this a lot in Austria - especially in schools. I've seen integration work fine in classes where only a third of the kids were Austrian .. and I've seen it fail in classes where only a third was not.

My class in secondary school, for example. Only a handful of kids were "real" Austrians. Nevertheless, communication was not a problem in the class - in German, even. Why? We had 1 Indonesian kid, 2 Bosnians, 3 Turks, 1 American, 1 Hungarian, 1 Somalian, 1 Korean kid, 1 French, 1 French Gypsy .. and others, I believe. It's been a while.

So what language did the Korean kid use to communicate with a Turkish kid? German, of course. Me, with a Bosnian? German, duh. If I was to stuck to my native language, English .. I wouldn't have had anyone to talk to.

While in some classes, a third of students come from one and the same place (say, Turkey), depending on the district of town. In these classes, integration often fails. There is no incentive for Turks to communicate much in German, because .. they can socialize just fine in their own language. They have enough people to do so, and thus get lazier towards German.

Giustino ütles ...

integrating 50 small groups is easier than integrating 1 big group.

This is happening in Tallinn to an extent. I have dealt with several business people in Tallinn with really interesting last names -- Georgians, Armenians, et cetera -- who dealt with me in Estonian the whole time.

Pretty amazing to see Estonian go from peasants tongue to "language of the European Union" in little more than a century.

The way it's set up now, you basically can be a Japanese immigrant, acquire Estonian knowledge and "be Estonian" to some extent.

Language are wonderful things. I feel bad for all the monolinguals out there, especially in my home country.

Max ütles ...

Amen on all counts, Giustino. Succinctly put, but profoundly true. I can share your observations, and have seen 'national identity' work in the same way elsewhere too.

Vidas ütles ...

"Adding up as vastly different groups, as Poles and Russians already are, does not make a comparable situation, though (not that you said it did or anything)"

Seriously, maybe its an age thing as I'm a bit older - but huh ??

Russians and Poles being vastly different ? In what context ?

"integrating 50 small groups is easier than integrating 1 big group."

What 50 groups ? Giustino laments the russian minority as 25% or so best case. Lithuania doesnt have that number of Russians - but it has that number - or greater - in Poles and Belarusians in the Vilnius region. The Vilnius question being something he brought up.

And I'm adding up vastly different groups ? Sorry, but I'm not.

I dont look to interject in other peoples forums. The Estonian perspective really doesnt concern me all that much.

But when Lithuanian situational realities are introduced - all I ask is that people post from some minimum level of contact with base level realpolitik.

Without some grounding - its just words for the sake of posting words.

Vidas

space_maze ütles ...

Seriously, maybe its an age thing as I'm a bit older - but huh ??

Russians and Poles being vastly different ? In what context ?


They don't speak the same language, or languages that are so close that knowing one means understanding the other. They don't have the same religion. They don't generally "like" eachother any more than Lithuanians and Poles, or Lithuanians and Russians. They live in different parts of the country. So they aren't going to form a "unified" group of some sort as has happened with Ukrainians and Belorusians in Estonia, who have largely assimilated with Russians .. instead of with Estonians. Making the Russian population, de facto, bigger.

What 50 groups ? Giustino laments the russian minority as 25% or so best case. Lithuania doesnt have that number of Russians - but it has that number - or greater - in Poles and Belarusians in the Vilnius region. The Vilnius question being something he brought up.

And I'm adding up vastly different groups ? Sorry, but I'm not.


The 50 groups was just a figure of speech, and partially, a referrence to Austria, a situation I'm quite familiar with. Integrating many, many small groups of immigrants is a lot easier, as there will be no struggle for a dominant culture in such a country.

The language spoken by the 1000 Brasilians in Austria will never challenge German as the dominant language in Austria. Nor will the language of the equally sized Vietnamese immigrant community. Or that of the 5000-10 000 Persians, Chinese or Fillipinos.

As all these groups have no other language to communicate with one another than German. Thus, they're way more likely to integrate into the German-speaking society than to integrate with one another.

In Estonia and Latvia, however, you have/had ONE immigrant community so big that it was threatening the respective status of Estonian, and Latvian, as the dominant language.

As for adding them up .. you were saying that if you add Poles and Russians in Lithuania up, there'd be about as many as there would be Russians in Estonia. All I was saying was that even if this is true .. it doesn't make the situations comparable.

But when Lithuanian situational realities are introduced - all I ask is that people post from some minimum level of contact with base level realpolitik.

I appreciate that .. and as I have said, I do believe that Lithuania's policies made sense. For Lithuania.

Giustino ütles ...

But when Lithuanian situational realities are introduced - all I ask is that people post from some minimum level of contact with base level realpolitik.

Without some grounding - its just words for the sake of posting words.


Vidas,

Lithuania's citizenship policy is often compared to Latvian and Estonian policies based on the principle of ethnicity, the argument that there were more untrustworthy Russians in Latvia, so Latvia was less willing to grant them immediate citizenship.

What I was pointing out is that ethnicity wasn't the only factor making that option less attractive, because even if Lithuania tried to implement the Latvian-Estonian policy, it would face challenges due to the Klaipeda/Vilnius issues.

Estonia was, in my honest opinion, correct to not offer citizenship to everybody. About 150,000 people left Estonia en masse for Russia in the early 1990s, which they should have done. They demonstrated their loyalty with their feet.

The current policy though could be more effectively streamlined. There should be more of an effort made to include people in Estonian civic life so that they aren't left in these isolated post-Soviet ghettos.

The sad truth is that many of these people perhaps don't even care. Like someone recently pointed out to me, there are the unemployed in Ida Virumaa, and then there are the unemployable.

Giustino laments the russian minority as 25% or so best case.

I lament the use of old statistics to make arguments about Estonia's ethnic policies.

Arguments such as ... "one-third of the population is ..."

No, it's not one-third. Ethnic Russians -- people who identify as such -- are actually a quarter of the population.

That still makes them the hugest minority in Estonia and does not diminish their need for linguistic and cultural rights -- which if you actually read the laws are in many cases guaranteed.

But if I were to, say, round up the number of Estonians as liberally as the number of Russians are overestimated, I could make outrageous claims like, "three-quarters of Estonia are ethnic Estonian' -- it follows the same logic but applies it in a different way.

Instead of over-stating the number of Russians to support one argument, you then exaggerate the number of Estonians to challenge it.

The same goes for Tallinn. I have heard it repeatedly that Tallinn is "fifty-fifty" -- but if you look at all the data it actually isn't.

43 percent of people in Tallinn claim Russian as a native language. 54 percent of Tallinners are ethnic Estonian.

It's the same situation again -- the number of Russians are rounded up to criticize Estonia's policies, but if I was to do the same thing, I could say that the number of Estonians in Tallinn is now 60 percent.

Quite frankly, Tallinn is a pretty Estonian-dominated place. Every other person I meet is not speaking Russian. More like every third person, which makes more sense when you look at the statistics. That's the reality that I hear everytime I go there.

In conclusion, statistics are on their face innocuous things, but can be used and twisted to support any variety of arguments.

Sometimes I feel that by even bringing up the fact that there are less Russians in Estonia than are claimed by some people using statistics from the mid-1990s, I am somehow taking sides in the argument.

It's so awful to look at the statistics from 2007 and say to Amnesty International, wait a minute -- your facts are wrong.

Except I am not. I wish simply that people would use accurate statistics in their arguments.

Vidas ütles ...

I apologize to space maze over my last response - but this is a topic that gets worked over ad nauseum by my poor cousins to the north.

The Vilnius issue from the interwar period is a non issue. It's irrelevant.

As to forced Russification that is the pain of Latvia and Estonia - how is forced Polonization any different ?

I can appreciate that some may think that Lithuanias decision on citizenship was "easier" because its minorities were less focused ethnically and more diverse - but they were still minorities and were certainly not lacking in focus. I point to the activities of the Yedinstvo and Unity movements of 1988-1991 - various organized and sometimes violent acts carried out against Lithuanian sovereignty.

Lithuania decided to grant them citizenship rights specifically to marginalize their positions on ethnic grounds. The soviet union is dead but we'll take you in anyway.

Giustino ütles ...

Lithuania decided to grant them citizenship rights specifically to marginalize their positions on ethnic grounds.

I have wondered if any Estonian party would ever do that. From what I have read, back in 1992 there were some parties that were willing to do it and others who basically wanted to deport all 'aliens'. The current citizenship legislation was actually a compromise. As Lauristin said herself, they had to go back to the laws of 1938, because it was the only thing they could agree on.


I also wonder to what extent Latvian policies influence Estonian ones and vice versa. If Estonia was to liberalise its policies for the remaining 8 percent of the population that is stateless, wouldn't that put Latvia in a more difficult situation?

Jack Nicholson ütles ...

The cross of the Finnish Air Force has nothing to do with Nazis.. That cross has been used for a lot of things, not just for Nazis. The Nazis just took that old heavily used logo amd made it their own. Also the Finns eventually fought the Nazis away from their land with great losses.

Jack Nicholson ütles ...

The cross of the Finnish Air Force has nothing to do with Nazis.. That cross has been used for a lot of things, not just for Nazis. The Nazis just took that old heavily used logo amd made it their own. Also the Finns eventually fought the Nazis away from their land with great losses.