reede, veebruar 29, 2008

pucker up, it's the nordic way

Relations with Russia are bad. Is it possible for them to get better? And, even more importantly, who to look to for guidance?

During the Winter War, the Soviet Union seized one-tenth of Finland. The very port that Russia plans to start exporting gas to Germany through via Nord Stream is Vyborg -- Viipuri -- at one time an important Finnish city. One half of Karelia, the cradle of Finnish national identity, has been repopulated by Russians. And yet, when the Russian and Finnish foreign ministers get together it's all smiles, vodka, and kippis.

Not to mention, Finland has nearly five times the amount of people Estonia has; Finland has a GDP of $163 billion compared to Estonia's $27 billion; and as inspiring as Markko Märtin and Kristina Šmigun are, Finland has Kimi Raikkonen and Virpi Kuitunen. That is to say that in every way, Estonia's northern neighbor is stronger, richer, and more well known. It also has some serious historical baggage with its eastern neighbor. And yet, when it comes time to pucker up to Vladimir or Sergei, the Finns are ready with moistened lips.

Perhaps this is the secret that Edgar Savisaar knows and has kept his dacha, er, suvila busy with guests from Russia who have stakes in the transport business. That only by kissing Russia's ass can a nordic country -- once it has secured its independence -- ever truly be free. I hope it isn't really true, but those photos of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and former Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja make me wonder.

73 kommentaari:

n-lane ütles ...

I think it merely testifies to the fact, that Finnish policy makers have good diplomacy skills.

Jens-Olaf ütles ...

Again, I very doubt that the Scandinavians are model in that case. Would they, could they do smart foreign policies when 25 % of the population would feeling not as Fins within the country?

Sarv ütles ...

Pointing to Savisaar tends to be whataboutism.

Savisaar's suvila scandal is ancient history (2005), and though it's fun to make fun of these old Sovs who are seen going in and out, it's probably not halfway as seditious as it appears. Who knows what they're really talking about -- could be regional development between Tartu and Pskov.

Don't forget that Ansip wanted Estonian Railways renationalized, too, to the benefit of people like Neinar Seli, Ain Kaljurand, and by extension, Oleg Ossinovski and other Russian magnates. Ansip was already prime minister when Estonia reneged on its privatization of the railway to the Americans.

Despite positioning himself, since April, as a strong Estonian-minded leader, it seems to me Ansip is living a bit of a lie. The knowledge-based Estonia thing hasn't really kicked in yet, and Estonia can't expect to make it without SOME transit and industry. Labour costs are now skyrocketing in traditionally cheap places like China, and people are singing the death knell of outsourcing in India, so these again look like more viable areas for Estonia.

Anyway, you can't just ignore Russia and watch the cash flows go somewhere else. Savisaar is unsavory but has a good knowledge of who's who.

Giustino ütles ...

Again, I very doubt that the Scandinavians are model in that case. Would they, could they do smart foreign policies when 25 % of the population would feeling not as Fins within the country?

I don't think of Finland as a Scandinavian country at all. They are not a kingdom, and they were part of the Russian empire for more than a hundred years. The main drag in Helsinki is called Aleksanterinkatu. I rest my case.

I also really detest slicing people up by ethnicity. I don't think the ethnic groups in this country are of one mind about a lot of issues. I also don't believe that they can be easily separated. I mean is Smigun an ethnic Russian or an ethnic Estonian? There is no answer and there will not be one. She's just an Estonian, like most people here.

I think there is a general consensus that bilingualism is not an option in Estonia. But, say, Bronze Soldier -- that bill barely cleared the Riigikogu. It's nice to see it as "Estonians" doing it to "Russians" -- but it's not actually true. There were Russian Jews like Mihhail Lotman that voted for Härra Pronks' removal. So, please, let's throw out the ethnic script.

I think it merely testifies to the fact, that Finnish policy makers have good diplomacy skills.

True. I think some decent Estonian politicians are in Brussels. Wait until they come back -- I have a feeling that their electoral careers will continue at home.

Pointing to Savisaar tends to be whataboutism.

Savisaar just doesn't have it. He cannot unite this country. He doesn't show up at the independence ball, he barely shows up to meet foreign dignitaries and if he does, in a leather jacket -- and this guy wants to be Estonia's prime minister?

I mean isn't that Ansip's success -- mixing rightwing rhetoric with center-left policies?

So maybe KESK should run someone else -- Siiri Oviir? -- next time instead. I mean how many times can Savisaar run and lose the election. KESK was supposed to win last time, but KESK can't convince enough Estonians to vote for Savisaar. They don't like him.

Marcus ütles ...

Hey! A very impressive blog you have here Mr. Giustino!

On the topic, I think the reason Finland gets on so well with Russia is because their foreign policy is so... well, lame. They don't criticize the condition of Finno-Ugric minorities in Russia like Estonia does. They don't "meddle" in Russian "internal affairs" like the Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia. They don't really do anything, except get on well with Russia.

Are they more free than the Baltics? I think not. And I'd much rather have a more values-based approach to international affairs of Estonia than the more interest-based of Finland. Even if it inevitably brings tensions with Russia.

Which self-respecting country gets along well with Russia anyway? Finland and Turkmenistan. :-)

Taavi ütles ...

I would have to say that one of the best politicians today in Estonia is not 'involved' in politics. This politician is a businessman and you'll rarely read about him in the papers. He understands, unlike the prime minister, that transport has been the base of the Estonian economy for more than a thousand years and if Estonia wants again to be a key player in the Baltic region, then it must continue to be the base.
Most all other industries which bring money to Estonia rather than increase the trade deficits are heavily dependent on an efficient and profitable transport industry already being in place. I would direct you to peruse the latest statistics for value added timber production, tourism, oil production and trans-shipment, textile production, and metal production in Estonia and you will see dramatic drops in all sectors right after the populistic patriotism 'events' of last year.
Not only is it next to impossible to import items to Estonia from Russia, it is the same when shipping to Russia.
While I am not a fan of how the media has portrayed and how he has let the media portray him, I do know that Mr. Savisaar is working in the best interests of the country as a whole. Of course he is not doing this alone and there are a lot of very good people in Keskerakond as there are in all the political parties in Estonia, but the others in the center party thus far have not wanted, or do not have the stomach for the scrutiny that the media puts on the top members of this particular party.
Just my two cents, take it for what it's worth.

Andres ütles ...

Keskerakond is kind of a phenomenon and in a sense Savisaar does resemble Putin. Consider this... when Rahvaliit screwed up due to Villu, Villu left. I imagine people in Reformierakond wouldn't be happy with Ansip being the leader if he would screw up either. But can you really imagine Savipäts stepping back from the party leader place if he'd done anything wrong? Who would take his place? Kadri Must, lol? Also Savisaar is kind of immune to criticism by Estonians anyway because he always has had and probably will have the Russian vote. Completely independent of what he does. Russians aren't interested that much in Estonian politics so when it's election time, they just go and find Keskerakond's No1 and write that down. It's how it goes. Even if Savisaar would screw up badly, Estonia's Russians wouldn't give a damn because a lot of them really haven't hopped on the democracy bandwagon yet, IMO. That's actually pretty clever from Savisaar. This way he doesn't have to worry about what he says or does. Get the low-educated uninterested people to support you, and you're immune.

Наблюдатель ütles ...

Why do we need any relations with Rashka at all? No relations are the best relations. As for the Finns, yes, they gave the world Finlandization but not until they kicked the Russians' ass in the winter war. The problem is that NATO would never honor their obligation under Article 5 in the event of a Russian aggression--and as mr Ilves once remarked, the next time the Russians come they won't be constrained by communism

Giustino ütles ...

I do know that Mr. Savisaar is working in the best interests of the country as a whole.

Except, given the choice, no one will form a coalition government with him. Maybe only Rahvaliit. SDE is closer ideologically to KESK. But it's Savisaar that keeps the center-left from uniting.

Наблюдатель ütles ...

Jus, regarding "I do know that Mr. Savisaar is working in the best interests of the country as a whole" I have two questions:
1) Which country?
2) As a whole means including Estonia, since the Russian establishment has never recognized, does not recognize, and never will recognize Estonia's independence. To them, as for the Ida Virumaa's fifth column, Wstonia is Russia. After Stalin and Ribbentrop sent them there and up until 1991 they thought they were living in Russia

egan ütles ...

There was an article in Helsingin Sanomat last autumn, about the discussions over returning Karelia in the early 90s. The writer said that it's a good job they did not try to take over the territory, because integrating 300,000 dirt poor Russians at a time of high unemployment would have been economically disastrous and 'could have destroyed the welfare state'.

I don't know if Наблюдатель is correct about the Russian minority in Estonia, but I suspect and hope not. I do think that estonia is reaching the stage where it has to make a decision about this though.

Continued hostility with Russia is going to be bad for Estonia, as has been pointed out here already. You cannot physically move the country westwards, so economic contact with Russia is desirable. Finland positions itself as a gateway to Russia for EU companies, and it has always seemed strange to my untutored eye that Estonia is not fighting hard to do the same.

I am quite sceptical of 'values-based' foreign policy, too. There isn't much that such a small country can do to propogate its values. Defending sovereignty (and this can take many forms, avoiding unnecessary provocations being one of them) and advocacy within multi-lateral organisations would appear to be the limit.

I think there's another thing here. Finland would be Swedish if it wasn't for the war of 1809. The Finns owe their independence, and the establishment of their language, to Russian control. At the same time they remember what can happen when they don't have good relations with Moscow.

That's why the President, a human rights lawyer, can say that Putin's Russia is 'the best we've ever had'.

Martin-Éric ütles ...

And giving the railway to American imperialists is supposed to be better than giving it to Russian imperialists in what way, exactly?

Balts spent 60 years knowing that they were not free and having an official policy of being good Soviets, while unofficially supporting nationalist ideas.

Meanwhile, their Suomi neighbor spent 60 years pretending that they did not belong to Soviet interests in the grand scheme of the Molotov and Yalta. How do you successfully uphold such pretensions? By having an official policy of being a Western country with Scandinavian ancestry, all while sucking up Soviet cock as a good Uralic nation, behind the curtain.

Now that we have not one, but two Soviets to deal with, the old reflexes are back. Smile and laugh to every joke that the Muscovite and Brusselish masters tell and execute all of their most stupid orders with absolute Germanic precision. Again. Doesn't anybody ever learn anything from history?

Наблюдатель ütles ...

Egan, regarding the venelane fifth column, I had the unfortunate first-hand experience with them while living in Tallinn and won't comment any further.
As to hostility with Russia--wake up and smell the coffee. Russia is hostile by definition and always will be no matter what, this is a trait of their national character, this is what defines them as a nation (a scorpio will always sting), so what's the point of prostrating ourselves like the latts? It's either appeasement or no relations at all(as Mr. Ilves used to advocate in his previous incarnations). I prefer the latter.
Now to 300 dirt-poor rooskies. I've been to Karjala many times. In fact, I was born in Ita Kannas. There is no need to incorporate them--push them back to the Siberian swamps where they belong

Наблюдатель ütles ...

Egan, Jus, & all, my nick may not tell you much but I used to be a regular contributor to the vene Delfi blog. Well, I don't post there any more because I cannot: they have a spam filter which sees my MAC address and filters me out. The guys who carry weight there, mostly from the Klenski List and assorted other russophile estophobes just won't have me there because I challenge their legitimacy.
So I know the fifth column when I see one

Kristopher ütles ...

I mean isn't that Ansip's success -- mixing rightwing rhetoric with center-left policies?

Some would call that "lying".

It's better than the opposite, of course -- right-center policies with empty talk about compassion and social justice.

But what center-left policies, though? Anything different from past administrations?

SDE is closer ideologically to KESK. But it's Savisaar that keeps the center-left from uniting.

Savisaar is pretty irrelevant, like a unrespected, disreputable version of Andres Tarand who is still vastly popular among some old ladies. The cheese stands alone.

But what about a filial line? What's the dirt on Erki Savisaar? Seems to know something about real estate, could he know something about politics? Or is he a dim bulb?

n-lane ütles ...

There is no need to incorporate them--push them back to the Siberian swamps where they belong (Наблюдатель)

Well, I don't post there any more because I cannot (Наблюдатель)

Giustino, I'm very happy for your blog: another "persecuted patriot" found his way to palun.blogspot.com, where he can finally continue posting :)

Andres ütles ...

Well, we can only win from the plurarity of opinions, right? :P

Karla ütles ...

I once heard a rumor that Finland's 'Russia policy' had been formulated with the aid of two PR experts from the UK, fellers named Ben Dover and Ben Doon. But that was probably a malicious canard...
:)

Marcus ütles ...

:-)

On a more positive note, I read in Helsingin Sanomat that President Halonen and Prime Minister Vanhanen have agreed to recognize the independence of Kosovo next Friday.

Good for them, I say! For once they are not following the advice on Ben Dover. :-)

Karla ütles ...

That IS good news. Well, about them two 'Ben' fellers - I was jest drokin'... Finns do a lot right too, and Tarja is definitely on my 'great & classy broads' list.

Giustino ütles ...

The guys who carry weight there, mostly from the Klenski List and assorted other russophile estophobes just won't have me there because I challenge their legitimacy.

They have no legitimacy because no one votes for them. Klenski's party got 5,564 votes out of 550,213 votes cast in March. Ansip's party got 153,044 votes. If I were them I'd be bitter too. They live in a democracy ;-)

Giustino ütles ...

On a more positive note, I read in Helsingin Sanomat that President Halonen and Prime Minister Vanhanen have agreed to recognize the independence of Kosovo next Friday.

That's just the thing! Kosovo became independent by way of the Ahtisaari Plan. And yet Russia doesn't blame Hell-stinky, it blames Washington. The Finns are geniuses.

Karla ütles ...

Yass!! "Softly, softly catchee monkey," as the Brits say.

Marcus ütles ...

That's just the thing! Kosovo became independent by way of the Ahtisaari Plan. And yet Russia doesn't blame Hell-stinky, it blames Washington. The Finns are geniuses.

Well, I guess Ahtisaari is not affiliated with the Finnish government now so it would be a bit strange if Russia blamed Finland for that plan.

I did wonder, though, whether Finland would recognize Kosovo, after good Mr. Lavrov informed them that anyone who wanted good relations with the Bear would be unwise to do so. Just goes to show, I guess, that there are exceptions to every rule. Even to the rule that the Finnish foreign policy is wussy. :-)

Karla ütles ...

My latter burp referred to the Ahtisaari plan and the Finns' recognition of Kosovo.
:P

Наблюдатель ütles ...

"If I were them I'd be bitter too. They live in a democracy ;-)"
You see, Gius, but they don't think so. They think they live in an oppressive fascist country. Although Klenski and Mihhailov (an also-ran, a sociology lecturer who used to blog as фу or фурыч) were both born in Estonia and speak Estonian fluently, they are the product of the vene occupation. Can you image the iniquity for a Pravda correspondent becoming an irrelevant loudmouth every one ignores?

Karla ütles ...

On Kosovo, no one has been wussier than Canada. Still no decision, though I believe Ottawa WILL recognize. Meantime, Srpskis protest in major cities. No violence at US Embassy or Consulate General... yet. Lots of the boys in blue out, and the ones in Toronto ride BIG horses (Standardbred & Belgian cross).
Media note: Srpski protestors could work on making their collective image a bit more upscale in sartorial terms. Spokespersons who leap before the lens might work on their English, avoid hyperbole ("Kosova is Surp for thousands years! Is forever!"), and hire an Esto choral director to improve the singing by large lads who look as if they haven't seen a razor for a few days. IMAGE, lads, image!

Jens-Olaf ütles ...

I did not intend to play the ethnic card. Take away the number and I still mean there is not enough consensus within the whole population about foreign policies in Estonia. Especially regarding Russia. I always refer to Soviets when I talk about pre 1991.
Because of the latest controvery about the language remarks by Ilves i went through the Eesti Elu issues of 1992 and 1992. And there were many very angry that so many Soviet apparatchiks and security people could still life in Estonia. Former army officers etc.. . There was more soviet left inside the country that Finland ever had. But it did not pay off for Estonia regarding nowadays relations with Russia.

Jens-Olaf ütles ...
Autor on selle kommentaari eemaldanud.
Jens-Olaf ütles ...

Looking back from the beginning in August 1991 Russia played the hard card and has tried to go as far as possible. In winter 1991/1992 1000! new Russian soldiers had arrived by train the central station in Tallinn. The train was surrounded by Estonian guards. The train stood there for hours. There were few other Western people in the city. No western loud response on high level: Russia don't do that! It was so dissapointing. It took another 3! years that the last troops left the country. Some with the sign "We will come back!". From the beginning they have accused Estonia of violating human rights. Some tried a referendum in Ida-Virumaa for seperation. All you this you can see still nowadays, the pattern is there since 1991. Could Estonia just join Nato, of course not, you will be threaten with consequences.

Karla ütles ...

Hmm... Nice song some folks are singin', eh?

Check this out:

http://www.baltlantis.com/?id=17903

Jens-Olaf ütles ...

Let's look back in detail: This is what happens in reality,when Estonia is compromising and the dilemma in creating relations with Russia. And this was only about an foreign power that should pull its military out of the country.

qoute from
THE BALTIC STATES: SECURITY AND DEFENCE AFTER INDEPENDENCE
Eitvidas Bajarnas, Mare Haab and Ilmars Viskne
Edited by Peter Van Ham

'On 26 July 1994, after more than two years of negotiations involving nineteen rounds of talks between delegations from the two countries, the presidents of Estonia and Russia finally signed an agreement on the withdrawal of Russian troops. Unfortunately, this agreement contained several unclear passages and the mismanagement of the actual signing procedure has had a negative impact on Estonian-Russian relations. Since the draft agreement had not been officially approved by the Estonian Government prior to the signing procedure, the agreement was in direct contradiction with the Estonian Law on Conducting Foreign Affairs (Paragraph 19.2). What is more, the agreement includes a clause according to which both Russian and Estonian language versions of the document are to be signed. In reality, however, only the Russian copy was signed in Moscow; the Estonian language text was sent to President Yeltsin one month later, on 22 August. The agreement also includes conditions, mostly concerning rights and guarantees affecting retired Russian military personnel, which violate a number of Estonian laws. This agreement has placed Estonia in an extremely ambiguous situation. If the Estonian Parliament ratifies the agreement this would be in clear contradiction to the country's constitution (paragraphs 122, 123, 9). On the other hand, if the Parliament does not ratify the agreement, it might diminish Estonia's credibility as a reliable partner in international politics.'

Jens-Olaf ütles ...

Then what happens if Russia says Njet. Sometimes it is good to have amnesia. It is easier then too look into the future:

1998;Nordic Contacts 1991-1998
By Brian Hodges
SCAND 344, May 1998

'Security issues surrounding the Baltic States are still a concern to all neighboring states. The Baltic States' desire to join NATO has been met by strong resistance from Russia, who perceives the expansion of NATO into the Baltic as a threatening move and seeks to find some solution which will not leave the Russian ports on the Gulf of Finland and Kaliningrad exposed. This strong protest from Russia towards the Baltic's joining NATO has resulted in Norway's withdrawing its sponsorship of the Baltic states as new NATO members. (Gjeseth and Huitfeldt, Nordisk og baltisk sikkerhet pp. 3-5)'

Giustino ütles ...

I did not intend to play the ethnic card. Take away the number and I still mean there is not enough consensus within the whole population about foreign policies in Estonia.

There was neither strong opposition to joining the EU nor NATO, though during both processes Estonians were skeptical.

Most Estonians, I think, care more about economic development. Joining both orgs came down to "will it bring investment? will it raise our living standard?"

In a way, it also changed the European mentality towards Estonia. I actually had Finns tell me that "things are changing there [in Estonia]. They are joining the EU" -- inferring that the country was more stable, safer to visit, et cetera.

Jens-Olaf ütles ...

I am not always that sceptical, but better be prepared for the worst case scenario, like:

Nato will change, US retreat from NATO structures (already discussed by some)

EU getting weaker cause of too many member states (though I do not assume that)

Additional economical crises in Europe

Giustino ütles ...

Nato will change, US retreat from NATO structures (already discussed by some)

EU getting weaker cause of too many member states (though I do not assume that)

Additional economical crises in Europe


That's the strong point of so many Estonian policies. They've moved things so far in one direction, that liberalizing citizenship requirements for newborn babies makes them look like good guys.

Наблюдатель ütles ...

As for joining the EuSSR, initially the non-Estonians (primarily the leftovers from the Russian occupation rather than the Russian-speaking Estonians from the First Republic) had a knee-jerk negative reaction, seeing Brussels as another hostile Western power. It did not take long, however, for them to realize that the only framework where you can come to a country in a tank and then demand that you be allowed to stay and push your rights with obnoxious militancy is ... EuSSR, so the fifth column became the biggest EU enthusiast. Indeed, now they can move freely all the way to Lisbon.
As to Ida Virumaa and secret negotiations, at some point the Estonians floated an idea of redrawing the border and ceding Ida Virumaa to Russia together with the population thereof, but the Russians would not entertain the proposal: first, it would make Estonia a country with a solid Estonian majority which would pass laws very unfavorable to the eastern neighbor, and second--Russia needed hostages so it could play the "Russian card"

Giustino ütles ...

Here are some helpful statistics. Apparently most Estonian Russians agree that it pays to know Estonian:

90% of the Russian-speaking Estonian residents with the Estonian citizenship and the respective language knowledge agreed that the population permanently residing in Estonia should have knowledge of the Estonian language. Slightly more than 70% of the persons without citizenship and without knowledge of the Estonian language held the same opinion.

Наблюдатель ütles ...

Regarding the stats, this is true. The young-generation Estonians whose native language is Russian (I am being politically correct here) do want to be integrated (albeit not assimilated) and thus have no problem with the Estonian language. The non-citizens in Tallinn see it as a matter of necessity. The ones who are virulently opposed are the marginalized lumpen tiblad in the east and elsewhere and the stalinist "intellectuals" who compensate their infinitesimal number with the volume of the vitriolic puke that they spew on the pages of Russian-language blogs

Giustino ütles ...

A lot of the eastern communities are post-war. I don't think Kohtla-Järve or Sillamäe even existed as towns before 1945.

Narva and Narva-Jõensuu have always struck me as in between. Here's a nice video of Narva residents from 1933.

Giustino ütles ...

The ones who are virulently opposed are the marginalized lumpen tiblad in the east and elsewhere and the stalinist "intellectuals" who compensate their infinitesimal number with the volume of the vitriolic puke that they spew on the pages of Russian-language blogs.

I know it's frustrating. But it's also enjoyable to watch them struggle through their WWII 'mathematics' over who is 'good' and who is 'evil', like:

"Some Estonians sided with Nazis, therefore all Estonians are Nazis, therefore all violence committed against the Estonian civil population during the Soviet liberation was justified, therefore Russia is a great and Estonia owes Russia the right to use its ports free of transit fees and visit its beaches sans visa. Oh yeah, and Russian should be the official language of Estonia."

It's really hard for them to get out of that situation. They are like mice stuck in a maze. But, think about it, do you waste time trying to convince other silly people that they are wrong? No. Just let them be wrong.

12:57 PM

Наблюдатель ütles ...

Justin,
Like it or not, but Estonia has to be considered in the Russian context. For most of it modern history (i.e., in modern times following the Northern War) Estonia has had the misfortune of either being a part of the Russian empire or, to use the language of the lunatic fringe—both communist and Nazi—in the Russian “sphere of influence”

I am quoting you: “Relations with Russia are bad […] During the Winter War, the Soviet Union seized one-tenth of Finland”

Well, I may discern a logical connection there, but relations are bad because Russia seized 100% of Estonia, not because it seized 10% of Suomi. And (this is what had me blocked by vene Delfi once) the Russian political establishment, the military, including the general staff, and the majority of the population have never recognized, do not recognize, and never will recognize Estonia’s sovereignty and independence. So to the Russians, Estonia is Russia, so you cannot really have relations with Estonia because one cannot have relations with himself. Not to recognize this and pretend that the Russians are trustworthy and will ever honor treaties is sheer lunacy. There is a good word in Russian that your readers may know: They are not договороспособны, to wit, to fit to be a party to negotiations.

I am not trying to idealize Estonians—we all know their parochialism and prejudice bordering on intolerance (at times). You know that to an average Estonian an Estonian citizen born and raised in Estonia who speaks the language with a barely discernible accent and is a native Russian Speaker is a venelane. This strikes you and me as being odd—we are Americans. But there is a big difference between this and the way the post-WWII rejection front treats Estonians.
When I moved to Estonia from the States five years ago I could not understand why the titular locals referred to local Azeris, Armenians, Tatars, Ukrainians, Georgians, et al., as “Russians” until a kind soul explained that to a modern (i.e., post-WWII) Estonian a Russian is a non-Estonian living here. And for a good reason—these people were deposited in the country by Russia in the wake of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and subsequent occupation. This, by the way, is the reason why the Russians in Russia today and in Estonia react painfully to any mention of that shameful agreement. They know that they owe their sojourn in this country to Hitler and thus are not really legitimate in the eyes of the Estonians. And for a good reason.

My second point is that not only that non-Estonians are seen as Russians. If you look at the New Independent States you discover that just like in Estonia and the Baltics, the Russians are often associated with the left and the left—with the Russians. Again, for a good reason.
Yours truly was once watching “Freedom of Speech”--the most popular TV program in Ukraine. It is hosted by Savik Shuster, journalism’s legend, former head of Radio Liberty’s Moscow office who in his previous incarnation spent ten years in Afghanistan with the freedom-fighters and reported from there. The program has an interesting format: although all TV shows are in Ukrainian, Savik speaks Russian, and all his guests, as well as the audience, speak Ukrainian (Savik does not know the language well enough; he speaks Lithuanian and Italian and English). Well, when there are local politicians on the show they all speak Ukrainian except for… you guessed it—the communist and socialist (Simonenka and Vitrenka). The same is true in Belarus. Although true Belarusian language is not comprehensible for Russian speakers, communist Lukashenka speaks Russian, and when opposition journalists ask him questions in Belarusian he replies in Russian.

I am quoting you again: “I know it's frustrating. But it's also enjoyable to watch them struggle through their WWII 'mathematics' over who is 'good' and who is 'evil' […]” I do enjoy this too, just as I enjoy the debates stateside between a Stalinist—and empty suit with a smile and gaseous filling—and a Leninist whose Marxism apologia thesis at Wellesley is now classified. Their argument about who is more off-the-left-wall is amusing. Too bad they both can’t lose.

Final quote: “It's really hard for them to get out of that situation. They are like mice stuck in a maze.” You see, they, like the hard left elsewhere, live in the past. They wax nostalgic over the good old days when holding hands with Stalin and his murderers they were fighting evil Nazis. But they—or many of them—had no philosophical objection to fascism. They were fighting to establish Stalinism and enslave the world. To them, like to the Russian-speaking fringe in Estonia, the Serbs will forever be allies because they fought Hitler, despite the history of atrocities, massacres, and genocide. And so it goes. And I am not mentioning the percentage of Russians who served as Nazi guards or willingly fought for Hitler. That percentage was perhaps higher, than the relevant figure for Estonians.

Giustino ütles ...

When I moved to Estonia from the States five years ago I could not understand why the titular locals referred to local Azeris, Armenians, Tatars, Ukrainians, Georgians, et al., as “Russians” until a kind soul explained that to a modern (i.e., post-WWII) Estonian a Russian is a non-Estonian living here.

You'd think it was that simple, but it actually isn't. Because if it was the "Estonians" who moved the sacred Bronze Soldier, then would that make any "Estonian" who voted against it a traitor to their ethnicity?

And if it was the "Russians" who were defending the sacred monument, then would those Russians who voted yes or avoided the vote altogether be 'traitors' to their ethnicity?

This is crazy thinking. This reminds me of Harry Belafonte calling Colin Powell an "Uncle Tom."

So to the Russians, Estonia is Russia, so you cannot really have relations with Estonia because one cannot have relations with himself.

They are learning the hard way about Estonian sovereignty. No Margelov at the head of PACE, delayed Nord Stream pipeline, bans on entry visas for Nashi ... they can't just seem to crack that nut called Estonia. :)

Наблюдатель ütles ...

I personally find the bronze idol in city's center offensive, and compared to the way the Russians treat their war dead, what the Estonians did was commendable.
As to the people who were "defending" the bronze idol (бронзовый истукан), they were first, not Russians but Russian-speaking trash (tiblad, if you will), and second, they weren't defending anything, they were rioting and looting om Moscow's orders.
When you have people in your midst who identify with brutal occupation, regard Russia as their country and regard the malignant little troll as their hero while hating Eastonia and all things Estonian, you have a problem. When they start rioting and looting--which is the only wey the Russians have known to asset themselves and their national identity in the past several centuries--you have a double problem. I fault the police for not being more forceful. These people should be deported.
Yes, blackballing Margelov was good. Every time people kick the Russians' ass I rejoyce. When they kill Nazi soldiers I am extatic

Estonia in World Media (Rus) ütles ...

"Jens-Olaf:
Looking back from the beginning in August 1991 Russia played the hard card and has tried to go as far as possible. In winter 1991/1992 1000! new Russian soldiers had arrived by train the central station in Tallinn.
...No western loud response on high level: Russia don't do that!"


I disagree.
When the USSR dissolved, 15 republics appeared in its place, including the RF, with the Baltic states becoming independent three months earlier.

14 of those 15 republics had at that time inside their territories army units of the former USSR, which were subject to commands from the 15th republic's capital, Moscow. As opposed, for some time they have little to no own armed forces, not even mentioning imaginary army inside Russia, as counterbalance (just kidding).

In 1992 and 1993 when Moscow didn't like one particular republic's behavior, her generals ordered weapons to be given to the (tribal) opposition in that republic, a move, which shortly after caused the republic to be devastated in civil war.

This happened in Moldova and on at least two separate cases in Georgia, as well as in Chechnya in Russian Federation, where Moscow armed anti-Dudayev opposition (Dudayev won).

It also happened in Armenia-Azeri war, where Russia chose Armenia because of Azeris' refusal of oil concessions (Azeri version of the reasons to support Armenia).

The question of Estonia in 1992-1993, given that Estonia and Latvia weren't Moscow's friends and even went as far as declined CIS membership (with Georgia, which later entered CIS in exchange for Russian support of one faction in civil war) is the question about why the weapon stockpiles weren't kicked open in Ida Virumaa.

In my view the answer is the support of the West, standing firmly enough behind the Baltic states. Ilves knows this very well and his primary role as ambassador of that time was securing that the USA officials talk to Eltsin. Ilves admited himself that Georgia had no such support.

Though support of the Baltic states' wasn't limited to the USA, a number of other countries pressured Moscow n 1993 referendum issue. Referenda and local parliament votes on autonomy were the first steps in the ethnic conflicts in the former USSR, incl. mentioned above.

Karla ütles ...

Kudos to Giustino, Наблюдатель , jens-olaf and others for clarifying the whole issue of inter-ethnic strife in Estonia (and elsewhere in the CIS states) with a lot of specific illustrations, figures and chapter-and-verse references. You're doing an immense service to your far-flung blog readership, many of whom must be utterly bewildered when reading some of the output of Western hotel-room journalists, EU bureaucrat-tourists and the state-controlled 'news services' of Putiniania. Hell of a lot of stuff here I didn't know, despite reading and inquiring both sides of the Pond. For example, I'd assumed that the story about 'feelers' re ceding Ida-Virumaa were merely paranoid urban legend/myth. Never having seen Savik Shuster's show, I marvel at the motley panel he has to stage-manage: tougher than a GOP panel discussion, certainly, with an array of right-wingers and religious zealots pillorying McCain as a closet Demorat, say. :) And my poster-boy 'Big Luke' Lukashenka doesn't even make a token pitch in Belarusian?!!?? Say it ain't so!

Fascinating too, details of behind-the-scenes manoeuvring vis-à-vis EU and NATO entry.

G, à propos your allusion to arms caches in Ida-Virumaa -- for real? Not just a scary story concocted over drinks in an EDF officers' club?

Наблюдатель ütles ...

Karla,
Thanks for the note of appreciation. My remarks about Batka Luka replying in Russian to an opposition journalist's question in the mother tongue (mova) and both Simonenka and Vitrenka speaking Russian in an all-Ukranian setting are based on first-hand observation--I watched the shows while in Minsk and Kyiv, respectively.
As for ceding Isa Virumaa to Venemaa, my source is very very authoritative. I cannot say more in this Blog.
I like your reference to hotel-room jornalism. As ethnic relations go, the problem with U.S. media is not just ignorance and lack of language knowledge, it's their deeply ingrained political correctness. Just as the lunatic fringe media in the States (New York Slimes, Washington Pest, Volkischer Beobachter, and the like) are mortified to differentiate between shades of color among non-white Americans and differentiate among different races of dark-skinned people (hence references to Obama as "black" or "African-American"), they are equally incapable of covering the ethnic strife in Tiblamaa because they refuse to differentiate between the Slavs and non-Slavs, etc.
Yours truly was once accompanying a U.S. government delegation in Moscow and saw a groop of Russian "pigs" (meaning cops) harassing a group of people from the Asian continent. I said: "Here are the police harrassing Asians" whereupon the Yanks looked totally perplexed and pretended they did not hear or understood. They are supposed to be color-blind, but this does not mean suffering from daltonism.
Finally, to an old school American anybody from the old "Soviet Union" used to be referred to as a "Russian" as they did not differentiate between the citizens of the sixteen republics. To them, they were all Russian, just as Texans or Alaskans are, whether they are Chicano or Eskimo. Still Americans. So to them, Estonia's best known thief is just a Russian gangster. I am referring, of course, to Siim Kallas, SPCU member. To an American any communist from the "Soviet Union" is a Russian, no matter how hard Siim tries to simulate a nationalist

Giustino ütles ...

Eh, I am not such a fervent believer in "white" either. You'd have a hard time convincing me a Sicilian and a Norwegian are both generic, white meat.

Honestly, I disavow the ethnic shite because it's going to get us nowhere. Smart Estonian policy makers should do so too. Remember that if you kicked every 'tibla' out of Narva, you'd be left with about 5,000 people!

What is kind of weird is this focus on the state. It's always the 'state' language, not the 'national' language. But Estonian is the national language.

Marcus ütles ...

What is kind of weird is this focus on the state. It's always the 'state' language, not the 'national' language. But Estonian is the national language.

I guess it depends on the definition of nationality. Is a local Russian who doesn't speak Estonian an Estonian? An Estonian would say no, the Russian himself would probably say yes. We define nationality through language or ethnicity, they through territory.

So for an Estonian, Estonian is obviously the national language of the Estonians, but not of those who don't speak the language. It is, however, the state language for all.

Marcus ütles ...

Besides, how would you say "national language" in Estonian? "Rahvuskeel"? "Rahvakeel"? It just doesn't work in a meaningful way.

erueestlane ütles ...

Nabljudatel - welcome to the club. I've also been banned from the russian delfi. Lucky for me, I have multiple access points and I never use the same nick, so I can still continue to fuck with them. Just for sport. :-)

Rainer ütles ...

And here we have yet again wandered far off topic...

Karla ütles ...

Re the hair-splitting about 'national' or 'state language' ... 'Riigikeel' is pretty much in the ballpark as an appropriate designation. 'Official language' wouldn't translate well into Esto: 'ametlik keel' would smack of 'officious language,' and god knows we all get enough of THAT in dealing with bureaucrats in ANY country. :)
In Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein, I believe German is called 'Staatssprache; in France, French is 'la langue officielle du pays.'
Oddly enough, Italy didn't enshrine Italian as an official language in law until March 2007. But not without controversy and 75 parliamentary deputies voting against.
Federico Bricolo from the Northern League party, said his nationality, and therefore his language, was not Italian but Venetian.
Franco Russo, of Italy's main Communist party, said that enshrining Italian smacked of Benito Mussolini's attempts to "Italianize" the country by force.
Latin remains the official language of the Vatican, but the Pope has been known to cut some slack for Italian speakers. ;)

erueestlane ütles ...

Say what you will, but Russian totalitarianism has it's certain allure: http://www.exile.ru/blog/detail.php?BLOG_ID=17377&AUTHOR_ID=

Granted, they all look out awfully of shape except the skinny one.

Now, had Rooskies done the same demonstration in defense of the bronze soldier ... my guess is, it still be standing and the world support would be behing Nochnoi Pazor.

Make love, not war.

Jens-Olaf ütles ...

Estonia is often blamed for her language policies, remembering Jörn Donner from Finland in a report for the European Parliament where he was calling for a second official language in Estonia during the mid 90s.

I wanted to add more sources about the unstable early years after 1991 but while thinking about it by adding the jäägrikriis, the pullapääkriis or the mayor of Narva-Jöesuu, Juri Andrejew, who refused to held the referendum for autonomy in Ida Virumaa 1993 in his city and who got a lot of criticism from russian speaking citizens for his decision I rather would underline this, it shows how Estonia ticks:

'In 1990 Estonia had been the first Soviet republic to defy the Soviet army by offering alternative service to Estonian residents scheduled to be drafted. Most Estonians, however, simply began avoiding the draft. After independence, Estonia instituted its own compulsory military service, with a minimum term of one year beginning at age eighteen. About 12,000 males reach the age of eighteen every year. Young Estonian men continue to spurn the call, however; only one-third of eligible draftees turned out for the spring 1993 conscription. In addition, the Estonian military faces a limited pool from which to choose because only citizens can be drafted and because restrictions have been placed on the induction of university students.'

http://www.country-data.com/cgi-bin/query/r-4358.html

Giustino ütles ...

I guess it depends on the definition of nationality. Is a local Russian who doesn't speak Estonian an Estonian? An Estonian would say no, the Russian himself would probably say yes. We define nationality through language or ethnicity, they through territory.

We are in transition again. During the 'Wabariigi aeg', Estonia built a national identity of which Estonian Swedes and Peipsi Russians were constituent parts.

The Soviet 'genocide' in Estonia was not about ethnicity -- it was against nationality. They deported Estonian Swedes and Peipsi Russians as well -- their community leaders, priests, businessmen, et cetera.

Within the Soviet Union, Eesti NSV had to balance itself between the demands of the 'Sovietizing' communist elite and the local 'national' communists. A similar tug of war went on within Latvia and Lithuania.

During this period, it could be argued there were two 'nationalities' coexisting in Estonia -- Estonian -- represented by Eesti NSV -- and 'Soviet' -- represented by the central authorities in Moscow.

The period 1987-1991 started a renationalization process. Everything was reinterpreted through a Western nationalist discourse. Estonians regained their nation-state identity. "Soviet" people were reinterpreted as Russians, Georgians, Azeris who -- at some point -- will become a constituent part of Estonian nationality, as the Estonian Swedes and Peipsi Russians once had.

The problem people continuously refer to is not a 'Russian' problem -- because, as we have seen, there is an older Russian population here that is integrated into Estonian nationality.

It's a 'Soviet' nationality versus 'Estonian' nationality problem. It's those with 'Soviet' nationality who feel most under attack, because their state doesn't really exist anymore, and all they have left is May 9 ceremonies and 'Soviet Army Day'.

If Estonia is inclusive enough, over time all of these people in Soviet purgatory will eventually adopt Estonian nationality, not because the state forces them too, but because Estonian nationality is a living, breathing organic thing, that can swallow Soviet nationality, which is about as alive as a petrified forest.

Marcus ütles ...

If Estonia is inclusive enough, over time all of these people in Soviet purgatory will eventually adopt Estonian nationality, not because the state forces them too, but because Estonian nationality is a living, breathing organic thing, that can swallow Soviet nationality, which is about as alive as a petrified forest.

Yes, I think you're right.

Наблюдатель ütles ...

Eruestlane, it's not the ISP, it's my physical address, and I don't want to change it. So I don't post in vene Delfi and don't argue with Klenski and Fu.
Justin, I understand your distaste for ehtnic politics. To us Guiliani is not Italian but American. Kennedy is not Irish but American. Obama is not African but American. But I make a point here by illustrating it with two examples:
1) An Estonian delegation came to the States, and one guy kept referring to another as a "Russian" although he also was an Estonian citizen. Needless to say the Americans could not even understand what he was talking about, which is fine.
2) Having said this, we live in the real world here in Europe, and in Tiblamaa ehtnicity is something that gets you killed or deported. It contributed to the fall of the "Soviet Union" and I fervently hope that it will speed final disintegration of "Russia." But if you are in the information business as is yours truly, and have to give accurate information to the decision-makers back home, you have no choice but distinguish between various ethnic groups and nationalities. You just have to know who the Kabardins, Adygue, Cherkes, Abkhaz, Abazin, and Shapsug people are--they are the same people, what's left of the Great Circassian Country after Russian genocide in the XIX Century.
Yes, in Estonia all Estonian citizens are Estonians--and if they aren't, they should be--because this is the norm. But we do have the occupation leftovers who should have been deported but unfortunately weren't, and they do not belive in it, they worshiped the bronze idol, the symbol of fascist occupation, and they hate Estonia and all things Estonian. This is why we have to put a clothespeg on our nose and deal with the trash

Giustino ütles ...

To us Guiliani is not Italian but American. Kennedy is not Irish but American. Obama is not African but American.

Giuliani, to me, is quite Italian. And Ted Kennedy is certain Irish. However, I wouldn't vote for them on that basis. I wouldn't cry 'racism' if Giuliani lost to a guy named McCain just because the guy with a similar background to me didn't win. I definitely wasn't rooting for Antonin Scalia to get promoted to chief justice, just because he also eats lasagna at Easter.

Наблюдатель ütles ...

Ah, Giustino, you are right, but as the late Saul Bellow said, you can safely say that you are Italian precisely because you KNOW that you are American and so does every one else, and there is no doubt.
This is why Rudy and Jack and John and Obama could run for president and some of them won, some lost.
I wish it were true in Eestimaa

Giustino ütles ...

This is why Rudy and Jack and John and Obama could run for president and some of them won, some lost.
I wish it were true in Eestimaa.


It will happen in Eestimaa. The problem is that the Estonian Russians with national identity are like, barely 30. Give it time and you'll see them as ministers and professors and Indian chiefs.

Someday, when Krishtafovitch is head of Isamaa-Res Publica Liit, we won't have to discuss this jama anymore.

Наблюдатель ütles ...

I know. I have seen the generation gap where the under-30 Estonians from Russian-speaking families are completely integrated while their parents are not. And the young guys date eesti girls and they won't have any of this ethnic shit. But I've met the over-50 Russians who served in Russian Waffen SS in Afghanistan, celebtare the Russian Nazi army day, and hate Estonia. Let's hope they (the latter) die peacefully.
I like Zhenya Krishta. We used to correspond. I've always been his defender in vene Delfi and earned scorn and contempt of the klenoid fifth column

Karla ütles ...

Giustino said...
"You'd have a hard time convincing me a Sicilian and a Norwegian are both generic, white meat."


Funny, I was just over at Joe Arcuri's having an espresso doppio and quoted you on this, and a couple of the goombahs said they'd like to TRY convincing you. They would like to interview you for an outfit called the Organo della Societa di etnografia Italiana e dell' istituto di storia, but aren't sure where this Tartaruga place is where you hang out.
My own Italian is next to non-existent, so I didn't catch what else they said. Any idea what il grosso coltello or bastardo might mean?

Giustino ütles ...

Funny, I was just over at Joe Arcuri's having an espresso doppio and quoted you on this, and a couple of the goombahs said they'd like to TRY convincing you.

If they're Sicilians, they'll have to start by convincing me they're really Italian first ;)

(Now I am asking for the cement shoes treatment)

Наблюдатель ütles ...

They speak Italian at Joe Arcuri's? Nice. I remember ordering in Italian at Controvento, and they could not understand me. Actually this is common to all European countries--you are rarely served in the language of the country you are in or in the language of the cuisine they purport to serve

stockholm slender ütles ...

Well, once again, we should consider history: there have actually been several times when Finland has significantly benefitted from the Russian connection. In 1809 we got our own autonomous government when Russia got Finland from Sweden, even our own Diet, and eventually Finnish got to be an official language and we even established our national currency. Now that's not too bad and it is why we still have a statue of Alexander II on the Senate Square. Only in 1890's did the bad times come along with Russification but even in those conditions in 1905 we got universal suffrage and Eduskunta.

Then of course we got most murderously attacked by Stalin, twice, and for that second time in 1944 were left for dead by the West. So, the deal we got from Stalin was based on the desperate efforts of the Finnish army and the political skills of Mannerheim, Paasikivi and Kekkonen, and it was not really due to outsiders. (Which is why – though partially quite unjustifiably – many Finns feel that we need no lectures on the subject from the West.) In any case, all things considered it was a surprisingly good deal in some ways: we kept our Nordic system, integrated our economy with the West (having a very tame and protected market also in the East), and did not belong to any military alliances. I think Stalin understood quite well the language we spoke in the Winter War and the Continuation War (although that wouldn’t have helped us after the war without skillful diplomacy).

The price for this was to do some cynical toasting of eternal friendship with our "great neighbour" and to refrain from joining the Nato or taking anti-Soviet positions in the Cold War. Now Paasikivi and Kekkonen certainly had no illusions about the Soviet Union: they well knew what they were outwardly pretending not to know. But then Kekkonen got to play the sole autocrat and got even gradually demented, and our 60’s and 70’s youth radicals were so absolutely protected from the actual reality Communism that they started believing in it (in a way it was a measure of success). I would still say that in the end that was quite a meagre gain for the Kremlin thinking of their fairly dominating starting position of 1944.

Now, this is way different from the recent Estonian or even Western experience of Russia. We have not only bad and threatening memories, though we do, but in addition we have also managed several times to strike quite good bargains with them. As surprising as that is. By and large I would say that the independent Finland has been actually amazingly succesful in her dealings with Moscow. It is of course quite frustrating to combat somewhat uninformed outside perceptions of the historical experience of a small country: it is so easily to dismiss such quaint local perspectives – well, I guess Estonians have never encountered such imperial attitudes…

stockholm slender ütles ...

ps. To clarify the previous post a bit: I don't mean Giustino's post above (which sends bit mixed signals actually) but the wide spread stereotypes that it was partially invoking.

Giustino ütles ...

Stockholm, do you sincerely think that Mannerheim's icy blood runs in the veins of Tuomioja and Paavo Lipponen? See, I don't think anyone questions the diplomatic skills of Finland's 1940s leadership.

But, here's an example: a missile drops in Georgia. Sweden, Estonia, the UK, the US, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland send experts to aid Georgia in identifying the circumstances of the missile's drop. Finland sends ... nobody.

stockholm slender ütles ...

Well, I certainly see it as being a part of that continuum. You should have heard how lyrical Lipponen waxed over Tali-Ihantala, he certainly has no admiration for the Kremlin. Neither does Erkki, though admittedly he is a more complicated case. But the thing is that our appeasement of the Soviet Union is by and large seen to have been coldly successful by even the current generation of elite politicians (there are dissenting voices though, and the media gives quite a different impression). Successful meaning here as being in the selfish national interest of Finland. This I think is widely misunderstood in the West.

I don't see that we can long maintain this position of being an EU member but not a NATO member - still, there have been also benefits from it, and also a certain freedom of action. It has not been a very idealistic position but then we had a very good teacher about the benefits of idealism in foreign policy. His name was Josif Stalin.

Karla ütles ...

Наблюдатель said...

They speak Italian at Joe Arcuri's? Nice. I remember ordering in Italian at Controvento, and they could not understand me. Actually this is common to all European countries--you are rarely served in the language of the country you are in or in the language of the cuisine they purport to serve

Sure. Although when kidding Giustino, I was referring the omnipresent group of good old boys who usually occupy the same table (Stammtisch? Tavolo fisso?) all day, every day, in such places, and schmooze the people they know when they come in. Which is why I alternate between chains like Starbucks, Second Cup, Java Joe's, and more flavorful places like Arcuri's. Very friendly, and fun...

My turn to ask: Haven't been to Controvento in years. Still on Vene tn.? Is it still run by a guy called Paolo from Naples? (I now how restos flip over everywhere.)

When I was last there, this Paolo took me into the kitchen and I assumed the chef and sous-chef were Italians, from Paolo's brief exchange with them. To my amazement, both were Latinos, Hispanophones; can't remember for sure, but I think a Paraguayan and an Ecuadorian. Seems they had to acquire some Italian to please the boss, and both responded to me in Estonian (as I have no Spanish and barely a few phrases in Italian).

Sorry about the tangent, Blogmaster, but in replying to Наблюдатель question, it occurred to me that perhaps there IS a tenuous link to the current thread, inasmuch as it shows that a decade ago some kitchen help in Tallinn WAS being linguistically integrated. Let's hear it for the Italo-Hispanic Gastronomical Party!
:)

Marcus ütles ...

It has not been a very idealistic position but then we had a very good teacher about the benefits of idealism in foreign policy. His name was Josif Stalin.

You really should choose your teachers more carefully. And consider whether some lessons are antiquated. :-)

What really pains me is that Finland could and should be a much more important player in world affairs. You have a great wealth of knowledge to offer to developing countries, and you could be a very strong ally to developed Western countries who, surely, are your real friends.

You are a strong and highly moral and ethical people and yet, in international affairs, you've chosen a route of utter timidness and narrow self-interest. I mean, aren't you, as a people, tired of wondering "onko Moskovasta taas tullut käsky" whenever an important international issue is at stake and your leadership... does nothing?

I want to see a Finland that cares and participates. Don't you?

stockholm slender ütles ...

Well, as I tried to argue, it hasn't been a onesided situation. In fact during the Cold War our appeasement brought mostly only illusory benefits for the Kremlin and real benefits for Finland. Even now it doesn't seem like such a huge bonus for us to have an actively hostile great power along our over 1000 kilometre long border in a remote corner of Europe whose well being hasn't always been very crucial for the West. In any case for example during the Bronze Soldier crisis Finland was certainly active in its support of Estonia. The main thing of course is the NATO membership - and I for one have been quite satisfied that we haven't rushed for it. (And I don't think that I could really be classified as anything but a patriotic, anti-Kremlin Finn and a strong pro-Westerner.)

egan ütles ...

"our appeasement brought mostly only illusory benefits for the Kremlin"

maybe this estonian foreign policy owes more to the Soviet era than they'd like to admit.

Estonia sent people to Iraq too, and I'm very glad my taxes are not helping fund that little escapade (since I emigrated, like).