esmaspäev, august 11, 2008

to die for danzig?

Beyond failing to make a payment on the family BMW or watching the smoke sauna go up in smoke, every Estonian's worst fear is to be invaded from the east.

This fear goes back to the Livonian Wars of the 16th century, the Great Northern War of the 18th century, and the Second World War of the 20th century.

In each case, Estonians found their communities physically destroyed; their people subject to the cruelty of a conscripted army that had been treated so poorly by its commanders that it took out its hostility on the civilian population.

Couple that with exposure to virulent strains of Russian nationalism, which question the right of neighboring peoples -- Chechens, Georgians, Estonians -- to even exist, let alone be free, and you have an utter contempt for Russian military intervention in its "near abroad" -- which also technically includes Japan, the United States, and Norway, if you drag out your atlases.

It is not only for these reasons, however, that Estonian national opinion is overwhelmingly on the Georgian side. As in the rest of the West, in Estonia there is of course sympathy for the civilians killed in Russia's air raids on Poti and Gori in Georgia.*

Against the background of apartment blocks burning, Russia's claim to "bring peace" only to the conflict zones looks hollow. What's more, the country has squandered it's pre-Kosovo "respect the territorial integrity of sovereign nations" stance, putting its international position in question once this conflict is resolved.

And how it is resolved is really the key. President Saakashvili may throw out as many World War II metaphors he likes, but this is not Czechoslovakia and it is not 1938, nor is it Schleswig-Holstein in 1864. The fact that the West has its knickers in a bunch over a place like South Ossetia shows you how far we've really advanced during the past 17 years. In reality, this is Georgia in 2008, and what happens next will come to effect the security of all Eurasia.

If Russia is allowed to follow through on a doctrine of issuing passports to residents of an adjacent country, aiding the secessionists in their provocation of that country, intervening on their behalf, destroying the military infrastructure of that country, annexing those territories, and achieving regime change in the subject country, and getting away with it, well -- those are some terrible precedents for all who live on its borders to deal with.

This is exactly the outcome the West is trying to avoid. Despite the finger pointing over who started it, the West has to finish it, or else it will empower Russia to undertake similar endeavors elsewhere.
--

*Georgia's actions in Tskhinvali -- which Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov tried to paint as "ethnic cleansing" -- remain unknown in the West, because of Russia's closed, state-owned communication infrastructure. In addition, because the Russian media so blatantly serves a propaganda role ("our troops bring peace and life!"), their interpretation of events is generally ignored in Western media.

That means that people who consume Russian-based media and people who consume Western media in this country are being given two wholly different versions of events as they unfold. One sees the ruins of Tskhinvali and blames Georgia; the other sees the ruins of Gori and blames Russia. That's something else to think about.

81 kommentaari:

Mingus ütles ...

I think Appeasement is very much the same thing as what is happening here.

Giustino ütles ...

There has been no resolution yet, so it's to early to say for sure. But we will see soon enough.

I think the Russians are still trying to provoke Saakashvili into an "all out war," but his Western handlers have replenished his stock of anti-anxiety meds.

So Russia is in the position where it really wants a conflict to perpetrate its annexation under the cover of peacekeeping strategy, but Saakashvili is no longer biting.

Both sides are then left looking foolish. Saakashvili has to know how this might affect his domestic career.

Mingus ütles ...

"Saakashvili has to know how this might affect his domestic career."

These are very good points but I'm not sure any leader would risk war on their own soil in order to get reelected. Saakashvili's motives must be different. Unless I just completely misunderstood that part. :)
But I'm sure that he has and will enjoy unbridled domestic support after the first drop of Georgian blood was spilled in, well, Georgia.

Doris ütles ...

Shaakasvili's popularity, I think, will take after Ansip's after the Bronze solider. First, hugely divided, then accepted, then considered "a trifle" over the top, if not out right silly.

And, I really REALLY hope this will make Germany take a hard look at itself and its relations with Russia in light of the last NATO summit and the question of opening talks on Georgia accession. Also makes me breathe a little easier because the Baltics already are members of NATO and EU. You know, I think everyone knows that we're the buffer countries, and the Baltics, at least, have taken it on themselves to yap at the stranger at the gates. They know they're not big enough to take the stranger on their own but they know that if they yap loudly enough, the Hunter might come out of the lodge and shoot the stranger. But now, the stranger has kicked the slightly mangy terrier that had been huddling just outside of the fence and the terrier has sunk its teeth deep into the stranger's leg...

well, you know... metaphors go only so far but you see my point, yes?

Martasmimi ütles ...

This is exactly the outcome the West is trying to avoid. Despite the finger pointing over who started it, the West has to finish it, or else it will empower Russia to undertake similar endeavors elsewhere.

I guess this is truly my biggest concern, the fear that Russia is on the road to re-establishing itself as a "world power".
As an American I can only hope that
a new President will give us and the rest of the free world a new begining and the the ability to re define what power means.
Although very naive, I would hope that power might be taking care of the starving and oppressed but it will probably just mean that a new breed of self consumed power seekers will rise to the top of global politics.

plasma-jack ütles ...

Also makes me breathe a little easier because the Baltics already are members of NATO and EU.

And what would our valubale allies do? Express deep concern? Call for all parties of conflict to refrain from hospilities? Maybe the bolder amongst them even manage to mumble something about Estonian sovereignity.
That would be really sweet thing to remember while waiting for the shooting commando.

plasma-jack ütles ...

*hostilities, irw

Kristopher ütles ...

Well, get set for a wave of South Ossetian refugee stories and eyewitness accounts.

I don't know what happened in Tskhinvali, of course, but it is far harder to cover up real massacres (Katyn etc) than to create one where one may not have really existed.

That is what gets me most. I don't know how to combat that sort of misinformation. People see a village destroyed by shelling from both sides, women in black wailing, etc and it's automatically "presumed genocide".

stockholm slender ütles ...

I don't see Russia becoming a world power at these trends. With these current energy prices, yes, they are on a temporary high, and a great trip it is I'm sure. But this would be the one great opportunity to modernize their economy, to weed out corruption and inefficiency, to catch up with the West and Asia - and I really don't see that happening. The system is as corrupt as ever, the elites as cynical and narrowminded as ever busily throwing saber rattling and bread and circuses to a population grotesquely deeply divided with haves and have-nots. The Kremlin rarely wastes a chance to waste a chance, and I think this is exactly what is happening here.

In NY state ütles ...

Well, with any luck, the Russians got themselves a sticky bun on par with Afghanistan 20 years ago. Maybe they bit off more than they can chew, and the Russian bear will be so pre-occupied with establishing its authority there that it won't have time for anyone else (like Estonia).

In unequal wars, the battlefield is easy, but the occupation is painful (as the Americans are learning the hard way).

Speaking of two different types of propaganda, kind of reminds me of how issues are portrayed with regard to the Israel/Palestinian and the US/Iraq conflicts.

plasma-jack ütles ...

The war in Georgia might push Estonia's occupation farther into the future, but we simply are not able to be that cynical. Point is, we like Georgians. Those who emigrated here never told us we had to learn their language, instead they brought traditions of schaschlyk. There are many relations in grass-roots level. These are literally our friends and relatives dying there.

Adam ütles ...

I think South Ossetia is not at stake here as its fate is of no great importance to neither of the sides
But Abkhazia might be a next "Kosovo", although I am not quite sure if such a small puppet state could exist on its own right. My feeling is that the French goverment could to be in support of an idependent Abkhazia, so it's mostly up to the rest of Europe.
It's definitely too early to see how these conflicts will resolve
As with Russians and their propaganda, it's true that not even the opposite is true what they say.

OT: I've just spent some time browsing the archives of this blog, and there are loads of thoughtful posts - very illuminating about Estonia in overall.
Keep up good work.

Adam,
Hungary

In NY state ütles ...

To Plasma Jack:

I did not mean to make light of the tragedy the Georgians are experiencing. My heart goes out to them, just as I hate what we in the US are doing to the Iraqis.

More to the point was the idea that possibly we are not on the brink of WWIII because of Russia's behavior.

I agree with StockholmSlender that I do not see Russia as re-gaining its Superpower status. Russia, or rather the USSR, coasted for decades on its military prowess during WWII.

But that was the result of being attacked. Stalin was reviled at that time. If Hitler had treated the Slavs the way he treated the French or the Estonians, Stalin would never have had a chance. The Russians would have handed the USSR to Hilter, no questions asked.

The Russo-Japanese war of 1905 or the Afghan war of the 1980's are probably better predictors of Russia's chances of regaining superpower status.

Giustino ütles ...

That is what gets me most. I don't know how to combat that sort of misinformation. People see a village destroyed by shelling from both sides, women in black wailing, etc and it's automatically "presumed genocide".

Potemkin genocide? Would you say Narva was ethnically cleansed of Estonians? It's a serious question.

david h jones ütles ...

I've got mixed feelings here. I'm naturally on the side of the Georgians but also believe Abkhazia and Ossetia have a right to independence too - Georgia is using the same argument which the Soviets used against them.

Abkhazia and Ossetia are different people, speaking different languages to Georgia, it's not Georgia. They are not peoples who ahve been moved into the territory in the last 50 or 100 years like the Russians in Estonia. They are idiginous nations which should have the right to chose their own state.

Georgia could call Russia's bluff and offer to recognise independence for a neutral Ossetia (north and south) and Abkhazia if Russia offers to do the same for Chechnya. Likewise the EU.

AndresS ütles ...

Abkhazia and Ossetia are different people, speaking different languages to Georgia, it's not Georgia. They are not peoples who ahve been moved into the territory in the last 50 or 100 years like the Russians in Estonia. They are idiginous nations which should have the right to chose their own state.

If we go by these rules Russia would probably be split up into 50 different states.

Doris ütles ...

*sigh*

... which makes me breathe a very guilty sigh of relief over the fact that I'm now living in the Netherlands.

In my opinion it's very good that Georgia is calling things by their right names. war is war and not some sneaky "search for weapons of mass destruction" (which maybe I shouldn't remind anyone of because inthis case, US is Georgia's biggest potential help). Mis nad siis tulevad meie 6ue peale kaklema!

anyway, if wishes were wings, pigs would fly. But still I wish for Russia to fall flat on its face. I wish it would accidentally nuke itself a little bit. But if possible so that no actual PEOPLE would die. Hmm...

egan ütles ...

I'm more than a bit queasy about your immediate belief in what the georgian government say about atrocities, and scepticism about what Georgians have supposedly done in South ossetia. Why does that matter? It's war, people get killed. And one side started it to try and subjugate a people that asserted their right to self-determination.

From the BBC:

THURSDAY 7 AUGUST

Georgian forces and separatists in South Ossetia agree to observe a ceasefire and hold Russian-mediated talks to end their long-simmering conflict.

Hours later, Georgian forces launch a surprise attack, sending a large force against the breakaway province and reaching the capital Tskhinvali.

South Ossetian rebel leader Eduard Kokoity accuses Georgia of a "perfidious and base step".

The head of Georgian forces in South Ossetia says the operation is intended to "restore constitutional order" to the region, while the government says the troops are "neutralising separatist fighters attacking civilians".

Russia's special envoy in South Ossetia, Yury Popov, says Georgia's military operation shows that it cannot be trusted and he calls on Nato to reconsider plans to offer it membership.

Tom ütles ...

I don't believe Russia would EVER cross the international border of an EU or NATO country. Georgia is technically on its own, and it was a reckless move of Saakashvili to give the Russians the excuse they have been waiting for to invade. They have been waiting for months for this excuse! They may go all the way to Tiblisi now. :(
I really hope that the west would stand up to protect an EU/NATO country if this happened. The support from the EU was slowly coming during the Cyberwar of 2007. Russia is very afraid of losing influence in her region. With talk of Georgia and Ukraine both wanting to join NATO this is of serious concern to Russia and they want to act now to show they still have POWER in the region. I don't know how this will end, but its a bad time and reminds very bad memories from 18 years ago. :(

Kristopher ütles ...

There have got to be some Ossetians out there, either North or South, who want nothing to do with either Russia or Georgia and resent the Russian incursion. I'd love to hear from them. I'm sure someone had a bead on a Russian mortar taking out their house, amid the hail from the Georgian side.

I mean, "ancient people of Iranian stock who speak extremely different language happy as constituent part of Russian Federation". Come on now, something doesn't gibe with that statement. What people are happy ruled by another? Researchers and political scientists should be flocking to the place to examine the "Ossetian exception", to find out how the hell the Russians pulled that one off with everyone else from the Mari to the Tatars resenting Russian rule.

Unless it's something obvious, such as the Ossetians are about as Ossetian as Eastern Belarusians are Belarusian...and that there has been a 200 year campaign to emasculate the Ossetians and reduce them to putty... But no, no, that can't be it.

If South Ossetia wants independence, what does that make North Ossetia? They don't want to reunify? I know there's just one tunnel between them, but are the mountains that high?!

plasma-jack ütles ...

Egan, the main reason why Estonians don't believe the Russian version is that we have born in Soviet Union and therefore have heard the Russian version of truth enough times to know when they're bullshitting (which is, almost always).

plasma-jack ütles ...

Just a quick example: recently a neswpaper called Pravda (ironicalyy, this means Truth in English) wrote that Estonian government is poisoning local Russians with rotten food. The problem is that even the most vocal of the local Russians heard the story firsthand from Pravda.

Giustino ütles ...

I saw that Pravda piece too. It made the huge leap from "food distributed to pensioners" to "food distributed to the Russian minority," as if only ethnic Russians were pensioners.

tommy ütles ...

Nazbol.ru
ЦЕЛЬ
3. Глобальная цель национал-большевизма создание Империи от Владивостока до Гибралтара на базе русской цивилизации. Цель будет достигнута в четыре этапа: а) Превращение РФ в национальное государство Россию путем Русской Революции, б) Присоединение населенных русскими территорий бывших союзных республик, в) Сплочение вокруг русских евразийских народов бывшего СССР. г) Создание гигантской континентальной Империи.
За что же мы боремся «в национальном, так сказать, плане»? Я предлагаю заменить «империю» на менее эстетское, зато более понятное РУССКОЕ ЖИЗНЕННОЕ ПРОСТРАНСТВО. Сюда входят: и наша борьба за Калининград и Приднестровье, и защита русского языка и образования в Латвии и Эстонии...
Giustino – ask Epp translate it to You!

Inner monologue ütles ...

If history can offer us any insight, then I am confident that in the end Russia manages to eff itself up like it has always done. Russia is its own worst enemy. There's never a victory in Russia in anything.

In the end, it will be just another colossal fiasko weighing down on their collective national conciousness.

To be a russian is a curse.

Today, let them live high on thier momentary "success". When they'll come down, they'll come down hard. Like they always do.

Russia is nothing but mud, stench, desperation, poverty, failure, disease and disgrace. Now and forever.

Too bad for estonia of course to stand so close to this towering pile of puss.

Giustino ütles ...

Looks like we're back to a G7.

egan ütles ...
Autor on selle kommentaari eemaldanud.
Puu ütles ...

tommy... I have no fucking clue what you said but please don't take inner monologues comments seriously. I'm assuming you said something nice, or at least Solzenityns style social commentary and giving you the benefit of the doubt. I don't think your country is a pile of pus but it needs some of what is very popular in western psychiatric cirles.. "boundary therapy". Russia needs to learn how establish healthy boundaries between itself and other countries, only then will it be able to enjoy meaningful relationships and non addictive behavior.

Puu ütles ...
Autor on selle kommentaari eemaldanud.
Puu ütles ...

When discussing international conflict, let'e please be mindful of people's feelings and not use hurtful language, Russia's not all bad. Nabokov is cool, that Mongol movie director was pretty good ( though I wonder how much stuff like that justifies this type of action), and I am completely bewildered by the growing Kira Plastinina phenomenon.
I also really like I donno Paul Auster, Spiderman and Urban Outfitter but that doesn't mean I approve of Guantanemo, though then again maybe that's not the same level. The Chechen conflict was classified as a war on terror, since lots of the population was conveniently muslim, in Georgia it just seems like all out aggression.

Inner monologue ütles ...

yeah, tommy was saying something nice.

Nice if you are a National Bolshevik.

The gist of the Nat Bols agenda is to subjugate Europe from Gibraltar to Vladivostok.

Ain't it nice? As lon as you can confront your arch nemesis hirnu, you are on the roll.

(Here I came THAT close calling you a dumbass)

Instructor ütles ...

Inner monologue ütles...

If history can offer us any insight, then I am confident that in the end Russia manages to eff itself up like it has always done. Russia is its own worst enemy. There's never a victory in Russia in anything.

In the end, it will be just another colossal fiasco weighing down on their collective national consciousness.

To be a Russian is a curse.

Today, let them live high on their momentary "success". When they'll come down, they'll come down hard. Like they always do.


This summarizes one of the most distressing, IMO, opinions held by Estonians, and not a few notable ones in government: that Russians will always end up peeing on their own shoes.
It's stupid, it's smug, and it's wishful thinking. Russians did pretty well here for 50 years, I seem to recollect.
Russia did a pretty good job winning the propaganda war in the Bronze Night debacle. What did the Estonians do afterwords to prepare for the next round? Nothing. Now Georgia's dealing with propaganda 2.0. Who started it? Who's doing the ethnic cleansing? Russians are "peacekeepers".
According to the news, Russia is 20 clicks from the capital. Georgia might be wiped off the map politically in a few days.
Then there's this gem:

Russia's ambassador to Latvia Monday warned the Baltic states and Poland that they would pay for their criticism of the Kremlin over the conflict in Georgia, the Baltic news agency BNS reported.

"One must not hurry on such serious issues, as serious mistakes can be made that have to be paid for a long time afterwards," Alexander Veshnyakov was quoted as saying by BNS.

Contacted by AFP, a spokesman for the Russian embassy in Riga confirmed the ambassador's comments but declined to elaborate.


Unfortunately, the question is turning from who will fight for Danzig, but who will fight for Tallinn? And seeing the military age students in my class, I'm sorry to say that I'm starting to believe that the Georgians will give a better fight.

martintg ütles ...

Veebikolumnist Tom ütles...

I don't believe Russia would EVER cross the international border of an EU or NATO country. Georgia is technically on its own, and it was a reckless move of Saakashvili to give the Russians the excuse they have been waiting for to invade.


I have to agree with Tom here. Russia had to act before Georgia was accepted into the NATO MAP program. Germany has to share some of the responsibility for the current situation, they blocked Georgia's MAP accession in the last NATO meeting, and today we are seeing the result.

Given the negative reaction of the EU and USA to the events in Georgia, Russia would never attempt to do the same thing to a NATO member like Estonia. Besides, Russia will be fully engaged in reining in Ukraine, the other NATO aspirant

Inner monologue ütles ...

I'd recommend everybody to remain calm and practical. That means that kodueestlased are best advised to put home improvement plans on hold for time being.

NATO and USA will not be there to bail anyone out. Russia just got proof of that and that's all that they needed.

There are no protests against Russia in major cities of Western Europe.

Nobody will cry for the bottle blond cheap girls of Estonia should the country be run over.

Puu ütles ...

Inner monologue are you one of these lonely people who didn't have friends in higschool and would have fantasies about a post apocalyptic world were suddenly, because you had a magic vial of anti radiation medicine or something the hot cheerleader that wasn't looking at you will make love for weeks in an isolated post apocalyptic shack in the woods? Because in that case these latent fantasies would make a lot of sense in terms of why you are so quick to proclaim world war three. Yes Russia chose a really good time during the olympics and a decidely dove-ish and economically worrying time in the US and elsewhere.But for now in Estonia things are ok. No need to stop building, that's the worst they can do.
Of course if you want the apocalypse because of the imagined importance and power and glory it would bring to you, then you really need to sit down with yourself and see why that is, what is missing in your life that you are such a passive doom monger.And Hirnu isn't my arch rival, we just passed a bill in which Estonian men are going to get more hot foreigh, preferably french or italian booty ( hopefully in your nationalistic fervor you are still going to be able to refrain from calling the french a pile of pus). I just don't want to date him. The thing with Georgia is terrible but for now it's only in Georgia. If Ants wants to put in a new shed he should be all means do so.

Puu ütles ...

I do think NATO membership helps and if not that then EU.

stockholm slender ütles ...

Well, oil has gone to their heads - there will be a return to reality sooner or later. In any case there is no sight of such a huge, unprecedented sea change in international affairs that Russia could destabilize or occupy a Nato and EU member. That won't happen in the foreseeable future - it's more likely that oil and gas will run out first (or some new energy technology invented).

In any case, I guess we should start thinking of joining Nato here in Finland too. I'm so unenthusiastic about the idea, but I suppose the time has come.

Kristopher ütles ...

Given the negative reaction of the EU and USA to the events in Georgia, Russia would never attempt to do the same thing to a NATO member like Estonia.

It would be interesting to hear your take on how NATO would meet and stop the "same thing". Would they scramble fighters? That should help a great deal? Or will the defense be organized from the NATO bases in Estonia? No, because there are no bases.

If NATO decided it was going to build bases here or the US made plans to install missile defense in Lithuania, the next thing you know would be that "Estonia attacked Petserimaa", Russia would bomb Võru and pour armour into Ida-Virumaa, and blockade the port of Tallinn. There would be articles in the int'l press about how NATO doesn't know what action to take about its "troublesome" Baltic members who may have brought this misfortune on themselves.

I don't think I am exaggerating too much. Not if we don't stop Russia here by direct Western intervention.

Giustino ütles ...

I don't think I am exaggerating too much. Not if we don't stop Russia here by direct Western intervention.

I think we are limiting it, to some extent. Believe me, if Saakashvili didn't have Kouchner and Stubb and Ilves there, he might feel more like his back was against the wall and more inclined to fight to the end. Russia would too.

But because we are there, if not militarily intervening, Russia risks an awful lot by taking this to its "logical end."

What strikes me is not only Saakashvili's temperament as a leader, but Putin's. We generally give Saakashvili a pass because he's in a hard place.

But have you heard Putin's statements? I am half expecting him to take his shoe off and start banging it on the table. He has huge America envy. He wants to hunt down Saakashvili, put him on a bogus trial, and hang him for war crimes. But he can't because of Europe and the US and China ... It's just not fair! Woe is me! The double standards!

He should take a closer look at the United States. We've been dealing with Castro's Cuba for 50 years, and other than Bay of Pigs, there has been no full-scale invasion, and we have a military base on their territory.

But he can't think that far ahead. He's too wrapped up in, "everyone else is doing it, why can't I?"

Kristopher ütles ...

Yep, just like a child who doesn't really have the big picture. "Me too. Daddy gets to carry a gun in his job as a global policeman. It's not fair."

I remember how I wanted to vote when I was 6. So my mom let me pull the lever in the booth. Russia seems like it will be satisfied with that for ever - literally, if you think about the elections. Arrested development.

I haven't read Putin's statements per se. I did have a sort of "they're ours, the planes overhead are ours!" moment when someone on this blog wrote that Stubb had cut a trip short and was on his way.

Giustino ütles ...

I think Eestimaa should be at least suffering from Soome envy. Stubb gets to go to Moscow and negotiate. Would Estonia ever be in such a position? Is this country forever to be the Scrappy-Doo of European politics?

martintg ütles ...

giustino ütles...
But have you heard Putin's statements?


I guess the Russian stock market has been taking a beating, Medvedev has just restored sanity and just called a cease fire. I get the impression that Medvedev has pulled rank on Putin in ending this.

Russia is not the Soviet Union, but ruled by businessmen. Putin is a relic from an earlier era, and the sooner Medvedev can assert his authority, the better.

kristopher ütles...
It would be interesting to hear your take on how NATO would meet and stop the "same thing"


Estonia would never attack Narva with artillery like the Georgian army apparently did in Tskhinvali, so there would never be any pretext for Russia to send tanks into Estonia. I don't think moving a monument or requiring Estonian lessons would be sufficient reason.

Sakaashvili's mistake was to attack Tskhinvali instead of focusing on a purely military target like the Roki tunnel first.

Inner monologue ütles ...

Ah, the naivete! Estonians don't need to attack Narva with artillery. Estonians only need to sit at home in front of their TVs, petrified while rooskies outside disembowel one of their own and then come knocking for revenge on Estonian fascists.

Am I making it up?

Am I?

Didn't this already happen? Puu?

Giustino ütles ...

The problem for Narva is that it's Narva .. it's the 10km deep head of a peninsula surrounded by water and Estonian countryside.

plasma-jack ütles ...

Estonia would never attack Narva with artillery like the Georgian army apparently did in Tskhinvali, so there would never be any pretext for Russia to send tanks into Estonia.

No, but we deliberately poison the Russians with rotten food. And the police stabbed a Russian citizen to death, after sawing a statue of Soldier-Liberator into pieces and melting those into sickles which were used to carve letters "SS" into newly-born Russian infants. But I bet the Estonian authorities could very well do something even nastier in the future.

Giustino ütles ...

And the police stabbed a Russian citizen to death

Not to be annoying, but wasn't Mr. Ganin from Mustvee, and why didn't he have Estonian citizenship?

Given Russia's recent actions to protect its "compatriots", and Estonia's EU-NATO security blanket, the question should at least be raised.

Because, as much as we all agree on principles, we can also agree that Russia issued passports, then used the pretense of protecting its own citizens to justify its involvement here.

Alex ütles ...

The answer is so clear. If Russia will invade any sovereign country that has Russian passport holders living in it, then all "near abroad" countries should simply deport all their Russian citizens.

Send them back to Russia where Putin can properly protect them and they'll all live happily ever after.

tommy ütles ...

“am half expecting him to take his shoe off and start banging it on the table.”
Wise words, Giustino, wise words! Putin is even more skillfull make tricks! Let’s hope once Medvedev will grow out of the whippersnappertrousers and ceases lick his ass!! Or simply somebody over there alarmed oneself from shares fall on western markets.
So fire is out, what next?

In NY state ütles ...

"Send them back to Russia where Putin can properly protect them and they'll all live happily ever after."

I imagine that if Czechoslovakia (was that the name in 1938?) had it to do all over again, it would have deported the Sudenten Germans.

Echos from the past. But supposedly, tragedy results in farce the second time around. Hmmm.

Heli ütles ...

There was nothing coincidental about these events at all and all orchestrated by Russia. I don´t get why western media doesn´t publish the fact, that that Russian troops entered the Gori tunnel- connecting South-O and North-O already August 1-2nd? That they blocked the Georgian side of the tunnel with over 100 tanks and landing divisions and entered the Georgia long before Georgia responded with gunfire- and that´s because they started to kill Georgian policeofficers, also some civilians in South-O.- the killers were so- called peacekeepers before Georgia started to act. That information seems almost classified worldwide, I have seen only in estonian press these facts.
But about ossetians, I have confused feelings..As I have heard they have been part of Georgia already from middle- ages or something, but same time I understand their desire for freedom and right for that, but how much real ossetians is left in ossetia at all, in both- Russian ossetia and Georgian Ossetia? I can´t believe that crap, that they would want to join Russian Fed, what russians imply.

Heli ütles ...
Autor on selle kommentaari eemaldanud.
So? ütles ...

Those Gori photos look remarkably like the photos from Beirut 2 years ago. The ammo dump was bombed, and the apartment buildings were hit by secondary explosions. I believe the correct term is collateral damage.

plasma-jack ütles ...

Not to be annoying, but wasn't Mr. Ganin from Mustvee, and why didn't he have Estonian citizenship?

You would give mr Ganin right to vote and a weapon so he could serve in military? And how exactly would this help to make Estonia more secure?

plasma-jack ütles ...

I mean, they would still remain loyal to mr Putin. They have better living standards than in Russia, they have the opportunity to live in a democratic country where you don't have to pay daily bribes. If things like this, not some esoteric "Russian mission" could influence their opinion, they would be loyal already. And opted for citizenship, like local Georgians or Armenians did.

plasma-jack ütles ...

The point is: they don't care. They hate us for being independent, for not "respecting the Russians". All of us - Georgians, Ukrainians, Balts, Poles, probably Finns too. That sounds hysterical and ultranationalist, I know, so you don't have to believe me. If not convinced yet, just wait.

Or do a quick test. Go to the street. Wait until a Russian male asks you for a cigarette. Tell him that you have the cigarette, but you will keep it, since you're not legally obliged to give it to him. See what happens. Put this in the international scale and you get Russian foreign policy, now and forever.

Giustino ütles ...

You would give mr Ganin right to vote and a weapon so he could serve in military?

Yep. And send him to Afghanistan. In fact, they should have sent most of D Terminal there. It's more appropriate for violent youth. (Now I sound like my father, forgive me).

And how exactly would this help to make Estonia more secure?

Dude, Klenski, Linter, and Sirõk are all citizens. Klenski speaks fluent Estonian -- he even overdoes it.

Estonia's mantra is that it doesn't "force" its citizenship on others. I don't disagree with the naturalization principle. It makes sense. It seems fundamentally wrong that a person who moved from Leningrad to Eesti NSV in 1989 should have the right to determine the fate of the country.

I am merely asking, why the hell does a kid born in 1987 in Mustvee not have Estonian citizenship by 2007? I mean he was only 4-years-old when the whole Soviet shithouse went up in flames. Why hasn't it been forced on him yet, somewhere along the line?

Because of his passport, Russian idiots get to claim that the police stabbed "a Russian citizen to death."

And listen to Mr. Sarkozy, who said today that Russia has the right to defend "Russophones" -- not Russian citizens, but actual speakers -- beyond its borders.

That is bullshit. Does Russia have the right to intervene in France on behalf of its citizens? In New York? Does France have the right to intervene militarily on behalf of Francophones in Italy or Germany?

Interesting questions, no doubt. Like I said, the most important aspect of this crisis is how it is resolved.

plasma-jack ütles ...

Aha. Forcing citizenship on Russians. Doesn't that sound like a convenient excuse for war? At least third of the local Russians would buy it if Russian media would tell them that Estonian citizenship is actually a bad thing, an insult to a member of the great nation.

Kristopher ütles ...

Article 7 of the Russian Citizenship law says, and I quote: "The citizens of the Russian Federation who stay outside the Russian Federation shall be granted the Russian Federation's defence and protection."

Apparently the "protection" part of it refers to ordinary embassy services and the "defence" part is the invasion.

So yes, under Article 7, France could (shall) be invaded.

Notice that Article 7 also says "citizens who stay out of Russia", i.e. don't come back to Russia, but if you stay abroad, we will invade on your behalf.

They're generous that way.

Personally I would be happy if embassies just provided interest-free loans for their expats.

Juan Manuel ütles ...

I have been watching Russia Today to try to make sense of what they mean by Ossetia Genocide.

The only dead bodies they have shown yet are Georgian soldiers (sometimes in the most inexpected places of Tschinvali).

Interestingly, the day after they took over the Ossetian capital, the said "Tschinvali has been flattered to the ground". Does that mean the Russians have bombed a city full of civilians without even asking the Georgians to withdraw? Probably yes, since in the footage they have shown, you can see blown up Georgian military vehicles along with destroyed houses. So probably the guy who was aiming at the vehicles was the same guy who destroyed the houses.

Fortunately, the Russians have made so many military and diplomatic mistakes that the west is finally reacting. Hopefully the Russians will be pulled back through the Gori tunnel.

Inner monologue ütles ...

Another refreshing and funny look at the past week's events. I recommend to everybody who's been following the events in this Caucasus Blood Olympics. http://exiledonline.com/war-nerd-south-ossetia-the-war-of-my-dreams/#more-270

Kristopher ütles ...

Good points in that Exiled piece, HH. I wondered the same thing about why they didn't just seal the tunnel, but apparently the southern mouth of the tunnel is still in North Ossetia, Russia and has a couple AA batteries. That's what the online Estonian military experts say, anyway.

I still say Bush could take a couple thousand boys from Iraq and send them to Georgia. They may be tired, but it's not as if they know what the hell they are doing in Iraq, anyway.

The piece is also operating under the assumption that the US will make the next move, which Russia will then match - or that Russia will take a pass. Dead wrong.

Giustino ütles ...

How come I keep getting Bob Marley songs stuck in my head: "War", "Exodus", "No More Trouble," "3 O'clock Roadblock,"

The soundtrack to our lives ....

Bunter ütles ...

My cents to the "soon-russia-invades-west" war scenario: I'm pretty sure NATO would do their fighting exactly here. Because nobody is fool enough even in old Europa to think Russia would be satisfied with few countries. And it is much better to do the fighting not defending last meters of your own country. But being in this "buffer zone" also might be not a very good thing for Estonians, it would probably become meat buffer zone.

stockholm slender ütles ...

Isn't this all bit overdramatic? Yes, that was a bit of a nasty blow that probably mainly happened because Germany blocked Georgian membership in Nato (one doesn't much appreciate Berlin-Moscow agreements in these matters...) But what did Georgia expect - win a war against Russia on its own? Yes, they were absolutely provoked, but with this balance of forces, you usually are better off with not doing what the enemy wants you to do. We'll see what happens when the dust settles - a Nato membership hopefully is now on offer. But I don't really see the implications for Estonia, a Nato and EU member. There is no way, I repeat, no way, that Russia would attempt to do the same to such a country. Not with this global balance of forces, and many, many really large scale things would have to happen for this to change - and at the moment there is no sign whatsoever of it happening.

Giustino ütles ...

I wonder what effect this will have on Estonian politics.

Bunter ütles ...

I can tell one thing about Georgians - they are really easily provoked. According to a person I know and who was in Georgia less than 6 months ago, people felt already by then really really tense about Russian presence in SO and it's "independent" KGBoverment. Those guys, this person described, were straight on zero patience type people but there was no sign of national grudge visible against SO. Russia, of course, was completely different matter.

Inner monologue ütles ...

From my days in the Soviet Army (85-87) I do not harbour warm feelings toward ossetians or georgians.

Nasty bastards. However, they are show-offs. By that I mean that when you confront them one-on-one, they completely break down and you see fear in their dark eyes. But put a bunch of them together, they all begin to show off to each other and talk mighty.

The advenute they got themselves into, to me, it looks so typical. This is what you get being a stupid "churbann."

AndresS ütles ...

There is no way, I repeat, no way, that Russia would attempt to do the same to such a country.

You're probably right but try and explain that to an Estonian that has seen the Russian invade before. Nato and the rest of the "West" didn't show much force of any kind during this crisis which leads many Estonians thinking what the real response would be should something similar happen here. Would Germany, USA, France really come to the aid of Estonia? This is what a lot of Estonians are asking themselves.

martintg ütles ...

AndresS ütles...
You're probably right but try and explain that to an Estonian that has seen the Russian invade before. Nato and the rest of the "West" didn't show much force of any kind during this crisis which leads many Estonians thinking what the real response would be should something similar happen here. Would Germany, USA, France really come to the aid of Estonia? This is what a lot of Estonians are asking themselves.


NATO wasn't obligated to help Georgia, because Georgia wasn't a NATO member.

If Germany and France could so easily ignore NATO commitments, as you think they would do in the case of Estonia, then they let Georgia join, no problems.

But France and Germany opposed allowing Georgia to progress to NATO membership in their last summit. Why? Because they take the obligations of NATO seriously and they believed Georgian membership was too risky with the probability of war with Russia being high.

Giustino ütles ...

Estonian security is linked intrinsically to Baltic Sea regional security.

You cannot just have an action against Estonia: Kaliningrad is locked between Poland and Lithuania; St. Petersburg or Pskov would be NATO retaliation targets. And all those refugees wouldn't be streaming into North Ossetia: they'd be fleeing to Stockholm and Helsinki.

Things between the West and Russia would have to get extremely bad (talkin' World War III) before that happened.

AndresS ütles ...

If Germany and France could so easily ignore NATO commitments, as you think they would do in the case of Estonia.

I don't really think that they'd ignore their commitments but a lot of people in Estonia do.

Puu ütles ...

I can say one thing about Estonians... for people that don't want to get characterized as Fascists they make sweeping often negative generalizations about other people from other countries really easily. I spent some time with estonians in cyperspace last week.

Nasty bastards. However, like the georgians they are show-offs. By that I mean that when you confront them one-on-one in cyberspace, they completely break down and you see fear in their typing. But put a bunch of them together, they all begin to show off to each other and talk mighty when you know all they are really doing is swilling saku and switching channels.

Kristopher ütles ...

How long would it take for NATO to react? Some say Estonians would have to hold the enemy for a month. The point is not to have a front pass back and forth over Estonia, reducing it to rubble, but hold the enemy.

Inner monologue ütles ...

Stereotypes are there for a reason, puu.

They are not made up.

Live long enough and you'll get proof of each one of them.

And whenever rare exceptions happen, you rejoice.

Giustino ütles ...

I can say one thing about Estonians... for people that don't want to get characterized as Fascists they make sweeping often negative generalizations about other people from other countries really easily.

Do you even know what fascism is? Hint: it's not just about making sweeping generalizations about foreigners.

If there is a country that resembles fascism today, it isn't eesti, it's venemaa. Putin is not Hitler -- he's Mussolini. He didn't invade Georgia because he has some sinister plan to colonize Earth; he invaded Georgia because he wants to show the world that Russia is great.

Kristopher ütles ...

Can I go back to Bob Marley for a second? I always thought "No, Woman, Nuh Cry" was a song about a bunch of people holding a vigil in a besieged government building. I always see Toompea courtyard, barricades, and a bunch of people sharing porridge. The "government yard" line, I guess.

Inner monologue ütles ...

Fascist to rooskies is anybody who disagrees with them.

Funny, growing up in small town Estonia, we used the word 'venelane' as a slur.

I never told that little factoid to my first wife who was russian. Heh-heh. Maybe I should have.

Inner monologue ütles ...

Oh, man ... this is too funny. All my life, never really listening closely to the lyrics of 'No woman no cry' I was under the impression that Bob was singing about happy times men can have when their women are not around.

What a let down.

Really.

I thought he was such a freedom fighter.

;-)

Puu ütles ...

So your first wife was russian, your second georgian and you are gay for bob marley... interesting.

Inner monologue ütles ...

Eveybody's gay for Bob Marley.

Puu ütles ...

Bunny Wailer would disagree.