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.