reede, mai 05, 2006

Dear Tass

ITAR-TASS has once again revealed the thinking of the Russian political elite towards Estonia.

In a recent release, which highlights yet another attempt by Isamaaliit to get a monument to the Russian soldiers that died in Estonia fighting the Germans in World War II, TASS describes it as an effort by Estonian "nationalists."

Estonian nationalists demand demolition of Soviet monument

TALLINN, May 5 (Itar-Tass) - Another round of the war against the recent history and its monuments is beginning in Estonia. Several day before the Victory Day a draft resolution was submitted for the consideration of the Tallinn City Council, which suggested the pulling down of the Monument to Soviet Soldiers – liberators of the Estonian capital from the Nazi occupation. The initiative came from the Pro Patria Party, which has only seven seats out of 63 in the City Council.

After Estonia withdrew from the Soviet Union early in the 90s, it started a war against monuments dating back to the Soviet times, which is regarded by Tallinn as “occupation.”

Dear Tass,

There is no party in Estonia that is not a 'nationalist' party. Edgar Savisaar - the head of Keskerakond - was independent Estonia's first prime minister. It was he who went to the US in the autumn of 1991 on behalf of his country seeking meetings with George H. W. Bush. Eesti Rahvaliit's Arnold Ruutel is Estonia's president. It was he who politely told Gorbachev in 1990 that Soviet law was no longer in effect in Estonia. I don't need to go over the nationalist bases for the formation of Isamaaliit - itself a continuation of the pre-war Estonian party, SDE, or the Reform Party. They're all nationalists. Estonia has been an independent country for 15 years. There is no non-nationalist party in government in Estonia today.

The distinction between 'rightwing' and 'nationalist' is one that should be made. Rightwing parties agree on certain economic and social principles. But every party in Estonia agrees on the principle of Estonian statehood. They are all nationalists. The terminology is archaic. We might as well call left-wing Americans "loyalists."

6 kommentaari:

Anonüümne ütles ...

Technically you are correct, however Isamaaliit calls itself "rahvuslased" which, directly translated is nationalists, but in practice indicates concervatives. The other parties in Estonia rightwing or not do not call themself rahvuslased.

Anonüümne ütles ...

Giustino - would you send to me an email? I would like to speak with you more about Estonia and retrieving resources for some writing I'll be doing.

Thank you,


Anonüümne ütles ...

Old habits die hard, and it seems to be extra hard for those who had to relinquish some of the previous entitlements and privileges. This all could be kind of funny, if it wasn't such a serious matter. However, I have a sneaky feeling that "the other guys" will not see seriousness or humor in all of this.

Giustino ütles ...

It's all politics. Personally, the image of this obviously non-Estonian soldier in a Soviet uniform in the middle of the city is a little weird, but it doesn't bother me much.

But it helps Isamaaliit score well with their supporters I guess. The same thing could be said of Dick Cheney's speech recently. Everyone thinks that he was in Lithuania to "start a new Cold War" - but in reality his approval ratings, and the president's approval ratings, are in the dismal low 30-percent range. He is VERY unpopular here in the US.

Going to Lithuania and warning of Russian backsliding on democracy not only helps Balts like Valdas Adamkus out because they need to remind Moscow that they have some big friends too, but it makes Cheney look good because he is out of Washington and doing something everybody respects him for - being an old Cold Warrior.

Hell, I even liked his speech, though I don't think it was done in a way that could ever reach Kremlin ears. It's just a tool for him to secure support among his political base here in the US.

All of this crap is just politics.

Giustino ütles ...


I agree some parties can seem more 'nationalist' than other parties.

But there isn't one party in the Riigikogu that is planning to even make Russian an official language or extend automatic citizenship to all residents.

And that's a rather low rung, considering that Finland has Swedish as an official language even though when it was passed into law, Swedes were 13 percent of the population. Now they are 6 percent.

I don't think that many Finns are proficient in Swedish anyway. But that' snot the real point. The point is that all of those parties aren't even willing to do what Finland did for its Swedish minority.

They all must retain nationalist 'street credentials' to remain in power.

Anonüümne ütles ...

It is comforting in a way to read that there are people who actually do understand the grave injustice that has been done to the Estonians in the past and the stupidity of the propaganda that is pouring by the shitloads from the East. You are truly an enlightened man! Marvellous job on the blog.