kolmapäev, juuli 05, 2006

Invite Putin to Estonia

North Korea just test fired a missile, Iran needs a few more persuasive phone calls, but Russian President Vladimir Putin has his sights on addressing a more urgent issue - fighting Neo-Nazism.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that all countries were obliged to combat neo-Nazism and urged European prosecutors to observe objective standards in these efforts.

Russia has repeatedly criticized marches staged by former members of the SS in the former Soviet republics of Latvia and Estonia, which are members of the European Union.

"For instance, it is hard for us [Russia] to understand why some countries close their eyes to human rights violations and why they break up anti-fascist demonstrations but do not notice rallies of former Nazis," Putin told a conference of European prosecutors.

For starters, I'll point out that the Nazis weren't fascists. They were Nationalist Socialists. Although the party was hijacked by Hitler's leadership, which was more concerned with nationalism than socialism, the Nazis started out as a working people's party. His social engineering of culture had more in common with Stalinism than Mussolini's fascism.

But that's beside the point. I get the feeling that Putin is not unlike our Bush. Bush only watches FOX News - a right-wing media outlet in the US that favors his worldview. Putin probably only gets his news from the state-controlled media, which, in turn, tells him everything he wants to hear.

As far as he knows, Estonia is a place where Nazi concentration camp guards are honored as heroes and Russian-speakers are slaves, forced to learn this strange bog language with its ä's, ü's, ö's and õ's.

It shouldn't be that way. In the 15 years since the reassertion of Estonia's independence, there has been no official visit of a sitting Russian president to Estonia. There hasn't even been an official visit by a prime minister to Estonia. It would make sense to open the eyes and ears of Vladimir Putin and invite him to come and see Estonia for himself. And don't just meet him in Tallinn. Meet him in Tartu or Kuressaare.

This government, and perhaps the next one has the unique ability to do that. No one questions the allegiance of the Reform Party of Ansip. And if Rüütel stays, or if Rüütel is replaced by Ilves or Aaviksoo, or whomever, they will have a unique opportunity to invite Putin to Estonia before he is supposed to retire from public office in 2008.

9 kommentaari:

Martasmimi ütles ...

Matt Lauer(NBC)morning show host is going to interview Putin in St. Petersberg, before the GM summit...
He has invited people to email questions that they might want him to ask Putin.
You might want to do that...email him your blog article...and make sure you give him your CV as well...

Anonüümne ütles ...

I don't understand that country, it's all a bit too absurd. Putin giving a speech in front of hammer and sickle flags etc. It's like the current German chancellor giving a speech in front of swastika flags. But in Russia everything goes i suppose. It's as if they were living in another dimension of reality.

Martasmimi ütles ...

In some ways it is much like our
Southern States that won't give up their Confederate "Rebel Flag"

Giustino ütles ...

I think he has just been so brainwashed that he can't let go.

You don't get to be a head KGB officer by questioning authority.

Guys like Putin were midlife managers when the USSR fell. They probably see Gorbachev, Yakovlev, and Yeltsin as engineers of chaos rather than revolutionaries.

It's like conservatives and the 1960s in the US. They only see bad. They don't recognize that sometimes a lot of good comes out of that kind of dramatic social change.

Anonüümne ütles ...

Giustino, I have to disagree with your last comment. The fellows like Putin are not, nor did they ever were, victims of a brainwashing. They were the ambitious carreer orientated individuals and politicians with aspirations for personal power and riches which were best achieved by playing the Communist card. Putin, and his ilk, did the washing and the regular folk got their brains laundered. Look at the ease how these high ranking Communists became filthy rich Capitalists.

To purc, I would like to say that; Putin standing by the hammer and sickle flag sends a positive message to millions of Russians who are nostalgic of the good old days when the flag in question was proudly flown in Tallin, Praque, Berlin and so many other cities. I agree that, Madam Merkel would have quite a different reaction form her crowd.

Anonüümne ütles ...

martasmimi, I forgot to mention that I once saw a young black fellow driving a pick-up truck with the huge Confederate flag painted on it! I still can't quite figure it out?

Anonüümne ütles ...

giustino: "It's like the conservatives and the 1960s in the US".

But many conservatives have fond memories of Barry Goldwater's 1964 presidential campaign. Yes, he lost in an extreme manner but he showed the way for the conservatives how they could take over the GOP from liberal and moderate Republicans. That's the year when Strom Thurmond switched parties to support Goldwater for President because of states' rights issues. So while red America was getting a blue color during the 60s, the whole anti-60s 1960s conservatism laid the groundwork for a seismic shift in American politics. That's also the decade when Reagan got elected Governor of California.

The backlash against everything 60s formed the backbone of the conservative movement in America. If there hadn't been the 60s to protest against, the conservative movement would have lacked a unifying agenda. The peaceniks and the hippies are not just something that the conservatives hated, they are also the people who gave the conservatives a target to profile themselves against and to mainstream themselves in a way that at first look seemed impossible during the progressive 60s.

Interestingly enough, people like Goldwater who seemed way off the mainstream in 1960s America, would look relatively moderate and liberal today. Yet the importance of Goldwater in 1964 and what that campaign stood for can not be overestimated as the birth of the modern conservative movement.

Giustino ütles ...

Most of the battles over the 1960s have been waged by my parents generation.

I really can't stand any of the "hot topics" - abortion, gay marriage, blah blah blah.

I find them unimportant distractions from solving the main problems - environmental, health, security.

So I always see the conservatives as sort of these nutbars that are still yelling about Vietnam and hippies and George McGovern.

It's like, get a life already. It's over.

Giustino ütles ...

On the flipside, spending time amongs whining stereotypical "liberals" isn't my idea of a party either.

I've been a journalist for too long to really care about such things. Being a journalist saps you of the ability to yell in someone's face.