esmaspäev, september 10, 2007


Flasher T of Antyx this morning e-mailed me professional footage of rampaging youth in Tallinn from April. I was reading the comments and recalling some of the more heated debates I have had on the Interweb about said events and Estonian language policies in general.

One, issue that recurs is the question of status. That is, the very large Russophone community is actually OK with the strategy behind most Estonian language policies -- like school reform -- but they just want some kind of formal recognition or status within society. This is driven home by rightwing-thinking Estonians in the blogosphere who will point out that Russians are not an official minority in Estonia, and therefore deserve no special protection or coveted status.

But when I read the Law on Cultural Autonomy of National Minorities, it seemed quite plain to me that the Republic of Estonia actually does recognize national minorities, several to be precise:

(2) National minority cultural autonomy may be established by persons belonging to German, Russian, Swedish and Jewish minorities and persons belonging to national minorities with a membership of more than 3000.
It seems quite clear to me that the Estonian state recognizes that national minorities are Germans, Russians, Swedes, and Jews according to the text of the document, available in Estonian here. Being a national minority gives one the right to form a cultural autonomy.

What is interesting is that the infamous Amnesty Report from 2006 deletes this reference to Russians several times. Namely here:
According to Article 1 and Article 2(2), a cultural autonomy may be founded by Germans, Swedes, Jews or by any other minority consisting of more than 3,000 persons.
And here:

According to Article 51 of the Estonian Constitution, in localities where at least one-half of the permanent residents belong to a national minority, everyone has the right to receive responses from state agencies, local governments, and their officials in the language of the national minority. While this provision in theory provides some minority language protection, it is worth noting that it only applies to national minorities, i.e. citizens considered to have long-standing ties to Estonia (including Germans, Swedes and Jews), and thus does not apply to a large portion of the Russian-speaking minority population.
Isn't that weird that Amnesty left out that one, very important ethnic group when describing the law in its report? Hmm. I am not alleging anything. Just pointing it out. They do have a good point, that stateless persons, some 120,000 people, should have that same right to cultural autonomy. I am not saying I agree or disagree, but it should be pointed out that Amnesty's Report isn't 100 percent trash talking on behalf of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Anyhow, because Flasher is an Estonian citizen and both Russian and Jewish by descent, it turns out he can take part in two whole cultural autonomies, rather than just one. Only in Estonia, folks. Only in Estonia.

31 kommentaari:

Jens-Olaf ütles ...

I've watched a lot of the riot videos. And near the national libary were a lot of female policy.
Now you could get angry abut the 'Fascist' yelling rioters. But most of Russian speaking people in Estonia in April/May were NOT involved in the riots and could not understand.I asked as many as possible then. On the other hand. At school in Tallinn students appeared dressed with stuff from Armani and so on. Same school where the first floor windows were broken. But it was only noticed. No reaction from Estonian students nor the teachers.
And AI's fact finding is more than dissapointing here.

Jens-Olaf ütles ...

Amd even the Estonians in the Woodstock who were targets were not addressing the minority theme. That was the most weird thing, they said during cleaning up the aftermath that they don't care about nationality. But in the video you hear the attacking crowd shouting Russia, Russia

Rein Kuresoo ütles ...
Autor on selle kommentaari eemaldanud.
John Menzies ütles ...

I thought Tallinn had some fashion culture (previous blog entry comments).

But watching the professional footage, I am led to one inescapable conclusion -- minorities in Estonia have been the victim of fashion discrimination.

What I suspect is that some kind of monstrous Euro-dumping of irregular polyester garments has occurred. I ask you -- have you ever seen so many ill-fitting synthetic leather jackets and gaudy track suits?

On the other hand, if you look at what I presume are the Estonians in this footage, it is a different story.

No, I do not condone conformism of this level, where Estonians are only distinguishable by the numbers printed onto their white hats. But the well-cut black slacks and perky yellow waistcoats with silvery bands suggest that quality clothing -- clothing that can be worn for all day long -- is available. I was disappointed at first that no one is wearing traditional folk costume and medieval suits, but the new clothing has the mark of quality.

Many of the minorities go hatless, but this brings up an interesting point. The few hats that one sees are baseball caps -- thousands of miles away from the nearest sandlot!

Indeed many people are throwing things -- some sort of local square-cornered ball? One man's offering appears to get up into the high 50s in mph (90 km/h) -- without even trying. Tallinn be a hotbed of talent, a Slavic San Pedro de Macoris perhaps?

John Menzies ütles ...

Specifically: At 2:15 in the footage, the pitching form of the young man is great -- reminiscent of a young Mariano Rivera on a cold spring night -- very economical. But his footwork needs some work -- if there were men on base, this would be a balk.

The next one to take the field, at 2:45 in the video, also has promise -- esepcially if you consider he is throwing with his equipment bag ON his pitching arm (!). This could cause serious injury. I cringe to watch it. This is where some coaching intervention would be critical.

I have fowarded the link to a friend who does scouting for the Atlanta Braves farm system.

LPR ütles ...

I can't help it, so please indulge me with another sarcastic comment... Now, watching all these riot videos (and I've seen plenty by now, so somebody stop me please!) one cannot help, but to wonder, what GAYS got to do with all this? I mean, they keep shouting 'fascists' and 'piderasy'. I have not seen anybody picking up on that angle. What gives? Where are the all gay activists counter-protesting this slander? That's another thing to ponder. Pretending this did not happen? Or are they patronizing Russians as if saying that Russians are too stupid to see the difference. Or is that they do feel that fascists and fags are the same thing? Anybody care to rub few russian faces into this ugliness? Where's Rusak when you feel teh need to abuse somebody with telling them the little facts and ironies of life. :-)

Tiamsuu ütles ...

Ach, sweet. I'd been searching for the 'beat him! beat him!' lady @ 9:15.

klx ütles ...

Being a national minority gives one the right to form a cultural autonomy.

what does it mean, though? how do you set someone apart without separating them, or setting them above or below the mainstream? do they even want to be a minority? i would have thought the vocal minority a) could well number less than 3000, b) wouldn't be happy with anything less than full soviet style integration into the russian ssr.

also, i am slightly disturbed by the anti gay comments (what is this, latvia?). i hope it doesn't set a trend for comments on this blog.

LPR ütles ...

Karlos, I hope you did not read my comment as anti gay? If you did, I would have to rethink how to use layered irony next time so that my my main point would be more succinct and blunt - Russians in general are very phobic and intolerant people and gays around the world should condemn them for using the word 'pidar' as a slur equal to 'fascist'.

klx ütles ...

yeek, my bad. i shouldn't read my RSS at 2am. apologies! :)

Giustino ütles ...


It means they can set up a cultural autonomy. You can go and read all about it as I am too busy to describe it myself.

I am not going to debate the merits of that construct -- what would I know about it anyway? -- I am just saying that a lot of people (including Amnesty) make it out that there is no official recognition of Russians as a national minority, yet this law from 1993 basically says that they are.

So next time I engage with a gent like said Rusak, I will be pleased to let him know that Russians are a national minority and that they have the same rights as others -- ie. to form a cultural autonomy.

Giustino ütles ...

For whatever reason, the cultural autonomy law gets limited attention, perhaps -- as far as I know -- the Ingrian Finns were the first (and only?) ones to do it.

I did hear that the Swedes had one in the works, but I have no confirmation of that.

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

The cultural autonomy law. There many regions in Europe where the minorities were struggling for such thing. For example the special German-Danish treaty:

"The German Minority in Denmark

North of the Danish-German Border in North Schleswig live 15.000 people who belong to the German minority. The German minority in North Schleswig maintains its own schools and a wide spectrum of social and cultural institutions and serves as a vital bridge between the German and Danish cultures. "

And that are the consequenzes:
"Kindergartens and schools
Kindergartens and schools are central institutions of the German minority. 23 preschools, 16 schools and 1 grammar school play an important role in teaching German language and culture, but also Danish is part of the curriculum so that the children may feel at home on both sides of the border. The final exams may be used to study in both Germany and Denmark.
The Central Library at Aabenraa/Apenrade, one branch each at Haderslev/Hadersleben, Sønderborg/Sonderburg, Tønder/ Tondern and Tin-glev/Tingleff, two mobile libraries, and 15 school libraries - 23 German libraries - provide 230.000 media units, including books, magazines, games, recordings, and DVDs for 8.000 users."


Jens-Olaf ütles ...

The Germans in South Tyrol in Italia and their education:

For the German-speaking population of South Tyrol, education at kindergarten, primary, secondary and vocational schools is given in German. Italian, the second language (now taught from the first year of primary school), and one foreign language (English from the second year of intermediate school) are both taught in all schools.
Only higher-vocational training and the university offer bi- and trilingual educational curricula. The vocational school for health professions is bilingual. Some of the courses are taught in German, others in Italian.
The Free University of Bozen-Bolzano offers some courses of study in three languages (German, Italian and English).


Jens-Olaf ütles ...

I missed in important point to South Tyrol. It took 3 decades after WWII to got well educated teachers for the school there.

Jens-Olaf ütles ...

German language in France, Alsace:

"France regained control of the war-torn area in 1944 and resumed its policy of promoting the French language with uncompromising vigor. For instance, from 1945 to 1984 the use of German in newspapers was restricted to a maximum of 25%.[citation needed]"
from Wikipedia

Normaalne for France

Jens-Olaf ütles ...

For the Basque language in Spain, for now my last example, it is a little complicated:

"Any discussion of Basque in primary and secondary schooling in Spain has to deal with the so-called bilingual teaching models, all based on regional government laws. Each class group in each school is assigned one or other of these models which determine the use of the two official languages for teaching purposes"

I have choosen these examples cause the minorities which living in these regions are somehow the native people.

But the struggle for language education you can find everywhere in Europe up to the example in Ireland where the state tries to bring back Galic language skills.

Jens-Olaf ütles ...

And here is my main source for most of the minority languages in Europe. For each of them no easy solution, nothing is granted:

Mercator Education

LPR ütles ...

I wish you guys would know russian language. You are definately missing out on one entire dimension of the controversy. Sometimes I feel like I have a third eye or something watching it from the sidelines, seeing people hating and fearing each other. Misunderstanding and ignorance is so sad. And then it gets violent and ... so stupid. I guess it is a human nature.

Here's couple of videos by a hugely popular Russian band 'Lube' (I know, don't ask.) In one they are taunting the US and in another they make a ferocious reference to the statue removal. Never mind the painfully cheesy melodies, the fascist elements are there wrapped in red flags and russian hyperpatriotism. Take note:


This crap works on emotional russian hearts like pure cocaine. it's scary as s***t. Funny too until ... of course millions get terminated.

Tiamsuu ütles ...

Pfft. I'd guess I'm not the only estonian here who had compulsory russian classes for 11 of their 12 years of school;)

About 'Lyube'... Great band, one of my favourites. I got all their albums, have been to all their shows in Tallinn - and trust me, I was by no means the only estonian there.

Remember - their rise to popularity coincided with the fall of USSR. The uniform Rastorguyev used to wear on stage is that of a 'white' officer. Lyube's songs belong to no neo-soviet school, they are very russian in essence.

Their songs about war invariably highlight the pointlessness of it, to the tune of 'let's get it over with and go home', their songs about home tend to draw nice visual postcards of Russia's famous sites. And their music, of course, prods buttock.

LPR ütles ...

Mait, are you suggesting that instead of glorifying all things commie and Stalinist, they are doing a smart sardonic take on it and trying to warn people of its dangers? In that case it totally flew over my head. Although, I think I am dead onto it. I know russki muzhik very well, I did my 2 years in the stinking 'CA' and lived 5 years after that in Russia, in Moscow. I know russians like and harbour no great illusions about them. I've seen germans going boinkers over Rammstein, so I wonder if Lube is something like that to the rooskies. It is interesting to hear that Estonians find this music cool. Puzzling. Living so long in the US I recognize I am out of it by now. We'll that's why I am a blogaddict. Just trying to understand the world. :-)

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

Education in your minority lanuguage like Russian in Estonia is not something you get in Europe right away. Most of the minorities had and have to struggle for it.
In Estonia there are the Russian language schools, they are there already and if you see the examples, it is always about bilingual education on school of the language minority. See the Danish-German situation.
But soon we will see more "Human rights" violation in Estonia, Flasher's post on his blog shows it. The link to a video from a Russian TV channel where they plainly claim all will be taught in Estonian.

Tiamsuu ütles ...


They can hardly be glorifying commies with songs like 'Bat'ka Mahno', can they? I like their music because it's very good folkish rock, and their lyrics are about common people. Many melancholic songs about rodina, lots of nostalgia.

As I mentioned, even their songs about war and soldiering are carried by not some glorification of heroics or some politics, but more about what a shitty job it is. 'Orders are orders... let's get it over with and go home'.

It's patriotic without the aggression and politics that too often accompanies such music. If putinistas like playing their songs, what can one do? Hitler's love of Wagner doesn't mean he's a shite composer, or a nazi. Don't diss a great band;)

Anonüümne ütles ...

googlebot ütles ...

Speaking of fascists, another non-white foreigner jumped and beaten in Tartu.

Maybe it was one of these guys who did it? ;-)

Giustino ütles ...

Zavood has some seriously bad vibes. I saw a group of these bald-headed fellows one day, to whom I said 'Tere' and was spared more 'you don't look like you come from here' glares.

The question is, what exactly can the police do? You can't arrest someone for being a skinhead. You can only arrest them after they do something.

Growing up on Long Island there was a very active skinhead community near my home -- actually farther east in a (typical) less-diverse community.

Because my friends were into punk rock, the white power gentlemen would sometimes tag along based on their similar musical interest. They were all quite nice guys except when they started talking about 'black people.' (YIKES) I will never understand them.

This is bad for Tartu. Tartu needs more foreign students if it is going to be a competitive in the IT, biotech fields, etc. But how does a city of (mostly) good thoughts exercise this kind of demon?

plasma-jack ütles ...

Tartu is imho living in denial. One well-known local intellectual once accused me of reverse racism, because I incautiously used the metaphore "nazi capital" when describing his home town (because I live in Tallinn, I am obviously not entitled to make observations about other towns).

Giustino ütles ...

Most of Tartu is quite tolerant. But there is very little shaming going on with regards to these attacks. I have barely heard of them, and I live there!