4 readers online now  |  69 million page views

continuing a sub-plot - peppered examples of excess from another non-religious kind totalitarian system.

Reader comment on item: Turkey: An Ally No More
in response to reader comment: The Gorbachovian, not Stalinist USRR !!!

Submitted by the Grand Infidel of Kaffiristan (Australia), Nov 14, 2009 at 22:02

Ianus writes:

"The tribes from this loose confederation were as much willing to fight against foreigners as they were ready to raid and loot each other and ally themselves with these foreigners. In such tribal societies the traditional centrifugal forces are usually as strong as the centripetal ones."

Language is a very strong factor in cultural cohesion.

Helsinki ...? The Swedes call it simply 'Helsingfors'...There are plenty of Swedish placenames ending with "fors"(=rapids).

Of course - and there are still many Swedish speakers.

> and easily within living memory , non-Russians (i.e. Estonians) had been more than openly discriminated against by Russians in Estonia. <

"You emphasis on 'Russian' is a bit disconcerting , I think. With c. 160 nationalities and ethnic groups on their territory the Russians didn't develop and spread the same sort of nationalistic mentality the Estonians with their "one-nation obsession - were imbued with."

OK, in order not to lay blame where blame is not due, let me say predominantly Russian then

"Under the Soviets much was invested in Estonia and labour was needed which Estonians couldn't provide"

Right , an example that immediately comes to mind is the former cemetery in Kopli, a tramride away from the Old Town. An easy way to rip away all traces of cultural history and connectedness.


. Now do you think the Russians/Ukrainians, Belorus/Uzbeks or the rest should learn Estonian to pelase to the erstwhile lords of the land? "

Of course, with Russain being the language of international friendship and cooperation - the Russians would politely request that Estonians learn to speak Russian.

By the way, teh first thing Estonia did in 1991 was to cancel and repudiate all debt to the USSR. Was it also part of the justice you mention below ?

> The situation currently I guess it's a bit of social justice - long term payback. Understandable but unfortunate.

"I don't understand what social justice is restored by revitalizing injustice and discrimination whereas I remember that the whole Estonian Popular Front movement under Gorbachov was a huge big-mouthed promise to restore justice and respect the Russians whom the Estonians were trying to win on their side for propaganda reasons. But when independence came, Estonian "justice" showed its true ,

'Social justice' - a euphemism I'm using for payback. viz: '..... In August 1940, Estonia was formally annexed by the Soviet Union as the Estonian SSR. Those who had failed to do their "political duty" of voting Estonia into the USSR, specifically those who had failed to have their passports stamped for voting, were condemned to death by Soviet tribunals.[18] The repressions followed with the mass deportations carried out by the Soviets in Estonia on June 14, 1941. Many of the country's political and intellectual leaders were killed or deported to remote areas of the USSR by the Soviet authorities in 1940-1941. Repressive actions were ... taken against thousands of ordinary people.'

>yes - the joke is replacing one red passport for another. I agree with you on the EU - the ratification of the Lisbon treaty and talk of EU-wide taxation and more power to the president etc is a dangerous thing.<

'....Some call it more poignantly - the Western Soviet Union - the EUSSR.'

sadly, I think that may well be the case. A bunch of power hungry politicians catering to the lowest common denominator

> So , naturally because they share a border with Russia - Rusia appears to become encircled..... The point I was making was based on the geographic locations of the EU states. The EU via the Baltic states immediately adjoin Russia - so naturally you could say that the EU is 'encircling' Russia. Russia does not adjoin Texas or Alaska or New England.

'.....As a matter of fact Russia adjoins Alaska through the straits of Bering and the Baltic states are the former Russian territory just like Kosovo is a Serbian territitory despite a big US military base and a jihadist pseudo-state there.'

Surely you don't think then that these cultures somehow 'belong' to Russia - and should not have been given the chance to carve out their own future?

"Depending what part of Ukraine you are talking about. Russia has many supporters in Eastern Ukraine while Ukrainian jingoism is worst in the West of the country, i.e. in former Polish Ukraine."

Yes - I'm aware of that - eastern Ukraine is very much pro-Russian.

Have you ever wondered why ?

"..... Why the Albanians have not been officially accused of committing a genocide against the Serbs as they have done it and keep doing it ?..But no! Instead after 9/11 what I could hear was "Why did they do that to us? We were so kind to them. We created two Moslem states for them after all, didn't we? "

yes - that's pretty disgusting - you'd think people would wise up by now.<

Those who have wised up have no power to change anything while those who do, continue on the old path of Allah and Allah's Western friends.

> Having lived there I can guarantee you it is not as bad as you're making out.

"....Sure, in Chechnia it was much worse. Yet after promising a national paradise to the Russians in the 80-ies this Estonian paradise seems to hardly resemble the old promised land of freedom and equality."

A Russian living in Berlin would not have too different a life from a Russian living in Tallinn. It is nothing like Chechnya. In fact many Estonians regard Russian Estonians as 'our Russians'.

> The Russians I met there were very friendly people and got on well with native Estonians. Those who weren't drinking vodka in parks were working normal jobs.

...Will you say that all Russians who can't get a job in Estonia to live from are alcoholics?

I can't draw that conclusion. I can state I did observe many (more than 50) highly intoxicated Russian-speaking people who were drinking vodka in parks in the daytime. But I also saw and met many Russians who were not drinking and holding down regular jobs.

"What is remarkable is that roughly the same happened after WWI. The German aristocrats were won with generous promises for the Esonian side and later betrayed and gradually stripped of their possessions. Their lands were confiscated and the German minority was oppressed and discriminated."

Well at least you can say the Estonians were fairminded in their revenge. I can understand it actually - if you visit some of the outstanding moise scattered around the countryside - you get an idea just how well the Baltic Germans lived.

"I doubt if not being a genius I could ever hope to learn Estonian with its 14 noun cases in both singular and plural and exotic non-Indo-European vocabulary and different anomalies of its grammar. I read once a Finnish grammar and it was impossible for me to remember most intricacies and vowel-and consonant changes etc."

It's actually a very pleasant and melodic language to listen too - less harsh than Finnish.

"Anyway, what a waste of time to memorize all of that if one could devote one's time instead to learning English or German!"

I don't agree. learning a language like that will serve you in good stead - purely because you really have to try hard to understand it. At this point I must sincerely compliment you on your own command of English - it is excellent. You're obviously an educated guy.

"But Russian schools are raided regularly by Estonian language inspectors who check if Russian teachers are fluent enough in Estonian to prolong their work permit as Russian teachers ! What a parody! Needless to say, some 98% do fail the exams!"

If I was going to move to Estonia - I would make sure I spent the time to learn the language. I would be subject to the same language requirements as an Russian, no more , no less. I understand that they have a unique culture - and culture is underpinned by language. They want to protect it - that's their business. It's their country.

"How much did he offer?

From memory about $2k

It's remarkable, that teh Estonian jingoists have taken up his idea - and propose " to support re-emigration one should create a special governmental agency and allocate money from the budget". The Russians have aptly baptised this proposal "The Ministry of Expulsion".

The Danes are now doing the same thing aren't they - not with Russians though.So it isn't a bad policy in all cases.

"I don't think my perspective has anything to do with my Slavic origin. I would hardly show any sympathy to Croatians and their fascist ideology. I find simply that what is being done in Estonia and Latvia is unjust, wrong and counterproductive."

My perception of Russians' life in Estonia (2005) was that they weren't having such a bad time - many own companies and many have their own houses and lots of flash cars. The economy then was doing very well - of course there has been a downturn but the fact is Russians there would still rather live in Estonia than Russia.

> There was no 'descration' it was the simple relocation of a bronze statue from Tallinn city to a military cemetery 3kms away. It presented a loss of face to many of the Russians living in Estonia. Not all though.<

'As far as I remember those events what happened was that the Estonian fascists erected a monument to the Estonian SS."

There was a plaque/monument dedicated on private land in the small city of Parnu - near Latvia on the southern coast - by a Estonian wehrmacht group . It had nothing to do with the bronze soldier monument in Tallinn.

"... But they took revenge on the Soviet monument instead. Relegating it to the cemetery was tantamount to exposing it to desecration as the cemetery area is regularly visited by vandals and drunkards."

There was no revenge - the incidents were unrelated. The statue was in a small park in the middle of the road in Tallinn. It was a hangout for Russian youth and having been there - I can say it was not the sort of place you'd want to walk through after dark. Anecdotally - the only trouble I ever had in Estonia - in terms of unprovoked attacks - was with drunken Russians. But by the same token I had some good expereinces with sober Russians. So, I'll put that down to drink and the fact they realised I wasn't a local..

The cemetery where the statue was relocated to (Tallinna Kaitseväe kalmistu) is the Estonian military cemetery - well cared for and maintained and not a place where vandals do their work.

......Desecrating Soviet monuments

Well, yes - the statues of Lenin etc have all gone - the red stars ripped from most buildings - except that big old grey warehouse buiding near Uus Linn they keep as a reminder for some reason. But mind you , they still keep the the bombed out plots of land in the middle of Tallinn where the Soviet Airforce (mostly Russian mind you - not georgian etc) bombed the wooden houses of ordinary citizens. I guess that's a soviet monument of sorts.

and glorifying Nazi symbols and past are quite common in Estonia.

Ah yes, the glorification of war. Do they have a Veterans Day equivalent in Poland? If so - who marches? anti-Nazi Polish ex-servicemen? But what about the many anti-communist Poles? Do they (or did they - it was a long time ago) get to march too? In the same way - surviving Estonian Wehrmacht veterans get together once a year to relive the good and bad old days. Similarly, on May 9th you'll see groups of old commies swigging vodka waving their little red flags. Depending on which side of the conflict one's prejudices lie - you will have a different opinion. But rightly or wrongly it's a group of buddies reliving old times.

There is an extremely well kept German war cemetery in Rakvere - maintained by the Germans. I didn't note similarly well kept soviet war graves - maintained and paid for by Russia. Does that tell us the Russians care less

> Most Estonians do see the Soviet era as a Russian occupation.

"...And how do they see the Hitler era -1941-1944 ?"

A return to a previous more benign status quo

"Anyway, with their record of century-long occupation these Soviet years after the 20 years of self-rule must seem like 'back to normalcy' era. It's interesting that after WWI they also saw the tsarist era like occupation and the German aristocrats who could trace their pedigree back to the 13th century as 'occupiers'. Had the Germans won in 1918 there would be no Estonia and - cynically speaking- all the great problems small nationalisms cause."

Seeing the Baltic Germans ruled there for so long - it's a fair bet the Estonians preferred treatment under the Germans to be better than their treatment under the Soviets. That's why many jouined the Wehrmacht when Germany 're-arrived' in 1941.

. "........ during the Stalin era ALL , not just the Estonians or Latvians, were persecuted independently of their nationality and Russians suffered probably even more than other nationalities."

except possily the Ukranainians

"It's a wilful historical error to identify the persecutions in the Baltic provinces after 1940-1941 and 1944-1953 as engineered by Russians against the Estonians. The NKVD/KGB officials were bolsheviks coming from many nationalities - Beriya being Georgian. Nationality played no determining role here although the persecutors spoke Russian. Estonian jingoists prefer to see everything in national terms and thus they distort the facts.'

Well break it down by percentages - is it likely that more than 90% of the perpetrators were actually Russian - or were Georgians heavily over-represented?

"Sure, I have. My father was a landless peasant, a village labourer. The Russians had given his grandfather liberty and the Soviets gave him land. I'll always remember what I owe them. if they ahdn't done it, I'd be a serf nowadays."

So you owe a debt of gratitude to the Russians. Were there many Poles who did not get such benign treatment? I know Czechs and Hungarians who don't speak so rosily of their treatment , maybe it was different in Poland. I simply don't know.

"The funny thing in all of that is that the USSR all those nationalists hate when it died was not Stalin's or even Brezhnev's bad USSR. It was a benign Soviet Union of Michail Gorbachov. But who'd care about chronology and details in this metaphysical tragi-comic hysteria of anti-communism ?"

So, the dissolution of the USSR (the greatest tragey of the 20thC as Putin puts it) was a fait accompli once they relaxed their tight grip?

"Which country did Russia invade? "

As you know Russian troops and tanks were sent from Russia through a mountain tunnel into the territory of georgia - to the Russian majoirty region of Ingushetia.

"These methods were actually used by NATO to "protect" their Moslem darlings in Kosovo and Bosnia. As to Russia NATO will probably use the old provisions of the Treaty of Tartu in the Pskov area to "protect" and satisfy their Estonian fascist friends' "just" claims."

These methods are not right

" During a short civil war in Tajikistan more Tajiks were killed than during the whole WWII. But you'd feel offended if I called it a tragedy, wouldn't you ?"No, because it was a result of the jihad that migrated from Afghanistan (another jihadist monster created by the US) and had the Gorbachovian USSR existed in 1990-ies thsi tragedy and many more would have never happened."

I must admit total ignorance of this , I've never heard of this before - Tajikistan is not high on the radar.

I think we both know where our allegiances and prejudices lie and it will be difficult to convince each other of the correctness or otherwise of each other's viewpoints.

I'm willing to acknowledge that some of Estonia's treatment of some non-Estonians may have been unfair - andto redeem our conversation from accusations of being totally off-topic - nothing even approaching the human rights abuses in many Muslim countries even today in the 21st century . But they have an awful lot of justification. The bottom line is - why was Estonia the last to 'join' (I use the term loosely) and the first to leave?


Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Comment on this item

Mark my comment as a response to continuing a sub-plot - peppered examples of excess from another non-religious kind totalitarian system. by the Grand Infidel of Kaffiristan

Email me if someone replies to my comment

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

See recent outstanding comments.

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List
eXTReMe Tracker

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2021 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)