Reede, 28 Aprill 2017 16:37
Laas Leivat - Estonian Life No. 17 2017
In march, the dominant themes in coverage of Estonia by Russian media were Estonia's chronic 'case of russophobia', the country's failing economy and the danger from the USA.
In certain outlets this has been relatively intense. In the Komersant news portal, Estonia was mentioned more than 50 times in one month. The news agency Regnum sends on at least two to three stories every day about Estonia.
New Inform, in its website posted a lengthy article entitled "Beautiful life has ended. The Baltic countries surrender to Russia without a fight". The article states that the countries have reached such dire straits, that they are compelled to turn to Russia for help. It continues to say that the largesse of the European Union cannot be sustained indefinitely. The trip by Estonian parlamentarians to Russia in April will show that Estonia has to turn to Russia for assistance and drastically reduce its open hostility towards Moscow.
The news portal E-News, the voice of pro-Moscow Russians in Eastern Ukraine, has analyzed the reasons for the decrease in transit of materials from Russia through Estonia and its drastic reduction within the last six years (seven years ago the events surrounding the 'Bronze soldier' caused a temporary drop). In addition the analysis states that the Baltic states support the EU sanctions against Russia. But the fast improvement to Russian ports will mean the total elimination of any Russian transit through the Baltic states and consequently the loss for them of a lucrative service.
Dmitri Klenski, in a bluntly worded comment through the news agency Regnum, offers his thoughts on the deportations of 1949, in which he states some 22,000 farmers were "relocated' to distant locations in the Soviet Union. The article entitled "Estonia - Russophobia as an enemy of the state", condemns the annual commemorations of the March 25, 1949 deportations. He says that deportations as such did not take place. Urmas Reinsalu, Estonia's minister of justice is labeled as an ultranationalist who has stated that "Estonians cannot forget the victims of the 1949 deportations to Siberia but must also remember all of those who are responsible for this crime against humanity". Klenski considers the minister's opinion to be marginal.
He also mentions the position of the Centre Party (Keskerakond): "When politically thoughtful and supporter of normal relations with Russia, Edgar Savisaar, was ungratefully deposed from the party's leadership six months ago, both Brussels and Washington allowed the Centre Party, who had for years been stuck as the permanent opposition in parliament to form the government, but only on condition that the politics of the previous prime minister Taavi Rõivas be upheld." (Estonia's position has been to value its membership in NATO as a crucial factor in its national security and its membership in the EU as sustaining its Western orientation both economically and politically.)
Regnum also carried an article by Vladimir Iljasevits which states that russophobia as an Estonian government tool has been promoted through political manipulation: He stresses that "Estonia joined the Soviet Union voluntarily by requesting annexation by the USSR, which was legally samctioned by Estonia's own laws and international norms." Just for this reason no one in the world acknowledges the occupation of Estonia he claims. (It's obvious the author is confident that his readership is ignorant of the position that Western democracies have always taken regarding the occupation, that it was an agreement with Nazi Germany through the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and that it blatantly violated all international conventions.)
Andrei Kuzitskin, a Russian national who has been living in Estonia for several years says that opinions such as these could be suitable openings for a dialogue with Russian speakers in Estonia, people who have scant or no knowledge of Estonian history.
Kuzitskin further comments that to understand the tonality of Russian articles one must be familiar with the peculiarities of Russian political culture. The Russian political elite has grown up in a society where behaviour has been influenced by the prison system. The contemporary political lexicon is a form of prison slang, Therefore suggestions for honest dialogue is interpreted as weakness, he says. Thus, the idea of "good intentions" as an expression isn't used, while sayings such "we beat the hell out of them and gained their respect" is commonplace. Good to know when expecting reasonable results from sincere and honest dialogue.Laas Leivat