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The truth about eSStonia

Its citizenship policy has been a success :

READ the Russian-language internet, and you will find Estonia portrayed as a hell-hole ruled by Nazi sympathisers who organise a grotesque form of apartheid hypocritically endorsed by the European Union.

“Nazi” and “apartheid” are strong words that should be used sparingly and precisely out of their original context—and probably not at all. (A good rule in most discussions is that the first person to call the other a Nazi automatically loses the argument.)

So it may be worth listing a few of the more grotesque unfairnesses and inaccuracies of the charge. Apartheid was the legally enforced separation of the peoples of South Africa, based on race (or more accurately, skin colour). Mingling of the races, from intermarriage to mixed swimming, was forbidden. Passed laws meant that blacks could not live in white areas. Apartheid was backed up by a ruthless secret police that on occasion murdered people, and had no hesitation in enforcing house arrest and exile.

Nazi sympathisers idolise Hitler, think that Jews invented the Holocaust (or, sometimes, that they deserved what they got), and believe that National Socialism was a glorious ideology destroyed by Judaeo-Bolshevism.

Absolutely none of that applies to Estonia. Not only do the authorities not prohibit contact between Estonians and Russians, they encourage it. Russians and Estonians mix freely everywhere. Some of Estonia’s top politicians, including the president and the leader of one of the main political parties have Russian family ties.

Estonians look back on the Nazi occupation with loathing. Their country was caught between the hammer and the anvil in 1939, and whatever they did, only suffering and destruction awaited them.

What really annoys the Kremlin crowd is that Estonians (like many others in eastern Europe) regarded the arrival of the Red Army in 1944-45 not as a liberation, but as the exchange of one ghastly occupation for another. That flatly contradicts the Kremlin’s revived Stalinist version of history, which puts Soviet wartime heroism and sacrifice at centre-stage, while assiduously obscuring all the historical context. Given how the Soviet Union treated Estonia in 1939-41, it is hardly surprising that those who fought the occupiers when they returned are regarded as heroes. But they were not Nazis, nor are those who admire them now.

Given how Soviet Union treated Estonia in 1939-41, it is hardly surprising that those who fought the occupiers when they returned are regarded as heroes

Secondly, Estonians (like Latvians and Lithuanians) do not accept that their pre-war statehood was ever extinguished. Russia may like to think that the Soviet Union magnanimously granted independence to the three “Soviet Baltic Republics” in 1991. But the Balts see it differently: they regained their independence. In that view they are confirmed, more or less enthusiastically, by most western countries, which never recognised the Soviet annexation of 1940, and in some cases continued to accredit Baltic diplomats in dusty and deserted embassies.

On that basis, the hundreds of thousands of Soviet citizens who moved to the Baltic from the 1950s onwards were migrants settling illegally in occupied territories. Post-Soviet Lithuania granted them citizenship automatically. But Estonia and Latvia, where the demographic position was more precarious, insisted that they apply for citizenship if they wanted it, and pass a simple test in language and history.

This was not about ethnicity: Russians who lived in Estonia before the occupation (then around 10% of the population) and their descendants regained citizenship automatically. And it has worked rather well. Nearly 150,000 people have gained Estonian citizenship; only 8.5% remain stateless.

Fifteen years on, Estonia's policy may be too tough, or just right, or even too lax. Compared to most European countries’ citizenship laws, it is quite generous. In any event, calling it “apartheid” is not only nonsensical, but stupidly insulting, to a country that has responded with intelligence and restraint to a devastating historical injury.

Aug 16th 2007

From Economist.com

see Russian translation of this article

Ба-лдей Ага комментирует:
Let's start with significant part of the Russian society (not the state, the Kremlin crowd) actually considers Estonia as a nation of apartheid. The author is right. I shall continue with another part (which does not consider Estonia as ...) whose discourse on the matter is far from sports entertainment as it might be, looking from London. The author assumes that apartheid was only possible in South Africa, and the National Socialism is reverence to Hitler and hatred to Jews. First, he probably does not know, that in Russia there are both cognac and champagne, but bandits and kid killers can live only in Russia, the country of Bolsheviks, and, second, as a matter of fact it is not true.
Are Estonians serving in wermaht, or SS Nazis? A question, not as simple as an economist may suppose. Why I could hesitate looking as they proudly defile in the Nazi uniform? And it is even more difficult to not see apartheid in Estonia.

Concerning independence of three republics, from Russia this independence given by Kaiser and his agents, Bolsheviks, looks essentially less pathetic, first; second, nobody wish to take it back. I did not understand the reason of that message.

The central thesis (for the author = a conclusion): the hundreds of thousands of Soviet citizens who moved to the Baltic from the 1950s onwards were migrants settling illegally in occupied territories. Logically it as hardly a conclusion, but the thesis is clear. It is curious, that this statement destroys the author's basic theory (Kremlin crowd, Nazi, blablabla) and offers a realistic demographic basis for apartheid in Latvia and Estonia, and not in Lithuania. As a result, on the one hand the young state, on another, - the individuals moved by totalitarian USSR. The surprise is, personally for me, that the author is a fan of the state, arguing not in British (individualism, human rights), but in French-continental style (etatism and Nazism). For this reason I assumed, that article is not editorial, but is published in the advertising area without coordination with editor.

I am suspicious in 8.5 %, but the essence naturally is not %% . Negligence to such a small subpopulation of no citizens, certainly, it is quite generous -- shame on me, I still remain considering Estonia a nation of apartheid and Nazism. Unfortunately, still unable to compare two Estonian passports, of a citizen, and of subhuman being.

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Сайт открыт 22-08-2000, автор: Ба-лдей Ага

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