Thursday, January 3, 2008

.. hearing the voices of the oppressed

To provide the readers with some official enough Russian perspective I'd like to demonstrate this translated excerpt from an interview with Estonian far left activist, director of youth activities centre "Zdes" ("Here") Igor Ivanov, taken by Kremlin News Agency Regnum (from Ladin "Kingdom"), 31 of Dec, 2007:

Regnum: What in your opinion was the most important or significant event of 2007? Why?

Igor Ivanov: Transfer of the Bronze Soldier - the apotheosis of nationalist politics.
In the European Union Estonia is famous as "successful newcomer". She has been set as an example for the other countries to follow. But after the events of April the mask of success has fallen and Europeans could see the other side of life in the country. Estonian media called the events of April "Russian riot" [...]. But foreign correspondents, which have been to Estonia came to other conclusions. For the first time the foreign press was not writing stories based on the official press-releases.

Now let's have a look at these "other conclusions", provided by on-the-scene international correspondents on the events in Tallinn, which, as Russian youth leader assures, did not constitute "Russian riot", falsely reported by the nationalist Estonian press:

Gangs of marauding youths smashed shop windows and looted shops. Two towns in the dominantly Russian northeast were also affected...
..left 153 injured, many from glass cuts from broken shop windows.

The looters smashed windows and stole everything from drugs from the chemist's shop to women's underwear, designer jeans and alcohol.
"It is absolutely disgusting how some Russian youths behaved. This has nothing at all to do with the Soviet monument," 29-year-old Svetlana Bruskova told AFP.
Larissa Antshak surveyed the disarray in the lingerie shop where she works.
"They stole the bras and underwear!" she said in disbelief.

A Hugo Boss fashionstore, a cosmetics shop and a computer dealership were among theshops looted.

... protesters trashed shops.

More than 1,000 protesters, most of them apparently Estonians of Russian descent, gathered around the park and soon began to clash with the police, who used tear gas and water cannons as the protest turned to rioting, vandalism and looting.

Russian-speaking youths rampaged through Tallinn, Estonia's capital, smashing windows and looting shops during the worst violence the country has seen since declaring independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

..a looting rampage

photo from

Stealing bras and underwear and then lying to Motherland press (not that they would object) about "freedom fight" against "Estonian nationalists", is it the best Mr Ivanov can do? How about "international correspondents", is it a reference to the AFP's "stealing", DPA's "looting" or Reuters' "smashing"? I am afraid it could instead be a reference to "Junge Welt" - obscure, officially Marxist newspaper from Berlin, which perhaps together with Cuban News Agency condemned Estonian-American Imperialism in strongest possible terms (See Wiki on Junge Welt).

This was today's Russian perspective on Estonia. More in the coming days!


Giustino said...

Do you think there will be a "next Bronze Soldier" or will there just be more of these activists reflecting on their heroic night for the next year? I mean, they moved the statue, so they sort of lost ... big time.

I guess everyone will get anxious around May 9 again. What do you think?

Estonia in World Media (Rus) said...

I think it is the biggest religious holiday for Russians.

Therefore all kinds of complications are possible. Last time it started in 2006, 9th of May, when two Estonian nationalist activists brought themselves and a sign saying "this soldier occupied our country". For Russians it is hard not to react bitterly on that, because at the Soldier they are cornered and when they react it is hard for Estonian flag to stand straight. And if Estonian flag isn't standing straight it looks and feels bad on TV screen. And if so, whole lot of other ethnic Estonian people get involved about the monument. And if so, whole lot of ethnic Russian people get involved with the question.

Coming to Bronze Soldier by two Estonian nationalist patriotic activist was in turn, probably result of 2004 relocation of known monument in Lihula by Parts government.

So 9th of May it is a day with highest possible concentration of elements of chaos, disorder, instability with cause-consequence lines forming unpredictable connections.

Provided nobody unusual from any political group shows up or interferes directly in the event of people gathering around cemetery and monument we shall be fine, because without cause Russians won't act as they don't normally act and even don't vote for any non-mainstream political groups.