Thursday, May 03, 2007

As weazl predicted, Russia will use Estonian statue debate to flex its muscles and show Europe it's back and there's little they can do

Russia to cut Estonia fuel transit amid statue row

Russia halted deliveries of oil products to Estonia on Wednesday in a move that coincided with protests in Moscow over the Baltic state's relocation of a Soviet war memorial.

The cut-off was likely to revive Western fears the Kremlin is using its energy might as a political weapon against ex-Soviet neighbors. Russia's state rail monopoly said it planned to carry out maintenance on the rail link to Estonia, disrupting supplies. Coal exporters said Russian railways had also halted exports of steam coal via Estonia for this month, totaling up to 900,000 tons, citing a shortage of railway wagons. They said Russian rail monopoly RzHD told them they must use their own rail wagons, not RzHD's, but it has not been possible with such short notice to find alternative wagons. Moscow and Tallinn have been trading barbs since Estonia last week moved a bronze statue of a Red Army soldier - revered in Russia as a symbol of its huge sacrifices in World War Two - from its spot in the centre of the capital.

Estonia said the statue was a public order menace and focus for Estonian and Russian nationalists. Many Estonians see the statue as a reminder of 50 years of Soviet rule. Germany, holder of the European Union's rotating presidency, said it was deeply concerned about the row and by rolling protests by pro-Kremlin youth groups outside Estonia's embassy in Moscow that diplomats there say amounts to a blockade. The European Commission said it would send a delegation to raise the matter with Moscow. Russia's foreign ministry said Estonia was to blame for the protests. The protests, in their sixth day, escalated sharply on Wednesday when a group of demonstrators stormed a news conference shortly before Estonia's ambassador arrived. The ambassador's bodyguards sprayed gas to disperse the protesters.

Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel about the protests in Moscow, his office said. „This is a well-coordinated and flagrant intervention with the internal affairs of Estonia,” Ansip told parliament. „We have turned to the European Union and we ask them to take immediate action. Attacking one member state means an attack against the entire European Union,” he added. The dispute is likely to cast a cloud over an EU-Russia summit to be held in Russia on May 18.

Russia sends a quarter of its oil products exports - including fuel oil, diesel and gasoline - by rail to Estonia, from where it is re-exported to northern Europe. A spokeswoman for Russian railways denied there was any political motive to the disruption, but traders said it was linked to the row with Estonia. „It was bound to happen, given the recent political dispute,” said a trader with a Russian major. Russia has a track record of turning off the energy taps during disputes with neighbors, though in each case it has cited technical or commercial reasons. US Vice President Dick Cheney has accused the Kremlin of using energy as a tool of „intimidation and blackmail.” In one of several cases, in 2005 Russia cut off gas supplies to Ukraine, led by pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko. The cut-off briefly disrupted deliveries to European customers.

Earlier on Wednesday, about 25 demonstrators shouting „shame on Estonia!” and „fascism will not be allowed!” burst into the hall where Estonian ambassador Marina Kaljurand was expected to speak to reporters. At Estonia's embassy, another group of protesters mobbed the Swedish ambassador's car and ripped off the flag as he tried to drive off after visiting his Estonian counterpart, Swedish diplomats said. Sweden's foreign ministry said it would be issuing Moscow with a „strong protest” over the incident. A spokesman for Estonia's embassy said the protests had forced it to close its consulate and it was advising diplomats not to visit from Estonia. Russia's foreign ministry said it would meet its commitments to safeguard the embassy. But chief spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said Russia was not to blame for the protests. „Passions have been brought to the boil and we believe the blame for that rests entirely with the Estonian side,” he said.

Germany's ambassador to Moscow has made known the European Union's misgivings over the growing diplomatic row between Russian and Estonia, the Foreign Ministry in Berlin said Wednesday. The ambassador had presented a demarche in person in the name of the EU presidency, currently held by Germany, the spokesman said. The European Commission also expressed „deep concern” over the steadily worsening situation, in which Estonia's embassy in Moscow has come under virtual siege. Merkel had said Germany would do its best to ensure Russia adhered to diplomatic norms, Kateriin Leini, a spokeswoman for the Estonian government, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa. The European Commission expressed its concern and urged the Russian government to fulfil its obligations to protect foreign embassy staff. (chinadaily.com.cn, eux.tv)

Original article posted here.

2 comments:

Michael said...

Here are some interesting facts about Estonia:

Most wanted Nazi war criminals
10b. Harry Mannil
Arrested Jews and Communists who were then executed by Nazis and Estonian collaborators
Status: Cleared by investigation in Estonia

10a. Algimantas Dailide
Arrested Jews who were then murdered by Nazis and Lithuanian collaborators
Status: Deported from US; convicted by Lithuania, which has hereto refused to implement his sentence of imprisonment
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1178020745724&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Not a single Estonian citizen who participated in the persecution and/or murder of Jews during WWII has been brought to trial by the Estonians, despite the existence of abundant incriminatory evidence in at least two cases submitted in recent years.
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull&cid=1176152786406

A monument to an Estonian “Freedom Fighter” had been unveiled in a small town Lihula in Western Estonia. It showed a soldier in a German uniform with a Waffen-SS (combat SS) unit emblem, wearing a steel helmet and holding a machine gun.
http://www.baltictimes.com/news/articles/12586/

So, what one should think about all this?

1. Thousands of estonians were voluntarily serving in Hitler’s Waffen-SS troops where they exterminated Jews, Gipsies, Russians, Belarusans, Ukrainians, and other “untermenschen” in death camps.

2. No one Estonian was brought to trial for war crimes after Estonia had become independent. Moreover, Estonia protects even most wanted Nazi criminals identified by Holocaust organizations.

3. Estonia officially glorifies its Waffen-SS “freedom fighters” by setting up monuments to them. Meanwhile, Estonia destroys memorials to Soviet soldiers, who won Hitler's fascism.

4. Currently Estonia practice massive ethnic discrimination of the same Russians, Belarusans, Ukrainians and other “untermenschen”.

You don’t have to be a detective to make a judgement: Estonia is a typical Nazi state that is proud of taking a part in the Hitler's fascist project and Holocaust during WW2 and doing its best to implement the most "interesting" Nazi policies today. And if there was not just one million Estonian population, but 100 million of them with enough weapon, you can bet there would be another Holocaust in Europe already.

Ducky's here said...

Anyone interested in a pretty good film about the conflict between Germans and Russians in Estonia during the Russian civil war ( a critical time) should give Volker Schlondorff's "Coup de Grace" a look.

The German slaughter of Estonians during that period isn't well understood.