Friday, May 04, 2007

Quite a surprise Suomessa: Estonian Embassy Pelted With Eggs

Estonian embassy in Helsinki (Finland) bombarded with eggs

Finnish police have tightened security of the Estonian embassy in Helsinki. As a REGNUM correspondent reports citing sources in Finland, the reason to increase security was hooligan attacks against the neighboring country’s embassy. Wall of the Estonian embassy was bombarded with eggs. Besides, someone brought an Estonian flag to the embassy on which fylfot was painted.

Earlier, on April 26, police used force in disposing people who gathered in the Tonismagi Square in Tallinn protesting against dismantling of the Bronze Soldier Monument. On the night of April 27, the Estonian government took a decision to dismantle the monument and it was demolished at dawn of the same day. . On April 28, excavations of graves of Soviet soldiers buried in the square during World War Two were started. On April 29, the Estonian defense minister announced that on May 8 the Bronze Soldier would be unveiled in a new place. On April 26, night riots started in Tallinn.

Under official police data, on April 26-28, about 1,000 most of them are now released. Those arrested say they were subjected to cruel treatment, but police officials deny the reports.

Original article posted here

And other politicians are jumping into the discussion

Slovak MP says Estonian actions smack of "fascism"

WARSAW, May 3 (RIA Novosti) - Estonia's removal of a WWII monument was a sign of "fascism, racism and Nazism," the Slovak news agency TASR quoted Slovakia's deputy parliament speaker as saying Thursday.

Anna Belousovova, who is also deputy chairperson of the Slovak National Party (SNS), one of the ruling coalition government parties, said the Estonian government's connivance was an insult to the memory of those who fought against fascism.

Belousovova said the removal of the statue was evidence that "Estonia does not share European values," an issue that should be raised at the European Parliament and the Council of Europe.

In the run up to VE Day celebrations Belousovova praised the role of the Soviet Army, which liberated Europe from fascism, and urged young Slovakians and Russians to help maintain WWII memorials in Slovakia, where over 60,000 Soviet soldiers are buried. She said she was hopeful the initiative would involve other European countries as well.

Last week, Estonian authorities moved a Soviet-era World War II monument in central Tallinn to a military cemetery on the outskirts of the city. The removal sparked a wave of protests, both in Moscow and Tallinn. The Estonian Embassy in Moscow has been under siege by pro-Kremlin youth activists from the Nashi (Ours) movement since last week.

Earlier Thursday the Russian Foreign Ministry expressed concern to the ambassadors of Germany, Portugal and the European Commission over "the lack of response from the European Union to Estonia's actions."

Original article posted here.


Anonymous said...

2 May 2007
The Baltic Times
(c) 2007 Baltic Times

Ever since the impassioned debate over the fate of the Bronze Soldier monument and nearby war grave arose almost a year ago, it has been the opinion of The Baltic Times that the remains of the soldiers should be reburied in a military cemetery but that the statue should remain. There was more logic to this stance than want for compromise. During the war, soldiers were buried where they fell; civic planning was not a consideration. Modern urbanism has different requirements than those of wartime, and so there is absolutely no sense is keeping a dozen coffins beneath the ground in a busy Tallinn intersection. The statue, however, is a matter of pricipal. It is our opinion that adherence to the will of a minority is crucial if a democratic society is to function properly.
Otherwise, the opposite, "majority takes all" approach to societal "consensus" will foment an irreparable schism that in the long term will incur more damage than the need for tolerance.

If a government continually ignores the wills of its minorities, it can only blame itself for the ultimate consequences.

We are, to be sure, in complete solidarity with the Estonians who wanted the statue removed to more remote location solely on historical criteria. The statue represents Soviet oppression and occupation, it represents the tens of thousands of innocent Estonians shoved into train cars and sent to Siberia and the Arctic Circle to work as slaves, and lately, it has come to represent the hypocrisy of Russians everywhere who embrace the achievements of the Soviet Union yet protest innocence when it comes to the crimes of that totalitarian empire.

Are these not sufficient enough reasons to dismantle the Bronze Soldier then? Not quite. There are dozens of structures symbolizing Soviet oppression and occupation throughout the Baltics and Eastern Europe.
Warsaw has its "Stalin tower," and for many years the Poles wanted to raze it; after years of reflection, however, the population made its peace with the building, and it still stands. In America there are hundreds, if not thousands, of places remaining that symbolize slavery and discrimination, but they still stand. (Thomas Jefferson owned slaves, but his face is still on the nickel and two-dollar bill.) The battle against symbols is a losing one, and the sooner we recognize this the wiser we will be.

The riots and looting were a sham and a farce. They were organized by a gang of desperate rebels who needed an explosion of violence to support their spurious claims that Estonia was on the brink of civil war. Worse, the mayhem was carried out by a mob of backpack-totting adolescents whose understanding of history is on the level of a fifth-grader.
Instead of venting on legitimate targets - e.g., government offices - they went for commercial enterprises. Their ignominy will not be forgotten.

The Russian legislators who dropped into town were a continuation of the circus. The group, headed by the wildly tactless Nikolai Kovalyov, clearly showed its truth-avoidance tactics when it refused to attend a press conference with Estonian and international journalists. This is typical cowardice of liars; hard questions from a clique of indignant journalists would've melted their ire and made them walk away with their tails between their legs. Kovalyov and company were on a public relations mission of "search-and-destroy" in Estonia, and if they had done anything less they would've been welcomed back in Moscow as traitors.

But the Russian lawmakers were symptomatic of the entire farce that goes by the name "Russian media." The extraordinary amount of errors, misinformation and abject lies in Russian reporting on the war monument removal ought to be documented by a team of journalism graduate students and used as a case study. The Kremlin-run propaganda orgy included such apocrypha as the dismemberment of the Bronze Soldier and mass resignation of ethnic Russians on Estonia's police force. The latter falsehood was particularly stunning in that it ran in all Russian media, and everywhere with the same attribution: the Estonian anti-fascist league. Just astonishing reporting.

The Bronze Soldier affair - undoubtedly the most scandalous event in Baltic history since independence - was in many ways misguided from the beginning. But in the end perhaps the greatest lesson that will emerge will be the staggering hypocrisy and mass hysteria of Russian society and government, who have once again demonstrated their lack of preparedness for a place among civilized nations.

Anonymous said...

Here is a link that will help to explain a bit the complicated nature of Estonian history.