Monday, May 7, 2007

The Myth-Makers of Estonia

For the second time in two weeks I've posted something on this blog as an original thought that appeared on the CounterPunch political opinion site shortly thereafter as an article by someone else. One or both of us is too predictable! In this case Alevtina Rea wrote a piece titled The Myth-Makers of Estonia which takes the Estonian government to task for trying to erase (some) history while simultaneously alienating the ethnic Russian population. You read it here first!

In case anyone doesn't believe me, here's a photo of the monument erected with Estonian government funds that honors their SS "legion:"


plasma-jack said...

Just curious.
What do you exactly call erasing "some" history of Estonia?
There's some basic facts which correlate with the official Estonian version:

1918: Estonia is declared independent
1939: Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, WWII starts
1940: Stalinist coup in Estonia, the Soviet occupation starts in Estonia
1941: Germany attacks Soviet Union, German occupation starts in Estonia
1944: after Germans retreat, the Soviet occupation is reinstated.
1945: end of WWII
1991: Estonia declared independent again

what did I erase exactly?

plasma-jack said...

and, in case you want to read the longer official version about WWII:

QuizMasterChris said...

Y'know, linking to Estonian websites to back up your version of history really isn't a very convincing argument.

The claim on that website that Estonians were considered an inferior race and therefore barred from service in the German military is nonsense.

We might refer to the "Estonian Legion" of the Waffen-SS in the following articles:

(This one was written by a fellow I guess to be Jewish, who writes "Estonia practices apartheid against ethnic Russians - children of those people, who saved millions of Europeans of fascism and death, were being killed in the battle with German Nazis."

or this:

or this:

And about those Estonian Holocaust death camps:

... and their local fascist volunteers, who sent thousands to their deaths:

I'm pretty happy that the Soviets (and the US) won that war. As bad as the treatment of ethnic Estonians was during the days of the USSR - and let's face it, the standard of living was higher there than pretty much anywhere else in the Soviet Union - people were sent to Siberia for their activities and not their genetics and/or religion. Some Estonians killed by the Soviets were freedom fighters, but let's face it, some were essentially Nazis.

It's a shame that your country has conflicting views about Nazis, and has to dg up the bodies of people who died lifting the yoke of fascism from Europe. You have some Russians living in your country now, why don't you grow up and deal with it constructively?

plasma-jack said...

a correction: I didn't exactly try to back up my view of history with a link to the Estonian government.

I simply told you my version of history which COINCIDES with official Estonian version of history (and strangely enough, with that of Wikipedia or other encyclopedias). I thought you were talking about our official version which erases something.

In case you are interested in Nazi crimes in Estonia dutring the German occupation, you should read the report of the international commission led by Max Jakobson, former Finnish ambassador to the EU. It's a question of taste, but I prefer such sources to official Russian propaganda ;-)

Here's the link to commission's homepage:
and the conclusions of the commission:

it's only 11 pages, a quick read - and you can skip the first chapter, because it tells about Soviet crimes against humanity

Here's the link to

plasma-jack said...

and, in case you are interested in Jewish minority's history in Estonia, here's a little timeline. Still ready to hear if I "erased" something.

1856: Jewish congregation is formed in Estonia
1865: Czar Alexander II grants Jews the right to live ieverywhere in the Russia (nice guy, that Alexander, he still is the most loved Russian ruler for the Estonians, because he abolished serfdom)
1882: first synagogue is built
1925: Estonian government grants right to cultural autonomy to all national minorites
1926: the Jewish Cultural Council elected and Jewish cultural autonomy declared
1940: Jewish Cultural Council abolished by Soviets
1941: about 400 Jews are deported to Siberia.. by Soviets, yet again
1941-1944 during the German occupation, practically all Estonian Jews that couldn't flee are killed (mostly in 1941, which is a very dire year for Jewish minority)
1944: the synagogue is destroyed - ironically, during Soviet bombardment
1994: the Holocaust memorial is built at the site of the former death camp
2007: a new synagogue is opened

QuizMasterChris said...

Your list in that last post is an excellent example of overlooking some important history, such as the wiping out of most of the Jewish population by German, Estonian and, because this is where many were deported, Polish fascists.

For the 4th time or so, I'm not saying the USSR was great. I'm merely pointing out that it's an ugly move to dig up the bodies of Soviet soldiers who kicked the Nazis out of your country and ended the Holocaust in Eastern Europe shortly before the local minority Russian population celebrates the May 9 victory over Hitler. The fact of the matter is some (not all) Estonians have more problems living with modern young ethnic Russians who can't help where they were born than living with the SS.

logic said...

And again I will not save my time commenting you Chris :)

Yes they wiped Nazis from Estonia. Do you know how many Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians died or were deported after that?

Is there difference what's nation of killed person? Is one jew better than 10 estonians?

plasma-jack said...

The fact is, that independent Estonia did not participate in World War II, it was occupied when it started.
I do not overlook the fact that some Estonians committed crimes against humanity when collaborating with occupying regimes (many Russians, French and Dutch also collaborated with Nazis, didn't they?) - that's also written in the report that I linked to in my prevoius post. Read it, then you can have some real facts to use against the Nazis, instead of repeating Russian propaganda.

I did not accuse you of supporting USSR, otherwise I wouldn't waste my breath on you. I simply try to tell you that Estonia does not deny its past.
Doesn't it seem curious that the holocaust memorial and the synagogue were built only after Estonia regained its independence? Soviets had 50 years to do those things, but they did not.

You ask about the reason of reburial. Main reason was complete lack of information whose (if any) coprses where buried at Tõnismägi. Now we try to identify the corpses and a Russian citizen has already expressed interest of getting back her relative's remains.

As for the alleged "sacrilege" -
if that picture really does look offensive, then I must be a complete barbarian, because I simply do not understand.

plasma-jack said...

for comparison, an article from Moscow Times. A Russian businessman reflects on possible ways to avenge Estonia.

plasma-jack said...

oh, you put up the picture to the monument raised by local right-radicals that was taken down 3 days later by the government. and your point is that... there are right-radicals living in Estonia? Gee.

plasma-jack said...

Estonian government funds?
I hope you are just mistaken, rather than cynically lying - but it sounds very insulting. For the 10th time, don't believe everything you read from Russian media.

QuizMasterChris said...

Plasma Jack seems to have some trouble maintaining his internet connection, what with the multiple postings. Not very stable connections over there? I'm sure that's the fault of Russians and Jews. Now that Hitler, there's a guy who knew how to make the 'net run on time!

logic said...

Chris, while plasma-jack is very emotional about the topic he/she posts way to many posts but that does not give you rights to insult other people. If you decided to talk about topic you don't understand and spread wrong information be ready to meet different opinion.

plasma-jack said...

well, chris, if you really WANT to believe that Estonians are genetically Nazis then I can't change your mind. Voted for Social Democrats, myself, though - and both my granfathers were arrested during the German occupation. I have Russian and Jewish friends, thank you very much. Maybe you would be thrilled to hear that a member of Estonian parliament, a Russian Jew called Mihhail Lotman (son of Juri Lotman, if that name tells you anything), also voted for relocating the statue. Our ambassador in Russia, who was recently assaulted by Putinjugend, is half Russian and half Latvian. Estonia is a multicultural country, y'know. Yes, I'm an ethnical Estonian, myself.

QuizMasterChris said...

I don't recall saying that all Estonians are Nazis. Like most of (especially Easten) Europe, though, there appears to be a tendency for nationalist groups to be a little too eager to excuse everyone who sided with the Nazis.

In the case of Estonia this has manifested itself as far as deciding that a monument to the people who kicked the Nazis out of your country has to go because it makes your minority group happy. That's not too cool from my perspective. That doesn't make me a "dupe" of Moscow, which is the first insulting thing anyone wrote around here.

;/ said...

Anyone, that thinks Soviets liberated Baltic States should: 1) read some books; 2) talk to Baltic people; 3) get their shit together.

Nazis and Soviets are equal evil, but the simple fact is that Baltic states suffered 10 times more, because of the occupation by CCCP. That is the worst part of those countries histories, without a slightest doubt. That's why any of these states have a right to remove any monument that has to do anything with Soviet occupation.

QuizMasterChris said...

1) I can pretty much guarantee that I read books, there, buckaroo.

2) I have, if you've been paying any attention at all, talked with many Baltic people. Guess what? Some of them are nationalistic bigots. It's very convenient to make the USSR and Russians the scapegoats for your problems (now that the Jews are gone).

I don't happen to think that the fact that the USSR wiped out your nationalist (which at the time meant literally siding with Hitler) population was the worst part of your history. I think the fact that you wiped out your Jewish population and had a corps of SS volunteers was the worst part of your history. I think the fact that you sent your own citizens to death camps based in their religion was the worst part of your history.

3) I don't believe for one second that removing the monument has to do directly with Soviet occupation. For one thing the bodies of the people you dug up died before the war was over. I think it has to do with not wanting to deal with the fact that A) you have an unhappy minority population and B) they are there because Estonian nationalists teamed up with the Nazis and lost the war, two things you'd rather not have to think about.

For the 5th or 6th time, I've never argued that the USSR was great, or even good. They are responsible for beating Hitler though, and since this is a point of pride for Russians you feel the need to remove their literal rallying point. They want to remember the past and you want to overlook the inconvenient bits.

logic said...

"the inconvenient bits"

Think before writing.

QuizMasterChris said...

You do realize that anyone can post anything on Wikipedia until someone else corrects it? Think before posting.

logic said...

Ahhh so? The facts you post are right the facts other post is wrong. Now I understand you are your own bible. That's kind of funny because I though I was speaking with sane person.

QuizMasterChris said...

A lot of the stuff on Wikipedia is wrong.

logic said...

I have pointed to wikipedia because it is english text that corresponds with the history I have learned and FACTS that half of my family lived part of their lives in north Russia (in quite bad conditions if you understand that north Russia is not Alaska) and other part of my family has not the best experience both with Nazis and Soviets.

So non-sense you are spreading is insulting many citizens of Baltic state enough personally.

If you don't believe me than I must note that September the 11th is the little inconvenience as well.

QuizMasterChris said...

Last time I checked the ethnic Russians in Estonia who didn't want those soldiers who fought Hitler dug up were Baltic citizens too, no? I don't seem to be hurting their feelings any. This is a conflict between citizens of a Baltic state, and you don't speak for everyone.

Unless you don't think those people are citizens..?

You're not hurting me any in bringing up September 11 by the way.

First, no one here cares what you think about us, although you evidently are very concerned what we think about you. Let me assure you, and I state this as a fact, not an insult, that most Americans don't know that Estonia is a country, nor do they care.

Second, I have no tolerance for people here who think that just came out of nowhere and start their calendar of events on September 11 and don't consider the negative influence the US has had in the Middle East which in part led to those attacks.

See, this is what you do when you examine the full sweep of your own nation's history: you examine the good and bad and hopefully learn something from it.

You'll notice that we had an armed rebellion of slaveholders here against the government. Do we dig up CSA soldiers & move their monuments? No, we have federal government funding to maintain them, because its part of our history!

logic said...

Some of those people are not citizen. Yes, you read it right. About 100000 russians living in Estonia and not Estonia's citizens. The same rules applies to Latvia. They are people without citizenship. The only exception from Baltic states is Lithuania because situation in Lithuania is slightly different.

Another point about Russians. Part of them are happy that those unknown soldiers were dug, their identity was determined and they were moved to graveyard.

logic said...

I think the monuments for CSA soldiers is not the same as monument for Russian soldier. If people begin making Ku Klux Klan meetings near monuments you will move CSA soldiers' monuments somewhere I think.

QuizMasterChris said...

There have been KKK rallies at CSA monuments. We let that slide.

logic said...

I doubt they were nightly ;-)

Your words:
"I have no tolerance for people here who think that just came out of nowhere and start their calendar of events on September 11"

I have no tolerance for people who has double standards ...