Опубликовано 04/05/07 в 22:48:00 GMT+02:00 EuRuChess
By Yevgeny Primakov, Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Moscow News, 4th May 2007
Last week, Russia was shocked by the demolition of the Bronze Soldier monument in Tallinn. A huge tent was put up to hide the criminal act from TV and photo cameras, and under the cover of night, the monument was cut up into separate pieces and taken to an unknown destination. At the same time, a decision was made to remove the remains of Soviet soldiers buried by the monument. All of this was done ahead of VE Day. This over the top act outraged a substantial part of Estonia's population. It insulted millions of Russians who consider VE Day the main holiday in their land. Furthermore, it insulted all peoples of the former Soviet Union who paid a price of 27 million lives for victory over the brown plague of Nazism that had threatened the whole world.
What lies behind the actions of the Estonian grave diggers? Only deep rooted, blind hatred for Russia, or a cold-blooded provocation that is designed to condition public opinion and force ethnic Russians from the country.
I am inclined to think that the last conclusion applies. There is a clear logic here. First, in defiance of prevailing sentiments not only in Russia but in the European Union, which, from every indication, Tallinn should have reckoned with, Estonia's Russian speakers were treated as second rate citizens. About 150,000 Estonian residents still have no citizenship. The process of their naturalization has been deliberately delayed for years. Non-citizens are unable to participate in the country's political life as full fledged citizens. For example, 73 percent of Estonia's Russian speakers were barred from a referendum on accession to the European Union. The highest unemployment rate is among the country's Russian speakers. Cities and towns that have concentrated Russian speaking settlements experience serious funding shortages. Consider the decision by the Estonian Chess Federation to ban children without Estonian citizenship from participating in children's world and European championships. Veterans of the Great Patriotic War [WWII] and state security agencies are harassed and prosecuted.
I believe that the demolition of the Bronze Soldier, as it is known in Estonia, means the preparation of a new campaign against Russian speakers. Note that the move was preceded by a "testing of waters": The issue of dismantling a monument symbolizing Estonia's liberation from Nazism during World War II was first aired in parliament and the media. Presumably, they wanted to see the reaction - primarily of the European Union - Estonia being an EU member state. When the Estonian leadership saw that there was no negative reaction, a monument demolition law was passed. Once again, attempts were made to disguise the real intention, in particular with the prime minister's claims about archeological excavations. But even though one half of Tallinn residents had spoken out against the grave digging plan, the Estonian authorities went ahead with it.
Did they realize that the reaction of the Russian speaking population - and these are not only native-born Russians but also those who consider themselves to be part of Russian culture, regarding Russian as their mother tongue - would be rather strong and that it could lead to clashes with police in central Tallinn? I believe they could not have failed to consider this scenario. Or maybe it was actually a factor in their decision to carry out this blasphemous "project."
Russia's reaction was not slow in coming. It was tough, but I believe that it was commensurate to the deed that had provoked it. No country - big or small - will be allowed to insult the sacred feelings of the Russian people.
We are tolerant and patient, but our patience is not infinite.
What lies behind the actions by the Estonian grave diggers? Only deep rooted, blind hatred for Russia or a cold-blooded provocation designed to condition public opinion for further moves to force ethnic Russians from the country.