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  • Baltic discussion

    Originally posted by amvas
    I think that European must first of all look after human rights watching in Baltic countries. To my mind there exists an alloy of democracy with nationalism. The forehead is democratic, but in reality there exists a strong discrimination of Russians.
    It's Baltic know-how - passports of non-citizens
    I think you shouldn't believe everything they tell you in your mass media. There have been plenty of observers from various international organisations in Estonia and Latvia but none have concluded that there is discrimination against Russian-speaking minorities. OSCE even withdrew its mission from Estonia since there was nothing to observe. Note that any incidences of discrimination would easily end up in the European Court of Human Rights, although there have been cases from Estonia for example in ECHR - none have been related to alleged discrimination of Russians. Estonia does give passports to all non-citizens and affords them all the same basic human rights as to any resident in Estonia. Also the naturalisation requirements are quite relaxed compared to European standards and basically anybody wanting a citizenship can have it by simply learning some basics of Estonian language and culture.

    In practice, even though there was one well publicised campaign initiated by Putin a couple of years ago to recall the former colonists back to the fatherland (I applaud Putin for his resolution to follow international law in this issue) there is no movement from Estonia to Russia. Even though there are economic incentives offered for people to move from Estonia to Russia there are few takers for this opportunity. Seems to me that those people are quite happy to be here and thats fine with me.

    BTW I am not claiming Estonia does not have any HR problems just no HR problems specifically related to Russians. I think the most pressing HR issue in Estonia is the rights of patients in mental institutions, as a panel of doctors can commit a person to a mental institution and its rather difficult to get somebody review those decisions. The system is a remnant of the occupation era and proper due process guarantees should be added to it as soon as possible.

  • #2
    Originally posted by pp(est)
    I think you shouldn't believe everything they tell you in your mass media. There have been plenty of observers from various international organisations in Estonia and Latvia but none have concluded that there is discrimination against Russian-speaking minorities. OSCE even withdrew its mission from Estonia since there was nothing to observe. Note that any incidences of discrimination would easily end up in the European Court of Human Rights, although there have been cases from Estonia for example in ECHR - none have been related to alleged discrimination of Russians. Estonia does give passports to all non-citizens and affords them all the same basic human rights as to any resident in Estonia. Also the naturalisation requirements are quite relaxed compared to European standards and basically anybody wanting a citizenship can have it by simply learning some basics of Estonian language and culture.
    As for different kinds of European observers, I pay strong allergy to them from the period of the First Chechen War. Those observers brightly shoed themselfes as a guides of double-standarts in respect of Russia and Russians!

    Ok, I'm glad to hear that Estonian Russians are given common passports. I also heard that the situation becomes better in Lithuania. But the most hot now is in Latvia!

    The other claims on Baltic countries (in different scales though)
    1. Limitation of Russian language using.
    2. Popularization of SS Baltic units (SS divisions fromed from Baltic citizens).
    3. Persecution of veterans of Soviet army and Militia and KGB.
    No, I'm not saying that there were no crimes from NKVD, but at the same time, SS veterans feel fine themselves in Baltic and fear nothing! And at the same time we can see criminal prosecution of Soviet soldiers and officers, fighting against Germans. Besides the term "occupation" is widely used in rhetoric of such a processes. I'll return to this below......

    I consider that if anywhere in Europe (of cource, except Ukraine) you find a monument to SS soldiers you'll be much surprised.
    But it's not a rare info now an opening of such a memorials in Baltic countries!!!
    References that they struggle for Baltic freedom sounds too poorly. If you don't know, much part of jews in Baltic were killed by that home-maden SS-men!


    In practice, even though there was one well publicised campaign initiated by Putin a couple of years ago to recall the former colonists back to the fatherland (I applaud Putin for his resolution to follow international law in this issue) there is no movement from Estonia to Russia. Even though there are economic incentives offered for people to move from Estonia to Russia there are few takers for this opportunity. Seems to me that those people are quite happy to be here and thats fine with me.

    BTW I am not claiming Estonia does not have any HR problems just no HR problems specifically related to Russians. I think the most pressing HR issue in Estonia is the rights of patients in mental institutions, as a panel of doctors can commit a person to a mental institution and its rather difficult to get somebody review those decisions. The system is a remnant of the occupation era and proper due process guarantees should be added to it as soon as possible.
    Huh? Again need to return to this subject..... Some time ago on another forum I need to claim another point of view to it!!! Seems that I need to do it once more...

    There were no occupation of Baltic countries. and NO colonists existed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    For the process appeared in Baltic region in 1940 it's more correctly to use term FORCED ATTACHMENT. The citizens of the Baltic respublics had the same rights as other Soviet citizens! If you say about their peculiar suffering from NKVD I can reply that there were much more peoples in the USSR, which had suffered more from the Soviet Regime. And the first one among them is RUSSIAN nation!!!! It's totally incorrect to use a term "occupation" relative to Baltic republics!!!!!
    (I feel that you will not agree with this. In this case give prove your point of view and tell me about the main features of occupation......................)
    This stock phrase is widely used by Baltic propaganda to complain for especial suffering of Baltic nations from the Soviet regime. It's not true......

    The people you calls colonists whom, were common citizens of the USSR who occasionly found themselves in Baltic region. There were no special policy on "colonization" of Baltic republics. It was natural migration inside ONE country. On the contrary, now we can observe the process which is named "decolonization" and consisted in extrusion of Russians outside Baltic area. And if the so called "colonization" haven't been a state-guided policy, the opposite process is carrying out on STATE level! (Ok, if you say that not much Russians from Estonia leave it, lets consider to be so, but in Latvia, for example, the situation seems to be more dramatic)
    If you fire a rifle at the past, the future will fire a cannon at you.....

    Comment


    • #3
      I completely agree with Amvas in question of Baltic states.

      "Occupants", "colonists" - as I understand, Baltic youth uses this word usually because they do not remember Soviet time.

      Read also my first phrases about life in USSR in "Russians vs. Chechens terrorists" thread.

      "Defenders of Human rights" - why didn't they see what happens in Latvia? Russian TV often shows now mass demonstrations of Latvian schollchildren (Russian nationality) in Latvia who demand to abort new law about closing of schools with studying in Russian language. It is strange that Europe doesn't see it, Europe more likes to protect rights of Chechen bandits...

      But Baltic states have laws about citizens and non-citizens. In Russia after collapse of USSR every USSR citizen who was registered in Russia territory before colapse of USSR automatocally became citizen of Russia. And nobody asked his nationality or how long did he live in Russia before.

      Baltic states used other rules, they divided population in two parts - citizens and non-citizens. And it is OK for European "Human rights defenders".

      SS veterans in Baltic states are proud now that they fought "against Russians", rule supports them...

      Russian population irrigates by events in Baltic states.

      Comment


      • #4
        Andrey, I have many friends in Riga. There are no daily mass demos. You have also misunderstood the Latvian law. Nobody is closing down Russian speaking schools. State sponsored Russian speaking high schools are only supposed to teach some 60% of their subjects in Latvian so that Russian high school graduates could actually compete effectively with Latvians for seats in the University of Latvia and in Latvian employment markets. Similar reform is sorely needed in Estonia since Russian high school graduates are at a distinct disadvantage compared to others due to lack of language skills. Some experts from EU have actually recommended this.

        Occupants and colonists are actually words used by mostly everyone. We used it during the occupation as well - its nothing new. I was actually surprised to read that somebody actually thinks that it wasn't occupation - I know that Russia hasn't officially accepted that, but I always thought that was only because of the legal situation in order to avoid reparation claims. Russia is I think the only country in the whole world which doesn't consider it occupation.

        I think a short recap of history is in order:
        Estonia is a small state by the Baltic sea which won its independence by soundly defeating the red army and the German expeditionary force (consisting of the iron division and similar sized landeswehr contingent) led by general Golz in the years 1918-1919. During the Estonian war of independence Estonia gained two important allies: the Finns, who sent one regiment of infantry and the British who sent a naval flotilla to the Finnish gulf. Even though neither of these alliances was formalised in the form of treaties, they were important part of Estonian politics and relevant to understand what happened in Estonia in WWII.

        The co-operation with Finns had the intention of locking the Gulf of Finland with interlocking shore batteries, mines and submarines. The co-operation with British took the form of mutual intelligence assistance (Estonians were quite good at infiltrating the Soviet border and regularly assisted brits to both recruit and send spies to Russia) and also material purchases, as Estonia acquired most of its new weaponry and at the time the top-notch submarines from Britain.

        On 23 August 1939 Ribbentrop agreed with Molotov that among others Estonia would be part of Russia. In the early weeks of September of 1939 Estonian intelligence services noted that Russian forces were being maneuvered to the border ready to invade. However Estonia declared itslef neutral and didn't mobilise for fear of provocing an attack.

        On 24 September 1939 Stalin demanded that Estonia rented Russia some bases and allow locating 25 000 troops into Estonia. Estonian president approached both Finland and Latvia to discuss whether a joint defence was possible, but did not get guarantees. Apparently the top brass thought that there might be possibilities to maneuver later and deemed the military situation hopeless (Germany was considered Russian ally and seeing the Polish situation nobody believed the brits could spare us help) and agreed to allow the bases on 28. Allowing the bases is considered by many Estonians a hugely shameful act which totally ruined the reputation of many of the former independence war heroes who were part of making the decision.

        Unfortunately Stalin almost immediately breached the treaty and brought considerably more troops than the allowed 25 000. By june 1940 there were approximately 130 000 troops (the Estonian army had 15 000). To the shame of Estonians and again breaching the treaty, the Estonian bases were used to bomb Finland during the Winter War. Some of our shame was alleviated by the fact that the previous secret Estonian-Finnish co-operation channels were used as an early warning system for Finns to prepare for the air raids. Also there were many Estonians who managed to cross the Gulf of Finland to assist Finland in the war - only a handful is believed to reach the front though (the Estonian JR 200 fought in the Continuation War).

        On 16 June 1940 Stalin told that the Estonian government must be changed and demanded the right to occupy the entire country. Since at that time military response was obviously not possible (Paris had fallen a few days before and the German-Russian coalition seemed invincible). On 17 June the ultimatum was accepted, which is also the start of the occupation de jure. BTW this was also then the Jewish cultural autonomy in Estonia was abolished (the cultural autonomies were restored in 1993). Estonia was until that time known as one of the most tolerant societies in Europe at least as far as Jews were concerned.

        Soon after that a "peoples' government" was proclaimed and "an election"was organised where only the communist party members could set up their candidacy (there were about 150 communist party members in all and 101 parliament seats). The elections were conducted in breach of Estonian lawm under the supervision of the red army (and Zhdanov) and were the standard 99,8% stuff which continued throughout the occupation (I think nobody ever read what was put in the ballot). The all-communist parliament still had to have armed soviet sailors in the room to remind them who was in charge when they "voted" for the admission to the Soviet Union.

        Soon after the atrocities commenced. Some 20 000 were deported, arrested or executed (including a large part of the Estonian Jewish community, 80% of the 10 000 deported were women, children and elderly). 35 000 were "mobilised" in breach of international law, although they weren't trusted with weapons until much later. The mobilised were sent to work and re-education camps (among them one of my grandfathers).

        In light of this its hardly surprising that in 1941 Estonians welcomed Germans as liberators hoping that they would restore our independence and most importantly stop the atrocities. Estonians aided Germans where they could. Most of southern Estonian towns were liberated by Estonian guerillas before the Germans arrived. In the north, the Finnish equipped and supported Erna battlion fought a bitter battle against the destruction battalions trying to execute the razed earth strategy in Estonia.

        Unfortunately the Germans soon disappointed Estonians, since they didn't restore our independence and by commencing their own atrocities. It is estimated that 1000 Jews remained in Estonia after the German occupation. All of them were killed along with a few thousand others.

        In the winter of 1944, it was clear to Estonians that Germany would lose the war - the only question was how. Estonian underground resistance was in contact with Britain and had hopes that, if Estonia could get rid of Germans, Estonia could get a separate peace that would guarantee our independence. There were discussions with local German commanders and a plan was devised whereby in the event of German retreat Estonia would be declared independent and Estonian troops serving in the German armed forces along with a contingent of German troops that would be given Estonian citizenship, would remain as the forces of independent Estonia and sue for separate peace (like Finland did).

        When Germans (illegaly) started a mobilisation in Estonia in the beginning of 1944. The last legitimate Estonian prime minister held a famous radio speach urging Estonians to take up arms to hold the Soviets at bay. This caused a massive turnout for the mobilisation far exceeding German expectations (55 000 showed up, the Germans expected 15 000). It also made German high command suspicious and they did their best to make sure that Estonians would not have a force which could be used against them, also they allowed only 38 000 to fight. These troops were divided into border guard regiments and the Estonian SS-division and were sent to the front with basically no training and poor equipment (except the 20.th division which was well equipped).

        The Estonian troops arrived to the front in mid-to-late February just in time to repulse the red army offensives to take Narva and Tartu in the eastern and southern Estonia (winning quite a few decorations in the process). Estonian troops fought under Estonian colours always using identification that showed what they were fighting for. Their action caused a delay of several months to the red army plans to recapture Estonia (Estonian continent was finally conquered by the end of september 1944). The action also made possible the escape of over 100 000 Estonians. In the process Estonian troops also had firefights with German SD-units trying to disband them - so again at times the war was fought against both Russians and Germans.

        Of course Hitler did not allow the restoration of Estonian independence even then he had decided to abandon Estonia. Despite this, the legitimate government of Estonia managed to convene and redeclare Estonian sovereignty after the Germans had left and before the Russians arrived. Although they tried to arrange the defence of Tallinn, they only had three days and thus they could offer only token resistance. Those few shots before our blue-black and white was removed from the Toompea castle did have considerable symbolic value.

        Comment


        • #5
          Some members of the government did manage to escape and set up a government in exile in London (later transferred to New York). The goverment in exile transferred their authority to current Estonian government in early nineties.

          After Estonia was again occupied by Red Army a new wave of atrocities but this time also guerrilla war commenced. Estonian guerrillas had contacts with British SIS which supplied both weapons and instructions. Although Estonian guerrillas wanted to escalate their action as soon as possible, the British wanted them to lay low until the expected (in Estonia that is) war between US/UK vs. Russia. The guerilla warfare continued until the beginning of 1950s, but the WWIII never came and by that time the British intelligence op was so thoroughly compromised that remaining action had little in common with organised resistance. The last guerillas concentrated in hiding themselves until better days (the last known guerilla committed suicide when KGB tried to capture him in 1978).

          amvas, since there was no such thing as a free movement of people within the Soviet Union, I don't understand you referring to natural migration. During the occupation I had to go through a vast bureacracy just to get a right to visit Moscow for three days. The vast majority who came were ordered/directed (remember how people got jobs - you didn't choose you were directed) to come and those who didn't come due to orders were higher up party members who could do what they pleased. That this was deliberate is easy enough to verify if you check any demographic statistics. The occupation era officials in Estonia have openly confessed that they had quotas on how many colonists they have to accommodate each year.

          The colonisation efforts began already late 1940s. Populations of whole areas were forcefully moved and colonists were brought in (I don't know whether the new inhabitants were also moved by force or if they were volunteers) Some 170 000 colonists were brought in between 1945 and 1950. At the same time approximately 70 000 Estonians were either arrested, executed or deported to Siberia (that is hardly normal movement of people within the Soviet Union?). Again mostly women and children were sent away. For example in 1949 my wife's mother along with her single parent mother (her father was a red navy officer lost at sea during the war) and all three of my grandfather's sisters were sent to Siberia. My grandmother who was pregnant with my mother was also on the train with her nine year old son, but a local official who knew her helped her escape.

          This was followed by more subtle methods where a factory was built in Estonia and all employees were imported also. The number of family members who came with the red army is also staggering if you consider the population of Estonia. Between 1945-1989 the proportion of Estonians in Estonia dropped from 97,3 to 61,5. Unfortunately the method of this has caused a lot of hardship for the local Russian population now, since those factories there they worked generally produced something useless - like zinq buckets, they have all been shut down just like the army bases).

          The russification campaign sped up immensely in the late 1970s and early 1980s. ‘The language of friendship of nations’ were sometimes taught even in kindergardens while no Estonian language were taught to new immigrants. Use of Estonian was dicouraged everywhere, as a kid I was sometimes refused service in grocery stores due to me using Estonian to try and buy bread. There was actually a mass demo of school children in Tallinn against this, but that had little effect (the ringleaders were disposed by the KGB of course).

          The decolonisation efforts after the end of occupation consisted of programs (some funded by private individuals, some by the USA and I am not sure but I've heard Russia itself is funding something of that kind) which allow Russians to sell their property in Estonia and set them up in Russia with start money and everything. Similar efforts are underway in Latvia but there seems to be equally low number of takers for this. I can only conclude that Russian people in Latvia consider life there better than they consider life in Russia.

          Andrey, all countries, including Russia, have laws concerning citizens and non-citizens. The difference between the two as far as the state is concerned should concern mostly the right to participate in elections and the obligation of conscription.

          In EU local government elections are based on residency and not citizenship meaning that in Estonia and Latvia, non-citizens cannot vote for parliament nor the European Parliament, but can vote for local governments. In addition the naturalisation process is quite relaxed.

          The difference of handling the citizenship issue between Russia and Baltic states has a legal reason. According to international law Russia was the successor of Soviet Union and thus all Soviet citizens were automatically Russian citizens. Baltic states were occupied territories and their citizenship was determined based on laws in effect prior to occupation. It didn't depend on ethnic background, only whether you could trace a legal citizenship to a time before occupation in 1940. Because of this there were many Estonians who had to go through the naturalisation process and many Russians who didn't.

          As to the alleged persecution of former NKVD men in Estonia.

          Estonia is investigating the events during all three occupations since 1940. An international commission led by Finnish veteran politician Max Jakobson has been set up. Estonian participation in holocaust has been thoroughly examined. Some Estonians did participate in the holocaust and have received their punishment (mostly execution) already during the Soviet occupation. Some hints of new possible participants surface from time to time and all are investigated thoroughly (Estonia considers Israel as an ally partly due to weapons purchases in earl nineties). The Estonian SS-division nor any of the Estonian units participating in the battles of 1944 were involved with holocaust. There are doubts concerning parts of one Estonian police battalion of which there are conflicting reports.

          At the same time Estonian police is investigating those participating in the genocide of Estonians (and Jews in 1940) especially between 1940-1949. Some former NKVD members who participated in those atrocities have been caught, offered fair trial and sentenced to prison. Those who were caught were involved with deportations of women, children and elderly. The trials were public and, if the men found guilty felt their rights were violated, they could have taken the matter to ECHR. I think communist war criminals should be brought to justice just like the nazi war criminals.

          Comment


          • #6
            Just a brief note on this school issue. According to Estonian law, any minority in Estonia is guaranteed the right to maintain their culture. Any minority group has the right to open their own schools and teach in whatever language they like. For example the Finns have their own school in Tallinn as do the Ukrainians. However state (or local government) schools have an obligation to prepare pupils for life in Estonia, including preparations for entry to work market and university. At the moment the high schools are failing in this task because Russian pupils only have Estonian classes, but no practical studies in Estonian. Many Russian parents have understood this and try to enroll their children to Estonian schools, which is again causing problems, because Estonian schools do not have the facilities to help these pupils along.

            Although the bill is shelved for a moment in Estonia. I think it is very important that Russian pupils at high school learn the language they need to cope with everyday life. The last thing we want is to create an underclass of Russians who do not understand the language, cannot participate in the society and are unemployed. Looking at crime and narcotics abuse statistics we already have some signs of this happening and this should be countered fast.

            Comment


            • #7
              Pp, how old are? What was your age during collapse of USSR?

              Your words are 100% Baltic anti-Russian propaganda.

              I spoke not about High Schools in Latvia, I spoke about usual schools for 7-17 years children. I personally saw in TV demonstrations of schoolchildren in Latvia, they had posters "Russian schools are our Stalingrad" and so on. (Latvian government decided to close most part (or even all?, I do not remember) Russian schools in Latvia.) And I saw about such demonstrations in Russian TV news often (I never said about every day demonstrations, but even such mass demonstrations are every week it is very strange that Europe doesn't note this).

              Your story about History of Baltic states is funny. It looks like it began in 1917-1918.

              I am not specialist in history earlier that Peter The Great time (18th Century) but I shall try to say my version of Baltic states history.

              Firstly, as I remember, only Lithuania was relatively large independent state for some time in 14-15 Century (approximately - ;-)). United Lithuanian, Polish and Russian troops won in battle against German knights in Grunvald battle.

              But all baltic states in past were under occupation of German knights-crusaders. They built castles and were seniors here, local population fought against them but without large success. Baltic states have and German name - Germans called this territory Kurland ("Kurlyandiya" in Russian). Germans were real colonists and Germans were real old enemies of Baltic states.

              Later Sweden became owner of Baltic states territory, Peter The Great (greatest Russian tsar) in Northern War (1700-1721) broke Sweden and Baltic states territory became territory of Russian empire. Before it in this territory all seniors were Germans, Russians didn't take off their lands and even in time of WWI (200 years later) Germans were most part of landlords in Kurland and amount of such Germans was so large than in Russia there was even term "Kurland Germans". Russian empire didn't try to colonize this territory, Russian empire developed this territory because in these territory most part of Russian Baltic ports were situated. All industry in Baltic states was made in time of Russian Empire or in Soviet time, Russia gave most part of money for it.

              So Baltic States before 1917-18 practically were not free and independent, they were under German and Swedish (may be, also Polish) occupation before it became part of Russian Empire.
              Most hostile enemies for local population were Germans.

              Somebody will laugh from my mistakes in top part of my message, but I am sure that I described common situation with far history of Baltic States relatively correctly.

              During WWI in Baltic States territory there were hard combats between Russian and German troops. Russian troops contained and units which were units of local baltic population (I heard that "Latvian shooters" ("Latyshskiye strelki" in Russian) were very brave and effective units in actions against Germans). German landlords in Kurland (citizens of Russia) supported German troops and made anti-Russian actions but most part of Baltic States natives supported Russian troops.

              After Revolution in Russia Russian Army collapsed and Germans finished occupation of Baltic States in 1918.

              After end of WWI Germans went out from Baltic States and Baltic States got independence.

              I do not remember facts that units of Baltic States won battles against of Red Army in time of Civil War in Russia. It is clear propaganda and false, Red Army didn't fight against Baltic States.
              Moreover, during Civil War in Russia Baltic States prevented for Russian anti-communist forces (Russian "white" army of general Yudenich) in their territory to act against Red Army. "Small but proud" Baltic States were afraid to irritate power Eastern neighbor, they even helped for "red" forces to destroy "white" forces in their territory.

              Baltic States were independent in 1918-1940.

              And it looks like hostile Russians broke their happy life.

              In reality WWII began in 1939. Baltic States were between two Great Powers - Germany and USSR. They had no chances to stay independent, they had important ports in Baltic sea and had to join to one or other power. Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact saved these countries from unavoidable German occupation.

              Baltic States joined to USSR without resistance, USSR didn't conquer these countries with help of Armed Forces, Baltic States had chance to resist for joining to USSR but government of Baltic States officially voluntary asked USSR about joining to USSR.

              I do not speak that USSR actions were good. But it is wrong to speak only about hostile Russians and to forget about Hitler's troops in West borders of Baltic States and about fact that Baltic States didn't resist against joining to USSR.

              Baltic States could to resist like Finnland, Poland, Belgium, Norway, Greece, Yugoslavia and other countries (many countries knew that they have no chances but resisted). They didn't do it, they shrinked in the face of danger when they had to fight like other free independent nations.

              About German threat. It looks like "good" Germans in 1941 wanted to liberate Baltic States from "occupation" of "hostile" Russians. Germans in Baltic States thought only about own interests, they not cared for interests of local population. I doubt in happy life for natives in Baltic States in case of long German occupation, Red Army in 1944 saved natives in Baltic States from real colonization by Germans. Read more about Hitler's plans of colonization of territory in East in any serious book.

              Moreover, Germans killed practically all Jews in Baltic States (citizens of these states in 1940) and it is very strange that modern Baltic States don't remember about fate of these their citizens. It looks like people in modern Baltic States speaks about Soviet "occupation" but they do no suppose that Germany made too bad things for Baltic States, mass murders of former citizens of these states which were made under German commanding are not large tragedy for them. It looks like people in modern Baltic States worry only about citizens of these countries which have native nationality. "Jews?... Germans can do all what they want with Jews, we do not worry about fate of Jews, Russians and people of other nationalities. Do you speak that they were citizens of our States in 1940 and had equal rights with natives? We do not want to recall about this, do not speak about it more. They were Jews, they were not natives." It looks like every non-native is second chop man in Baltic States.

              NOBODY in Baltic Stares blames Germany in mass murders of Jews. I suppose that it is useful to remember about this when you will hear again about Soviet "occupation".

              About Baltic States in USSR read my article in "Russia vs. Terrorists in Chechnya". In two words, Natives of Baltic States were in USSR equal citizents with Russians and other nationalities, it was like Scottish in Britain, not like Indians and Africans.

              So it is tales for idiots about extremely hostile Russians and extremely good natives of Baltic States which lost happy life from these Russians.

              Comment


              • #8
                Andrey, I am 28 yrs old. Old enough to remember clearly the eighties in the occupied Estonia. What I wrote before is the history as you can read from any competent history book. I have been also been able to verify a lot of it from my surviving relatives. As I mentioned one of my grandfathers was mobilised by the red army in early 1941 and sent to Russia to a work camp. He was later wounded near Velikije Luki. My other grandfather was born in 1899 just in time to fight in our liberation war against the red army and the German Landeswehr. So I have heard first hand accounts even of that war (and consider myself lucky because of it). I had an uncle who was first mobilised by the red army but who was able to defect and fought in wehrmacht.

                In real life, the Baltics is just a geographic definition. It isn't like there is some common Baltic people who share a history or a culture. I know more about Latvian history only because their history is intertwined with ours. I don't know much about Lithuanians - their history and their culture is completely different from ours. Its a mistake to try and put all these three countries together if you want to understand any of their history. The only time these countries acted in unison was during the late eighties.

                As to your version of Estonian history before 1918, it is mostly correct. Estonians were a bunch of Finnic independent tribes until early 13th century when they were conquered by Danish and German crusaders. Before that Estonians did pretty much the same as their western neighbours had done - raiding their neighbours and joining variags in their raids. Our leaders just didn't have the good sense to accept Christianity in time. The crusaders weren't many and most of them left. The feudal system that was created in Estonia featured both foreign and local manorial lords, although in time local lords started to use German language and were basically assimilated to the German culture (this kind of behaviour was quite common at the time throughout Europe). Like in any feudal systems - for example like in England - there were occassional peasant's uprisings. Some of them even fairly successful. These cannot be considered as wars of liberation or anything like that though, since there was no idea of an Estonian nation yet. During those times the territory of Estonia consisted of two provinces - Estland and Livland. Kurland was in Latvia.

                The Swedish rule followed Ivan Groznyi's attempts to conquer Estland. Although there is little information about the feelings of local population during the time we do know that one Ivo Schenkenberg led a succesful guerrilla war against Groznyi's troops in conquered territories. Schenkenberg's troops consisted of Estonians. The Swedish rule was generally considered as the golden age by Estonians. The king was tearing apart the feudal system to the chagrin of the by then mostly German manor lords. Estonian culture flourished with schools being opened and Estonian written language developed. This was ended by Peter the Great who gave the German lords in Estonia unprecedented rights in Estonia in return for them betraying the Swedish king. It was during the years of 1721-1860s then Estonians developed a true hatred against the German overlords which was why Estonian victory over the Germans in 1919 was so celebrated that it became our Victory Day (23 June).

                It is really odd that you think that the Red Army didn't fight Estonians in 1918-1919. It is correct that Germany conquered the Estonian territory in February 1918. Again the red army was quick to leave and there was an interim period after the Red Army left and before the Germans came during which Estonia proclaimed independence on 24 February. Germans wanted to form a German satellite by combining Latvia and Estonia into a Baltic Duchy. As the Germans were beaten in the western front they had to let go of their imperial dreams and withdrew. The Commander in Chief of the red army during that period - Vacietis wanted to co-ordinate an offensive into the Baltics as the Germans withdrew. The offensive was spearheaded by crack Latvian rifles. However Estonian forces who were underground during the German occupation managed to organise quickly enough to stop that.

                The Estonian war of independence began 18 November 1918 when the red army started their offensive over Narva river. At the same time the red army was pushing for Riga and southern Estonia where there was little to no resistance. In Estonia the Red Army was halted in 6 January 1919 30 km from Tallinn. The British fleet had arrived in Tallinn in December and the Finnish regiment arrived in late December. The Estonian counteroffensive allowed the formation of the North West Army of White Russians (Estonians really didn't want to allow this but it was demanded by the Entente). The North West Army was launched against St. Petersburg in May 1919 supported by Estonian Army and few British Tanks. The North West Army was led by a bunch of incompetents who quickly managed to destroy their units. Estonian troops were some 20 km from St.Petersburg but refused to participate in taking the city, because the White Army did not recognise Estonian independence. Soon after, the White Army was routed and withdrew to safety on Estonian territory where Estonian forces dismantled and interned them (and took over the tanks). In the meantime during the summer of 1919, Estonians fought with Germans advancing on Estonia from Latvia.

                The war ended then the Red Army offensives in november-december of 1919 were repulsed. Russia had to pay war reparations and cede territories to Estonia east from river Narva.


                The fact that we didn't fight in 1939 and trusted Stalin's treaty is of course our great shame. We shall never commit the same mistake again - in fact Estonian army now has a standing order that in case of occupation all units are to fight and must disobey any capitulation orders. The debate on how Estonia would have fared in 1939 against Russia is very common among military history enthusiasts in Estonia. I think we did have a chance, but that is 20/20 hindsight based on the events of winter war. I am also optimistic that Finns would have joined us later on, despite their early misgivings. With Finns the Finnish Gulf would have been sealed and the land corridors in eastern and southern Estonia are marshy and rather narrow. The Soviet tanks wouldn't have had such an advantage there.

                Whether we agreed to the bases or not does not make the events of 1940 less of an occupation and we did put up a fight in 1941 and 1944.

                Estonians do not think that Germans came to liberate us in 1941 because they were our friends. Many believed it was in the best interests of Germans to let us have our independence back. I understand that for you it may be difficult to understand, but for us there were not only two sides in WWII. Our units were constantly in the horns of the dilemma. As an example a small contingent of Estonians left Estonia to fight in the Winter War. Then Germany invaded Norway they went and fought against Germans in Norway. They returned with Erna battalion and fought Soviets in Estonia in Finnish uniforms. Later as members of the 1001st "fairy tale" sigint regiment they spied on Russians for Germans, then spied on Germans for Finns (who were afraid of German coup d'etat) and Brits (who were consider our real allies and friends).

                Estonia wasn't occupied because it was necessary. Estonian relations with Germany prior to war were strained at best and there was no way Estonia would have chosen to side with Germany. Given that the Red Army didn't put up much resistance in Estonia to Germans in 1941 it didn't even buy time for Russia. I think Russian defence would have been better off if there were no troops tied in Estonia (in 1940 they had to have almost 160 000 troops ready to deter any thought of attempting to resist). There were no natural resources in Estonia nor was there any real strategic reasons to occupy Estonia. Estonian ports were hardly important during the war. Estonia was occupied simply because Stalin wanted to expand west.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I already discussed the holocaust briefly. Estonia had some 4000 Jews prior to war. Estonia was considered by Jews as a model of tolerance. Here's a link concerning this http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/vjw/Estonia.html . Those 200 who fought for Estonia fought in the war of independence.

                  400 Jews were deported in 1941 - most of the deported died in Russian concentration camps. Most fled before the Germans came, but still 1000 remained and were executed by the Germans. In addition, according to the Wiesenthal center 20 000 Jews passed through labor camps located in Estonia. There were perhaps a few dozen Estonians involved with holocaust as guards of camps, etc. Most of those involved were tried and executed during the Soviet occupation. If any are found today they would be tried, but since Estonia does not have the death penalty they would only get jail time.


                  This is what Tel Aviv university has to say about Estonian SS division gatherings:
                  http://www.tau.ac.il/Anti-Semitism/updates/i98021.html


                  Estonian combat troops did not participate in holocaust. Approximately a quarter of the members of the Estonian SS division manage to flee west. Some returned later as guerilla fighters with British support. Among the guards of Nuremberg trials there were many Estonian former SS troopers in US uniforms. Many Estonians went on to fight for USA in Korea and Vietnam. BTW our first chief of the army after the end of occupation was a vietnam vet.

                  Like everywhere in Europe there are troubling signs of the rising antisemitism also in Estonia. This is mostly related to the current Israel situation and thankfully in Estonia mostly limited to small groups of skinheads and conspiracy theorists.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re:

                    I totally agree with Andrey :thumb:

                    Besides I have to note that in European rights for national minorities reserved rights for learning on NATIVE language, but not counting percent of subjects in native language.

                    I addition to Andrey's post about getting independance of Baltic countries in 1918. Can you say where are the soldiers of Russian general of the White Army Yudenich, who fought against Red Army on this direction and left then in Baltic area?????
                    If you don't know - most of them were shooten....

                    BTW, after the WWI due to decision of Great Britain and other Western countries the special "sanitary cordon" was built from so called "independant" countries. In almost all of them were governments consisted from nationalists. Poland, Romania, Latvia, etc.

                    Moreother, if you think that Baltic countries are independant now, you are wrong!
                    If you want to discuss this, lets wait until that bright moment when we can hear "NO" to anyone suggestion of Americans to your government. After this we can proceed discussing this subject. :sleep:

                    Besides you haven't answer about the main features of occupation except entrance of the soviet troops and setting a new parliament and government (btw, it was only communists who may took part in the whole USSR, not only in Baltic countries)which one you so dramatically claims. If you name deportation of a small number of Baltic citizens in Siberia or in Kazakhstan, I can remind you about millions of Russians and peoples of other nations whom were not only deportated, but simply killed.

                    As for colonists. Yep, we can't name migration inside the USSR totally free one. Espacially to Moscow. But there existed such thing as "distribution" of young specialists. So anybody graduated from Estonian high-school could found himself in Crimear, Caucasus, Georgia or other territory. And at the same time any Russian may found himself in Latvia, Kamchatka or Siberia. Because it was ONE country, but not country+occupied zone.

                    Again returning to occupation term. If yuo don't know th main features of occupation answer some questions then:

                    1. Were Estonians permitted to serve in the Soviet Army?
                    (I mean not special units like national SS divisions while German occupation)
                    And can you remember any Palestinians in Israel Army?

                    2. Had Estonians any limitations in learning in Soviet High School?
                    Can you imagine for example, Russian or Polak, learning in Berlin University while occupation?

                    3. Could Estonians get education on its native language?
                    Can you remember any language prohibition for national Estonian schools like this can bee seen in Baltic countries?

                    4. Had Estonains some other documents (passport, or like it) different from the documents of other Soviet people?
                    Now its only Baltic "know-how" - the passports of non-citizens for Russians. Yep, in other countries also exists a division to citizens and non-citizens, but in this case non-citizens are citizens of SOME OTHER COUNTRY! They have some passport and identity card ogf the country of their current residence.
                    You also might forget about German "ausvises" (if I wrote them correctly) for people on occupied areas.

                    5. Had Russians any preferences in Baltic countries? For example, could Russian kill any Estonian on the street and walk further safely, like Germans could do in Russia. The close situation is now in Israel, when the Israel Army can destroy any house and kill any number of Palestinians without any consequences.
                    They only say that the killed ones were terrorists often without any proof.

                    6. Could Estonians take up a high posts in national governments and intellegence services?
                    Imagine such a situation while German or Israel occupation....
                    Also can you imagine some Russian on high level of your state hierarchy???????
                    If you fire a rifle at the past, the future will fire a cannon at you.....

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I wrote following words before reading of your last message so I shall continue after this part

                      "1. Most part of your words about atrocities of Russians are related with Stalin's time. Stalin died in 1953, for next 35 years people in former Baltic States lived without large problems as citizens of USSR.

                      Do not mix these two time periods.

                      2. You speak that you had to ask permission for coming in Moscow. It is very strange, in Soviet time any citizen of USSR could to buy train or plane ticket and to go in Moscow without any additional permission.

                      3. In modern Baltic States there are actions against former Soviet soldiers and officers in WWII. You speak that they took part in atrocities of NKVD. But it is not so simple.

                      For example, you suppose that Estonian SS-soldiers fought for Estonia, we suppose that they were usual German SS-soldiers. So any actions of Soviet soldiers against these soldiers were actions against Estonians (if to use your logic) or against German SS-soldiers (if to use our logic).

                      Estonian partisans killed Soviet soldiers but Soviet troops didn't burn your villages like Germans in Russia.

                      Not all Estonians supported Germans, large amount of Estonians fought against Germans with other peoples of Soviet Union.

                      4. And also anyone can see relation of you, modern Baltic State citizen, to Estonian SS-soldiers. You suppose that they fought for freedom of his country against Communism, you supposes that they were good guys.

                      But if to use similar argumentation so... all non-German SS-soldiers were real heroes. Germans spoke that SS fought against Communism so all non-German SS-soldiers were fighters against Communism.

                      But in this case people forget that non-German SS-soldiers fought together with German Army against USSR which was ally of US, UK and other nations of anti-Hitler coalition. And Estonian SS-soldiers helped for Hitler.

                      According your arfumentation Estonians who fought in Red Army and Fleet against Germans were not allies of all free world but they were only soldiers of Stalin's troops occupying Baltic States.

                      And your words about SS and Estonians who were Soviet soldiers are practically equal with official Estonian position in this question.

                      And about Jews.

                      Official opinion is following (including you statements):
                      "Jews... yes, there were some bad things with Jews, we even punished some people who took part in Jews murders. But let's speak about hostile Russians who sent people in Siberia. Oh, these Russians! They sent women and children in Siberia. What? Do you speak that Germans killed all Jews including women and children and local SS units took part in this? Yes, it was, we punished some of such people but let's to speak about Russian atrocities, they didn't let for us to study our language; they even made such atrocity like to compel us to study Russian."

                      Common situation in modern Baltic states - atrocities of Stalin's regime are overstated and propaganda speaks it so like these atrocities continued directly until collapse of USSR, atrocities of Germans and SS-soldiers are understated.

                      Your words are usual propaganda of modern Baltic States.

                      5. And about occupation.

                      Yes, there are many disputable questions how Baltic States became republics of Soviet Union.

                      But let's to speak about Scotland, for example.

                      Many hundred years ago England conquered Scotland. Englishmen killed many Scottish people, some English Kings were very cruel. It was large tragedy for Scotland and for some time many people fought against English conquerors. But it was long time ago, now many Scottish people lives quiet in UK and doesn't suppose that they are victims of far long ago aggression, only some crazy Scottish nationalists think that they have to fight for freedom and independence of Scotland. People of Scotland suppose that it was part of British people, they are part of British nation.

                      It is completely equal with situation in Baltic States territory in 1985, for example. People of Baltic States lived quiet in USSR without problems and "resistance" movement against Soviet "occupants".

                      In end of 80th USSR became to collapse and in ALL its national republics nationalistic movements became very strong and popular, people were not glad by their current life and supposed that they will live better if they will go out from USSR. Only in that time people in Baltic States recalled that they are victims of "occupation", it was result of local anti-USSR propaganda (including foreign support of anti-USSR movements) and centrifugal processes in USSR."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        1. You are 28 now (I am 30).

                        In 1985-86 (before this time life was quiet in Soviet time) you were only 10-11 year boy!!! You personally are not able to remember correctly Soviet time!!!

                        You were young boy when "nationalistic" movement became popular so your opinions are not strange if to remember what you heard around.

                        2. I spoke about ALL Baltic States (it is difficult to me to differ these countries)

                        And one of first talkings were about events in Latvia.

                        So you have to speak not only about your country but also about other Baltic States. (You began to defend Latvian position so answer and about Latvia)

                        3. Estonia had very important sea ports and islands. Tallin was very important base of Soviet Baltic Fleet in 1941.

                        Moonzund islands (I do not remember who concretly was owner) were key for entrance in Finns Gulf (and for sea path in Leningrad)

                        So you are wrong that Baltic States had not importance if to speak about strategy.

                        4. Your words about friendship with Hitler in 1939 are non serious. In that time noone trusted for Hitler, he broke so many agreements that only too stupid man could to believe for him.

                        5. Answer on concrete questions of Amvas about events which are during occupation!!!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Re:

                          Originally posted by amvas


                          I addition to Andrey's post about getting independance of Baltic countries in 1918. Can you say where are the soldiers of Russian general of the White Army Yudenich, who fought against Red Army on this direction and left then in Baltic area?????
                          If you don't know - most of them were shooten....

                          Those Yudenitch troops that retreated to Estonia were interned and most moved elsewhere after the war. I understand France was a popular destination. Some stayed in Estonia and assumed Estonian citizenship. Some of their heirs received Estonian citizenship automatically after the occupation. No doubt those caught by the Red Army were either recruited to the Red Army or shot.


                          Originally posted by amvas

                          BTW, after the WWI due to decision of Great Britain and other Western countries the special "sanitary cordon" was built from so called "independant" countries. In almost all of them were governments consisted from nationalists. Poland, Romania, Latvia, etc.
                          [/B]
                          What do you mean nationalist? The largest parties in Estonia were the social democrats, conservatives and the rural party. Sure they were patriots. In Poland, Latvia and many other new states there were authoritarian rulers. Unfortunately in 1934 Estonia too had a period of authoritarian leadership. However the new constitution was finished by 1939 and only the Soviet occupation prevented a return to full democracy.

                          Originally posted by amvas

                          Moreother, if you think that Baltic countries are independant now, you are wrong!
                          If you want to discuss this, lets wait until that bright moment when we can hear "NO" to anyone suggestion of Americans to your government. After this we can proceed discussing this subject. :sleep:
                          [/B]
                          We are quite independent. Our government has said no to USA on several occasions. For instance our monetary reform was made in contradiction to US wishes and IMF dictates. As it was a success now US recommends similar reforms to other countries. There are current disputes with the US concerning minor issues related to the US embassy in Tallinn.

                          If you are referring to the Iraq and Afganistan war, then there is widespread consensus among all Estonian political parties that our participation is necessary. First we have first hand knowledge of what its like to live under totalitarian oppressive regime and it would be a shame if we would not try to help people suffering from similar fate now that we can, second how can we ask a farmer's boy from Alabama to die defending our frontier, if we are not willing to send our boys to risk their lives to help US? Besides as a christian european nation we are under attack by Al-Qaida just like everybody else.

                          True independence doesn't exist - all countries are interdependent of each other. Even the US has to take account the international community.

                          Originally posted by amvas

                          Besides you haven't answer about the main features of occupation except entrance of the soviet troops and setting a new parliament and government (btw, it was only communists who may took part in the whole USSR, not only in Baltic countries)which one you so dramatically claims. If you name deportation of a small number of Baltic citizens in Siberia or in Kazakhstan, I can remind you about millions of Russians and peoples of other nations whom were not only deportated, but simply killed.
                          [/B]
                          Ahh, but you claimed we were not occupied and therefore before the "elections" we weren't part of the Soviet Union. The "elections were carried out under the supervision of the Red Army in complete disregard of law. Even the 150 communists were imported from Russia (they were of Estonian descent though).

                          I can sympathise with what happened in Russia, but it doesn't undo the occupation nor make the atrocities right. Hitler killed plenty of Germans - I haven't read any Germans claiming it was ok to kill Jews because Hitler killed Germans too. Estonia lost one fifth of its population during WWII, the vast majority due to Soviet action.

                          Originally posted by amvas

                          As for colonists. Yep, we can't name migration inside the USSR totally free one. Espacially to Moscow. But there existed such thing as "distribution" of young specialists. So anybody graduated from Estonian high-school could found himself in Crimear, Caucasus, Georgia or other territory. And at the same time any Russian may found himself in Latvia, Kamchatka or Siberia. Because it was ONE country, but not country+occupied zone.
                          [/B]
                          That is not true, it was fifteen republics. The Soviet constitution was very specific about that. Soviets even wanted to have separate UN seats for each of the "republics". When Estonians were sent outside Estonia it was only for military service (illegal) or to prison camps (that continued well into the late eighties - I have a friend who was sent to camps in 1982 or 83). There was of course some possibilities to study. In the occupied zones, movement was further limited. I couldn't for example visit Hiiumaa (where some of my family is from) without special permits which were rather hard to get.

                          As to your questions I think you are misunderstanding the term occupation. One common legal definition is "the effective control of a power (be it one or more states or an international organization, such as the United Nations) over a territory to which that power has no sovereign title, without the volition of the sovereign of that territory". The sovereign of Estonia is/was Estonian people as recognised by the international community in the early twenties. The effective power over the territory of Estonia was achieved through the use of force of arms without the volition of Estonian people. Therefore what happened was occupation.

                          Please note that occupation is a neutral term describing the legal situation. For example Estonians are part of the occupying force in Iraq. Estonia even occupied large parts of Russia during 1919.


                          Originally posted by amvas

                          1. Were Estonians permitted to serve in the Soviet Army?
                          (I mean not special units like national SS divisions while German occupation)
                          And can you remember any Palestinians in Israel Army?
                          [/B]
                          Estonians were forced to serve in the Soviet Army. International law specifically forbids mobilisation of troops from the occupied areas. When the Germans did their mobilisation in 1944 they admitted it was illegal. Israel just happens to abide by international law in this question.

                          Please note that in Iraq where Estonia is part of the occupying force. Iraqis are allowed to form their units based on voluntary service. Mobilisation of Iraqis would be illegal.

                          Originally posted by amvas
                          2. Had Estonians any limitations in learning in Soviet High School?
                          Can you imagine for example, Russian or Polak, learning in Berlin University while occupation?
                          [/B]
                          High school = 10th to 12th grade not university.

                          Estonia would allow Iraqis to study in Estonia, if they wanted to.

                          Originally posted by amvas

                          3. Could Estonians get education on its native language?
                          Can you remember any language prohibition for national Estonian schools like this can bee seen in Baltic countries?
                          [/B]
                          There are no language restrictions in Estonia (nor Latvia I think). If you want you can have a school where all the teaching is done in Swahili. There are schools where all the teaching is done in English/German/Finnish. Russian people can establish these schools freely. The only discussion is concerning public high schools which are not fulfilling their mission in preparing pupils for university and work life.

                          There were several language restrictions during the occupation. You most definitely wouldn't have been able to have a school only in Estonian.

                          Originally posted by amvas

                          4. Had Estonians some other documents (passport, or like it) different from the documents of other Soviet people?
                          Now its only Baltic "know-how" - the passports of non-citizens for Russians. Yep, in other countries also exists a division to citizens and non-citizens, but in this case non-citizens are citizens of SOME OTHER COUNTRY! They have some passport and identity card ogf the country of their current residence.
                          You also might forget about German "ausvises" (if I wrote them correctly) for people on occupied areas.
                          [/B]
                          Estonian passports were issued in New York at the time. They were difficult to get and you were sent to the prison camp for possessing one. I believe all countries have their own version of alien passport. Its nothing unique. Most non-citizens are actually Russian citizens. We do not know how many though because Russia refuses to give out citizenship information. Howver, we can make estimations based on numbers participating in Russian elections.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by amvas
                            5. Had Russians any preferences in Baltic countries? For example, could Russian kill any Estonian on the street and walk further safely, like Germans could do in Russia. The close situation is now in Israel, when the Israel Army can destroy any house and kill any number of Palestinians without any consequences.
                            They only say that the killed ones were terrorists often without any proof.
                            [/B]
                            During the forties, yes they could and did. Later on? Not that openly, but many disappeared even in the eighties. Beating and harassment was common though. There were areas in Estonia there it was not safe for Estonians to walk.

                            In later times the privileges for Russians were mostly of economic nature. Russian people had priority in receiving housing, telephones, cars, etc. Also most Russians had access to special shops, etc. Compared to Russians in Estonia Estonian living standards were poor.

                            Originally posted by amvas

                            6. Could Estonians take up a high posts in national governments and intellegence services?
                            Imagine such a situation while German or Israel occupation....
                            Also can you imagine some Russian on high level of your state hierarchy??????? [/B]
                            Estonians actually rose quite high in German hierarchy during the occupation considering the short time. I think there was one general even. Most Estonians high in Soviet hierarchy were Estonian in name only. Karl Vaino - the chairman of the Estonian supreme council had an Estonian name, but he was from Russia and couldn't speak Estonian. In practice power in Estonia was firmly held by the Russians. Estonians were always suspected politicals until proven innocent.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Andrey
                              1. You are 28 now (I am 30).

                              In 1985-86 (before this time life was quiet in Soviet time) you were only 10-11 year boy!!! You personally are not able to remember correctly Soviet time!!!

                              You were young boy when "nationalistic" movement became popular so your opinions are not strange if to remember what you heard around.


                              I think it is irritating that you try to tell me what I can remember.


                              There was no such thing as a quiet Soviet time, even though after Stalin there was a period of thaw, which compared to Stalin's time was of course pretty ok. There were no longer mass deportations, but people still continued to disappear and got sent to prison camps. Things took a turn worse with Brezhnev and a lot worse in late 1970s when a major russification campaign was launched. There is little doubt that the purpose of that campaing was to eradicate the Estonian nation entirely.



                              1985 to 86 was pretty stagnated in Estonia. The singing revolution only got its start in 1987. What you regard the "nationalistic" movement, i.e. the wish to receive our independence back wasn't something new in the eighties, it only surfaced then, because we thought that Gorbachew was weak and we could get away with that. Although armed resistance faded away in the fifties, there had been demonstations big and small throughout the occupation. People hid artefacts from our independence (like the original tricolor which was preserved throughout occupation, we hid my grandfather's medals from liberation war which we unfortunately finally lost almost at the very end and his real estate deeds). Others distributed secret literature (sure one-way ticket to Siberia if not execution). Kids fought a silent graffiti war (in schools where would be handwriting tests afterwards), etc.

                              BTW as a kid in late eigthies I did my bit for freedom by taping select Estonian television shows for radio free europe (i.e. the CIA). My father got the tape recorder somehow and I had a list of shows that I needed to tape.


                              Originally posted by Andrey

                              2. I spoke about ALL Baltic States (it is difficult to me to differ these countries)

                              And one of first talkings were about events in Latvia.

                              So you have to speak not only about your country but also about other Baltic States. (You began to defend Latvian position so answer and about Latvia)
                              [/B]
                              I find it difficult to consider all baltic states as a single unit. You could just as well ask me to speak about all European states or try to lump China and Russia together. Lithuania is so totally different from Estonia. Their language has no relation to ours, their history doesn't resemble ours (except for last twenty years), they have different religion (we are Lutheran they are Catholics), they have completely different demographic situation (the Poles are the largest minority group there), they have different economic situation, etc. ad nauseam.

                              If you like I can discuss about Finland in more detail. We do have a lot in common with them.

                              I defended Estonia, as it is considered by some as Baltic (some consider it Nordic). I cannot really answer much about Latvia, although I know something about the school reform because I think we have similar problem in Estonia. I also asked my colleagues there about the demos and they didn't think there was any problems.



                              Originally posted by Andrey

                              3. Estonia had very important sea ports and islands. Tallin was very important base of Soviet Baltic Fleet in 1941.

                              Moonzund islands (I do not remember who concretly was owner) were key for entrance in Finns Gulf (and for sea path in Leningrad)

                              So you are wrong that Baltic States had not importance if to speak about strategy.
                              [/B]
                              Tallinn was not part of any major supply route nor did it have facilities for any major military operations. Tallinn wasn't I don't know what Moonzund islands are. Perhaps you are talking about Finnish Åland. The waters around Estonian islands are extremely shallow and not really suitable for anything except fishing. Besides, Stalin already had the naval bases and the right to keep 25 000 troops in them. He didn't need to occupy Estonia.

                              Originally posted by Andrey

                              4. Your words about friendship with Hitler in 1939 are non serious. In that time noone trusted for Hitler, he broke so many agreements that only too stupid man could to believe for him.
                              [/B]
                              From our point of view Hitler and Stalin did manage to co-operate well in Poland. I have little doubt that Hitler would have assisted Stalin in the Baltics if needed. Sure they were strange bedfellows, but who in 1939 knew that Hitler would invade Russia. The contemporaries in Estonia were thinking that it is more likely that Russia invaded Germany, since most thought that Russia is the more powerful of the two.

                              Comment

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