Sunday, April 29, 2007

Beauty of the mind versus stupidity in the streets

While I was enjoying beauties of my favourite town in Estonia - Tartu, while I was relaxing during the hiking trip to the swamps, hundreds of mainly Russian-speaking youngsters were crashing the shops, houses, kiosks and fighting with police in the centre of Tallinn. Supposedly because of the monument on the picture below.

It all started because of the monument. The situation has never been so bad at the streets of independent Estonia. Alcohol sales are forbidden. Mass gatherings are forbidden. Estonian embassy in Russia does not work. Russian officials threaten Estonia. Everyone is anxious and nervous about what is going to happen at 1st and 9th of May.

The monument is a Soviet-time memorial for Soviet soldiers who were fighting against German Fascists during World War II. The noble cause, indeed. So is it seen by ethnic Russians in Estonia - as many other Russians around the world. There is at least one person in almost every Russian family, who was killed in the war against Fascists during 1941-1945.

Soviet soldiers liberated Estonia from Germans fascists. And occupied Estonia for another 45 years. So is it seen by ethnic Estonians. There is at least one person in almost every Estonian family, who was deported to Siberia by Soviet Communists (in major part by Russians) in 1941 and 1946-1949.

So, the monument for Soviet soldiers symbolizes heroes and legends for some and occupation and repression for the others. Big difference indeed.

The understanding of what happened in 1940s and later on is as different.

Estonians and Russians get different history, they get different mentality.

The gap between them is widening even more by mass-media.

Estonian media, presenting what is happening around the monument, concentrates mainly on what damage it has been to Estonia and how big threat does violent Russian minority, backed by Russian official agenda, present to Estonia.

Russian television, which actually is propaganda machine, completely loyal to Kremlin (and being the most important source of information for Estonian Russians), presents what has happened, as yet another repression of local Russians by Estonian state, which drives neo-Fascist agenda and uses violent force against Russians.

The gap is widening.

Diplomatic relations between Estonia and Russia have hardly been tenser than at the moment. Some fiercest Russian nationalists among officials in Russia propose using force against Estonia.

Relations between Estonians and Estonian Russians are as bad as back in the beginning of 1990s.

It's sad to see that people deaf. Deaf to each other. They are deaf as millions of their predecessors throughout the whole nasty history of manhood.

People just allow themselves to go along with provocations of some hysterical nationalists, with irresponsible TV-reporters, with feeling of belonging to the mass. They prefer that to the dialogue and understanding of the real reasons behind some actions.

Many local Russians don't understand that the very presence of the monument in the heart of Tallinn symbolizes all the tortures and repressions done by Soviet Communists on the soil of Estonia.

Many Estonians don't understand that Russians suffer because of lack of concrete identity. Many of them don't really belong neither to Estonian, nor to Russian state. Instead of integration, we can see marginalization, resulting in violence in the streets.

That's the same as the feeling of a shy man, who is not really loved by women and cannot get along with any woman for 15 years. One day this man cannot hold whole negative energy inside him. He rapes a woman.

Who is guilty in this case? Surely, man, who commits crime? But doesn't part of the guilt lie on society itself, which has excluded man from its pleasures?

I, Deniss Rutšeikov, originating from Petserimaa , a piece of land formerly belonging both to Estonia and to Russia, coming from mixed Setu-Russian origin, being raised in Russian-speaking family, being educated in Russian-speaking high-school and Estonian-speaking university, a chief of one the leading youth organisations in Estonia, a citizen of Estonian Republic, claim that there is no nation, which is guilty in anything. There are no "good" or "bad" nations. There is just lack of education resulting in stupid actions.

I believe in humans. I believe in beauty of their minds. I hope for another "singing revolution" like in Estonia of 1989-1991. Rather than for another former Yugoslavia in 1991-1995. Rather than Chechnya in 1994-2004. Rather than Northern Ireland in 1963-1998. Rather than Somalia at the moment. Rather than Sri Lanka at the moment. Rather than all of these atrocities done by stupidity, not by the beauty of the mind.


Andrej T said...

Nicely said. I wondered what you thought about the whole thing. This kind of conflicts is worst for us, people of mixed descent. Hope you are all right.

Deniss Rutšeikov said...

Hey Andrej!

It's not about mixed descent. It's about what happens in my own country.

The fact that I am coming from mixed origin may help me to see the problem from different perspectives, but does not make the problem bigger or smaller for me.

In general, I am more than all right :)

Alexander Annaev said...

Hey Deniss, many thanks for your contribution!

We should live today. Unfortunately, occupation has been typical of many stronger nations, not only the Soviet Union. Romans, Arabs, Mongols, Turks, Germans and others tried to conquer Europe. They failed, but we eat Nopoleon pie, which doesn't symbolize his military compaigns. Our generation is not responsible for the past, so that we should open new chapters in international relations.

We should avoid double standars. It's surprising that people are concerned about what happened 50 years ago, but pay no attention to what is going now. Is US releasing Iraq from dictatorship or invading it to get access to it's natural resources? To my mind, it's the same case as with Estonia after the WWII. At the same time, Russia engages in a conflict, when it needs to raise patriotic feelings. In Ashgabat, my native city lots of monuments and graves were domolished, but Moscow said nothing, as it needs Turkmen gas.

We should turn down political provocation. Estonian deputees have passed this decision for populism. It doesn't improves lives of today's Estonia citizens, but has led to the great confrontation in the society. Could the forsee the broken shops, injured people, diplomatic conflicts? This is short-sighted policy leading only to the negative. Similarly, Russian populist movements are interested in the escalation of the conflict, which actually worsens the the situation of Russian minority in Estonia.

Now the Estonian Embassy in Moscow doesn't work, but I need to apply for a visa. I didn't know how it happened that I got so engaged in this conflict.

I hope it will end up with peace!

Alexander, Russia/Turkmenistan

Deniss Rutšeikov said...

Hey Alexander!

As the world-famous Russian writer Alexander Solzhenicyn wrote in his book - "I have seen many Estonians in GULAG. But never any bad one".

That's what I like about Estonia - people here are not that hot-blooded and are not getting engaged in provocation too easily (except of few nationalists, calling themselves "patrots").

Estonia needs smart people as much as any other normal country. You will be definetely welcomed here. Estonia needs people like you to show that not all Russian citizens agree with what people like Zhirinovsky and Limonov say.

And believe me, everything is not as bad as media presents it. I worked in mass-media for several months. One thing I learnt was that it prefers to concentrate on negative.

Augusto said...

Deniss, this is just a wonderful post! Thank you for giving such an objective representation of the events and more than that an explanation of its roots!! During my year in Estonian the non integration between Estonian and Russian peoples was easy to spot and I couldn't agree more with you: so much of what's happening is just a matter of lack of education and mutual understanding!!
Keep rocking, Augusto