I was eight days off to Russia, somewhere near Moscow for an AIESEC conference. I was chair at the conference there.
One of the reasons I accepted the invitation to become a chair there in a quite busy period of work in KZ was the fact that my homeland Estonia and Russia have a way too bad relations right now. And I don't want to be one of these millions of people, who get brainwashed by the media and politicians, observe everything what is happening and start to HATE.
What I am going to write here, is hard to accept for many. For one simple reason. They have never spoken to the intelligent people from the OTHER side.
Actually, people in Estonia don't start to hate, the whole programme of socialization of Estonian citizen is constantly telling you: "Russia is bad. Russia is dangerous. Russians are the biggest threat for us. We have been suffering from them so many years. But we are small proud nation. They are bad, bad, bad..."
Young Russians are being programmed in a similiar way: "We have been suffering from everyone so many times throughout the history. But we are proud great nation. We have THE victory. We won the Second World War. We saved the humankind. And now we are surrounded by small ugly states, which wish only bad for us. All of those Latvias, Estonias, Polands, Georgias - they are bad, bad, bad...."
I am not telling that there is no truth in that. But the fact is that it is only part of the truth.
Take the mass media, for example. Russian mass media has long pictured non-friendly states in the fashion, which is useful for them. Estonia is a small ugly neo-Fascist state, which discriminates Russians, is licking the a** of United States and does not respect any values, which are important for Russians. And that's all!
Just try to enter word "Estonia" in the search engine of any Russian news-website. Will you find there anything about Estonian progress in innovation, in economics, improvements in social life? No. I did not find almost any positive news from Estonia. Any.
No wonder that when I came to Russia, I had to brake the stereotypes of many Russians. I had to say that the truth, which is presented to them, is indeed the truth most of the times. But the problem is that it is part of the truth.
Indeed, Estonians don't consider Soviet victory over Nazis in the WWII as a purely positive. Indeed, Soviet army liberated Estonia from Nazis. But do the mass media tell that Soviet army occupied Estonia for the years and years? Do they tell that the whole WWII was a big tragedy for Estonian nation, where some people had to take one side and some other? Do they tell that Communists made as many (or even more) atrocities in Estonia as Nazis did? Do they tell about my family, which suffered from Soviets much more than from Nazis during the WWII?
Indeed, many Estonians fought for Nazis. Indeed, many Estonians fought against Soviet army. But do the mass media tell that during 3,5 years of Nazi occupation, young Estonian men had to join Nazi army, simply because they had eligible age? Do they tell that simple people were just misillusionised and their only wish was to re-establish Estonian Republic?
Indeed, the life of local Russians in independent Estonia is generally harder than it was in Soviet Union. Indeed, local Russians must know Estonian in order to succeed in the society. But do the Russian mass media tell that Estonia is independent state, and it is normal for independent state to call one of the languages a dominant one? Can anyone imagine a citizen of Russia from Udmurtia, Chrekessiya or Bashkiriya, who does not speak Russian at all and is succeeding in Russia?
These were the topics I discussed with Russian AIESEC and non-AIESEC students (there was a conference for all students of Moscow as well). I am proud that thanks to me at least 150 of young Russians from all around the country started to see Estonia and the world around them in a different way. I am proud that Estonia is no longer an enemy for them, but an interesting country to visit, instead. I am proud that I met great intelligent young Russian people, who are not afraid to think with their own head and some of whom I can truly call my soul-mates.
Me with the facilitators' team of the AIESEC conference in Russia
K6igile eestlastele - kui v2ga tahaks ma, et paljud teist saaksid viibida koos minuga seal konverentsil. Ehk muutuks paljude inimeste pilt venelasest kui r2uskavast, l2rmakast ja tylikast olendist. Ehk saakiste r22kida t6siselt intelligentsete, talendikate, oma peaga m6tlevate noortega, kes tunnistavad, et nende maal on probleeme nagu ka k6ikjal mujalgi, kes soovivad, et Venemaa oleks suurriik, aga seda mitte teiste riikide arvel.
I was writing about the half-truth presented by Russian media about Estonia. But the picture about Russia being created by Estonian media is no different! What I am reading from Estonian online newspapers - Russia as authoritarian dangerous state, which is threatening everyone, which has many problems as corruption, alcoholism, does not know about democracy at all and does not care about its own citizen. That's it.
Of course, most of all is truth to some extent. But is that Russia? How about economic development's influence on this country? How about cultural and scientific achievements, which this great nation is constantly bringing to the world?
Anyway, sometimes I just get dissapointed, when I am reading Estonian online newspapers. Recently I talked to one Polish, living in Central Asia. She said she is a big patriot of her Poland and therefore she prefers not to read Polish newspapers, while living abroad. I understand her. The picture I get about Estonia is quite sad one.
Riik, kus inimesed ei m6tlegi millelegi muule, kui ohtudele. Ohud, mis tulenevad Venemaalt ja Vene spioonidelt. Ohud, mis on seotud majandusekrahhiga, mis tuleb homme-ylehomme. Ohud, mis tulenevad kinnisvaramullist. Ohud, mis on seotud Savisaare ja valelike 2rimeestega. Ohud, mis tulenevad inflatsioonist. Ohud, mis tulenevad Eesti kroonist. Ohud, mis tulenevad eurost. Ohud, mis tulenevad k6ikidest teistest, peale meie.
Tekib kysimus - kes on "meie"? Symbioos paljudest ohtudest?
That's the main reason why I, graduate of Media and Communication, decided that I am not going to work in mass media. I don't want to create a world of conflicts. I will be creating a world, how I and millions of other people want to see it. And my conversations and the whole conference in Russia was just one important step in this direction.
By the way, Russian nature - as nature everywhere - is very beautiful. The river next to the venue of the conference was amazing. Especially, during the evenings.