Eesti Elu
Archived Articles 13 Feb 2009 Harri KiviloEesti Elu
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As high cost integration programs had failed to noticeably influence Russians and Estonians to change their attitudes, a new “Good for Estonia” campaign was recently announced: all Russian speaking immigrants must be quickly made into citizens of Estonia. The citizenship requirements will be modified to suit those who for 17 years have stubbornly resisted learning even few Estonian words. The decision makers apparently did not want to know that citizenship and nationality are not synonyms, nor that immigrants proud of their nationality will not turn into dedicated patriots as soon as they receive a passport of their new homeland.

To assess what will be accomplished when the Estonian government’s “Citizenship campaign” ends – thanks to relaxed requirements - successfully, one should first realize that Estonia is not a typical state founded by immigrants where newcomers seriously wanted to integrate into the society formed by those arrived before them. The Russians came to Estonia not as invited immigrants, but as colonists to convert Estonians into Russian speaking soviets. No-one speaking now on behalf of the Russians in Estonia has considered to apologize for having taken advantage of the “ruling class” privileges that the authorities of the Soviet Union gave them during the half a century long occupation era.

Secondly the assessment should be based on the following facts:

• presently there are in rounded numbers 300 000 Russians and 900 000 Estonians living in Estonia;
• Russians elected into the Parliament or Municipal Offices, have publicly declared that all residents of former Soviet Estonia must have equal rights in the Republic of Estonia;
• Russians proudly remember that the Soviet Union liberated Europe and they are happy that the Russia’s international importance is forcefully being restored;
• Estonian political parties are financially supported by large corporations utterly eager to trade with Russia;
• use of Russian language by Government and Estonian media has in recent years steadily grown and consequently influenced Russians to believe that Estonia will soon be a bilingual state;
• over 40 000 Estonians, unhappy with their financial status and Government’s integrations programs have left to live in West.

Based on the above, one has to conclude that 300 000 Russians with Estonian passports can very seriously affect the destiny of Estonia. It is totally unrealistic to assume that Russia has given up their centuries old desire to extend their sphere of interest to the shores of the Baltic Sea. Their frequent threats to protect the honor of Russians living in “hostile” Estonia clearly indicate that Russian speaking citizens of Estonia will be eventually manipulated to help this dream come true. Regardless how happy Russians are with living in Estonia, their self-esteem will heighten when their mother tongue will become a second official language. With clever guiding by the Russian Federation, 300 000 Russian-minded Estonian citizens can easily make the Estonian parliament to legitimize use of a second official language.

A bilingual Estonia could be a well functioning administrative entity in the European Union, but it could also soon join the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). As a member of CIS, Estonia is bound to receive in great number Russian speaking immigrants who in relatively short time can, as member of a large nation, crush all efforts to preserve the Estonian language and culture.

Estonians, as a distinct nation since several thousand years, can survive for ever only when the successors of Russians settled in Estonia:

• realize that their being in Estonia is not due to any wrong doing by Estonians but is part of the crimes against humanity by the Soviet Union – that permitted their parents to have ruling class privileges in Estonia for up to 50 years;
• stop demanding or hoping to have same rights as those who founded the Republic of Estonia – including not to demand the Government to educate their children in Russian language schools;
• agree that Estonian Government should not simplify citizenship requirements and refrain from public use of Russian language so that Russians could clearly understand that citizens of Estonia must be able to speak and understand Estonian language;
• are allowed to became citizens of Estonia when ever they are ready to understand that the respect by Estonians can be earned only by their attitudes and behavior – including apologizing for the privileges their parents had;
• are told that all programs, campaigns and other activities implemented as “solutions to the Russian problem” will be quickly terminated and all moneys used for those futile undertakings will be used to develop the self-esteem of Estonians and Estonian citizens so that the Government could assure Estonian nation and culture to remain for ever, as requested in the Constitution.

Promoting Estonia to be a multicultural state with two distinct national communities is as meaningful as asking Israel to let about 2 million Arabs settle in Israel as co-founders of the Jewish state.
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