(Jevgeni Kristafovits, 23, is a Tartu University law student, president of "Open Republic", a union of 1000 Russian students, ostensibly the largest ethnic Russian organization in Estonia. The following has been translated from a July 6th Estonian language article posted on the Delfi.ee portal.)
Depicted in the Russian media as a bipartisan citizens' group, "Notsnoi dozor" (Night guard) has been organizing various hatemongering demonstrations at the Bronze Soldier's monument [a Soviet leftover commemorating Red Army soldiers who fell during the "liberation" of Tallinn] at the behest of Russia's clandestine services. After the failure of dozens of special operations in Estonia, the most painful being the inability of Russian chauvinist political parties to make headway during parliamentary and Tallinn municipal elections, the clandestine services has finally gained some success. By manipulating the "Tõnismäe card" (Tõnismäe is the location in Tallinn of the Bronze Soldier), they were able to mobilize about 100 Russian radicals, including the youth.
Thus it's not surprising that "Nasi" ("Ours") a Russian-based Kremlin-aligned youth organization, have claimed responsibility for the June 22nd candles action in Tallinn. A call to action on their web site headlined by "We will not let the memory of our ancestors be desecrated" is accompanied by a picture of four young men in Estonia with a minor in the photo wearing a shirt bearing a Soviet star.
The organization "Nasi" is the Putin administration's new komsomol [Soviet era communist youth organization] project - a peculiar "putinjugend". This youth movement receives substantial amounts of financial support from Kremlin linked oligarchs and their ideology promotes Soviet history and achievements as if this helps improve Russia's image and self-consciousness.
In other words they promote Russia's neo-imperialistic ideology to the masses, first and foremost obviously within Russia itself and then in neighbouring countries, where the influence of the Russian clandestine services allows them to operate without any obstacles. Thus the nasis (as the independent Russian media call them) organize provocations against NATO in the Crimea and agitate to topple the Justsenko regime in Ukraine. Similarly they support the separatist Transdniestran government and foment hatred of the Republic of Moldova among the locals.
Although the "Nasi" organization claims to be anti-fascist and democratic, it calls its leaders "commissars", its red-coloured flag carries the Andrejev cross and its official web-site uses the su (Soviet Union) domain.
Vladimir Putin and other Russian leaders gladly meet with these youth leaders. The movement's spiritual leader is said to be Vladislav Surkov, deputy head of the presidential administration. [Considered as the second most powerful man in Russia, Surkov in a closed session to a Russian business forum said: "Today we witness definite movement by Finland, Estonia and the EU on the issue of Finno Ugrian nations. It has suddenly been discovered that we (Russia) oppress them somehow. They are discriminated against in our country. And regions, where these Finno-Ugrians constitute a majority of the population, do hold a strategic amount of our oil reserves. I am not a fan of conspiracy theories. But this is obviously a planned program of operations (against Russia.)"]
It's known that the Kremlin's favourite scheme in its propaganda war against Estonia is to accuse us of spreading fascist sentiments. Thus the website of leading Kremlin ideologue Gleb Pavlovski and Regnum, an Internet news portal of Putin's political team actually have sections devoted to this. And all this is occurring as neo-nazis shouting "Russia for Russians" and brandishing the Nazi salute march in the middle of Moscow. The Kremlin laments the "rebirth of fascism in Estonian and Latvia" while they regard their own neo-nazis as patriots.
This is not surprising [that neo-Nazis in Russia are regarded as patriots], because Stalin also shared goals with the Third Reich in dividing Europe into spheres of influence. Had Hitler not been so greedy and self-confident, perhaps our current school books would treat Uncle Adolf as the nicest European friend of Russian children.
It's known that history is taught from a Moscow angle in Russian language schools in Estonia. For instance not a single history teacher in Narva [city on the border with Russia] was educated in Estonia. The situation isn't any better in other schools of the region and there's a similar problem in Tallinn. If these children are still taught that Estonia joined the Soviet Union voluntarily, then where would they get a different version? At home? From parents who came to Estonia to get housing - a scarcity in the rest of the USSR?
All this is known to the Russian leadership. They know how to manipulate people, to make them dance to their tune. Two years ago in Latvia, the Russian intelligence services were able to foment public unrest amongst the youth of Russian speaking schools. The education issue wasn't as hot here. Last fall the demonstrations organized by Dimitri Klenski and the Russian Party's Dmitri Linter brought out between seven and twenty people. The same faces can be seen at the Tõnismäe bronze soldier, waving their red flags.
But thanks to a aggressive, bronze soldier anti-Estonian media campaign a few hundred extremists have joined that group shouting "the hell with Ansip" [Estonia's Prime Minister].
One must note that not only are local Russian groups involved but also organizations of Russian citizens led by Vladimir Lebedev [agitator against Estonian independence]. A "Notsnoi dozor" meeting called to discuss the bronze soldier sent their plea directly to the Russian embassy. The Russian embassy was the only foreign representation to attend, all others ignored the invitation. Russia also responded. Their wise leader and mentor Vladimir Vladimirovits Putin called upon his Estonian based subjects to re-settle in Siberia and the Russian far-east. Someone in the Russian language Delfi commented: "But we wanted Estonians to go there."
I'm asserting that the aforementioned group has put more effort than anyone into having the bronze soldier moved elsewhere. The monument didn't even bother Pro Patria [the most pro-Estonia political party], who guaranteed it remain in place while in power in Tallinn. But it was necessary to sow inter-ethnic hatred: Jüri Liim, who was charged by the police said, "Aljosha has to go - in broken pieces, amid lots of racket." This led to the May 9th parade with red flags and also the formation of the "Notsnoi dozor — Nasi" squads in Estonia.
I don't know who'll eventually win in this, but it's clear the losers are Russians in Estonia. Thanks to the provocations of the Moscow-oriented, the deep divide that separates people living in Estonia will only widen. Sad...
(Translated by the ESTONIAN CENTRAL COUNCIL IN CANADA)
How to radicalize Russians in Estonia - a Kremlin recipe (56)