Estonian Central Council in Canada - LL
Estonian member of parliament Marko Mihkelson predicts that Russia will soon initiate a new international program to counter „the forgers and re-writers of history“. The cost of the campaign is to exceed Estonia's state budget by several times.
One aspect of the propaganda campaign is the commemoration and celebration in 2010 of the 300-year anniversary of Estonia becoming a vassal state of Russia.
Mihkelson says that this commemoration cannot be interpreted in any other way than „a clear cut provocation. Focusing on historical episodes such as that is definitely not conducive to strengthening of international trust, in fact it's just the opposite“.
Three hundred years ago the „Northern War“ (1700-1709) was devastating for the Estonian landscape and forced the peasantry into obligations to the state powers involved in the war. The conflict was between Sweden and Russia (amogst others.) Most of the battles took place on the territory of Estonians. The war itself and the epidemics that followed killed up to two thirds of the indigenous population, which has been placed at 150,000 to 170,000 people. The city of Tartu was totally destroyed, its residents deported.
Russia's triumph has been called „the end of the good old Swedish era“. Russia assumed control of Estonia and got its long awaited „window to the west“. It was a blatant realization of geo-political ambitions, cold-blooded expansion and straighforward take-over of Estonia as war booty.
Mihkelson notes: „In its activity internationally, Russia is quite deliberate: history, especially in the context of the Second World War has been vigorously placed on the agenda. Moscow's forcible presentation of a distorted version of history, can be a dangersoius scenario for the future of the Baltic states. It can revive substantially the so-called 'Jalta syndrome' or 'Munich mind set'.“ (Referring to the willingness of the west at the close of the war to appease the USSR knowing full well that many countries and nations would be condemned to Soviet captivity.)
An international „commission on difficult topics“ between the Baltic states and Russia could be formed and offered to Moscow as a way of handling delicate subject matter without loading them into the usual diplomatic arsenal, Mihkleson suggests.
He adds that this would not detract from the quest to have the crimes of communism condemned internationally. In fact, Estonia's co-operation with countries who have a similar approach to the issue will give that quest a boost. Hopefully when the Czech Republic assumes the presidency of the European Union this may become a EU priority.
Moscow stretching 300 years back into history for new propaganda material (7)