Radio Liberty broadcast avoided historical truth (14)
Archived Articles 29 Mar 2006 Heikki H. TannEWR
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STOCKHOLM (EE) - The very complicated relations in recent times between Estonia and Russia are mainly due to the unresolved problems from the time when Estonia was still a part of the Soviet Union.

Estonia hammered out a full membership in both the European Union and NATO in a very short period of time and now can be seen as belonging to the leadership group of the member-states of the European Union, and this seems to be irritating to Russia.

Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Paet was invited to participate in the round-table meeting last year, scheduled to discuss the cooperation possibilities between the European Union and Russian Federation in St. Petersburg, but Russian authorities refused to give him a visa.

The Commission of Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament and the European Commission both criticized Russia’s decision to deny Paet a visa.

As the criticism did not provide results, Radio Liberty (RL) decided to discuss the state of Estonian-Russian relations in a Russian language broadcast.

One of the editors at RL’s Moscow office, Vladimir Kara-Murza, had invited Gennadi Gudkov to participate in that broadcast. Gennadi Gudkov is a Member of the Security Council of Russian State Duma and the representative of foreign Russians in the Baltic countries.

Gudkov noted that he has very good relationships with the local Estonians living in Moscow, but about Estonia as a country he has a very different opinion.

Gudkov still thinks that Estonia is very bad country where apartheid-like thinking dominates and where Russians are harassed because Estonia was once occupied by the Soviet Union. When the Soviet Union collapsed, then those Russians who came there during the Soviet regime didn't go back to Russia. Thus they are treated as second class.

Gudkov’s second point was that the Russians in Estonia cannot organize. He claims that this is mainly because Estonians won't let them to do so.

And third - Gudkov claimed that Estonians are too attached to the Nazi past. He brought as an example a case where Estonians erected a statue of an Estonian solider in a Nazi uniform with the Estonian tricolor on the sleeve. Unfortunately, Gudkov has forgotten that at the time Estonians did not have any other choice in their struggle for freedom.

He also has forgotten, that after the war those same Estonian soldiers, only this time in U.S. military uniform, who guarded German prisoners of war at the Nuremberg Tribunal - that's how things were in Estonia’s fight for freedom.

Gennadi Gudkov called the incident of denying Paet a visa an injunction from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. He also said that the occupation of Estonia by the Soviet Union in 1941 and again in 1944 was not a real occupation, but just a widening of Russia's borders.

Many people phoned in to the RL broadcast and one caller asked Gudkov: "What was it, if it wasn't an occupation?" The occupation of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bessarabia, and a part of Poland, by the Soviets in the summer of 1941 resulted in murders and the deportation of hundreds of thousands of people to Siberia was a terrible destruction of nations, as the caller pointed out.

At the end of the broadcast it turned out that neither RL’s radio interviewer Vladimir Kara-Murza nor Russian State Duma representative Gennadi Gudkov have read either the details of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact or Estonia's official letter to Russia claiming damages for the Soviet occupation. May I suggest that copies of both documents be sent to these indiviuals.

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