After every parade somebody has to come along and clean up. This used to be a messy job when they still used horses and elephants but some poor sod had to do it. Our society needs to do the same by taking a sober morning-after look at some of our recent actions or better yet, overreactions.
The Russkies have always been good at masking their true intentions. In the case of the Toronto victory parade these are nearly invisible. One can only surmise that by displaying symbols of the former Soviet Union at last year's parade they somehow attempted to goad some members of the expatriate Estonian community into demanding that a parade permit issued by the city of Toronto to celebrate victory over Nazi Germany be cancelled.
The optics of doing this are not good. Its difficult to argue that a group of immigrants marching along holding up pictures of their relatives killed by the Nazis poses some kind of a threat or sense of outrage in multicultural Toronto not withstanding that its quite probable that the red army uniforms and other paraphernalia were supplied by Putin's goons at the consulate. The era of crude "kaikamehed" and raw Stalinism is over and "soft power" is the order of the day.
I spent some time on line looking for coverage of the parade in the Toronto Star. So far I have not found anything. It may be that EKN actually managed to get it killed but the more likely explanation is that it was not deemed news worthy enough to even bother sending a reporter. I also looked on line for some letters to the editor from EKN setting out why this anniversary is so bitter for Estonians and found nothing. This is surprising given that our community has many competent English language writers. My Estonian skills are somewhat rusty but I thought Mrs. Puusaag summed it up nicely in her editorial in last week’s Eesti Elu. If I missed stuff in the Canadian press please direct me to it.
My long gone father who was fortunate enough to escape in a small boat to Sweden used to say about the Russians that they were good people but somewhat primitive and unfortunate to be saddled with successive incompetent dysfunctional systems of government.
I view the expatriate Russian community here in somewhat the same light as our own. They too can be regarded as refugees. In their case they have fled a broken country that is on the verge of being bankrupt for a better life in the West. To regard them as being some kind of fifth column intent on reconstituting the Soviet Union here seems far-fetched. Why they would care about tiny Estonia is beyond me.
I expect that some in the community will denounce me again as being a mouthpiece for Putin. Such is not the case. My parents risked their lives to escape communism and I was very thoroughly vetted by the security organs for a high level security clearance that was never revoked although long expired. I have not changed my outlook.
This year's parade in Moscow was interesting. The Russians have progressed to the point of allowing women in the parade. Next year we may even see some of them carrying weapons or driving one of the tanks, none of which broke down. This should give pause for thought.
The parade is over (10)