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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Essel on the Bronze Soldier

Bronze Soldier Revisited

by Dave Essel

Having started the other day to delve into the bilge that is published in the Russian press, I had the unfortunate urge to take another look at the government-controlled Russian press today and found to my misfortune that Galina Shaposhnikova, that disgrace to the word journalist, now promoted to the rank of "Our Special Correspondent," is continuing to write her tendentious and inflammatory material on the Estonian issue in Komsomolskaya Pravda.

There is a certain sick fascination about the hypocritical and devious ways of such stooges and of course it is instructive to see how ordinary Russians are being manipulated.

So here's shameful Galina's follow-up to her previous article:

It's The Quiet Before the Storm in Tallinn
(The Russians in Estonia are Preparing to Celebrate Victory Day With a Bang)
Komsomolskaya Pravda

It’s five to twelve. I set off with my taxi driver and we drive down Tallinn’s streets, neat and tidy as before except that some shop windows are boarded up instead of glazed. Tallinn is still licking its wounds: shop and bar owners who suffered during the “bronze revolution” that took place in Tallinn last week are not even thinking of reglazing. [Schadenfreude: licking its wounds]

“The 9th of May [VE day in Russia] is a few days away,” they sigh, “and it could all happen again.” [TN: Invented: who is this “they” -- she’s alone with a taxi driver.]

“Surely people have let off all the steam that was in them?” I ask my taxi driver.

“Good grief, no!” he laughs. “This is the quiet before the storm. Can’t you see that what we have is urban partisan war?” [TN: Lightly disguised inflammatory call.]

New Estonian Joke: Fine for Slow Driving

I don’t see but I hear that it’s midday because at twelve on the dot all the cars in Tallinn’s street suddenly slow down all together and start hotting! This demonstration was invented by Russian drivers since all other forms of protest were closed to them: meetings, as they had experienced, finished with police beatings and attempts to negotiate were rejected outright. So they had nothing left they could do except hoot. It’s am indescribable feeling to know that the person in the car next you happily hooting and waving carnations is with you on this... [TN: If our Galya’s a Russian national, shouldn’t the Estonian government be preparing to expel her for incitement to disturb the peace?]

But now what? There’s a man standing by the curb, his face distorted in a grimace of hate, hurling stones at the hooting cars! He scuttles off down a side street as soon as a couple of cars turn towards him... [TN: Galina clearly watches too many cartoons. How could two cars in slow-moving traffic lanes suddenly start driving up the curb. She’s invented this.]

Practical advice is published on the Estonian internet: when going out, take plenty of stones and nails with you to throw at the Russian vandals who for some reason don’t seem to like being second-class citizens. The police can’t handle the hooting city Ð there aren’t enough police cars in the whole of Tallinn to impose 200 euro fines on all those who are demanding the resignation of the prime minister in this way. And in any case, doesn’t it sound plain silly to say that in Estonia you can be fined for driving slowly! [TN: The Estonian internet is obviously some particularly obnoxious form of internet, eh Galya! And how about a URL?]

People Are Bringing Live Flowers to the Soldier

[TN: excuse the flippancy but a thinking writer might ask himself if a cut flower technically alive]

I observed an interesting scene yesterday three police cars blocked in a jeep from the windows of which the familiar sound of Eto Den Pobedy [Russian VE Day son] was blaring at full blast. Perhaps this was a hint as to what is yet to come about if ALL Russian minds in Estonia stick on a single wavelength: what else can we think up to revenge ourselves against the state for what it has down to what we hold dear? [TN: Behind the Soviet journo’s usual difficulty with writing comprehensible similes, there are some rather nasty and inflammatory insinuations trying to get out.]

Each of us uses his creative potential to the best of his ability and capacity -- some are urgently taking their business out of Estonia, others are writing slogans on walls, yet others are recalling the words of war songs so that they can resound from every Russian window on 9 May, others still -- drivers of cars with Estonian number plates -- are putting large notices with names such as Vasya or Seryozha in the car windows to ensure that their cars are not damaged by enraged Russian patriots. [TN: I kid you not, this person is really writing this in a mass circulation "newspaper"!]

They Want to Spoil the Lives of the Relatives of the Fallen

I’d like to take this opportunity to add that these people [TN: which, Galya? Please try to write without non sequiturs as it makes things harder for translators] along with the diplomats from the Estonian Embassy in Moscow are absolutely not to blame for what the Estonian prime minister has done to the Bronze Soldier and to revenge oneself against them is stupid. Let others take their revenge -- the relatives of those whom Ansip has personally insulted. At one time he claimed that the demonstrators on T’nismägi Green were trampling on graves but now the rest not just of 13 soldiers but of at least 1100 is to be disturbed. This is because the monument has been moved to a working military cemetery and Slavs [note the introduction of racist terminology] who, in a ritual learnt with their mothers’ milk, bring the Soldier flowers, now have to mill with all sorts of other relatives of people buried in the cemetery.

[TN: This is so badly written that it’s hard to see what is being got at: I think in fact that it’s a veiled threat to disturb or encourage disturbances of the peace at the Tallinn military cemetery. On the other hand, it may conscious or unconscious racism about Slavs having to mix with others races in the cemetery. In all likelihood, a bit of both.]

So now it won’t be possible, with other relatively fresh graves around, to sing the old songs like Byotsya v tesnoi pechurke ogon and immerse oneself in the atmosphere of joy and pride with which it is our custom to wake up on the 9th of May. Euro MP Tatyana Zhdanok, by the way, thinks that this is precisely what the Estonian authorities intended: what sort of conflicts can arise between between the majority and the minority? Not just on grounds of language or religion, but also from differing interpretations of history, as happened, for example, in Kosovo. [TN: What?] The Estonians want to purge Victory Day of its feeling of holiday and make it into a day solely for remembering the dead...

“It’s Important We Show We Are Not Afraid

Ribbons of St. George are worth their weight in gold in Estonia. Many people seeing the striped ribbon on my handbag begged me to cut even a little strip off for them. “It’s important we show that we’re not afraid of anyone!” I was told by the women who had come to a 1st May meeting banned by the authorities. You should see how people share these ribbons, giving pieces to each other and holding on to them tightly, like sweets... Incidentally, it’s dangerous to tie such a ribbon to one’s car -- you can get your tyres slashed for that. Larisa Neshchadimova, one of the leading figures of the Night Watch group, has had her tyres let down several times. [TN: I have no adequate reaction to this saccharine bilge which reads like it was invented by a rather primitive brain.]

Yesterday I discovered that it’s dangerous to walk about in Estonia with a red flag. Minister of the Interior Yuri Pihl stated categorically: “No one is to walk about displaying the red flag this 9 May.” What will the Russians do then? Ransack their cupboards for something red and sadly comment: “Oh, what a shame, I’ve only got this red tennis racket cover.”

Jokes aside, yesterday the tent erected last week over the Bronze Soldier was at last removed from T’nismägi Green. All was clean and tidy -- as if there had never been anything there, neither graves nor memorial. [TN: Galya must have been told in propaganda school that even serious matters must be leavened with a joke or two for the readers. The clumsiness of her joke achievement boggles the mind. But of course the whole article is a combination of viciously evil tendentiousness so awkwardly done that the whole thing is a pathetic joke.]

* * *

So let’s leave Galya in her swamp and click on Komsomolka’s links. I need to know what’s happening in the world, I need information guide me so that I can lead a decent life. Komsomolka regularly has some click-through ads to a journal called VZGLYAD - Delovaya Gazeta. Sound serious and obviously enjoys Komsomolka’s support. Galya’s articles about the Bronze Soldier have aroused my interest and VZGLYAD has more information. Let’s read.

Embassy Now Without Pickets or Ambassador
Youth Movement Activist Stop Picket of Estonian Embassy by Irina Romancheva

Late Thursday evening, Russian youth movement activists, who for the last 6 days had been picketing the Estonian Embassy, went home. A few hours previously, Marina Karlyurand, the Baltic republic’s representative had “fled” the consulate. It seemed pointless for the young patriots to besiege an empty building. As a parting gesture, the lads hurled a portrait of Karlyurand into the air and laid flowers before a photograph of the Bronze Soldier before handing over the task of battling against Estonia’s abuse of power to the Russian leadership.

The siege of the Estonian Embassy in Moscow had been carried out from two sides. The “Young Guards” and “Mestnye” had held the fort round the clock on Maly Kislovsky Lane while “Nashi” and “Rosomols” did the same in Kalashny Lane.

“The ambassador has run from our beloved city with her tail between her legs. Civil society as represented by its youth organisations has completed its mission.” Both hastily erected wooden fences behind which with Baltic republic’s consular employees tried to shelter from the young people’s anger had been turned into walls of shame.

On their bit of fence “Nashi” collected signatures in support of 11th class schoolgirl Marka Siryka who was arrested by the Estonian police. The “Young Guards” put up an enormous poster depicting the Warrior-Liberator besides which stood a stern-faced guard holding the movement’s white flag stood day and night under a small sheet-metal shelter. Late Thursday the activists decided to stop the siege, which had gone on for six days and nights, and go home.

Just a few hours earlier, Marina Kalyurand, the Baltic republic’s representative in Moscow had left the consulate for the airport, having failed to answer a single question put to her by the young patriots and without even saying good-bye. The members of the youth movements felt it would be rather pointless to picket the empty building.

“The ambassador has run from our beloved city with her tail between her legs. Civil society as represented by its youth organisations has completed its mission. The young have shown they they will defend the history written by their grandfathers. We support all and any adequate measures with regards to Estonia.” Alexei Shaposhnikov, leader of the Moscow branch of “Young Guard”, told this newspaper.

The young activists decided to depart from the embassy in style. At 20:45, they gathered in a semicircle by the poster depicting the Bronze Soldier. In their hands, the lads held the banners of “Mestnye” and of the “Young Guards” and also paper planes of impressive size made out of sheets of A4 paper with the words “Estonia, you will regret what you have done” written on their wings.

Candles were already burning at the foot of the photographic monument. Also fling down there was a stylised EU flag, the circle on its blue background formed not of stars but of little yellow swastikas. “This today is the symbol not of the independent states of Europe but of the neo-Nazi states raising there heads there., explained Karen Oganyan, an activist of the metropolitan branch of the “Young Guards”. According to him, Estonia’s prime minister has demonstrated that the Cold War is ongoing. And the USA and several European countries are actively applying a policy of dual standards, condemning fascism in general terms but ignoring the neo-Nazi attitudes of one country in particular. We cannot allow displays of fascism!”, he summed up.

“United we unbeatable!” his comrades-in-arms chanted. Next one of the “Mestnye” activists read a poem about “black bulldozers” that perfectly suited the situation over the dismantling of the Bronze Soldier. The reading was heard out in complete silence and applauded at the end.

“We are united by the memories of our great-grandfather and by pride in them.” Thus Sergei Fateyev, leader of “Mestnye”, expressed the general mood. Due honours were shown to the feat of Soviet soldiers by laying red carnations at the foot of the picture of the Warrior-Liberator.

“Marina Kalyurand ran away today,” Fateyev suddenly reminded. “And she’ll run away again right now”, promised the leader of the White-and-Greens, taking from one of his comrades a “bouquet” of white balloons printed with the movement’s logo. A picture of Marina Kalyurand with the words “Wanted! Ambassador of Fascist State” was tied to the bunch and to cheerful catcalls let loose into the sky.

No use had yet been made of the paper planes. Without hesitation, the young patriots hurled them over the fence round the Estonian embassy. They all hit their target.

“And a farewell bow to you!” Alexei Shaposhnikov concluded the demonstration, proving by his actions, along with Sergei Fateyev, that this was not just a figure of speech. “Fascism will no pass!, chanted the activists at the sight of their bowing leaders.

Incidentally, the “Young Guards” have no intention of stopping their expression of disgust at the Estonian authorities. Nadezhda Orlova, chairman of the political council of the Young Guards told Vzglyad that on the night of 8th-9th May, her comrades-in-arms will hold an all-Russian demonstration against the stance of the Baltic republic’s leadership. Every Russian is invited to take part. On 8th May, everyone is invited to turn the lights off in their flats for 5 minutes and to light a candle. The little petal of flame can be put in the window or taken out into the street. Should you be at the wheel of car at that time, the Young Guards suggest that the driver turn on the emergency flashers instead.

Tomorrow 40 Young Guards and activists of the 17th Wagon movement will begin distribution to Muscovites candles and leaflets with instructions which can be glued on in the entrance ways to blocks of flats. The Young Guards also intend to carry organise similar activities in the regions.

The Young Guards invite people to fight neo-fascist tendencies not just with words but with deeds. In the opinion of Alexandr Shaposhnikov, Russia should enact a law making revisionism of the Second World War a criminal offence. “This would make it possible to prosecute individuals guilty of the crime in Russian courts, irrespective of their place of residence, citizenship or rank. A second step would be to get the law recognised internationally,” said Alexei Shaposhnikov to VZGLYAD.

* * *

Of course, VZGLYAD does not write only about Estonia. Look here’s something about Poland and a catchy headline too:

Poles Poison the Air
Ammonia Leak and the Mikoyan Meat-Processing
Plant Was Caused by Polish Delivery Truck


In the night of Wednesday to Thursday, a leak of 100 kilos of ammonia happened at the Mikoyan Meat-Processing Plant. To blame was a Polish delivery which cornered wrongly when driving into the plant and struck a pipe.


Oh, I’ve had enough of this rubbish and we can all see where this non-story is going. I think the important point is quite how madly immoral Russia is as a country, something not immediately evident without a little digging into material available only in Russian. This needs to be brought to light because I think many in the West fool themselves and have no idea of quite how NASTY Russia is today.


Scott said...

I think I threw up in my mouth a little after all that, especially the first story.

Incidentally, here's a video that some enterprising person has created about the Nashi: Putin Youth

Sam said...

I just love that tripe about "all the cars in Tallinn". Every car in Tallinn is driven by an anti-Estonian Russian? I thought we were supposed to be oppressing them, how are these oppressed people suddenly the only ones who can afford cars?

The Russian position is so filled with doublethink, it boggles the mind. Well, it would, if I wasn't so used to it by now. "Estonia is an apartheid state!", you hear them claim one minute. "350 ethnic Russian police resign in protest!", they say the next. I'm sure black South Africans would be thrilled to hear of an "apartheid" where the "terror apparatus" hires members of the ethnic group supposedly victimized by said "apartheid".

Igor said...

To Sam
They own cars? Are hired as policemen? Well, all kind of unusual things are possible in Estonia. Because Estonia was and is a real Wonderland.

Just look:
Wonder one. Estonians always complained about Estonia being “a colony o the Russians” since it was occupied in 1944 and till 1991. It was said that the "Russian colonizers" sucked out all the blood from Estonian nation, oppressed the poor native folks in all ways possible.
I'm sure, black Africans would be thrilled to hear that under the Soviet regime “colonizers and occupants” in Estonia worked hard as plain workers at plants, factories and mines and the “oppressed aborigines”, were their managers, all level government officials, policemen, engineers, doctors, artist, composers, etc.
Wonder two: Poor Zaire or Nigeria or Chad got their independence in 1960, have huge deposits of oil or minerals, and 47 years after still struggling with poverty.
Estonia threw off the “chains of Russian colonialism” only 15 years ago. She had no natural resources(other than pigs), was "exhausted by the occupation" but now is one of the most successful European nations.

Anonymous said...

To Igor:
Sarcasm really doesn't become you, so how about you cut it out?
The communistic economic system didn't do quite as badly in Estonia as it did elsewhere, because Estonia (among a couple of other countries) already had a strong economic basis from its short independence. Also, smart & resourceful people tend to survive and try to make the best of a bad situation, but that doesn't make the situation less bad (actually, I think ATROCIOUS is a better word for it).
Your comment on wonder 1. What? Seriously, WHAT? Are you that stupid or just blatantly lying? Russians and the Russian language were preferred in all walks of life - they got the better jobs, the (better) apartments, got to acquire higher education in their native language etc. So please educate yourself and/or quit lying.
Wonder 2 - read my comment above about resourceful people making the best out of a bad situation and stop trying to take credit for out hard-earned success. I know it's easier to create a foreign enemy to start admitting and dealing with problems in your own backyard, but please, do us all a favour and TRY!

Anonymous said...

To Igor (correction)

*to create a foreign enemy THAN to start admitting and dealing with problems

agentsteelz said...

'On their bit of fence “Nashi” collected signatures in support of 11th class schoolgirl Marka Siryka who was arrested by the Estonian police.'

actually it was a guy Mark Siryk, I believe here's been a translation error because they add the 'a' in the end of a word even if its male,btw something to do with grammar, never paid any attention in my russian lessons anyway

o yea great blog, keep up the good work