A reader claiming to represent a group of Georgians wishing to express solidarity with their oppressed brethren in Estonia sends La Russophobe the logo (above) and the following manifesto:
Meanwhile, the Russian business daily Vedemosti, analagous to America's Wall Street Journal, has the following to say about Russia's failed policy in Estonia and increasing neo-Soviet isolation:
- The relocation of the statue of a Red Army occupier with respect to history is the internal business of Estonia and no other state can intervene to this with demand for the government to resign;
- Russian press unmercifully perverts information about conflict in Estonia and is actively creating image of Baltic States as enemy of Russia;
- Russia is engaged in chauvinistic and ultra-nationalistic hysteria against the free, democratic and European Estonia;
- Russia has demonstrated intolerance for the freedom of its neighbours and used radical neo-nazi youth movement "nashi" to wage series of attacks on Estonian embassy and staff through provocations and aggression;
- We fully support Estonian state and Estonian nation in their heroic stance against the emerging neo-imperialistic fascist state which present a greater threat for the security and stability in Europe and beyond.
- Lithuania Latvia Georgia, European Union and all democratic states of the world should express their full support for Estonia in no uncertain terms because the same thing may happen to all of the countries which are involved with Russia.
It is starting to look as if official Moscow, without hope of any discernable political benefit, is glad for any opportunity to argue with its neighbors. This chance to stand up to its neighbors may make it possible for officials to talk about the recovery of Russia's place on the world stage, but the reality is that it's position is worsening: Over the past few years, measure of attitudes toward Russia in the West have plunged into the negatives, and post-Soviet republics have been transformed into enemies. Ignoring the technical date for the break up of the Soviet Union, the real and final disintegration has come in the first decade of the 21st century. With each new conflict the former Soviet republics move further away from being abstract enemies for Russians and toward being real foreign policy opponents for the country.
The roots of the conflict with Estonia all lie in the past. Russia's foreign policy looks like a holdover from the Soviet variety, and those responsible for making it live in a "cold" world, surrounded by enemies. Economic recovery and the strengthening of Russia's position on the international arena have had the ironic effect of narrowing the world surrounding the country to the geographic borders of the state.
For Russia to hope to have more friends in a world that has broadened, and not narrowed, it needs an entirely different foreign policy that is oriented toward the future with an understanding of the past.
Besides its Soviet and imperial heritage, Russia has a multitude of cards to play that would allow it to act effectively on the international stage, including its location, the state of its economy and, perhaps most important, its great cultural tradition.
But to start living in the future, the past has to be transformed from a stumbling block to a common understanding. In order to chase away the ghosts of the past, you first have to reconcile yourself with them.
As long as Russians continue to turn a blind eye to parts of the history of Soviet repression -- living peacefully with both Stalin's national anthem and the two-headed eagle, with Lenin's body on Red Square and Tsar Nicholas II canonized -- the past will only continue to get in their way.