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Trek.. what's happening in Estonia!?
Old 05-15-2007, 05:36 AM   #1
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Trek.. what's happening in Estonia!?

Just read about the big Russian statue brouhaha in my tardy-in-arriving Economist magazine. Sounds like a big deal. Hope Estonia can hold its own.. Sending positive thoughts your way.

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After the Estonian authorities sealed off the monument last weekend, hundreds of people, mostly from the 300,000-strong ethnic Russian population, rioted in Tallinn. They attacked the main theatre and the Academy of Arts, chanting “**** Estonia”, and “Russia, Russia”. Secondary-school pupils unfurled a banner outside parliament reading “USSR forever”. The supposed aim was to protect the war memorial—a bronze “liberator” that Estonians see as a symbol of their country's decades-long enslavement by the Soviet Union. But the main activity was looting. Dozens of shops were raided. The police, initially overwhelmed, made 1,000 arrests. One man was stabbed to death—in a row with another looter, Estonia says.

The rioting was not wholly spontaneous. Russian embassy officials had previously met leading protesters in curious places such as a botanical garden, according to pictures leaked by local spy-catchers. After the riot, another front opened: state websites were swamped by attacks from computers with Kremlin IP addresses.
...
Then on May 1st Russian oil and coal exports to Estonia stopped, pending railway “repairs”. Freight transit through the country is lucrative for Russian business. But like other threatened boycotts, the move will not hurt Estonia much. Previous Russian sanctions have forced Estonian firms to trade chiefly with the West. Still, gas supplies are truly vulnerable, while the thriving tourism industry is nervously counting cancelled bookings.

Russia's rhetorical onslaught has been ferocious. Ignoring the looting, media there claim that “anti-fascist schoolchildren” trying to stop Estonians “demolishing” the memorial were “tortured” by the “inhuman” police. Russia's foreign minister said Estonia was behaving “disgustingly”. A delegation of Russian politicians, invited to see that the monument had been moved, not demolished, called for the government's resignation before setting off. On arrival, they repeatedly insulted their hosts, while demanding that “political prisoners” be freed.

This has scary echoes for Estonians. In 1940 a Soviet delegation issued similarly phrased demands. Weeks later, Estonia was wiped off the map. The protests also sit oddly with the ruthless way that entirely peaceful and purely political protests are squashed in Russia, as well as with the often casual treatment of war memorials there.
https://www.economist.com/world/euro..._id=E1_JTNNSGG
(subscription)
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Re: Trek.. what's happening in Estonia!?
Old 05-15-2007, 09:30 AM   #2
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Re: Trek.. what's happening in Estonia!?

Hey Ladelfina,

Thanks for the kind thoughts. That rioting happened last month on April 26th and to a less extent on the 27th. The whole thing is bit complicated so without getting too deep into it, this is basically how things happened. In the middle of Tallinn there was a statue that the Soviets erected in 1947. It was a big bronze Red Army soldier in a little park right across from the National Library. At the end of the park were about 12 soldiers buried, right next to and partially under a bus stop (Soviets built the bus stop too). Every May 9th (VE Day for Russia), ethnic Russians living in Estonia would go put flowers there to remember those that died in WWII. That was fine. But then a couple years ago something else started. On May 9th instead of bring flowers and quietly remembering their war dead, younger ethnic Russians who know nothing about the Soviet atrocities committed in Estonia starting going the statue to drink and wave Soviet flags and chant "Russia, Russia." The Russians called this statue the Soviet Liberator saying they "freed" Estonia but Estonians called it the Soviet Rapist statue due to the horrible crimes the Soviets committed here for 50 years while illegally occupying the country. Then last year on May 9th there was a violent altercation between ethnic Russians and Estonians at the site.

So, the government said enough is enough and decided that statue and graves should be removed from the center of the city and relocated in Tallinn's military cemetery on the outskirts of town (and incidentally actually closer to where many ethnic Russians live.) So then Russia catches wind of all this and says "don't you dare move that statue" and started to threaten Estonia with sanctions, call us Nazis, say we were "rewriting history", etc, etc. They said they would unleash hell on us if we moved it.

So we moved it Actually, we were preparing to move it and while they were putting up a big tent over the site a bunch of real protesters showed up and peacefully were voicing their opposition. But then night started to fall and a bunch of drunk ethnic Russian hooligans showed up and decided to break windows and loot the stores downtown shouting once again "F*** Estonia" and "Russia, Russia" all the while. Mostly liquor stores, designer clothing shops and the optical shops for expensive sunglasses were looted. They skipped the bookstore. It really was confined to just a few streets downtown.

So yeah, the police were caught off guard with that since Tallinn is such a safe and quiet city. But they got their act together and kept the city secure after that. So now the statue stands in the military cemetery and most everyone in Estonia agrees it's a more suitable place for it and everything is back to normal. But in Russia, they are still ticked off we didn't obey them so they have tried to take some "unofficial" economic sanctions against us. Didn't really do much since Estonia's main trading partners are Finland, Sweden, Denmark, etc. I think the economy minister said Russia totals around 10%. So now they've been hacking and perpetrating denial of service attacks against our government websites, etc.

But things in Estonia are fine and I'm really enjoying myself here.




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Re: Trek.. what's happening in Estonia!?
Old 05-15-2007, 11:15 AM   #3
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Re: Trek.. what's happening in Estonia!?

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Originally Posted by Trek
But in Russia, they are still ticked off we didn't obey them so they have tried to take some "unofficial" economic sanctions against us. Didn't really do much since Estonia's main trading partners are Finland, Sweden, Denmark, etc. I think the economy minister said Russia totals around 10%. So now they've been hacking and perpetrating denial of service attacks against our government websites, etc.

But things in Estonia are fine and I'm really enjoying myself here.

I’ve also been following this story. From here, and combined with some of Russia’s other recent expansionist moves, it looks like “Good-bye cuddly bear, hello same- ol’ Russia.

I hope things go well in your corner of the world. It is a beautiful place and I imagine you are entering into the nicest time of year, with very long warm afternoons and evenings

Do you get your natural gas from a pipeline from Russia? As to petroleum products, do you refine crude in Estonia or import products like heating oil and gasoline, jet fuel, etc?

How about electrical generation? Do you buy power, or generate your own? If the latter, what fuels are used?

If Russia supplies you, this is where they might be able to put nasty pressure on your country.

Ha





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Re: Trek.. what's happening in Estonia!?
Old 05-15-2007, 12:57 PM   #4
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Re: Trek.. what's happening in Estonia!?

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Originally Posted by HaHa

I’ve also been following this story. From here, and combined with some of Russia’s other recent expansionist moves, it looks like “Good-bye cuddly bear, hello same- ol’ Russia.

I hope things go well in your corner of the world. It is a beautiful place and I imagine you are entering into the nicest time of year, with very long warm afternoons and evenings

Do you get your natural gas from a pipeline from Russia? As to petroleum products, do you refine crude in Estonia or import products like heating oil and gasoline, jet fuel, etc?

How about electrical generation? Do you buy power, or generate your own? If the latter, what fuels are used?

If Russia supplies you, this is where they might be able to put nasty pressure on your country.

Ha

It's really been beautiful. Trees have their leaves and dandelions all over. Before long we'll be in summer and the time of the midnight sun where the sun never fully sets at night. Just wonderful!

Regarding energy, Estonia is in a pretty fortunate position relative to other countries in the region. We're not dependent on anyone else for our electrical supply. We power ourselves via oil shale. We actually produce more than we need and export a small amount of electricity. So we're in good shape there.

We have no natural gas, so what we import currently comes from Russia via pipelines. But since we're not heavily dependent on it, we actually don't import that much compared to other countries in the region. We import around 35 billion cubic feet per year. Whereas Ukraine for instance imports 850 billion cubic feet per year.

We don't have any oil refineries in Estonia. But we do have a very strategic port that Russia uses to export about 25% of it's oil to the rest of Europe.

Estonia also has some large wind farms with more in the works for power generation. Also working on using peat as an energy source since we have tons of that.

Also, Estonia signed an agreement with Latvia and Lithuania to jointly build a nuclear power plant in Lithuania and share the power from that.

So overall Estonia isn't that dependent on Russia's resources and that bugs them too because they can't really use that as a way to pressure or influence us. And since we're an EU and NATO member, they can't threaten force anymore either.



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Re: Trek.. what's happening in Estonia!?
Old 05-15-2007, 01:47 PM   #5
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Re: Trek.. what's happening in Estonia!?

Trek, I am glad to hear this. Things will likely continue fine for you!

Ha
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Re: Trek.. what's happening in Estonia!?
Old 05-15-2007, 03:04 PM   #6
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Re: Trek.. what's happening in Estonia!?

I have Lithuanian ancestry, I hope the area remains stable and prospers. I'd like to visit the area some day since I could probably find distant cousins as that part of my family tree only got here 100 years ago.
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Re: Trek.. what's happening in Estonia!?
Old 05-16-2007, 10:47 PM   #7
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Re: Trek.. what's happening in Estonia!?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/russia/art...081438,00.html

Hang on, Trek! We love Estonia.

Kramer

Quote:
A three-week wave of massive cyber-attacks on the small Baltic country of Estonia, the first known incidence of such an assault on a state, is causing alarm across the western alliance, with Nato urgently examining the offensive and its implications.

While Russia and Estonia are embroiled in their worst dispute since the collapse of the Soviet Union, a row that erupted at the end of last month over the Estonians' removal of the Bronze Soldier Soviet war memorial in central Tallinn, the country has been subjected to a barrage of cyber warfare, disabling the websites of government ministries, political parties, newspapers, banks, and companies.

Nato has dispatched some of its top cyber-terrorism experts to Tallinn to investigate and to help the Estonians beef up their electronic defences.

"This is an operational security issue, something we're taking very seriously," said an official at Nato headquarters in Brussels. "It goes to the heart of the alliance's modus operandi."

Alarm over the unprecedented scale of cyber-warfare is to be raised tomorrow at a summit between Russian and European leaders outside Samara on the Volga.
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Old 05-22-2007, 12:33 PM   #8
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I've been following this as well Trek. Hope it doesn't escalate past this point! The whole May 8th/May 9th VE celebration is fascinating. Do the ethnic Estonians celebrate VE day on the 8th instead of the 9th? I hear that Estonia is about 1/3 ethnic Russian?
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Old 05-22-2007, 01:20 PM   #9
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Thanks for the words of support all. Everything is fine here.

What Russia is up to is nothing new. They picked on the Poles, then the Lithuanians, then the Latvians. They just worked their way up to us. It's just their way. They have elections coming up and they have to try and drum up some national pride and spew their propaganda. Par for the course.

WanderAlot -

Yes, VE Day for Estonia is May 8th, like the rest of Europe. Though they don't have anything to celebrate except losing their independence, mass murders, rapes and general oppression.

About 25% of the total population is ethnic Russian, most all of them are concentrated in the cities of the North and North East. The USSR shipped them all in on cattle cars after WWII to work in the factories, mining operations, "industrialize" the country and breed out the rest of the Estonians that they didn't deport or kill. Tallinn is 30% ethnic Russian. Everyone generally gets along well though all things considered. Russia tries to stir things up, but most people don't fall for it.

Wildcat -

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Old 05-22-2007, 10:23 PM   #10
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Trek,

Have been watching this, too. Sending guns, dynamite and lawyers; the merde has hit the fan. Keep the index finger near the 'escape' key.

Question. It appears that the immigrant Russian population is not 100% with Putin and the boys. I infer that many have assimilated and identify with the native population. Nicht war? This has happened before.

El Gitano

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Old 05-23-2007, 01:17 AM   #11
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trek do you work for the estonian travel board/ministry? if you don't you should!

you could probably fill a bus full of folks (from here) interested in taking a low cost trek through your hood...

but the statue thing put a little dirt on my (cold) shangrila image i had previously - but that's ok, cuz now it's not boring...
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Old 05-23-2007, 01:48 AM   #12
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Trek,

Have been watching this, too. Sending guns, dynamite and lawyers; the merde has hit the fan. Keep the index finger near the 'escape' key.

Question. It appears that the immigrant Russian population is not 100% with Putin and the boys. I infer that many have assimilated and identify with the native population. Nicht war? This has happened before.

El Gitano

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You're correct in that they aren't with Putin. They know they are far better off in Estonia than they would be in Russia. Here they have a much higher standard of living, better pay, better infrastructure and far less corruption. They're not rocking the boat. But there are a few bad apples like anywhere that try and take advantage of certain situations and that's what happened when we moved the statue. A few bad guys incited a bunch of dumb drunk youths to go wreak havoc downtown. And those bad guys were well know to the authorities and are now in custody facing 5 years. But Russia was able to use those riots to spread propaganda and try to renew a lost nationalism in their country.

What happened during those riots shamed and embarrassed the vast majority of decent, law abiding ethnic Russians that make Estonia their home.

Fact is Russia feels threatened these days. Their sphere of influence has shrunk considerably. They are now bordered by NATO countries, the US wants to put missiles in Poland, people are working on ways to ween themselves off Russian gas and oil, etc. So they will lash out where they can, though it only hurts them in the long run.

Like many other countries, it's the corrupt ruling political elite that ruins it for the rest of the decent hard working people of a country. In Russia's case, you have Putin who is a pro-USSR, ex-KGB officer running the place who surrounds himself with like minded individuals. His successor next year will likely be someone similar. But the average Russian is just a regular guy/gal who wants to live in peace and prosper, if given the chance.
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Old 05-23-2007, 02:02 AM   #13
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trek do you work for the estonian travel board/ministry? if you don't you should!

you could probably fill a bus full of folks (from here) interested in taking a low cost trek through your hood...

but the statue thing put a little dirt on my (cold) shangrila image i had previously - but that's ok, cuz now it's not boring...
W*rk, how dare you bring that up nasty word.

Yeah, it's a shame really that most people have never heard of Estonia, then the first thing they see about it in the news is some negative crap over a statue.

It's definitely not boring. Estonia sits in a very strategic location and that is why it has been constantly invaded over it's history. Prime real estate with Baltic sea access.
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Old 05-30-2007, 07:49 PM   #14
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It's definitely not boring. Estonia sits in a very strategic location and that is why it has been constantly invaded over it's history. Prime real estate with Baltic sea access.
Trek, the first time I heard about Estonia was after her independence. But the first time I got interested was about 6 years ago when someone I met commented on how good looking the girls were in Tallin!

About the Baltic sea access, isn't that why Russia has Kalingrad (sp?)?
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Old 05-31-2007, 06:32 AM   #15
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Trek, the first time I heard about Estonia was after her independence. But the first time I got interested was about 6 years ago when someone I met commented on how good looking the girls were in Tallin!

About the Baltic sea access, isn't that why Russia has Kalingrad (sp?)?
The girls are for the most part smokin' hot. Generally speaking, most Nordic countries have an unusually high rate of very attractive women.

And yes, Russia retained control of Kaliningrad Oblast after the breakup of the USSR and the port city of Kaliningrad is Russias only year round ice free port now. But the Oblast is totally isolated as there is no land connection with Russia. IIRC, the area was German controlled and part of East Prussia before WWII when the locals all fled and it was then re-populated by Russia once they took control of it.

If you're really interested you can read a bit more on WIKI: Kaliningrad Oblast - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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