Though the events took place in quite a limited area in Tallinns’ center, you got an impression from the TV as if a war had broken down. The news-lady seemed to be nervous, gave some very anxious information and asked such questions from minister of internal affairs, which made the situation seem even worse. TV lady: “But the turmoil has spread around the center. Don’t you think it could spread all around Estonia?” And the cameras show drunk youngsters wandering around the center, a kiosk burning and trash on the streets.
Could it spread outside Tallinn? Hell yes it could, when you guys are showing in national television as if a war has broken down and ask provocative questions, which make the situation seem even worse. The commentators showed no sign of trying to understand why this is happening, they labeled youngsters merely as vandals and set Estonians against Russians. Is this the objective projection of the reality and journalists are just doing their job? Or does media has also some other responsibility and “objective projection” is sometimes just not the best choice? Or at least would urgently need some balancing comments.
I’m so angry right now that I’m not making many suggestions, but instead blaming people who I feel have certain responsibility, which they have abused. I truly apologize, I might be also deepening the problem myself (emotions have the tendency to do that), but I don’t want to watch this silently and accept if I feel it’s just not right.
We have Russians here in Estonia and they don’t feel very much appreciated right now. They truly feel that their voice isn’t heard and their rights have been violated (and if not all feel this way then obviously a big part of them). It doesn’t matter whether it has been caused by the media and Russian government propaganda or does it also have some objective truth in it. It’s how people perceive the situation, so we can’t ignore it by just saying: “It’s not the truth, we actually like Russians, they have just misunderstood us!”
I hate to see that we build fences in the center, hide the information from public, start working with highly sensitive issues in the dawn and hope that it will all calm down. Even if it does in physical level, people go home and the monument will be taken to another place, the society will be more split. Russians vs Estonians.
I’m not saying that little Estonia should just do what big and almighty Russia expects us to do and that we should be ignoring the problem. No, we have to deal with problems, but we should do it with dignity. Right now I see a big ego-fight, just proving that we can do whatever we want on our own territory and we don’t care about Russian propaganda. By using force we make it worse. We should use the situation to unite the society, to start a dialogue with Estonian Russians. We are not in a rush, we have to find an agreement that suits the whole society, at least also a large part of the minority.
Right now it seems as if the youngsters who are rioting on the streets of Tallinn are the really bad ones. To be honest - I would be there too if I’d truly believe that no-one really cares about my opinion and there is no other way to make my voice heard when to join my fellows and go trouble making on the streets. I’m young and the feeling of doing something important is just interesting. Yes, maybe it’s illegal, but it’s exciting, makes my blood go around and after all – it seems justified, because I feel how the government is acting the same way by violating my rights. You don’t have to be exactly an expert to understand that simple emotions of an individual are sometimes far more important than all international and national laws.
I have to admit that so far the problem has seemed to be a bit far away. Something not very important, because after all – we are talking about some statue in the center, it can’t be that big thing?!? I even didn’t have strong opinion about it, because I just didn’t get the point. After all – the problem was mainly raised by Estonian media, later tripled by Russian and international media, the real issue was really never that big. Come on – all Estonia is full of such statues, we have several in Tartu!
But now I see that the issue is raising the tensions hidden in Estonian society. We have been talking about integration, we have programs to integrate Russians into our society, but seems that the issue hasn’t been really understood. You can say that you have good intentions, give money for some language programs, make some projects and campaigns, but when you think that solving an sensitive and emotional problem by showing your power and authority, I think you haven’t been dealing with the issue with good-will and sincere intentions.
I’m not proud of the macho-mentality Estonians are showing. I’m not eagerly waiting for Estonians self-centered reactions that follow tonights events. I’d like to admire our politicians for making responsible and mature decisions, right now I’m just afraid to hear another moralizing lecture from them: “Bad-bad vandals!” Damnit, I really like Estonia, we are a great country, but right now I’m just ashamed.
I’m not justifying violence. I’m convinced it deepens the problems, not solves them. The question is – who should be the mature side, who should be showing example in Estonian society?
And in the news I can hear again: “Don’t worry people, by the morning the situation has calmed down!” Yes, police does their job, they will calm the situation down. But short-sigthed solutions just aren’t enough, I want to see politicians with long-term vision.