perjantai 19. syyskuuta 2008

A letter from a patriot

Today I received an angry letter from an Estonian patriot. Here is the letter and my answer: 

I am a young Estonian man and I saw your interview on Pealtnägija. I am an absolute Estonian patriot. So I would like to ask some questions from You.
Firstly, I´ll make it clear that it is not my intention to accuse you. I just want to explain and understand some things.
Firstly, don´t you think that when you show your book on the 22th of September in front of thousands of Russian people (and again, this is not an insult like people tend to think, they are Russians, just as you are a Finn - you don´t take it as a insult, do you?), it might cause them to be provoked and they might go to the streets again and just crush the streets? And it would be because of You, because you just had to go there and make the gap between Estonians and Russians even bigger! (I repeat, i am not accusing, but you should look at it realistically)
Secondly, you said that Estonia wasn´t occupied. How would you call it then?
What is more, you said that "for some reason" we call them "küüditajad". But that is 100% truth, is it even possible to doubt that? Thousands and thousands of people can tell you that. Talk to the elderly to find out or find another source that you trust and you will find it out as well.
I really hope you received this letter and answer me as well. I do not want any problems but I want clarity and I want peace, but the thing You are doing, is not bringing peace. Sure, the Estonian government has done mistakes, but has politely talking to Russia ever paid off? Even you, the Finns, had to fight for your freedom with blood.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Best regards

Dear patriot,
Thank you very much for your questions.
I am also an absolute Estonian patriot. That is why I wrote my book. 
First of all, you said I am going to present my book in front of Russians. September 22th is in my opinion not the celebration of Russians, but of all peace- and truth-loving individuals of Estonia. For example Arnold Meri has celebrated this day since 1944, and he is of course not Russian. In my knowledge, there are many Estonians celebrating the event. I have invited many Finnish friends and colleagues as well. There will be plenty of Ukrainians, Belorussians and others. It seems to me that you are making some kind of a superficial category of "Russians" with certain kinds of political opinions. Of course, not all Russians want to celebrate September 22th. It is up to free will. 
I do not think I am making the gap between Russians and Estonians deeper, because it is already so deep, that nobody can make it deeper. After Your governmenr destroyed and vandalised the graves at Tõnismägi, there is no way back. My book does not make it any worse nor better. 
I do not think the masses would go into streets because of my book. It is written in Finnish, anyway. It is of course illegal to vandalise and destroy property, as many Russians, Estonians and some other young people did in April 2007. That is also a crime and not acceptable. 
Estonia has never been occupied by the Soviet Union, but it was occupied by the Nazi Germany 1941-44. Today, I think, Estonia is occupied by lies, first of all lies about Soviet "occupation". Estonia made bilateral agreements with the Soviet Union for creating Soviet military bases. That was no occupation. Afterwards Estonia joined the Soviet Union. That was no occupation, which means an invasion of a hostile army. Soviet army was of course not histile towards Estonia. As Martti Turtola has written in his excellent books, almost nobody was willing to defend the regime of Konstantin Päts. 
Not all Russians are deporters or "küüditajad". The mass deportations actually also saved many people, such as Lennart Meri. I am quoting his memoirs in my book. Actually Meri had rather good time in Russia while expelled from Estonia. I have a reason to think that his deportation saved his life, and I think he would agree even himself. 
At least half of Estonian Jews were saved when deported to Russia, while the rest were murdered by Estonians. I think the mass deportations were necessary measures in stabilizing the country. It also saved many people's lives. But of course I do not deny that many people died because of the deportations. However there is too much exaggerated information about the deportations. Mass deportation was not the same thing as death penalty. Many people came back - you told I should ask from the old people. Of course, because they came back and are still alive. 
We have to study of course all aspects of crimes against humanity. Mass deportations is here one aspect. But we should not exaggerate. 
I think your country needs a new Truth Commission. Your country is sick of lies.

Tilaa Pronssisoturi-kirja osoitteesta

15 kommenttia:

Einf kirjoitti...

Hi again.
Like you see from Your own reaction, you take the word Russian as an insult, but it is the NATION. A very nice word, i think.
Secondly, you think you are not going to cause any problems by showing off your book? Never mind the language, everybody knows something about it. You need to look at human psychology. There will be a lot of people, and it is easy to manipulate them. We see that in today´s Russia and according to your words, in Estonia as well. (Certainly, up to a point, it is true, Finland also)
My view is the following: you think Estonia is (sorry for the language) screwing it up, but at the moment I must say, You, be creating this furore, are making it worse.

And about the deporters and the occupation - well, if a country of more than 100 million people tell a country of 1,3 million people that they want to put a military base in their country, you don´t say no, otherwise they will just crush you. At least that was the situation more 60 years ago.
And the deportation of so many thousands is awful. You say that it was important for the stabilization? Yes, certainly, FOR RUSSIA! They had less dissenters (teisitimõtlejaid).

And again, to make sure that You don´t label me as an angry patriot again, I will tell You that it is not my goal to accuse you, just that I am more than certain that I am in the society more than you and I have Russian friends, enough, to say that Your talk is utterly nonsense. Though, I must add, things are not ideal in Estonia, but not as bad as You try to claim. You are hurting the political situation of Estonia and Finland.

Nonetheless, let´s stay friends.


Jan1964 kirjoitti...

I think Finland needs a de-finlandization and de-stalinization commission.

minta71 kirjoitti...

Johan Bäckman should read the opinion of the European Court of Justice in the case "Penart against Estonia". It clearly describes the Soviet intervention in Estonia 1940 and the incorporation of Estonia in the Soviet Union as "occupation". As an example. And Bäckman should study international law and the opinions of (non-Baltic and non-American) experts in international law, who almost unanimously agree that the Baltic States lost their independence in 1940 because of Soviet agression. Maybe Mr. Bäckman should talk with for example Mr. Martti Koskenniemi, Professor in international law at the Helsinki University, and get his opinion on the "voluntary" incorporation of the Baltic States in the Soviet Union.
Here is something Mr. Bäckman could start with. :

In which way, Mr. Bäckman, do your "arguments" and the stalinist Kremlin-propaganda show a higher degree of validity that the arguments of the ECHR and the most prominent experts of international law in the world?

Johan Bäckman kirjoitti...

It is very strange to claim my opinions as "stalinist-Kremlin propaganda". This is very aggressive way of describing it. I have my sourcesm such as Magnus Ilmjärv, Martti Turtola and Leena Hietanen. Of course there are many other opinions as well. You can always find documents which say there was "occupation" and documents that say there was no "occupation". However, Turtola's research is the latest evidence of the fact that there was no occupation. Also it is not very good way to discuss to say that my opinions are "stalinist-Kremlin propaganda". Tht kind of formulation tells a lot about the Russophobic nature of my critics.

minta71 kirjoitti...

I said Stalinist-Kremlin propaganda, because your way of attacking Estonia reminds me of the anti-Baltic rhetorics of the Kremlin and especially of the most militant Russian extremists, many of which have strong sympathies with Stalin. That has nothing to do with russophobia or the dislike of the Russian people as such.

I do not doubt that you have your sources, and I am familiar with the opinions of Leena Hietanen, Magnus Ilmjärv and Martti Turtola. Let it just be said - once again - none of those 3 are experts in international law. The prevailing and dominant opinion of the experts of international law is that the actions of the Soviet governement in the Baltic States were illegal.

minta71 kirjoitti...

Jatkan tässä suomeksi. Puhut Viron Apartheid-politiikasta, ja suoraan sanoen en jaksa ymmärtää, mitä tarkoitat. Ensinnäkin - kuten mainitsin yllä, suurin osa kansainvälisen oikeuden asiantuntijoista ovat yhtä mieltä siitä, että Viro ja muut Baltian maat nimenomaan miehitettiin 1940. Sama koskee länsimaalaisia historian tutkijoita, joitain harvoja poikkeuksia (esm. Turtola, Ilmjärv) lukuun ottamatta. Eli hieman kärjistäen voisi sanoa, että Viron, Latvian ja Liettuan tulkinnat vuoden 1940 tapahtumista ja neuvostoajasta vastaavat yleistä käsitystä tapahtumien kulusta lännessä ja että teoria "vapaaehtoisesta" liittymisestä/alistumisesta" nauttii laajaa suosiota miltei vaan ja ainoastaan Venäjällä, Valkovenäjällä ja joidenkin harvojen Venäjän kanssa sympatisoivien länsimaalaisten tutkijoiden/journalistien keskuudessa. Tässä esm. Turtola voisi väittää, että lännen mielipiteet perustuvat pakolaisvirolaisten keskuudessa vallitsevaan "myyttiin" miehityksestä, mutta tämä väite tuskin enää tänä päivänä pidä paikkaansa -
olettaisin, että esimerkiksi Euroopan Ihmisoikeusistuin on kuullut muita kuin emigranttivirolaisia.

Näin siis herää kysymys miksi ihmeessä Viron hallituksen olisi tulkittava historialliset tapahtumat maassa YLEISESTÄ käsityksestä poikkeavalla tavalla vain sen takia että rouva Hietanen, herrat Bäckman, Ilmjärv ja Turtola sekä Venäjän hallitus ovat ko. tulkinnan kanssa eri mieltä??

minta71 kirjoitti...

Jatkan ym. pohdintaa.

Bäckman ja Hietanen syyttävät Viroa (ja Latviaa) Apartheidpolitiikasta. Ensinnäkin, he eivät tunnu ymmärtävän, mitä Apartheidilla todella tarkoitetaan, koska jos ymmärtäisivät, he tuskin rinnastaisivat Viroa ja Latviaa Etelä-Afrikkaan. Toisaalta, Bäckman ja Hietanen eivät näytä huomanneen, että Viron ja Latvian kansalaisuuslait (toisin kuin Etelä-Afrikan Apartheidpolitiikka konsanaan) ovat saaneet sekä ETYJ:in että Euroopan Neuvoston hyväksynnän, vaikka Viron ja Latvian vähemmistöpolitiikkaa onkin välillä arvosteltu muutoin.
On siis olemassa kaksi vaihtoehtoa:
a) ETYJ ja EN eivät ymmärrä kansainväliestä oikeudesta tarpeeksi,jotta pystyisivät antamaan oikeudenmukaisia lausuntoja yksittäisten maiden ihmisoikeustilanteesta b) Bäckman ja Hietanen eivät ymmärrä kansainvälisestä oikeudesta tarpeeksi, jotta pystyisivät antamaan oikeudenmukaisia lausuntoja yksittäisten maiden ihmisoikeustilanteesta. Kukin tehköön tässä omat päätöksensä.

Venäläisten väitteet ETYJ:in, Euroopan Neuvoston ja Euroopan ihmisoikeustuomioistuimen puoluellisuudesta kuulustavat lähinnä huvittavilta- mikäli tuomioistuin ratkaisee venäläisvähemmistöjen hyväksi, sitä ylistetään Viron ja Latvian venäjänkielisessä lehdistössä, mutta kun se ratkaisee Viron tai Latvian hyväksi, se on yhtäkkiä melkein "fasistien kätyri". ETYJ:ihin viitataan aina ahkerasti, mikäli järjestön antama lausunto patistaa Viroa ja Latviaa parantamaan vähemmistöjen oikeuksia, mutta auta armias, mikäli venäjänkielisen lehdistön tietoon tulee ETYJ:in lausunto, jossa esm. ilmaistaan tyytyväisyyttä ihmisoikeustilanteen kehityksestä Virossa....

Bäckmanilla ja Hietasella on toki oikeus olla vallitsevan asiantuntijakäsityksen kanssa eri mieltä ja esittää omia mielipiteitään, mutta surullista on, että he näihin vahvasti yleisestä linjasta poikkeavien äärimielipiteisiin vedoten heristelevät Baltian maille sormea ja jatkavat näiden parjaamista.

Einf kirjoitti...

Having seen what you said to Estonian TV, unfortunately I have to say that You are an absolute disgrace who is just trying to cause controversy. I suggest all Estonians just to ignore You. You are making everything worse.

Anonyymi kirjoitti...


One question for you.
Is Russia a democratic country?(also give reasons and explanations)

Johan Bäckman kirjoitti...

Russia is the most democratic country in the world.

Einf kirjoitti...

OK, it is official, Johan Bäckman is out of his mind. Or a spy ! Though I am not really into the conspiracy theories, but saying that Russia is the most democratic country in the world makes me laugh :D :D hilarious, you are a funny guy, how could we take you seriously :D

minta71 kirjoitti...

Mr. Bäckman, maybe you could explain the heavy criticism of i.a. Amnesty International against the numerous violations of human rights in the "most democratic" country of the world?

maarja kirjoitti...

Hei, Back(off)man! If my grandparents were alive they would have a heart attack if they read your bunch of provocative lies. Just like my great grandma who HAD a heart attack AND DIED 15 minutes after NKVD came and said that everything was "nationalised" and taken away from her. TOO BAD THAT 1) YOU ARE NOT ESTONIAN 2) YOU ARE NOT OLD ENOUGH TO HAVE EXPERIENCED DEPORTATION TO SIBERIA. Back off, man.

minta71 kirjoitti...

To Maarja: do not worry about Bäckman - some of the leading cultural personalities in Finland (and Estonia) have sent a letter to the Rector of the University of Helsinki and asked how it is possible that someone who tells this kind of lies can be teaching at the university. Well done! Bäckman more and more looks like someone who is really insane. I almost feel sorry for him.

Anonyymi kirjoitti...

Why would Lennart Meri not have had a good time in Russia? He was a KGB agent just like you.