Today I received an angry letter from an Estonian patriot. Here is the letter and my answer:
Hello 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 XXX XXX
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
This blog is dedicated to the discussion over Dr. Johan Bäckman's book THE BRONZE SOLDIER about the Russian Intifada starting in April 2007 after Estonian government destroyed the grave monument for the liberators of Tallinn.