If you spend enough time in Estonia, eventually you will learn the tale of Kaval-Ants, or “Clever Ants.” Ants is a character of folklore that is supposed to reveal something about the Estonian character. Unlike Kalevipoeg, who most agree was something of a knavish jerk, Ants is still held in some regard. I never read the take on him, but I understand that he was something of a slave who always managed to play dueling masters off one another all the while filling his pockets as he watched the idiots squabble away.
In the 19th Century, such masters may have been the Baltic Germans and the Russian Czar. These days, however, Kaval Ants has his hands full trying to tiptoe around the…Germans…and Russians. Or Moscow and Brussels. Take your pick.
Take this story that just ran in some marginal non-native-English online webjournal “Axis News” entitled “Municipal elections in Estonia VALIMISED 2005:
Brussels Will Force Tallinn to Speak Russian” containing this gem:
The management of the European Union carries out active secret work on support of those political forces in Estonia, which agree to mitigation of a position concerning Moscow and the Russian-speaking population of the country.
The text gives background on the municipal elections and only provides the following “fact” to back up its claim.
Brussels decided that the municipal elections in this country can be used for support of those political forces which will agree on mitigation of positions concerning Moscow, and also concerning Russian-speaking minority of Estonia (including recognition of Russian as the second official language in the country). According to the information received by the author from several European diplomats the contacts on this issue between the representatives of the European Community and leading Estonian political forces took place recently.
Unfortunately, to date there are no mainstream Estonian parties that are willing to establish Russian as a second official language. Not even Keskerakond, which has distanced itself from Dmistri Klenski, a local politician who wants to make Russian the second official language of Tallinn, and not Isamaalit, Reformierakond, or any of the other parties. So who these Eurocrats met with to appease Russia is beyond me. The only one i can think of is Keskerakond’s Edgar Savisaar, who is looking to assume the mayorship of Tallinn as soon as possible. He certainly is clever. But would Keskerakond ever recuperate if he did?
But that brings us to another, clearer point. What business does Brussels or Moscow have in telling Estonia how to run its country? Perhaps Brussels can make some requests, as Estonia is an EU member state. But Russia has no jurisdiction over Estonia. It has recognized its independence since 1991. And it has no right to A) tell it what kind of monuments it can erect B) tell it what kind of citizenship laws it must enact and C) Tell it what its official languages should be.
Somewhere in this mess there must be a Clever Ants waiting to spring to the forefront to manipulate Mommy Germany and Daddy Russia in order to get out of this mess.
Estonia joined the EU and NATO, this is true. But it will always be the safe keeper of its own sovereignty, and right now it is up to Estonia to pick both of their pockets as neither can be trusted.
The Western Europeans just want cheap oil. The Russian mafia, I mean government, just wants to feel powerful again, especially when they can’t raise their own submarines or put down the Chechens. And in the middle, once again, is Kaval Ants.
I know the Estonian government possesses some great intellectual faculty. Estonians, as a whole, seem like pretty well-read, well-versed people. I hope that those in charge can marshall some cunning to get out of the way of the Brussels-Moscow collision.