I enjoy reading media accounts of Russian leaders “outraged.” And they’re always outraged over something. But how do they express that outrage? When “Russia” is “outraged,” does it mean that Lavrov is tossing expensive vases against the wall in the foreign ministry, or Putin is placing a pillow over his mouth and screaming into it?
The latest-oldest outrage is that annual gathering of Estonian SS vets and admirers up in Sinimäe, and that the defense minister, Urmas Reinsalu, of Isamaa Res Publica Liit (called the Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica in English, because “Fatherland Union” sounds too scary), addressed them, praising their sacrifice in defending their fatherla-, I mean, their mother country.
Sidestepping the argument of, “Who is Russia to tell us what we can and cannot do in our own country?” I’d like to make a general statement: Not all Estonians see the members of the 20th Waffen SS who held off the Soviet advance in 1944 as heroic freedom fighters. They’re not generally viewed as Hitler’s evil henchmen, but more as young men in a complex and difficult situation (not unlike their counterparts across the River Narva in the Estonian Rifle Corps).
Urmas Reinsalu, as defense minister, represents all Estonians, not just members of his own party who interpret history a certain way. Maybe he sees it that way, and people who vote for his party see it that way, but the population of the country he represents, regardless of tongue, religion, or sexual orientation, doesn’t necessarily see it that way. Getting up and pretending that to be the case is insincere.