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.


17 thoughts on “outrageous”

  1. Nutters, the lot. I think Fatherland is turning into a fringe party, to get the far right vote only. There's some alright guys and girls in it, but I think they're being bullied into thinking in a certain way, or at least to present their views in an party-approved-manner.


  2. Do officials also attend events where Estonians who fought on the side of the Soviets are honored? But I don´t think this kind of event exists?
    You could just as easily construct a narrative where they were trying to liberate their mother country from the Nazi´s. I wonder if it would be as easily accepted by the right-wing.

    PS: I do know that the reasons for the involvement of Estonians in the Waffen SS are complex, but I was just wondering.


  3. They do, Temetsa. 1st of May I think, Ansip, Ergma and Savisaar take some flowers to the Soviets and other Allies.

    But average and ordinary people don't really care both of these groups. Both are minority events with political significance to the extremes. As far as I can tell, personally.


  4. The history here is that the prime minister in the underground government told Estonians, on radio (in German-occupied Estonia) not to resist the call up in 1944 — and today IRL, in the spirit of legal continuity, thanks them for that sacrifice.

    The idea, as communicated even publicly at the time, was that the SS would become a new territorial defense force as the Germans retreated.

    But it's also true that Nazi propaganda was local in its nationalism. The Danish and Norwegian propaganda similarly portrayed fighting Bolshevism as a Danish and Norwegian cause.

    Look at this poster, for example.

    Anyway, it's quite complex, and I'm not sure how far modern politicians should wade into it. It is very much like the American Civil War. Anytime someone tries to say something new about it that veers away from the official, federal script, people go apeshit.


  5. “They do, Temetsa. 1st of May I think, Ansip, Ergma and Savisaar take some flowers to the Soviets and other Allies. “

    Yes, but this not specifically for the Estonians who were fighting in the Red army.


  6. Estonia was near enough socialist country before Päts took the reins. In fact he was pretty socialist too, in his views with regards to economy, health care, welfare state etc. I think that Estonians who sided with Red Army, just miscalculated their move as to how vile and brutal Soviets really were. So you have to remind yourself sometimes, that Estonians that did not pick any side, or even the ones who fled or were deported – they don't hold grudges. We just don't speak about them. And we don't honour them. But we do remember them, at least I think we do. Deep down.

    Giuostino is spot on with his Civil War analogy. I think we should approach it from that perspective too.


  7. True. Even my grandparents were just toddlers when the war broke out. Truth to be told I know fuck all about it. But there's this 'afterscent' about it. And I think talking always helps. One way or another. What do you think? Was the WW2 a civil war also, in Estonia?


  8. How many wars have there been in the world history where brothers could end up fighting each other as recruits by the opposing armies? Maybe the American Civil War?

    So in that sense, it was a civil war.

    Thinking about it further … literal translation of the Estonian word for the civil war describes it perhaps even better: “home-war”. When you talk about war, can't get any closer to home than that, can you?

    So you got a point there, Marko. Now go explain this to a random Russian person.



  9. Looking at these rows of fanatics reminds me another scene … flanks of people raising their hands in a zieag heil salute …

    I know where it is gonna go from here …

    Play me a mourning Sarah McLaughlin tune to comfort me now …


  10. Thats in Russian, LPR. Most people my age cant understand it, including myself. I saw pictures of some muslim people praying, whats wrong with that?

    Russians are scary these days. With their so called anti-propaganda laws and the amount of violence it has generated, well, its mental. The other week there were some English guys in Birmingham running for charity while wearing a mankini, you know, one of those comedy style charity events. And they happened to run through one of those conservative muslim neighbourhoods. And these people started to throw rocks at them and called them paedophiles etc. Thats mental too. Now, all those Russian nazis behive exactly the same way, yet they think that theire somehow better people than those poor brainwashed muslims in Birmingham?!??!

    At least Obama is standing his ground, by cancelling his meeting with Putin and having a chat with Nordic/Baltic leaders instead. To me thats comforting, yet somehow unnerving – whats really happening in Russia?


  11. tens of thousands … “some people”?

    Imagine this taking place in the steets of London or Washington DC?

    Russian's are too busy bashing gays, knowing that they won't be hit back.

    Under sharia law, they all be bashed along with the gays they so hate … LOL

    Talk about misdirection of attention.


  12. But, LPR, you kind of assume, that all muslim people are automatically pro sharia and anti gay/christian/white/atheist/women rights/etc. This is simply not true. Most muslims go by -hate the sin, not the sinner. Most muslims are perfectly 'normal' even by Western terms. Im out gay, and i had many muslim friends back in the UK. And they were very protective over me. They made sure i was not 'troubled' by some of the nastier individuals from their community. And to these people, i find, i owe my gratitude and if people want to take piss out of them, and it seems unfair, im gonna say it out – back off. Maybe you had some bad experiences in your life, but that does not justify biggotry and ignorance.


  13. Sure, there were good nazis as there were good communists … Surely there were good people in the Ku Klux Klan as there were good people participating in the Spanish Inquisition. So I agree.
    Sure. Good people can be everywhere.



  14. So next time before they set off a bomb somewhere, I hope they also allow that kind of discriminate selection and a thought that perhaps not all marathorn runners or school girls are devils …

    So it pays to keep an eye on them. Smile, but keep an eye on them. Never trust a muslim.


  15. I find glorifying National Socialism obscene, the same way I find glorifying Communism obscene. However, as an Estonian I respect and honour the men of the Waffen-SS who held the front against the Red Army. Let's never forget that their actions helped up to 100,000 people to escape westwards. I doubt that without the work of the exiles abroad during the Soviet occupation Estonia would be independent the way it is now. The exiles kept their heads more up.
    I also respect and honour General Steiner. I will try to explain why.
    Steiner refused to follow Hitler's infamous Commissar Order.
    After Hitler ordered the retreat from Estonia, he decided to evacuate Estonians saying a nation doesn't die, if its intelligent people don't die (after reading his book about the volunteers, I got an impression he respected nations more than many current EU politicians who speak about “The United States of Europe” and “Federal Europe”).
    Steiner had a chat with Schulenburg in 1943 (more than a year before Hitler's assassination attempt). Schulenburg told him about the idea to kill Hitler. Steiner wasn't against but considered the order of things wrong. For him the front was more important than internal politics. An interesting detail: Steiner did NOT report this conversation to the authorities. Schulenburg was later executed. If Hitler had known Steiner knew, he would have had him executed as well. Military genius or not.
    When Steiner visited Hitler before the retreat from Estonia, he described his medical condition and also his mental condition and called him 'seriously ill' (read: 'seriously insane').
    In 1999 the President of Finland Martti Ahtisaari wanted to honour and commemorate the men who had made the existence of Independent Finland possible after the war. One of the men on the list was naturally General Felix Steiner. There were certain organizations that started to scream. They should have had the dignity to remain quiet.
    There is a picture of General Steiner on the wall in West Point Military Academy. The Battle of Blue Hills is taught there and is considered the best battle of that type of landscape.
    Anyway, after researching this I have realized that the Allied military understood us far more than the Allied politicians. I agree with Jüri Estam who says it's time for the descendants of the Allies to give up the idea of 'just war' – the war of 'good versus evil'. WW2 was far more complicated on the Eastern front. Saying or thinking it was a war of 'good vs evil' also means that you don't think Estonia should exist. That is harsh.
    Just my 5 cents (like you Americans say).


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