what everyone always wanted



I SAW THIS news item on ERR and felt like saying something. President Kersti Kaljulaid sent a congratulatory message to Putin in the even of his re-election. Some people are obviously not thrilled by the Estonian head of state congratulating the Russian president, who has been in power for more than 18 years and runs an illiberal country. Russia’s recent botched assassination in the UK certainly has left a cloud of gaseous stink over any relations with the Kremlin.

In times like these though, when it seems that Estonia is becoming “Finlandized,” I remember that Estonians actually wanted that to happen 30 years ago. The drive for independence was for a) national preservation; b) material gain; c) to achieve the same successes of their Finnish neighbor. They wanted to be a free country, as free as Finland.

Bringing about political changes within Russia weren’t at the top of that list, though there is a strong argument that they might increase Estonian security. That being said, any kind of political collapse in Russia could have an opposite effect. It could actually lead to a full-scale European war across the east. I recall something that Finnish President Tarja Halonen said in the prior decade about Finnish-Russian relations. “We’ve never had it so good.” The reality is, in her lifetime, which started at the peak of the Second World War, up to the moment she uttered it, the Finns probably hadn’t had it so good. It does leave one feeling a bit uneasy. It’s not easy to bite your tongue all the time. It feels dishonest.


1 thought on “what everyone always wanted”

  1. Finlandization is a term with very specific meaning, which is not ‘to become successful Nordic welfare state not unlike Finland.’ It was coined by West German journalists to describe a country which has given away it’s right to have independent foreign policies to certain superpower (Soviet Union, or Russia) in hope to retain power over it’s own domestic policies.
    As such, it is not anything new in Estonia, either. Before Estonia was to be annexed by the Soviets in 1939/1940 there were left-leaning politicians who hoped Estonia would become something like ‘Inner-Mongolia’ (Tannu-Tuva, I think it’s better known?), which to them must have been something like country in union with Russia but actually independent. History tells us it did not work out as such for Tuvans and not for Estonians either.


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