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  Estonia: the bronze anniversary went peacefully

Auđra Radzevičiűtë
2008 06 13

A year ago the bronze soldier removed from the centre of Tallinn became a trigger for riots. One man was killed, about 200 suffered from traumas, of those 29 policemen. Afterwards there were political hysterics, attacks on the ambassador of Estonia, cyber attacks on the Estonian websites. After one year it was natural to expect potential disorders or provocations.

But on April 27 the Orthodox Church of the world celebrated the Easter. There were several people coming to the Tynismiagi square with flowers, but there was no turbulence.

On the eve of the “Bronze night” a lot of Russian journalists came to Tallinn expecting to see the outburst of emotions in the “fascist Estonia”. But much more journalists came to the meeting at the Russian Culture Centre if compared with the active participants, and in the meeting called by the organisation “Nočnoj dozor” the number of journalists was the same as of the participants.

Estonian authorities were a bit worried about the potential provocations: border control was tightened; more police forces were patrolling in Tallinn. The authorities of Tallinn issued permits to organise about 20 events on the occasion of the “Bronze night” anniversary. Only the “Nočnoj dozor”, which planned to make some fuss in the city park, did not get a permit. The bar “Woodstock”, close to which 20 year old D.Ganin died stabbed with a knife, did not agree to have the presentation of radical T.Madisson’s book in its premises.

Russian diplomats did not miss the opportunity to remind the Estonians that the monument removed a year ago and the reburial of remains is a sacriledge, when the Estonian diplomats responded that Moscow did not want to normalise the relationship with Estonia, a member of the EU and NATO.

What are the consequences of the “Bronze night” events for the state of Estonia and the rioters?

For hooliganism, incitement of disorder and participation in it 6 persons practically lost their freedom. 56 persons are on probation, monetary penalties are imposed on 33 persons. 54 teenagers will have to work for the benefit of society and get registered with the respective institutions. The newspaper “Postimees” wrote that imprisonments adjudged by the court are from 40 days to two years and 4 months.

Somebody in Estonia believes that the rioters were punished too mildly, since the representatives of such thinking and the “mentality of the disadvantaged” understand just tour-de-force, so the punishment should have been tougher. But one of the best-known psychiatrists of the country A.Lijvas thinks that, when a person who could have been punished is pardoned, it speaks of the power of the state.

The same important are the lessons taken by both confronting parties of the Estonian society from the last year events. The Mayor of Tallinn city E.Savisaar says that the biggest lesson of the “bronze night“is the collapse of integration policy. And it happened just because it was orientated towards the Estonians, omitting the interests of the Russian-speaking minority and its specifics. But the new integration program developed at the Government repeat the mistakes of its predecessor.

Indeed, the integration of the Russian-speaking population suffered a shock last year. But the scenario of the mass naturalisation of the Russians so that being the citizens could influence the life in Estonia, did not confirm. Many young Russians of Estonia want to leave the country, but for the West rather than for Russia.

Estonian ports, which lost a part of the Russian transit, experience losses in result of the events of the last year. The newspaper “Denj za dniom“ ironically writes: “The monument for the dead transit should be built on the most suitable place – railway railings. To save money, it would be enough just to turn it up“.

Anyhow, Estonia does not go cap in hand to Russia because of the decreased transit. And, as the past year shows, is not lost.

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