You may be asked to reset your password when you try to login. This is part of a system update and is genuine, so it's safe to go ahead and do that. If you no longer have access to the email address you used to register, please email us at [email protected] rather than creating a new account. Apologies for the inconvenience.

Estonia and Russian war dead

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/6599937.stm

Kind of mixed views on this one...

If I was Estonian I'd guess I wouldn't want a memorial to people who invaded and enslaved my country...

At the same time if I was Russian I'd be pretty hacked off if a country decided to remove a memorial to our war dead...

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ohh serious steps.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I absolutely agree with the Estonian Prime Minister who has said it is a matter for Estonia alone. The Russians have no say in the internal affairs of a foreign country. The Soviet Union tortured, murdered and raped Estonians; innocent people spent years in Siberia...to want to erase memories of one of the most evil regimes to exist seems quite understandable. It doesn't make for good diplomacy of course, relations between EU member states and Russia are already icy. Russia is becoming increasingly nationalist and it's not surprising that a minor action by Estonia aimed at healing memories of a painful past has been viewed as a major insult...but it's a choice for the Estonians to make and the rest of the EU should support Estonia.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Get over yourself Disillusioned. Not every story indirectly related to planned economies gives you a right to air your own economic/political prejudices.

    Of course it is Estonia's right alone to decide what memorials stand in its cities and towns. Nobody here in their right mind would argue that Russia should intervene in the matter and spill more blood. Note Russia there, not the Soviet Union.

    This monument stands to Russian/Red Army war dead, it is not a memorial to Soviet domination of Estonia post-1945. It remembers those millions of young men who, sufferred, killed, and gave their lives fighting a terrible, brutal, evil force that had invaded that territory and deported countless numbers of its population to die in death camps. What happened after that has nothing to do with them.

    If you support the removal of this memorial would you also support the removal of memorials and war graves of British, American, Canadian, Australian, etc. soldiers from France and Belgium, if the political regime there resented post-war US, UK, Canadian etc influence and considered it politically expedient to do so?

    :o
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    carlito wrote: »
    If you support the removal of this memorial would you also support the removal of memorials and war graves of British, American, Canadian, Australian, etc. soldiers from France and Belgium, if the political regime there resented post-war US, UK, Canadian etc influence and considered it politically expedient to do so?

    :o

    Not really the same analogy given that we didn't invade and occupy them.

    A better one is should India remove its memorials.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    This monument stands to Russian/Red Army war dead, it is not a memorial to Soviet domination of Estonia post-1945. It remembers those millions of young men who, sufferred, killed, and gave their lives fighting a terrible, brutal, evil force that had invaded that territory and deported countless numbers of its population to die in death camps. What happened after that has nothing to do with them.

    True. And whatever the rights and wrongs of Stalin we should remember those who died in burning tanks, splintered by artillery or mown down by machine-gun fire...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    carlito wrote: »
    Get over yourself Disillusioned. Not every story indirectly related to planned economies gives you a right to air your own economic/political prejudices.

    And you completely miss the point.
    carlito wrote: »
    This monument stands to Russian/Red Army war dead, it is not a memorial to Soviet domination of Estonia post-1945. It remembers those millions of young men who, sufferred, killed, and gave their lives fighting a terrible, brutal, evil force that had invaded that territory and deported countless numbers of its population to die in death camps. What happened after that has nothing to do with them.

    Can't you see why a grand memorial to the Red Army war dead in the Estonian capital brings back painful memories for Estonians?
    carlito wrote: »
    If you support the removal of this memorial would you also support the removal of memorials and war graves of British, American, Canadian, Australian, etc. soldiers from France and Belgium, if the political regime there resented post-war US, UK, Canadian etc influence and considered it politically expedient to do so?

    The post-war US, UK and Canadian governments did not occupy France/Belgium and rape/torture/murder/exile...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Not really the same analogy given that we didn't invade and occupy them.

    The post-war US, UK and Canadian governments did not occupy France/Belgium and rape/torture/murder/exile...

    I'm sorry, did the Allies step into France/Belgium (lets not forget Holland, etc, while we're at it), liberate them, and step back out momentarily? There was no occupation? What a preposterous point. Millions of Allied troops occupied these countries for several years. Were there no rapes/assaults/murders? Again, utterly preposterous. Was there no US/UK influence in these countries post-1945? Do the French, Belgian, and Dutch governments not have a right to dispute the post-1945 influence of the US/UK on their countries, and the right to self-determination?

    These points aren't even relevant to the issue. As I said, this memorial does not commemorate Soviet/Russian involvement in Estonia after 1945. It commemorates the millions who died before then, who had nothing to do with (unless you believe in ghosts) the Soviet occupation of Estonia during the Cold War.

    n.b. Flashman, I'm suprised that you would be so disingenuous. And I'm actually scandalized that you dare display as your avatar the symbol of the Royal British Legion whilst denying the right of those who contributed an equal sacrifice (if not more so) than British war dead in fighting Nazism.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    You presumably cannot see why a grand memorial to the Red Army war dead in the Estonian capital brings back painful memories of the USSR for Estonians...

    And the plan is to move it to a military cemetery.

    Whether it's the right decision or not, it's an internal Estonian matter...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    You presumably cannot see why a grand memorial to the Red Army war dead in the Estonian capital brings back painful memories of the USSR for Estonians...

    And the plan is to move it to a military cemetery.

    Whether it's the right decision or not, it's an internal Estonian matter...

    No, I can see why some people would be small-minded (or politically motivated) enough to want a memorial to war dead moved to somewhere where it won't be seen.

    Its the wrong decision, thats my point. Whether its an internal Estonian matter or not is not disputed. Argue that point if you will.

    That you would jump on the anti-Russian/Soviet Union political bandwagon is entirely unsuprising, considering your political agenda, even though the issue concerns millions of dead conscripts.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    carlito wrote: »
    n.b. Flashman, I'm suprised that you would be so disingenuous. And I'm actually scandalized that you dare display as your avatar the symbol of the Royal British Legion whilst denying the right of those who contributed an equal sacrifice (if not more so) than British war dead in fighting Nazism.


    :confused:

    I'm not. I just think the analogy is a bad one. Because technically there was no occupation - power was ceded back to the Governments in exile as the land was recaptured.

    German and Austria were occupied (in Germany's case arguably until the early 90's)

    In fact in the next post
    True. And whatever the rights and wrongs of Stalin we should remember those who died in burning tanks, splintered by artillery or mown down by machine-gun fire...

    I agree with your point.

    At the same time I can see that many Estonians don't see the difference between the Soviets and the Nazis.

    The historical narrative in the West is generally pretty clear. It was democracy vs totalitarianism, and whilst when you get into the details it may not be quite so clear cut (there were plenty of instances when the Western allies shot PWs for example) overall the moral choice for most people was pretty simple.

    In the East that historical narrative isn't quite so clear. On one hand you have the forces of a mass murdering butcher and on the other you have the forces of a mass murdering butcher.

    After all Estonia was invaded by the Russians originally in June 1940, over a year before Barbarrossa, and when the Germans arrived many Estonians saw them as liberators. So when the Russians arrived back you can see why many Estonians didn't see that as a liberation - they may have got rid of the concentration camps, but they swopped it for the gulags.

    And of course the allies committed rape, but the Soviets did so by a different order of magnitude.

    Now I'm all for honouring soldiers who fell in battle (I'm biased I was one myself), but it's not as simple in this case as the good Red Army liberating the thankful peasents of Eastonia from the Nazi tyranny. On reflection I'd probably be for the memorial staying, but I can see why many Estonians aren't happy with it.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Carlito what nonsense. If Estonia want to move it, Estonia will move it, your analogy is crap and makes no sense. It's ultimately a monument to the dead of what they see as a hostile occupying force. Think about it.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    carlito wrote: »
    I'm sorry, did the Allies step into France/Belgium (lets not forget Holland, etc, while we're at it), liberate them, and step back out momentarily? There was no occupation? .


    :lol:

    Can you really not see the difference between allied troops on the continent after WW2 and the oocupation and annexation by the soviet union of the Eastern bloc?

    How ridiculous of you....

    The Red army, was an occupying agressor, within living memory, will the people of Baghdad be erecting any statues of American GIs anytime soon I wonder?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    carlito wrote: »
    That you would jump on the anti-Russian/Soviet Union political bandwagon is entirely unsuprising, considering your political agenda, even though the issue concerns millions of dead conscripts.


    So you are pro-Soviet Union then?

    :eek2:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    carlito wrote: »
    That you would jump on the anti-Russian/Soviet Union political bandwagon is entirely unsuprising, considering your political agenda, even though the issue concerns millions of dead conscripts.

    Nothing to do with any agenda.

    It's not at all surprising though that Russia is hated throughout much of Eastern Europe. Russian aggression and abuse towards the region did not begin with the USSR...Russification and ruthless suppression of national movements by the Tsars - there's a very long history of Russia repressing the likes of Estonia, Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine... Now Estonia is finally free from so many years of Russian and Soviet tyranny I don't find it particularly odd for them to not want a grand, imposing Soviet memorial in the middle of their capital city.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    If Estonia want to move it, Estonia will move it.

    Did I ever dny their right to move it? No.
    your analogy is crap and makes no sense. It's ultimately a monument to the dead of what they see as a hostile occupying force.

    But its not a monument to a hostile occupying force, its a monument to the people who died fighting another hostile occupying force and thus never had a chance to occupy the place themselves.
    On reflection I'd probably be for the memorial staying, but I can see why many Estonians aren't happy with it.

    So can I, but its from a position of confusion and political motives; which is why I profoundly disagree with disrespecting those who died.
    Toadborg wrote: »
    Can you really not see the difference between allied troops on the continent after WW2 and the oocupation and annexation by the soviet union of the Eastern bloc?

    Yes I can see the differences. Can you really not see the similarities? It is a monument to those (largely young conscripts) who died, in very large numbers, fighting Nazism. What Stalin decided to do to the country after their death is nothing to do with them.
    The Red army, was an occupying agressor, within living memory, will the people of Baghdad be erecting any statues of American GIs anytime soon I wonder?

    Well here it depends on what you term an aggressor. Yes, the Soviet Union made several "aggressive" moves in Eastern Europe and the Baltic States before, during, and after the Second World War. But lets not forget the context here: they were confronted with the most powerful, aggressive, brutal and ruthless regime of the modern era. Their contribution to defeating this regime was equal, if not greater, than any other country, including us. They lost more soldiers and civilians than all of the other Allied and Axis powers combined.

    I doubt that memorials to US soldiers will be erected in Iraq anytime soon, but its a fairly different matter and is largely undesirable because if would provoke more violence in the current context. I would be in favour of building an appropriate memorial in the future though, if the conditions were right.
    Toadborg wrote: »
    So you are pro-Soviet Union then?

    :eek2:

    Why would you assume that? No I'm not "pro-Soviet Union," if such a phrase has any meaning at all. On balance, its better that the Soviet Union defeated the Nazis in the East, and occupation of Eastern European and Baltic States was part and parcel of that; just like the allied occupation of Western European and Scandinavian States was in defeating the Nazis in the West.

    In this context, I'm pro-commemoration of people who died, in terrible conditions, fighting a terrible war, and who had no control or knowledge of what happened in Estonia after the war, since they were dead.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    carlito wrote: »
    But its not a monument to a hostile occupying force, its a monument to the people who died fighting another hostile occupying force and thus never had a chance to occupy the place themselves.

    Actually is the monument of one hostiles occupying force to their victory over another hostile occuying force.

    Its the word "hostile" which is the difference between the Estonians and the French etc.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Actually is the monument of one hostiles occupying force to their victory over another hostile occuying force.

    Its the word "hostile" which is the difference between the Estonians and the French etc.

    No its not, that is the point. It is not a monument to the occupation or the occupying army, it is a monument to those people who died in the fighting.


    Not that its relevant, but what exactly does the word "hostile" mean then? How can we talk in such generalities? Were the Russians/Soviets hostile to everyone in Estonia? No. Were the Americans/British not hostile to everyone in France/Belgium/Holland? No. The Americans and British were considered a hostile force to fascists, communists, etc in France; the Russians/Soviets were considered a friendly force to most ethnic Russians in Estonia, and communists.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    carlito wrote: »
    No its not, that is the point. It is not a monument to the occupation or the occupying army, it is a monument to those people who died in the fighting.

    It's a monument to the Red Army war dead. As this the same army that supressed the Estonians for 40 years, surely you can understand why they don't want it there?
    Not that its relevant

    Well, sorry to disappoint you but it's pretty fucking relevant as far as the Estonians are concerned.
    what exactly does the word "hostile" mean then?

    You aren't seriously asking that question, are you?

    How about, "not wanted" by the majority. Does that help?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It's a monument to the Red Army war dead. As this the same army that supressed the Estonians for 40 years, surely you can understand why they don't want it there?

    Yes, as I've said, I can understand the reasons why the Estonians don't want the monument there. But I think those reasons are disrespectful and wrong, and in large part politically motivated.

    You aren't seriously asking that question, are you?

    How about, "not wanted" by the majority. Does that help?

    Not really. Can you cite me opinion polls/plebiscites from before various occupations/invasions to demonstrate whether the majority was in favour? If a majority is in favour, does that rule out the force being hostile? They can certainly be hostile to large portions of the population, can't they. I can't imagine the Jews in Austria being very happy after the Anschluss, even if they were the minority.

    A couple of examples:
    Iraq 2003: were the majority of the population in favour of a US/UK invasion/occupation?
    Afghanistan 2001: were the majority of the population in favour of a US/UK invasion/occupation?
    Sudentenland: Were the majority of residents here in favour of German invasion/occupation?
    Yugoslavia 1990s: Were the majority of the population of various areas in favour of Serb and UN forces invading/occupying them? Which areas do you judge it by?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    To put some perspective into the matter the Soviets in their first occupation killed about 7-13,000 people through either executions or deportations.

    About 30,000 men were also put into Labour battalions (where about 40% died). Stalin also deported about 500 Jews to Siberia.

    The Germans murdered about 4,500 Jews when they then occupied Estonia.

    Now it may be a memorial to the fallen - but its a memorial to the fallen of an enemy army.

    Would people be quite so sanguine if it was a German memorial in Paris?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    carlito wrote: »
    No its not, that is the point. It is not a monument to the occupation or the occupying army, it is a monument to those people who died in the fighting.

    That bit I can agree with

    Not that its relevant, but what exactly does the word "hostile" mean then? How can we talk in such generalities? Were the Russians/Soviets hostile to everyone in Estonia? No. Were the Americans/British not hostile to everyone in France/Belgium/Holland? No. The Americans and British were considered a hostile force to fascists, communists, etc in France; the Russians/Soviets were considered a friendly force to most ethnic Russians in Estonia, and communists

    The British and Americans weren't hostile to the communists in France - they supplied them with equipment. De Gaulle was hostile to them - but that's a different matter (and he was more hostile to the Germans).

    I'll think you'll also find there weren't many ethnic Russians in Estonia in 1940. They were moved in after Estonia was occupied.

    But if you want a defenition of hostility the Soviet State (with the Red Army being the Army of that state) was hostile to the Estonian state to which most of the Estonians gave their allegiance. and when you're describing wars you tend to have to describe them in generalities.* The fact that you'll always find quislings and collaborators doesn't seem to negate the point that all the evidence we have is that most Estonians then and now were hostile to Russian occupation.

    *Sir Robert Vansittart (ex-perm sec of the Foreign Office during the 30's summed it up rather well in 1939) "Let us make no further mistake about it: we are fighting the German Army, and the German people on whom the Army is based. We are fighting the real, and not the 'accidental' Germany. That the real Germany contains many good individual Germans is, of course, incontestable. The trouble is that they are never there corporately on the day."
  • Teh_GerbilTeh_Gerbil Stalin's Organist Posts: 13,327
    Not nice at all.

    Germany isn't ripping down the Soviet War Memorial. ANYONE who died in a war, no matter what side they were on - deserves some rememberence tbh.

    Harsh. And it's never a good idea to fuck with Russia.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    So we should have a memorial to Axis airmen in London?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru

    The British and Americans weren't hostile to the communists in France - they supplied them with equipment.

    But they were hostile to the communists after the war (i.e. during the occupation).
    But if you want a defenition of hostility the Soviet State (with the Red Army being the Army of that state) was hostile to the Estonian state to which most of the Estonians gave their allegiance. and when you're describing wars you tend to have to describe them in generalities.* The fact that you'll always find quislings and collaborators doesn't seem to negate the point that all the evidence we have is that most Estonians then and now were hostile to Russian occupation.

    You've provided three stipulations of hostility there:
    1) Hostile to the state
    2) The majority must support that state
    3) Hostility of the majority of the occupied people to the occupying army.

    The third sounds rather odd. Surely the force is not then hostile, it is the people who are hostile to that force. So in Iraq, for instance, was/is the US/UK force "hostile"? Most of the people who sent them in believed that the population would be overjoyed, and would be dancing in the streets. It turned out that they didn't. As for hostility to the state; what does that even mean? For instance, the Afghan state requested the Soviets to occupy Afghanisatan during the 1980s. Did a majority support that state? Who knows. Did the majority support the Taliban state? Who knows. Did a majority support the Baa'thist state in Iraq? Who knows.

    The fact that most Estonians were hostile to Soviet occupation is unsuprising. Almost every population ever to be occupied has been opposed to the occupation. Does that mean that soldiers who died fighting a largely unrelated war on that territory deserve to be associated with the occupation that occurred subsequently? Also, don't forget that thousands of young Estonian men died serving in the Red Army.

    Would people be quite so sanguine if it was a German memorial in Paris?
    Toadborg wrote: »
    So we should have a memorial to Axis airmen in London?

    The answer is yes, if there are appropriately sized/located/designed memorials to those who died, they should not be removed. We certainly don't dig up the German war graves (which are a type of memorial) that presently exist because we disagree with their ideology/actions. In fact there are people who spend time maintaining such graves.

    Indeed, nobody knows the location of the graves of many of the Russian soldiers who are commemorated by this memorial, they were buried in mass graves somewhere nearby. it thus serves as a replacement.
Sign In or Register to comment.