Russians in Estonia: Leave Soviet Repressions in the Past
The ghost of Joseph Stalin still stands in the way of mutual understanding
( Photo: Postimees/Scanpix )
A recent study by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank, found that 71 percent of Estonia's native Russian youth "want to end discussions of the repressions of the Soviet era," including that of the mass deportations of Estonians to Siberia.
The surveyors polled native Russian youths between 16 and 29 years of age, of whom 43 percent believed that the debate over repression is harmful to Estonian society.
Researchers also polled their peers living in Russia, where only 45 percent of those questioned felt a need to leave discussions of Soviet atrocities in the past; 18 percent agreed that constantly raising the subject is harmful to their country.
The study concluded that 60 percent of ethnic Russian respondents living in Estonia agreed that the collapse of the Soviet Union "was the greatest geopolitical tragedy of the 20th century,“ and that half of Estonia's ethnic Russians believe that Stalin did more good than bad. Among ethnic Estonian respondents, 85 percent agreed that Russia should apologize for occupying their country - versus 8 percent of Russians in Estonia, who showed considerably less enthusiasm for an apology than their peers living in Russia.
Seventy percent of Estonia's ethnic Russians said the Russian government should intervene on behalf of Russians in Estonia whose rights are violated.