Narva: Far from foolish, able to recognize real effort very well (3)
The government met for a meeting in Narva today. Rector of the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences Katri Raik said on ETV on Thursday that she hoped the meeting would be followed by action, as this would be what the people of Narva could appreciate as well.
Raik, who used to be the director of the University of Tartu’s Narva College, said in ETV’s “Terevisioon" morning show that she’d be particularly critical of the government’s excursion to the eastern border town if she was in Narva.
“So here they come again and then leave after two hours. Visit the University of Tartu’s Narva College and the room is bright and everything’s brilliant. And that’s how the majority of the people in Narva see it, that it’s a one-off visit like that,” Raik said.
“The question is, will the cabinet members that come back from Narva tonight actually arrange a meeting with their high-ranking officials and talk about what to do next? Will they actually care about the topic of Narva? The people of Narva are far from foolish. They can recognize real effort very well,” Raik said.
She said she hoped that the government members would also go for a stroll on Narva’s promenade, and have a look at Russia on the other side of the river for themselves.
“I was there with the foreign ministers of 12 countries two years ago, when the Crimean crisis had just started. And that wasn’t a joke, but reality. When you show them that Russia is right there, then foreign ministers of European countries jump and take a step back. Because there it is. And I think that it’s very important that also the people who run our country have a look at Russia and think about where we really are,” Raik said.
Presenter Urmas Vaino asked Raik why Ida-Viru County seemed to have fallen behind other areas of the country also visually. Raik said that the reason was the influence of the Soviet Union, but also the development of the Estonian economy. “That’s the reason why Ida-Virumaa is different, and of course there’s no point trying to ignore that 96% of Narva’s population speaks Russian, and aren’t watching ‘Terevisioon’ this morning,” Raik pointed out.
“The people of Narva really appreciate Estonia, but they don’t know what to make of the Estonian state,” she went on. “They fly the flag when someone says that is what needs to be done. In my local shop the old ladies would debate what holiday it might be, and when I explained it to them they said that this could be announced somewhere, that the flag needed to go up,” Raik explained.
She pointed out that they didn’t follow Estonian media, and that it would be up to someone else to keep them up to speed.
Local politics also differed from the rest of the country. According to Raik, it would be difficult to expect that if the government were to take one step towards Narva, the town would respond in kind. Russian-speaking politicians of Estonia had moved Narva even farther away and actually criticized the Estonian state, she said.