Opinion: Jüri Nikolajev in response to the Ida-Viru secret memo (10)

Jüri Nikolajev is ERR's Narva correspondent. (Ülo Josing/ERR)
9/16/2016 5:18 PM
Category: Opinion

Describing himself as "wearily spiteful" instead of angry, ERR's Narva correspondent Jüri Nikolajev responded to the top secret memo on Ida-Viru County that leaked recently, calling Estonians to figuratively not leave their property laying around if they did not want anyone else to take it for themselves.

Well of couse everyone is angry now. Politicians are angry because of how a top secret memo was leaked in a newspaper — and what do the Russians in Ida-Viru County think of the Estonian government now? Speak nothing of Russia.

Naturally Ida-Viru County's Russians are angry — what are those Estonian rulers instigating again, and why are they making peace-loving Estonian Russians out to look like a specter of war once again?

But I am not angry. Moreso wearily spiteful.

What is it that Ilmar Raag got wrong then?

The fact that Ida-Viru County continues to Russify in spite of all kinds of integration strategies and county economic programs? That we are essentially losing this county? That 60,000 people live in Northeastern Estonia who, in case of conflict, will sit back and wait to see who comes out on top? That mass layoffs could end in unrest?

Estonia is a small and compact enough state to see what is going on 200 kilometers away from Toompea Hill — it is another thing if anyone even wants to see it.

I'd recommend compiling the same type of memo about [Tallinn district] Lasnamäe, because if Ida-Viru County is running out of young people and the degree of rebelliousness is diminishing with the years, then Lasnamäe's Russians are quite a bit angrier and more enterprising than those along the border. Greetings from the Bronze Night times!

What to do with all of this is likewise set out exactly in Raag's memo. Nothing new and staggering. All states whose border regions have begun to slip from their grasp have dealt with this. Keywords: powerful presence, money and engagement.

Year after year, people will have to make an effort, share responsibility, communicate and pay until they are blue in the face. The securing of border areas is expensive, often demands the making of politically unpopular decisions and occasionally even self-sacrifice.

What is this talk that an Estonian cannot come to live and work in Ida-Virumaa as it is awful and full of Russians there? Oh no, excue me! It was actually worded thus: "The quality of learning will drop if the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences is relocated to Ida-Viru County."

If Estonians think this way, why should Ida-Viru Russians think any better of Estonians?

Over the past 25 years, I have failed to solve the fundamental problem of how to live together with a ethnic minority who consider themselves a majority. With an ethnic minority whose motherland is right here, within arm's reach, living in a period of awakening of the national empire.

How do we reconcile the War of Independence and May 9th, NATO-fanhood and the Kremlin, ribbons of St. George and the occupation? We are different, but we have to reach some kind of agreement in order to not constantly quake about the fate of Ida-Viru County.

In closing. An acquaintance of mine once left an apartment unattended in a neighboring town and then suddenly discovered that a new resident had appeared there who claimed the apartment as their own. And now just try to get them evicted by court order.

The moral of the story — don't leave your property laying around, because if you don't want to live there, someone else may claim it. It's as simple as that!

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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