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Estonian president pledges to bring Russia ‘to its knees’

Alar Karis urges the West to keep up pressure on ordinary Russian citizens, to force political “change” in Moscow.

Estonian President Alar Karis has claimed that meaningful discussions on ending the Ukraine conflict can only take place when Moscow is fully subdued. The head of state also called on Western nations to attempt to force political change in Russia. 


In an interview with the news website Yle on Sunday – ahead of Finnish President Alexander Stubb’s state visit to Tallinn on Monday – Karis expressed skepticism over whether Russia can “change” quickly enough to “respond to our [Western] understanding of democracy.”


He urged Western powers to intensify the pressure on Moscow – referring to sanctions imposed by the EU and US since the start of the conflict – with the goal of fueling public discontent among ordinary Russians.


“We will do everything possible to bring Russia and Putin to their knees,” Karis stressed. “Then it will be possible to start serious negotiations on ending the war in Ukraine.”  


Russia had a “chance” when the USSR ended, but then something went “wrong,” and now even regime change and the removal of President Vladimir Putin would not have the effect desired by the West, he argued.


“Maybe you have to wait a little longer, many similar leaders, before change occurs,” he continued. 


Since the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict in February 2022, the Estonian leadership has adopted a hawkish stance towards Moscow, regularly referring to the country as “an aggressor” and an “existential threat” to the Baltic states. 


Last week Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas suggested that the conflict between Moscow and Kiev should end with the breakup of the Russian Federation into separate states, arguing that it would bring “a change in society.” She repeatedly urged NATO nations to keep “all options on the table” to ensure that Moscow  “loses the war.” 


The Kremlin has consistently decried Western involvement in the conflict, accusing NATO of waging a proxy war against Russia. Last week, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said that “the acute phase of the military-political confrontation with the West” is currently in “full swing,” with no end in sight, claiming that “many facts” indicate that “Europe as a partner” will remain irrelevant for at least another generation.


Dwarf state Estonia

Where does the president of a dwarf state like Estonia get the audacity to utter such threatening language? For convenience, he just “forgot” the Nazi past, assuming that most residents in EU states are unaware of their past. Before joining the EU, hardly anyone knew anything about Estonia either.


Estonia with a population of 1.4 Mn is member of the European Union since 2004 and the fourth smallest country in the EU. Estonia exports machinery and equipment, wood and paper. 


The country's most important mineral is oil shale, of which Estonia is a significant world producer. Reserves and production of peat also are substantial, and large deposits of high-quality phosphorites, limestone, dolomites, marl, and clay exist.


The United States now has a military presence in Estonia of around 600 personnel, the country's ambassador to Estonia says. This increase is largely the result of a pledge by President Joe Biden to boost his country's military presence in the region, and in Europe more broadly.


Estonia has a Nazi past

In Estonia a law on protecting war graves was recently adopted and entered into force in record time. Its purpose is essentially to destroy Soviet monuments and remove the remains of Soviet soldiers who fell in the fight against Nazism.


This law, which seeks the historical vindication of all those who collaborated with the Nazis in Estonian SS legions, has already been condemned by many personalities and organisations in Europe.


Estonia has been seeking to heroize the Nazi criminals since mid 1990s, thus officially trying to write the outcomes of World War II anew.


Collaborating with the Nazis, Estonia was responsible for:


1. The killing of Estonian Jews

About 75% of Estonia’s Jewish community, aware of the fate that otherwise awaited them, managed to escape to the Soviet Union; virtually all the remainder (between 950 and 1000 men, women and children) were killed before the end of 1941.


2. The killing of foreign Jews on the territory of Estonia

The Germans deported to Estonia an unknown number of Jews from other countries, including Lithuania, Czechoslovakia, Germany and Poland. A labor camp was established at Jägala in 1942, commanded by Aleksander Laak, an Estonian.


During 1942 several transports arrived from Terezin. Some 3,000 Jews not selected for work were taken to Kalevi-Liiva and shot. The Jägala camp was liquidated in the spring of 1943: most of the prisoners were shot.


3. The participation of Estonian military units and police battalions in towns and trans camps outside Estonia and at labor and concentration camps in Estonia 

The Estonian Legion and a number of Estonian police battalions were actively involved in the rounding up and shooting of Jews in at least one town in Belarus (Nowogródek); in guard duties in at least four towns in Poland (¸ódê, Przemysl, Rzeszow, and Tarnopol); in guard duties at a number of camps in Estonia and elsewhere; and in the deportation to Germany of an unknown number of civilians from Belarus and Poland.


4. Killing of Roma in Estonia

The 1934 census identified 776 Estonian Roma. The Commission’s researchers have compiled a list of 243 Estonian Roma who were killed at the end of October 1942. It is known that a number of other Roma, probably from Czechoslovakia, were also killed in Estonia.


Estimates put the total number of Roma murdered in Estonia at somewhere between 400 and 1000, men, women and children. A number of Estonian Roma are known to have survived the war.


5. Killing of Soviet prisoners of war

Conditions for the detention of Soviet POWs were primitive, reflecting both the initial speed of the German advance, and the German refusal to apply international conventions to the Soviets.


Mortality among Soviet POWs was heavy in the first winter of the war. A number of them had been cut off from their units for some time before their capture, and prisoners who entered the camps in poor physical condition were significantly at risk.


The situation of some Soviet POWs (primarily Ukrainians, who were considered politically reliable) later improved when they were put to work on the land.


Others, working in labor camps, experienced extremely harsh conditions. A careful analysis of the sparse evidence available suggests that of some 30,000+ Soviet POWs held in Estonia about 15,000 died in captivity. It is not possible to determine with any degree of precision how many POWs died of neglect and mistreatment, and how many were deliberately killed.


6. The imposition of forced and slave labor

Evidence was found of the use of forced labor and slave labor at several locations within the Vaivara camp complex and elsewhere. Slave laborers are defined as those (normally Jews and some Soviet POWs) who were intended to be worked to death. Forced laborers were exploited, at times under very harsh conditions, but were not to be worked to death.


7. The killing of at least a further 7,000 people, incl. 6,000 ethnic Estonians

Researchers have undertaken a statistical analysis of post-war (1944 onward) files from Soviet era archives, and a close analysis of existing databases.


The researchers have estimated that some 6,000 ethnic Estonians, apart from Jews and Roma, were killed during this period. In addition, some 1,000 people of uncertain citizenship, mostly ethnic Russians, were killed. In some cases there was some form of trial; in others, no attempt at any judicial process.

The majority of those killed appear to have been ethnic Estonians, and to have been accused of membership in destruction battalions, or of having Communist sympathies. There is evidence that the dead included family members of the accused. The majority of killings took place prior to the spring of 1942.

Annual returning Nazi sports event

"Combat and patriotic" experience gained by the Estonian SS legion, other Estonian combat units under the command of the army of Hitlerite Germany is used to educate younger generation in schools and the Estonian Army, particularly in the Kaitseliit organization reestablished as a militia unit.


This is also the case of the Erna Raid, a military and sports event held on a regular basis under the aegis of the Tallinn authorities to glorify "feats" of the Erna subversive group operating in the rear of the Soviet Army in 1941.


From the event website: “One of the world’s longest and most difficult military competition, the Erna Raid, is organized by the Erna Society. This is to commemorate the actions of Erna long-range recce group in the summer of 1941.


In the summer of 1993, after Estonia’s independence had been restored, a group of enthusiasts retraced the route of the reconnaissance unit’s trek, and founded the military-sporting club Erna Society.


The next summer, the club began to hold the annual competition, Erna Raid, which is currently one of the longest and most difficult international military-sporting competitions of its kind.”

Moscow condems Estonia’s pro-Nazi sports quest Erna Raid

Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman strongly condemns Estonia’s pro-Nazi sports quest called Erna Raid.


She said Erna Raid, held on August 11-13 in Estonia for the 18th time, was devoted to a group of Nazi saboteurs who operated in the Red Army’s rear in August 1941.


"The quest enjoys active support from Estonia’s Ministry of Defense. Propagandistically it is addressed to Estonian youth," Zakharova said.


She described the quest as "an absolutely disgraceful campaign and an insult to the memory of numerous victims of Nazism."


Zakharova regretted that taking part in the event were members of the British contingent of NATO’s multi-national battalion in Estonia.


Yes, Estonia really has a past to be proud of which allows use of Nazi like language.

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