By Dimitri Klensky – TALLINN, Estonia – Coming up are the elections to the Riigikogu (Estonian parliament). The most successful “hunter” for Russian votes is the Center Party. For many years, it has been winning due to the reliable support of Russian and Russian-speaking residents (4/5 of the total number of supporting centrists). And, nevertheless, the centrists launched an aggressive election campaign, focused on their traditional electorate. Why?
The text of the videos on the popular PBC channel among non-Estonians: “The Center Party is building a fair state where every Estonian resides in economic growth. We will provide everyone with affordable medical care, increase pensions by 100 euros, guarantee a place in a nursing home, all who need it … We invest in roads and free public transport throughout Estonia, support agriculture and industry, create decent jobs in the regions salary. We are developing entrepreneurship and e-government, we will increase funding for education and support for innovation. ”
And then, almost by order, with a threatening tone, the chairman of the Center Party, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas , hysterically addresses voters in Russian: “Choose a fair state! Vote for the centrists! ”
That is, again: words, words, words. One can only laugh at the many promises given, as well as at the promises of other parties and candidates. Alas, only one thing in particular – a handout on the supplement to a pension of 100 euros, an increase in the allowance for a child to the same 100 euros. Well, God be with that! Already familiar. It cares for something else: centrists bypass many old and new acute problems concerning the Russian and Russian-speaking population. So would a Russian voter again be happy to be deceived for the sake of a generous “one hundred” ?!
Legalized discrimination of Russians
The centrists, among whom there are many representatives of Russian and Russian-speaking political activists, ignore the old-fashioned ball of internal political problems that are shameful for Estonia, caused by the “Russian question” unresolved in the last quarter of a century. We are talking about legalized discrimination on ethnic grounds, close to apartheid.
For 25 years, suffrage has been violated in Tallinn, namely, the principle of proportional representation of residents in the local government – because of which, in those parts of the city where the Russian and Russian-speaking population predominates, the voters are short of about ten deputy seats (there are ). They, according to the law, go to the inhabitants of parts of the city in which the Estonian population predominates. Residents – non-citizens of Estonia (about 70 thousand inhabitants) in parliamentary elections and referendums are completely deprived of the right to vote.
There is a serious gap between the wages of Estonians and non-Estonians in favor of the latter, the same applies to employment and unemployment, especially among young people, as well as accessibility and quality of education and career growth even with perfect knowledge of Estonian by Russians and Russian-speaking people.
The persecution (fines and mental pressure) of the Language Inspectorate (known by the people as the linguistic inquisition), which is subordinated to the ministry headed by the centrist, does not stop. Estonian education at all levels is intensively carried out, starting from kindergartens. In the media, along with a new phenomenon – mediocre confessions of respect for non-Estonians, Russophobic rhetoric, directed both against Russia and insulting the Russian inhabitants of Estonia, is only intensifying. The glorification of Estonians who were accomplices of the Nazis, the silence of the memory of their thousands of victims continues.
The parishes of the Estonian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) are not returned their pre-war real estate, church services are held in churches rented from the state.
First of all, the “Russian” centrists reconciled with all this, thereby accepting discrimination on the basis of ethnicity and Russophobia. MEP centrist Yana Toom justifies their infantilism, imitating the protection of the Russian and Russian-speaking population by the “lack of public consensus” on controversial issues. So why go to the deputies and officials? In essence – to promote this very discrimination.
The “Pro-Russian” party became Russophobic
For the third year, the Center Party is headed by Jüri Ratas, who for the removal from the party’s leadership of its founder, the country’s only supporter of the normalization of relations with Russia, Edgar Savisaar, won his overseas “Nuland cookie” – the right to exit the centrists from the “eternal” opposition, forming two a year ago a coalition government with nationalists and a prime minister post.
(Edgar Savisaar is an Estonian politician, one of the founding members of Popular Front of Estonia and the Centre Party. He has served as the acting Prime Minister of Estonia, Minister of the Interior, Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications and Mayor of Tallinn.) – ed J. Flores
In fact, the Center Party has abandoned the center-left ideology and became a center-right, one might even say, a clone of another largest party – the national liberal Reform Party. Both parties are members of the European Parliament in the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe faction.
Under Jüri Ratas and his liberal environment, there was a 180 degree turn in the attitude of the centrists towards Russia. As a member of NATO and an ally of the United States, who declared Russia an enemy, the Center Party without Savisaar also became one. The current Estonian government, led by centrist Ratas, not only actively expands the military presence of NATO and the United States in Estonia, strengthens their military bases, but also conducts negotiations on the deployment of American Patriot missiles against Russia in Estonia. Set a course for the militarization of the country.
The centrists took a frankly Russophobic position, demanding the return of Crimea to Ukraine, strengthening of sanctions against Moscow, condemning any anti-Russian fake (for example, the Skripal case, Russian aggression against Kiev in the Kerch Strait). At the direction of Jüri Ratas, officials of all ranks are prohibited from communicating with the Russian news agency Sputnik, and artificial obstacles are being placed on the accreditation of Russian journalists on the RT (Russia Today) channel. Russian political scientists are not allowed into Estonia. A famous European public figure and writer Giulietto Chiesa , a Russian ethnologist and academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Valery Tishkov were expelled from the country . Ratas publicly condemned the statements of a member of his party Oudekki Loonethat the monument to the Soldier-Liberator (“The Bronze Soldier”) personifies the salvation of Estonia from Nazism …
Stay as serfs or preserve their honor?
It is for this Russophobic and anti-Russian policy that the “Russian” centrists are fighting and are elected in elections, deceiving their voters. And what does it give? Their recognition is no longer “occupiers”, as in the 90s, but de facto “second grade”. The latter is cynically doubly – election slogans are fake, they say, “we are all equal”, “every citizen is valuable.”
But in a quarter of a century of restored independence of Estonia, the Russian and Russian-speaking voters have resigned themselves to their position and consider it almost a natural state. And in the elections I began to vote for the Center Party, considering it “the lesser of all evils.” That’s the way it is, but evil remains evil, albeit “lesser.” And in the past two years, this party has become a frankly Russophobic political force that, with its muted Russophobic rhetoric, is trying to preserve in the eyes of the Russian and Russian-speaking voter the former savisaar image of the Center Party – defender from the ultranationalism of other parties, including Social-Democratic, the preacher of good neighborliness with Russia. The illusion of the “lesser evil” is assiduously supported by the “Russian centrists”, trying to please the new Russophobic and anti-Russian leadership of their party,
The question arises: what to do? It is necessary to repeat and repeat that the struggle of the current centrists “for the interests of the Russian and Russian-speaking population” is just a vulgar imitation, a conscious shaking of the air. And at the same time a deliberate deception of their voters. The current (after Savisaar) political course of the Center Party, which was openly supported by Russian and Russian-speaking centrists led by MEP-centrist Yana Toom, is hostile towards Russia and dangerous for the fate of Russian and Russian-speaking residents of Estonia. They have only two choices: to continue to be lackeys of Estonian ethnocracy and its “pocket” Russians, or to preserve civil and national dignity, to provide at least some resistance to discrimination and Russophobia.
Do not resist evil by violence
Of course, we are talking about resistance exclusively in the legal field. Today, when thanks to the efforts of the Estonian ethnocracy, the civil and political activity of the Russian and Russian-speaking population is completely paralyzed, and the political field is completely cleansed by the state, the resistance of injustice cannot even be organized. Therefore, some see the exit in the boycott of elections as a form of civil disobedience. However, they propose to participate in the elections, but taking care to ensure that ballots are in the ballot boxes filled in so that they are declared invalid.
But you can do otherwise: write on the bulletin – “Savisaar.” This also recognizes the ballot as invalid, but the election commission is obliged to fix it. The voter will thus be able to demonstrate the desire to justify himself for the way they have vilely betrayed and sold Savisaar for the sake of a rich political trough of party members, especially the “Russian centrists”. Russian and Russian-speaking voters, who had glorified Savisaar for many years, a year and a half ago completely ignored his candidacy and his electoral union in the municipal elections in Tallinn, which he created as an alternative to Ratas’s centrist party list.
Of course, someone, as before, will vote for the centrists. This is a personal matter. But one should not deceive oneself by the fact that in case of losing the centrists, the “greater evil” in the person of other parties, including the Social Democrats, will come to power. Because even ultranationalists, having fallen into power, will quickly cool their impulses and become the same in the literal sense of the centrists, as the True Finns have become in Finland.
The choice for the voter! It is simple: either to remain lackeys of ethnocracy, or to preserve civil and national honor. And either way, one has nothing more to lose!