dimanche 26 octobre 2008

Dangerous patriotism

Estonian newspapers tell us that the "nationalist" association ("rahvuslased") in the Pro Patria party supports the idea of introducing Estonian as the only language of education even in the Russian elementary schools. This is a provocative declaration. I cannot but recall and quote two paragraphs from an analysis on the homepage of the Stratfor institute. It's about the leverage Russia has in the Baltic states. Discussing the possible role of the local Russian-speaking population, the author adds:

"Perhaps an even bigger and more diabolical lever that the Kremlin could use is found in Baltic nationalist and neo-Nazi groups. Existing groups like the Latvian National Front and the National Force Union have been involved in violent attacks against minorities, including Japanese nationals and gay rights groups. Neo-Nazi groups in Estonia and Latvia have carried out re-enactments of World War II events and have staged parades celebrating Baltic Nazi units that fought against the Russians in World War II. Although these groups have not launched significant attacks on the Russian population, pro-Kremlin Russophones certainly fit into their target set. If they were to start targeting Russophone neighborhoods, businesses or other interests, this would be a spark that could provoke a Russian excuse for broader action.

Russian intelligence capabilities certainly include the ability to infiltrate foreign nationalistic groups and goad Estonian or Latvian nationalists into creating a justification for broader Russian action. With the trigger primed, the Kremlin could stir up its sympathizers in Riga, Tallinn and Vilnius to create political tension and violence in the Baltics."

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