mardi 23 septembre 2008

The double neo-person from Finland

The Estonians have an ambivalent love-hate relationship with their Finnish neighbours. Recently it surfaced once again when the Finnish President Tarja Halonen made some mild critical remarks about the reactions of the Balts to the Russian intervention in Georgia. These remarks were vehemently rebuffed by our media and some of our top politicians. There have been similar instances in  the past. The Estonians seem to think they know Russia and the Russians better than the Finns, and accuse the Finns of opportunism and appeasement of their big neighbour. However, the Estonian political scientist Rein Taagepera has written that in his opinion the Finns who succeeded in defending their independence in two wars against Russia have little to learn from Estonians who lost it and had to live under Soviet rule for about 5o extra years. 

I think the "finlandisation" was not too big a price to pay for remaining free to build up the state, to modernize the economy, the education system, and to keep a non-negligeable deterrent: The Soviets avoided direct confrontation with Finland , having learnt a lesson from their unsuccessful attempts to conquer it. 

Still, some Finns like to behave in very big-brotherly way, coming to teach us our own history and trying to convert Estonians to funny revisionist ideas. Risto Teinonen has republished in Estonia a Nazi-era propaganda booklet "Adolf Hitler, Liberator" and is busy reminding us of the positive values of the Nazi system. According to press, he has even celebrated the anniversary of the infamous Wannsee conference. On a photo we see him cutting a cake with a large swastika on it. Recently we have had another political visitor from Finland, a docent of jurisprudence Johan Bäckman who has published a book "The Bronze Soldier" and given interviews where he tells Estonians that they had been liberated by the Red Army, that the Estonian and Finnish historians have written lies, there had been no Soviet occupation of Estonia, etc. Curiously enough, there is a remarkable similarity between these two men, the neo-Nazi, and the neo-Stalinist. I've been told that the old Jorge Luis Borges told to a journalist that the Argentine junta leader Leopoldo Galtieri and the British PM Margaret Thatcher were one and the same person. When the journalist asked whether he meant they were similar persons, Borges replied "I told they are the SAME PERSON!" I like this idea. I like the idea that after all, Teinonen and Bäckman are the same person. Now we have just to wait and see whether Bäckman will publish for example a new edition of Stalin's Short autobiography... And Teinonen will publish a book on the heroic struggle of the SS for the freedom of Eastern Europe. 

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