Estonia and Bush: Mania grandiosa
US president visited Estonia – for the first time in the country’s history. That is quite an event for the country. For Estonia’s politicians it is more than an event, this is a manifestation. For all the awe and thrill of the last several months with which the nation expected the visit could not be in vain. Bush would not go just anywhere – hence, his choice of Estonia speaks of the grand future of the country.
Estonian politicians worked hard to prepare the event. Although a grade of each particular politician’s exaltation about the coming visit depended on their political affiliation, the community in general was enthusiastic. Even advocates of the Bronze Soldier monument and the Constitution Party hoped that they would be able to draw attention of the US president to the situation around attempts of the Estonian leadership to revise outcomes of the World War II.
The joy of the little country is understandable. For it is not each country with population slightly over one and a half million people a world superpower leader comes to. Moreover, one could argue that Estonia has definitely earned the visit: by continuous criticism of Russia in all respects and its active support of the so-called new democracies of Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldavia.
Besides, Estonians have sent their military contingents to Iraq and Afghanistan, and for not a minute hesitated over supporting the US in its Iraqi military operation. And if you take into account the invariable Russophobia of the Estonian national political elite and its neverending search for a hand of Kremlin here and there… All this is to outline the essential: the easily imaginable joy with which Estonian politicians waited for the proof that, if anything happens, the US will not betray Estonia and will not let the events of 1940, when Washington without emotion gave up the Estonian republic to Stalin, be repeated.
And here the US president comes, and even spends a night in the Estonian land. And a wondrous metamorphosis occurs in the political establishment. In a night and a couple of negotiations of Bush with prime minister and president of the small country bordering Russia, Estonia has turned into a US partner on solving global problems (quote president of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves).
And twice ex prime minister of Estonia Mart Laar evaluated the outcomes of Bush visit like this: If any other state in such a situation would not miss an opportunity to solve its individual problems, we sat down with president Bush at the negotiating table as a state that is interested not in its narrow problems but the global ones. Even Americans that accompanied Bush in Estonia were evidently somewhat surprised with it.
Estonian journalists pointed out with satisfaction that during the meeting with Bush in Kadriorg Palace, Ilves not once mentioned the subject of the relationship between Estonia and Russia, instead, both sides for the 45 minutes discussed almost all the global problems. As equals, as leaders of NATO member countries.
It is not surprising that after getting such a deep notion of his own importance, the president of Estonia announced the next day in an interview to Euronews that Russia and problems of the Estonian-Russian relationship is of no interest to him. Russia is not in the list of our priorities. Our priorities are our own country and Europe.
Mister president was obviously modest this time, mentioning only Europe, not the entire world. I think that after such sayings, Estonian foreign ministry has to be pretty much ashamed for its hysteria over the fishery problem and concern over traffic jam in the Estonian-Russian border. For the president made it clear that there is no such country as Russia, and problems in relationship with it should not concern the great Estonian democracy, whose task is to support countries who have chosen the way of independence and democracy and who do not give in to the pressure from some of their neighbors.
Fundamentally, all the abovementioned are Estonian problems, with which Estonians will have to be concerned. Something else is surprising – the devout striving of a number of Russian politicians and diplomats to pretend that relationship with this country can be normalized. How many more Bush visits are necessary to convince some doves in the State Duma and foreign ministry that Estonia is not going to fix good neighborly relations with Russia and, especially, respect our national interests?
How many more memorials of Soviet soldiers who fought against Nazism do they in Estonia have to demolish to make the Russian political and economic elite realize that the Estonian ethnocracy has used and is going to use Russian businesses and Russian politicians to solve their own problems and further their private interests? Whatever tales the Russian businessmen say of their influence in Estonia, they will remain fairytales for naïve audience. All the influence and the work of Russian business in the country end with gaining profit and an Estonian citizenship or residence permit, and, consequently, with the Russian businessmen turning into law-abiding Estonian citizens who will not dare to resist this state.
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