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Thread: Regarding Russian in the Baltic States

  1. #1
    Hanna
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    Regarding Russian in the Baltic States

    I made a comment earlier that I'd write a post about this. This is that post..

    Ok, as I've mentioned before, I'm originally Swedish and my country (+the rest of Scandinavia) have quite strong links with the Baltic States. They belonged to Sweden for quite a while and there's always been trade and exchange. A relative of mine for instance, was born in Estonia. Sweden is currently the biggest investor in the Baltic States).


    Regarding the status of Russian language and the treatment of Russians:
    The Balts are idiots in this respect (sorry any Balts who read this).

    If they can't treat linguistic minorities in their countries right, then they should leave the EU!! EU started as a peace project and it is totally against any form of discrimination for any reason.

    The EU knows that the Baltic states discriminate against Russian speakers. EU is trying to stop it, but perhaps not as strongly as is needed. (Frankly, there are some double standards and prejudice in Europe regarding Russia. As we know.)

    Improving the treatment of Russians in Balticum was actually a condition for these countries when they were going to join the EU. But it looks like it was "lip service" only. (lip-service means you say you are going to do something, but then you don't do it... Or you pretend to agree with something.. )

    The best thing that could happen would be if Russian speakers in these countries sued their government at the European Court in Strasbourg. Then they would get attention to their situation and support from other parts of Europe. There are many minorities that would support this group out of principle.

    What the Balts are doing is against European legislation.. For several reasons they are "getting away with it" right now.

    The other, more practical reason why this is wrong is shown by economic examples from modern European countries.

    Language / bilingual skills are GOOD for smaller countries
    -- in particular if the language of a larger neighbour is spoken. Luxembourg and Switzerland are the top examples of this. Switzerland and Luxembourg are among the very richest countries per capita in Europe. Their langauage policies have helped them greatly.

    Estonians really like Finland because it has a similar language
    . There are tons of Estonians in Finland... While they are there they should look at how Finland treats the Swedish speaking minority (just 10% of the population).

    These 10% can completely ignore learning Finnish if they want to! They can get all their information and schooling in Swedish. They can work in a Swedish speaking environment if they really want to. All the regular Finns have to study Swedish in school for 4 years and can usually speak basic or good Swedish.

    This system is democratically chosen in Finland because the Finns realise that it's beneficial. It means they can have strong ties and good relations with Sweden. The Finns are pretty disgusted at how Russians in the Baltic states are treated.

    The old Swedish ambassador to Moscow is currently running a campaign to convince all Nordic leaders to put pressure (economical, if needed) on the Baltic states to stop their blatant discrimination.) In Scandinavia we go out of our ways to support the Saami people (native) and avoid any other discrimination. We should not allow an area that we support financially to do this either,

    However the campaign is not getting as much attention as it ought to, and some people have started having prejudice against Russia (which, interestingly, they did not have during the USSR times... weird...)

    There was sympathy in Scandinavia for the Baltic states during USSR era because we knew that they had been incorporated into the USSR against the will of the majority. But this is old news now (=meaning it's no longer relevant) and Baltikum was not exactly the third world anyway! They had a rather cushy position in the USSR, as I understand it. They had good educational facilities, several resorts and modern houses built for poor people.. In fact, I actually visited Latvia during USSR times and it seemed more or less like any other European state apart from less shops, restaurants and advertising.

    As for their grievance against Russia: Yes, it's understandable, BUT --- these countries have practically ALWAYS been under foreign control, throughout history. Sweden had them for quite a while -- Germany has also controlled them, and Poland too. Russia just happens to be the latest country to do it!

    They need to get over it and accept the situation as it is, including the fact that they have a Russian speaking minority.

    My country is in a position to put pressure on them and I hope Sweden, Finland and the rest of the EU will support the rights of this ethnic minority. Just like it is supporting national minorities elsewhere in Europe. Anything else would be horrible double standards.

    Tallinn bronze soldier, old location...

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    Re: Regarding Russian in the Baltic States

    What makes the problem even bigger, is that the Russian "minority" in the Baltic states is not quite a minority, in fact... Because 30% is much enough.

    Also, I have heard on TV that Russians can't get a job there if they don't know the official state language. Everyone MUST know it. You even must speak in it in cafés, shops and so on. I don't know if that's absolutely true, but I saw at least one piece of reporting on TV, and it was an incident in the Latvian or Estonian airport where some Russian asked for a cup of coffee (in Russian, of course), and... it provoked a scandal of some kind. I don't remember details now.
    In Russian, all nationalities and their corresponding languages start with a lower-case letter.

  3. #3
    Hanna
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    Re: Regarding Russian in the Baltic States

    Well I think they can speak whatever language they want in shops, but there is a language requirement for most jobs, and more importantly, for citizenship. The citizenship issue is particularly disturbing. The Russian speakers need Estonian citizenship to get a passport, which essentially means that without knowing Estonian, they cannot travel! Compare with Canada, Spain, Finland which have no such requirement for linguistic minorities. I was in Tallinn in 2000 approx. and I heard plenty of Russian spoken. I seriously think about half of Tallinn might be Russian speakers.

    Here are some vids from both "sides":

    A story on this from Russian TV (in English).
    [video:3pyk4mxf]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkWkxueHw1I[/video:3pyk4mxf]


    Dual language news in Estonia (this is good sign!) Headlines on a day in Aug. 09
    [video:3pyk4mxf]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vk7ZXucMfXc[/video:3pyk4mxf]


    Estonian "Information Video" by someone with poor English skills.
    The message is that Russia is orchestrating troubles among Russian speaking Estonians.
    [video:3pyk4mxf]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cW-OLi1FVs[/video:3pyk4mxf]


    A comment by a Finn (native Swedish speaker!) about "Soviet Story", a widely shown documentary from the Baltic States. I saw this film on TV somewhere and it's very hostile to Russia. I don't understand more than about half of what he's saying..
    [video:3pyk4mxf]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzlAhQ81Bwk[/video:3pyk4mxf]


    Good example of the the type of reports that are that are shown across Western Europe.
    This is Deutsche Welle (German TV) in English. As you can tell, it's a bit suspicious of Russia.
    [video:3pyk4mxf]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5y3BFhtnYE[/video:3pyk4mxf]


    Some insane divers in Lithuania who speak a mix of Russian and Lithuanian:
    (I'm including it mostly because it's funny - he doesn't realise there is ice under the water... )
    [video:3pyk4mxf]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MzGHO0bukY[/video:3pyk4mxf]

    A clip from something called Euronews (I don't know about this channel)
    Integration of Russians in Estonia.
    [video:3pyk4mxf]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=leHp5IJK0DA[/video:3pyk4mxf]

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    Re: Regarding Russian in the Baltic States

    Quote Originally Posted by Оля
    I saw at least one piece of reporting on TV, and it was an incident in the Latvian or Estonian airport where some Russian asked for a cup of coffee (in Russian, of course), and... it provoked a scandal of some kind. I don't remember details now.
    Damn, I mixed up everyting!
    Here's a TV report about that incident (unfortunately it's in Russian):
    [video:37sqzpuf]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKCkGRhx2Uc[/video:37sqzpuf]

    Shortly, it was that some Latvian asked a cup of coffee and a piece of cake in the Riga airport, and he was so angry that the barmaid spoke bad Latvian that he splashed his coffee in her face.
    In Russian, all nationalities and their corresponding languages start with a lower-case letter.

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    Re: Regarding Russian in the Baltic States

    Quote Originally Posted by Оля
    Also, I have heard on TV that Russians can't get a job there if they don't know the official state language.
    Olya, do you think it's possible to get a job in Russia if you don't know Russian? Officially, I mean? Russia too has a law that obliges every immigrant who wants to work here to know Russian. I think it's a right thing. You have to speak to other people if you work.
    Send me a PM if you need me.

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    Re: Regarding Russian in the Baltic States

    It.s hardly a blak and white issue.

    The Baltic states are in breach of the rules they agreed to when they joined the EU. That's a scandal and what is a bigger scandal is the way the rest of the EU has largely turned a blind eye to the issue.

    On the other hand, the language requirements for citizenship are actually trivially easy. I've seen the exam papers and there's nothing in there that an averagely intelligent human being couldn't manage in a matter of a few weeks, and there are a whole raft of exemptions for elderly people or those with learning difficulties. The fact is that the vast majority of ethnic Russians have already done it and attained citizenship. Those that haven't aren't refusing because it's too onerous, but because they want to make a political statement. That is of course their right, but it's also their own choice.

    And lastly, it is supremely hypocritical of the Russian authorities and media to continually and hysterically complain that these states are failing to meet EU standards when the Russian state only holds itself to much, much lower standards in the first place. I would rather be a non-Latvian in Latvia than a non-Russian in Russia any old day of the week.

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    Re: Regarding Russian in the Baltic States

    Quote Originally Posted by Ramil
    Olya, do you think it's possible to get a job in Russia if you don't know Russian?
    Russia is not in the EU.

    Then again, Wiki says that the most numerous ethnic minority in Russia makes 3%. Three is not thirty.
    In Russian, all nationalities and their corresponding languages start with a lower-case letter.

  8. #8
    Hanna
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    Re: Regarding Russian in the Baltic States

    Quote Originally Posted by Оля
    Quote Originally Posted by Ramil
    Olya, do you think it's possible to get a job in Russia if you don't know Russian?
    Russia is not in the EU.

    Then again, Wiki says that the most numerous ethnic minority in Russia makes 3%. Three is not thirty.
    Yes, exactly. We already know that Russia has alls sorts of problems that currently don't exist in the EU. That wasn't the point.

    The point is that the Baltic states have made certain commitments to the EU, and that they have ongoing obligations which they don't appear to be keeping. Also that there is quite a lot of agitation against the Russian minority which would be unthinkable in countries such as Spain, Finland, Belgium etc which also have linguistic minorities.

    Practically all countries in Europe have been invaded and occupied by a neighbour within the last few hundred years. In this case it happened while the allies were fighting Nazism.. Many countries have experienced much rougher times than the Baltic states did in the USSR. However the Balts are still acting the victim and exploiting old European fears about the "evilness" of Russia. In my view they are doing the rest of the EU a serious disservice. Poor relations with Russia is bad for everyone on our continent.

    What they ought to do is accommodate the Russian minority in any way possible and use them to create good relations with Russia. If indeed Russia is consciously manipulating this group (as is suggested in the videos above), then it probably wouldn't work if the group felt fully part of Latvia and appreciated/included despite the langauge problems. The fully inclusive approach has worked extremely well for Finland and many other countries. I think also Kazakhstan. I don't know much about it, but it seems things are good for the ethic Russians there..(?)

    It was pretty silly that the Riga airport (from the video that Olya posted) had signs in Latvian and English but not in Russian.
    This is no doubt done deliberately. I bet at least 1/3 of flights from that airport are for Russia... Not to mention the 30% Russian-speaking Latvians.

    @scotcher - are you planning emigration to the Baltic states? (and naturalisation too!) Which country's test did you see?

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    Re: Regarding Russian in the Baltic States

    You find petty nationalism eveywhere, and it often has a linguistic aspect. Just this week the Slovakian government upset its own ethnic Hungarian minority by passing a law that restricts the use of Hungarian(or rather, promotes the use of Slovak, but it amounts to the same thing), and those are both EU countries with much less reason for mutual antagonism than the Baltic states and Russia. In fact given the history of the Baltic states I think it would be astounding if there wasn't a nationalistic drive to limit the use of Russian.

    @scotcher - are you planning emigration to the Baltic states? (and naturalisation too!) Which country's test did you see?
    No, but I was in Latvia recently visiting friends and one of them (an ethnic Russian) had just sat the test, so he showed me his study materials and a sample test paper from last year.

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    Re: Regarding Russian in the Baltic States

    My favorite thing about the Baltic states is how they were the single biggest supporters of Nazi's outside of the 3rd Reich itself. Tens of thousands of willing Baltinians volunteered to join the SS hoe-down gun show party and to kill everyone that moved, yet they are the only countries (well, mostly Latvia and Lithuiana) who have never answered for their crimes and furthermore have monuments to these SS soldiers. Its even stranger that no one from the west even asks questions about this either. Though its known that divisions of Baltic SS death squads roamed Ukraine and Belrus' making shashlik of every peasant both sides of the Dnepr' till they were finally annexed into their rightful home and beatin into submission like the whiney temper-tamptrum throwing three year olds they love to act like.

    But hey we all make mistakes righ? Lets forgive them and let em right in to the EU. Yeah, I'd say thats my favorite thing about them there Baltic states.

    Oh and wtf they have bank holidays in Latvia? wtf?

    Sorry I just saw this thread and couldn't hold back. Grr
    Вот это да, я так люблю себя. И сегодня я люблю себя, ещё больше чем вчера, а завтра я буду любить себя to ещё больше чем сегодня. Тем что происходит,я вполне доволен!

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    Re: Regarding Russian in the Baltic States

    Jesus. I used to think you'd stop being a moron when you got a bit older, but apparently not.

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    Re: Regarding Russian in the Baltic States

    I used to think that most people had better things to do with their lives than check a forum 15 times a day and make pithy comments about other peoples opinions and personal experiences but, hey, apparently not.

    Some things never change old man, get over it.
    Вот это да, я так люблю себя. И сегодня я люблю себя, ещё больше чем вчера, а завтра я буду любить себя to ещё больше чем сегодня. Тем что происходит,я вполне доволен!

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    Re: Regarding Russian in the Baltic States

    Quote Originally Posted by Dogboy182
    I used to think that most people had better things to do with their lives than check a forum 15 times a day ...
    We are not like the most people, I think. :"":
    "...Важно, чтобы форум оставался местом, объединяющим людей, для которых интересны русский язык и культура. ..." - MasterАdmin (из переписки)



  14. #14
    Hanna
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    Re: Regarding Russian in the Baltic States

    Quote Originally Posted by Dogboy182
    My favorite thing about the Baltic states is how they were the single biggest supporters of Nazi's outside of the 3rd Reich itself (...)
    Ok true, but remember, most of them did not know at the time, how truly bad the Nazis were... They just thought that they preferred Germany over the USSR. And after the war, from what I understand, the USSR sent those Baltic people who were known Nazis to very grim labour camps for many years before they were allowed to return. Some were shot I think.

    The sad thing is that there seems to be a lot of neo-nazis around in the Baltic states today and they really ought to do something about that.

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    Re: Regarding Russian in the Baltic States

    Well, apparently there are neo-nazi's in Russia too which makes absolutely no-nense. But that's another topic.

    I'm just saying, even if they preferred their German chums to the Russians, they still carried out their mass killings with a smile on their face.

    At any rate, I was mostly reminded of this http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/europe/j ... _5-09.html

    When Bush (ok ok not the best example of a decent human being) visited the memorial to the Lithuanian (I think, it doesn't matter anyway) SS soldiers like a day before he went to Moscow.

    Anyways who cares. I spent 24 hours in Riga once once and it was 25 hours too much.
    Вот это да, я так люблю себя. И сегодня я люблю себя, ещё больше чем вчера, а завтра я буду любить себя to ещё больше чем сегодня. Тем что происходит,я вполне доволен!

  16. #16
    Hanna
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    Re: Regarding Russian in the Baltic States

    Bush (ok ok not the best example of a decent human being)
    In my opinion there are two things that makes him likeable (and it sure isn't his politics)
    1) he's a Christian
    2) he used to be a gambler and alcoholic but he reformed...

    I checked your links to the PBS story. I get incredibly IRRITATED that America is meddling in this region which is CLEARLY in Russia's sphere of interest, or possibly the EUs. Frankly this region is none of the US' business, and they are SO out of order to be meddling there.

    Russia allowed these countries to leave the union without any trouble. In connection with that, there was some kind of deal or agreement between the US and Gorbachev that the US would not interfere in the the USSRs old sphere of influence... But surprise, surprise; a few years later the US is out fishing for new NATO members in the exact area they promised to stay away from! And then we get the Georgia war where the US was involved up to its' ears. This was one of the worst cases of media manipulation I've seen in my entire life and it's very tragic that many sensible Europeans swallowed the American view without even considering other options.

    The US has meddled (politically and by military means) in Central Asia, Ukraine, Georgia and the Baltic States. Just like in the Cold war they are sponsoring media etc to influence people in this region. For instance "Radio Free Europe" which targets the ex-USSR area sounds like some kind of EU initiative, but it was in fact started by the CIA and is pushing the pro-US agenda in every way that it can.

    I don't dislike American people at all, in fact I like them a lot. I have a lot or respect for many things about the US. But I hate American meddling everywhere in the world and their darn military bases that are still around in Europe by the hundreds. (Luckily not in my native country fortunately, and for the record, I sure don't want any Russian bases there either.)

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    Re: Regarding Russian in the Baltic States

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna
    But I hate American meddling everywhere in the world and their darn military bases that are still around in Europe by the hundreds.
    America is running an empire on borrowed money, it's just a matter of time...
    Кому - нары, кому - Канары.

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    Re: Regarding Russian in the Baltic States

    Quote Originally Posted by sperk
    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna
    But I hate American meddling everywhere in the world and their darn military bases that are still around in Europe by the hundreds.
    America is running an empire on borrowed money, it's just a matter of time...
    Типун тебе на язык.
    "...Важно, чтобы форум оставался местом, объединяющим людей, для которых интересны русский язык и культура. ..." - MasterАdmin (из переписки)



  19. #19
    Hanna
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    Re: Regarding Russian in the Baltic States

    The bad relationhip between Russia and the Baltic States has a very disturbing result, even on the environment.

    The Russia --- Germany gas pipeline cannot go overland through the Baltic states and Poland, since Russia just doesn't trust the Baltic countries to be any more reliable with the gas than Ukraine has been.

    As a result the pipeline is planned to run under the Baltic Sea.
    The trouble is that this means construction is MUCH more expensive and the risk of oil spills is greater and the results of a leak more dangerous.

    Sweden and Finland don't want this pipeline in along our coastlines, but haven't got much to put up against either Germany or Russia... There is too much at stake. If this trouble between the Baltic states and Russia did not exist and they had normal relations, then the pipeline could be run overland which is so much better. The Balts and Poland could even make some money on the transit fees. Also the underwater pipeline is going to increase the military tensions in the Baltic Sea again since the pipeline needs to be monitored and guarded.
    Everybody loses - particularly the sea animals in case of accidents...


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    Re: Regarding Russian in the Baltic States

    1) he's a Christian
    2) he used to be a gambler and alcoholic but he reformed...
    And I really loved Lenin because he was an Atheist.

    And, I've met Bush (breifly). I actually serviced Air Force one about 2 years ago when it stopped here in England.

    At anyrate, his breath smelled like Whiskey. Sorry to tarnish your image of his clean Christian ways.
    Вот это да, я так люблю себя. И сегодня я люблю себя, ещё больше чем вчера, а завтра я буду любить себя to ещё больше чем сегодня. Тем что происходит,я вполне доволен!

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