Russia stops oil exports to Estonia

RemontSomeone in the Kremlin clearly has their creative hat on today as, in order to punish Estonia for daring to oppose the mighty Russia, the railway line into Estonia has been mysteriously closed for repairs:

“We haven’t imposed any economic sanctions against Estonia and have no plans to do so. But from May 1, we plan repair works. We therefore plan to change the delivery schedule,” said a spokeswoman for Russian state railways.

The upshot of this is that Russian oil and coal exports that would ordinarily be shipped to Estonia via rail is instead sitting around in a train station somewhere in Russia.

Good for the environment, I’m sure you’ll agree but, as most of the oil was destined for re-export, rather than consumption within Estonia itself, the major outcome will be that consumers across the world will be grumpy again and Russia, as usual, will get the blame for doing something daft. And rightly so – cutting oil supplies to consumers further down the line to score petty political points achieves nothing more than paint Russia as an unreliable supplier.

Meanwhile, the Estonian ambassador to Russia was attacked by Nashi protestors:

Marina Kaljurand’s bodyguards were forced to fire tear gas to beat back the group of 30 youths, members of the Kremlin-backed Nashi (Ours) youth group, who had forced their way into the conference, shouting that Estonia was a fascist state.

Presumably the tears streaming down the faces of the Nashi faithful meant that their vision was impaired when this happened:

The protesters also blocked the arrival of a Swedish embassy vehicle, prompting Sweden to lodge a “strong verbal protest” with the Russian embassy in Stockholm and summon the Russian ambassador to account for the incident.

“The ambassador’s car was stopped and attacked by a mob as he was leaving the Estonian embassy. They kicked the car and tore off the Swedish flag. The ambassador was not injured but the atmosphere was very aggressive,” said a Swedish foreign ministry spokesman.

Oh, what a glorious day for the new, improved Russia.

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31 Responses

  1. Michael says:

    Here are some interesting facts about Estonia:

    Most wanted Nazi war criminals
    10b. [Deleted by administrator]
    Arrested Jews and Communists who were then executed by Nazis and Estonian collaborators
    Status: Cleared by investigation in Estonia

    10a. [Deleted by administrator]
    Arrested Jews who were then murdered by Nazis and Lithuanian collaborators
    Status: Deported from US; convicted by Lithuania, which has hereto refused to implement his sentence of imprisonment
    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1178020745724&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

    Not a single Estonian citizen who participated in the persecution and/or murder of Jews during WWII has been brought to trial by the Estonians, despite the existence of abundant incriminatory evidence in at least two cases submitted in recent years.
    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull&cid=1176152786406

    A monument to an Estonian “Freedom Fighter” had been unveiled in a small town Lihula in Western Estonia. It showed a soldier in a German uniform with a Waffen-SS (combat SS) unit emblem, wearing a steel helmet and holding a machine gun.
    http://www.baltictimes.com/news/articles/12586/

    So, what one should think about all this?

    1. Thousands of estonians were voluntarily serving in Hitler’s Waffen-SS troops where they exterminated Jews, Gipsies, Russians, Belarusans, Ukrainians, and other “untermenschen” in death camps.

    2. No one Estonian was brought to trial for war crimes after Estonia had become independent. Moreover, Estonia protects even most wanted Nazi criminals identified by Holocaust organizations.

    3. Estonia officially glorifies its Waffen-SS “freedom fighters” by setting up monuments to them. Meanwhile, Estonia destroys memorials to Soviet soldiers, who won Hitler’s fascism.

    4. Currently Estonia practice massive ethnic discrimination of the same Russians, Belarusans, Ukrainians and other “untermenschen”.

    You don’t have to be a detective to make a judgement: Estonia is a typical Nazi state that is proud of taking a part in the Hitler’s fascist project and Holocaust during WW2 and doing its best to implement the most “interesting” Nazi policies today. And if there was not just one million Estonian population, but 100 million of them with enough weapon, you can bet there would be another Holocaust in Europe already.

  2. copydude says:

    Andy,

    First of all, I got the previous comment on my blog from ‘Michael’ and deleted it. Maybe you haven’t got around to it yet.

    ‘It will all end it tears’. Too damn right.

    This whole spat has been engineered to wind up the Bear and the Russian reponse was totally predictable. I don’t know what the Russian word for ‘subtlety’ is and maybe there isn’t one.

    I’ve a good idea who set up the ‘showdown’. And it wasn’t Amnesty International. Hoot.

    All we know is that the ‘War on Terror’ has been substituted for the ‘War on Putin’. And that he was dumb enough to fall for it. I thought he was smarter than that but – apparently not.

    But Estonia and the EU will be the losers.

    Oh, and Poland is going to have to eat all that stockpiled beef for a very long time to come. They’re dead.

    Good Job, EU!

  3. Andy says:

    On reflection, I’ve decided to leave Michael’s post up, as a testament to the kind of extreme ideas that are floating around the fringes of this dispute.

    I have, however, removed the two names he detailed, as he didn’t seem able to back up the statements with any kind of fact (one didn’t have a link, the other link didn’t work when I clicked on it).

  4. Kolya says:

    Russia is acting like a petulant child. It’s disgraceful. Whether or not you like what the Estonians did, they are very much within their rights. And the fact that the Estonians don’t view the Red Army as a noble and liberating force is a no-brainer.

    I wonder to what extent all this is being cynically manipulated by FSB types. Nonetheless, it’s disappointing that people are so easily manipulated.

  5. Michael Averko says:

    Can’t agree. That statue isn’t so reflective of Communism as it is of the heroic aspects of what the Red Army did. A force consisting mostly of non-Communists and many non-Russians.

    Half of Estonia’s population was against that move.

    As I noted under a related post at this site, the Red Army did some not so things. Likewise, with what some Estonians did.

  6. Kolya says:

    The whole point is not whether we liked what the Estonians did, but that they were definitely within their rights, as a sovereign nation, to move that statue. The fact that people rioted in Estonia and abused the Estonian diplomats in Moscow is a self-inflicted black eye to Russia.

  7. Martin says:

    Ofcourse the dumbest thing is that the oil transit business in Estonia is all owned by Russians, so Russia is simply hurting their compatriots in stopping rail transport to Estonia. Doh!

  8. Michael Averko says:

    And Estonians as well. Doh!

    The riots in Estonia aren’t the fault of Russia. Offhand, I’m not aware of Estonian diplomats being abused in Russia. I’ve been away from the news a bit. If this happened, then it’s a blemish on Russia.

    Governments of nations have certain rights. However, when they initiate provocatively stupid policies, they shouldn’t be left off the hook.

  9. One Comment says:

    First i want to say that statue was and is holy place for Russian speaking Estonians and it remind horror for native Estonian peaple.

    For example My grandfather fight against Nazi Germany in WW II as red army soldier and my grand – grandparents was killed by red army soldiers as civilians.

    It is history and all we have to accept it without anger.

    One of the main reason why that statue was replaced connected with the fact that during last 2 years (not before) time to time tere was some conflicts between small group of people. Between so called russian extreme group and estonian extreame group. (Sorry my languiage skill). That mean territory of that statue in center of Tallinn was secure any more and peace of grave was desecrated.

    By the way: Russia send 30 % of oil via Estonia to west so i believe quite soon trains start mooving again 😉

    Greeting!

  10. Michael Averko says:

    Greetings back and I personally appreciate your Eng. language effort and stated views.

  11. Anthony says:

    What a silly post.
    I hope that Russia has finally got fed up of trying to win the PR war in the Western press, and will pursue its views more forcefully from now on. Trying to win the PR war is useless. No matter what Russia does, it will always be the villain. So the hell with it. Russia must press its interests regardless of the howls of ‘righteous outrage’ from the Western pharisees.
    Today the Estonian president asked Russia to ‘act civilized’. This coming from a government of grave diggers. Who have instituted an apartheid regime that denies the basic rigt of citinzenship to a large segment of the country’s population. A ‘democratic’ government that went against the opinions of the majority of the country’s population to pursue this outrageous, extremist action.
    Some posters (incredibly) are even trying to blame Russia for the riots in Estonia itself. Unbelievable. Look into the fascist policies of the Estonian regime to find the sources of discontent. The removal of the Bronze soldier was simply the last straw. It is a shame and a black eye on the EU and NATO to have a neo-Nazi country among its members.

  12. Michael Averko says:

    Anthony, I sympathize with much of what you said. However, successfully implemented Eng. language media/PR efforts can help make a difference. Whether that’s being done is a matter that has been second guessed elsewhere by others including myself.

  13. Martin says:

    C’mon guys, some of the comments above are on the borderline of ridiculous. Anyone with an open mind and willingness to understand the other side’s viewpoints could take a look at http://www.okupatsioon.ee/english/index.htm, choose “Films” on the left menu. It offers an overview of the fate of Estonia from 1939 to 1991.

  14. Oh, c’mon, Anthony, buck up — refried Stalinist claptrap is especially effective if you use phrases like ‘the Western pharisees’!

  15. Mr. Potato Head says:

    Martin: “Ofcourse the dumbest thing is that the oil transit business in Estonia is all owned by Russians, so Russia is simply hurting their compatriots in stopping rail transport to Estonia. Doh!”

    You have hit the nail on the head! That’s the whole point of this maneuver. Read Vilhelm Konnander’s analysis (scroll down to “Estonia: Battle by Bronze Proxy”):

    http://vilhelmkonnander.blogspot.com/2007_02_01_archive.html

  16. Michael says:

    Extreme ideas? Hm. I thought that denying Holocaust is an extreme idea. Okay, let’s continue talking about “western” “democratic” Estonia.

    ———

    International Jewish groups say at least 17 unpunished Nazi war criminals may be living in Estonia, but investigators have not brought charges against a single one.

    Experts say the reluctance to prosecute accused Nazi war criminals such as Gorshkow reflects Estonia’s lingering ambivalence about the 1941-44 Nazi occupation.
    ….

    “Estonia is one of the countries that are in deep denial,” said Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, which hunts down Nazi war criminals. “They think they have nothing to do with this, that the Holocaust didn’t happen there, that they have nothing to regret and nothing to apologize for.”

    Experts say Estonia’s lack of political will to prosecute war criminals undermines its attempt to portray itself as a nation that shares Western values. Estonia is scheduled to join the European Union on May 1 and to become a NATO member in the summer.

    But Anatol Lieven, an expert on the Baltic states at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C., said Estonia’s reluctance to address its role in the Holocaust “raises the question of how far the whole adoption of the Western persona (is) genuine and deep-rooted” or whether it could “evaporate again after they join the EU and NATO.”

    Having experienced the terror of the Soviet occupation, when thousands were deported to Siberia, many Estonians welcomed the arrival of German troops in 1941.

    They voluntarily joined Nazi police and army units and helped exterminate not only Estonia’s tiny Jewish community but tens of thousands of Jews brought here from other Eastern European countries to be slaughtered or interned in camps such as Vaivara, Klooga and Lagedi.

    Like Gorshkow, many Estonian collaborators were also sent abroad, mostly to Belarus and Poland, and reportedly participated in the murder of Jews there.
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2004/02/15/MNGKV51C571.DTL

  17. mina says:

    Estonia was occupied at the time so you can not blame “Estonia” for it. Of course there were some collaborators – every nationality had them. The thing about Estonians hating Jews is B.S. – Estonia was first country in the world to give Jews cultural autonomy. If you don’t believe Estonian sources believe Jewish ones:

    Quote: “The cultural autonomy of minority peoples is an exceptional phenomenon in European cultural history. Jewish cultural autonomy was of great interest to global Jewish community. The Jewish National Endowment presented the Estonian government with a certificate of gratitude for this achievement.”

    http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/vjw/Estonia.html

    But again this does not justify Russian atrocities in Estonia. Nor interfering in internal affairs.

  18. Michael says:

    Yes, there were fascist collaborators almost everywhere. But only Estonia protects estonian Nazi war criminals from trial and officially glorifies them TODAY.

  19. mina says:

    Totally and utterly lie – you believe that Russians left any nazi collaborator in Estonia alive?
    And there is no official glorification here.
    If you are talking about the mythological SS statue that Russian media is promoting then know, it was erected by one individual and was removed the next day by government.

    The nazi Germany was occupier like soviet Russia. And I repeat there is neither better killer nor occupier. Only soviets managed to murder in 1 year of occupation (1940-41) many times more people than Germans in 3 years.

    The main dissonance in the understanding of history between Russian and Eastern Europe is that eastern Europe still remembers Russia as aggressor with nazi Germany. But Russia desperately tries to hide the fact that he too was aggressor and occupier.

    If you read the Jewish page closely then you can see that it was Russia who first started to deport and kill poor Estonian Jews.

  20. Mina is perfectly correct — perfectly because what she writes is quite true and because she condenses it to exactly what ought to matter. If two bandits invade your house, theu both rape you, they fight, and one comes back to rape you for another fifty years — the last is a “liberator”? Because he fathered a bunch of children upon you?

  21. Michael says:

    Are you denying the facts provided by Simon Wiesenthal Center? Maybe you will call them to tell they are telling lie that Estonia clears Estonian Holocaust criminals today? If you will have enough courage to do this, please let me know – I will send you presents in jail. 😉

  22. Michael says:

    To Mina and Peteris: Do you want to say that Simon Wiesenthal Center is telling lie that Estonian authorities protect Estonian Holocaust war criminals from trial? Don’t you want to write them your opinion? I promise to send you presents to jil next 5 years if you will have enough courage to do so.

  23. Mr. Potato Head says:

    Anyone else wonder if “Michael” is actually an Estonian agent provocateur, trying to make Russia look bad by writing wacked-out over-the-top anti-Estonian posts?

  24. Kolya says:

    Okay, my last comment since everyone’s positions seem so entrenched. One thing to remember is that the Estonians did not destroy the monument. The moved it and they actually did it quite well. In any event, I think it’s a bit too much to expect for Estonians to view the Red Army as a liberating force. I don’t agree with everything in Mina’s comment, but as Peteris said, she captures the essence of Estonia’s rightful grievance.

    Russia simply has to accept that because of what happened in the past, many of Russia’s immediate neighbors will feel great distrust and dislike toward her for years to come. But given time things may change. It may take two or more generations, but it’s possible. Look at France and Germany.

    To Michael Averko–there are several accounts in the media about what the Estonian diplomats endured in Moscow. For example, this is an excerpt from the International Herald Tribune:

    “The persistent protest has disrupted
    the embassy’s operation and prompted
    Estonia to send spouses and children
    of diplomats home. A flag was ripped
    off the embassy grounds and Kaljurand
    [the Ambassador] said stones were
    thrown at the building. On Wednesday,
    Kaljurand was mobbed by dozens of
    activists from Nashi and other groups
    who stormed into a building where she
    was to give a news conference.”

  25. Kolya says:

    A good Moscow Times editorial (in English):

    http://www.themoscowtimes.com/stories/2007/05/02/005.html

  26. Claus says:

    Kolya, that link doesn’t pick up the whole commentary.

    Russia can’t be blamed for the Estonian government’s politically touching move.

    Estonia itself was far from well behaved during World War II.

  27. Andrew Waller says:

    There was nothing noble about the way that statue was taken down and shipped away. The shame is with the Estonian government. Not respecting the desires of a large portion of the population can backfire. There was no need for the Estonian government to act in the manner it chose.

  28. mina says:

    “Estonia itself was far from well behaved during World War II.”

    Can you please explain that? First of all there was no “Estonia during WWII”. First it was occupied by Russians then Germans. When Germans left, the swastika was tored off and Estoninian flag put up. But after 3 days came liberatord and they replaced it with the red flag.

    Now can you please explain me how badly estonia behaved? And what Estonia?

  29. Michael Averko says:

    Nazi behaving Estonians.

  1. May 3, 2007

    […] addition, the rail line between Estonia and Russia, on which travels mucho oil shipments, has been mysteriously closed. European officials were naturally protesting in strong language, but if you think this will prompt […]