Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Estonian President follow up

A couple of days ago I ran a post about a BBC correspondent meeting with the president of Estonia, and how he refuses to speak Russian, despite the fact that Russians make up a quarter of Estonia's population. Now, according to the AFP, President Ilves is in hot water.

Other Estonian politicians said that Ilves was causing unnecessary ethnic tension within the tiny nation. If you listen to the comments of Vladimir Velman, one of Estonia's few ethnic Russian lawmakers, you can see that its a good assessment of the situation. "I will never shake hands with Ilves again," Velman said. "From now on he is not my president."

Estonia was annexed by Russia in 1940. After World War II, many ethnic Russians were relocated to Estonia, when Estonia broke away from the Soviet Union in 1991, 25% of its population was Russian. Ilves said to the BBC that he viewed using the Russian language as legitimizing the Soviet occupation.

Not only was it a silly statement, it was also one that went against Ilves earlier position where he tried to downplay ethnic tensions between Estonians and Russians. Since becoming president in 2006 he had often stressed that his grandmother was an ethnic Russian.
Sphere: Related Content

No comments: