Friday, 08 April 2022 19:00
Estonian Life No. 14 2022 - Tõnu Naelapea
That Kargu Karla is a very wily, sly fellow. Two weeks ago he wrote about fake news in his humour column (Karla kalendrisaba EE #10) in a way that made a reader of a certain generation more than smile. For you had to know whom he was talking about. And why Karla reacted the way he did. One of his best feuilletons, perhaps ever. I doff my chapeau in praise.
Karl Vaino, born in Siberia to Estonian parents – who went there for economic reasons, were not deported by anyone – was the quintessential Soviet, chosen to lead the Communist Party as First Secretary in Estonia. His spoken Estonian was so poor, that he almost never spoke at the required public appearances during the occupation years in anything but Russian. Apparently, the one time that Karl Vaino attempted to speak in the language of his ancestors it was so risible that even the press, sworn to present the party/propaganda line had a hard time keeping a straight face. This, by the way, has been corroborated by many who the undersigned met in the declining years of the Red Terror Empire, working in media. Vaino’s death in Moscow was reported last month, no exact date provided.
Kargu Karla made it simple, actually. It has been long known that Vladimir Putin’s chief of staff is Karl’s grandson Anton Vaino. Hence boss of the presidential administration and thus Putin’s right hand man. Born in Tallinn, Estonia, 50 years ago in February, there is no readily available info about whether Anton even speaks Estonian or if so, at the level of his grandfather. It is disturbing, that this family legacy is being continued. Anton Vaino, as a short internet search will prove, started out as, perhaps just like his forebear ambitiously. As a sycophant, in other words. Now he holds an important position, and every Estonian should feel shame about his heritage, as what his boss is doing is Ukraine is beyond war crimes. Unjustifiable murder of civilians, read: children and women, on the most spurious of excuses. Deluding Russians. The absurdity of a demonstration in Moscow last week claiming support for regaining the former lands of both the tsarist era well as the Soviet one boggles the mind.
Let there be no doubt – desinformatsiya and propaganda rule. The average Muscovite probably has no clue about what is taking place in Ukraine because of censorship and almost total control of the media by Putin’s administration. It was scary to read that among the songs performed was Made in the U.S.S.R, an obvious take-off of the Beatles classic, which, of course was Back in the U.S.S.R. This song, performed Friday makes no bones about Putin’s delusional goals. He not only wants Ukraine “back” – but also more. The lyrics of the rock song are explicit – “Ukraine and Crimea, Belarus and Moldova, that’s my country”! Chillingly, the first verse ends with the words “and the Baltic States too”. (The lyrics are available online. The song was first performed in 2005, 17 years ago, proving the entrenched mindset. And it is popular.) How long until he turns to the Caucasus? And, as the last weeks have proven, NATO, fearing the nuclear threat can do nothing. So this ominous song may be a sign of things to come.
To add to this misinformation is the mind-boggling full-page article that appeared last week in the Toronto Star. Allan Woods was in Riga, Latvia, a NATO member, thanks be to God. He reported on the outcry and rubbish, nonsense that ensued when the director of the oldest and largest Russian theatre outside of Slavic countries chose to publicly support Ukraine. This in a democratic, free country, just as Ukraine is. The only difference in the belligerence (a word that has its roots in the Latin word for war) was that words were the weapons. Support for Putin expressed in Riga? Really?
Then again, Latvia has an unfortunate red history. Many, not merely Russian speakers supported the Bolshevik “revolution” (orchestrated by Western bankers). Lenin and his henchmen succeeded thanks in no small part to the Latvian Red Rifles. A military unit that brought fear and terror everywhere. A comparison with the SS and the Gestapo is appropriate. Without the Red Rifles the civil war, which is what it was in fact, might have had a different outcome. That pending Western assistance, but vested interests lobbied for non-involvement. A brutal empire emerged. Many key Soviet leaders, both political and military were ethnic Latvians over the decades.
Which brings us back to the two Vainos. Karl cannot be dismissed from the history books but he never had Estonian interests at heart. The same can certainly be said about his grandson Anton Vaino. It is not pleasant at all to acknowledge that a very key figure at the Kremlin is an ethnic Estonian.
A final point. At the time of Putin’s ascension to the presidency of Russia in 2000 The Economist correspondent Edward Lucas, long a friend of the Balts warned about Putin’s evil intentions. Lucas, who merits following on Twitter wrote a very important book that should be read even after the fact. “The New Cold War: Putin’s Russia and the Threat to the West” appeared in 2014. The same year that Crimea was annexed. Will the West never learn?
As we nervously and empathetically follow the outrage of military aggression – yes, these are
war crimes -, not knowing how these economic sanctions, with which the Western leadership seems only willing to continue, we must, as a community loudly speak out for Ukraine.
When the city of Richmond Hill, north of Toronto, with a large immigrant Russian population sees every May 9th obscene demonstrations by young men (!) wearing Soviet paraphernalia, waving the hammer and sickle flag no place is safe. And when a nationalist Ukrainian-Canadian bakery owner sees his business defaced with pro-Russian graffiti, attacking Ukrainians, one wonders what kind of a country we live in.
Made in the U.S.S.R indeed, but no one in their right mind wants to go back to it. Putin does, but as is evident he is beyond having lost his marbles but is following in the footsteps of too many evil despots to count.Tõnu Naelapea