The fight against being called „a former Soviet Republic“


The Estonian media put out a short message at the beginning of September, referencing a letter sent to the newspaper Le Monde asking that the publication please stop referring to the Baltic nations as „former Soviet Republics“. The authors of the letter are the Baltic ambassadors in France, which include the Estonian ambassador, Alar Streimann. The request was inspired by an article, that discussed the Russian information war against it’s western neighbours.

The reason for the request in the letter was based on the reality that the Baltic nations did not freely join the Soviet Union but were actually forcibly occupied by the USSR. France along with other western nations has already condemned the occupation long ago.

Such a request is not the first one of its kind. A similar letter was sent to the German publication Die Zelt by the Estonian ambassador in Germany, Mart Laanemäe along with his colleagues from Latvia and Lithuania. Die Zeit responded to the letter by saying they found the use of the term as wrongful and have stopped using it.

The timely response of the German publication is noted by the painful reaction of the September letter from the Russian media. The topic was a major story in Russian media websites finding a wider readership than our own mega story on the security issues of our ID cards. As a rule, the articles were defamatory, blaming the Baltic nations of Russo phobia, ingratitude, and falsifying history. It was stressed that Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania cannot forget their own past as well as that the Soviet Union is an inseparable part of the history of the Baltic nations.

For example the Vzgljad, stressed that the Soviet Union brought important developments in all fields to the Baltic nations and gave the impression that the Baltic population mistakenly believes that the Soviet Union occupied them. The duma representative, Andrei Klimov repeats the Kremlin propaganda talking points, where they report on how living in Soviet Estonia was wonderful and now life there is ruled by economic catastrophes and demographic chaos, comments the letter on in the website portal RT.

The topic was discussed on the TV channels Rossija 24 and Zvezda. Obviously it is superfluous to add, that all of the before mentioned media channels in this article were added to our list of propaganda television and – websites long ago. Propastop believes that the way things are portrayed is the way they are actually seen. Therefore, we support the initiative from the Foreign Ministry to change the Estonian discourse and hope that similar appeals will continue.

The Soviet era is a part of Estonian history, but the constant recalling of this historical fact shows the total disregard of the national histories of smaller countries by larger countries. In the case of the Kremlin, this reflects their all out imperialism, which is trying to put their neighbours in their former place by the use of certain wordings.  Why else does the Kremlin funded propaganda website portal RT when writing about Estonia always say in the headings; „Former Soviet Republic“?

These expressions of ideology have been used both in East Germany and in countries that originated from the disintegration of Yugoslavia. The most notorious being Macedonia named as a former Yugoslavian republic.


The Estonian SSR shield taken from a wall painting at the Maarjamäe palace „Peoples friendship „author Evald Okas. Photo Tony Bowden /Flickr / CC.

Estonian SSR flag. Photo Kristjan / Flickr / CC.