February 17, 2010

Summary

This February issue of Diplomaatia is dedicated to the Tartu Peace Treaty that was concluded between Estonia and Soviet Russia 90 years ago, thus ending the Estonian War of Independence.

This February issue of Diplomaatia is dedicated to the Tartu Peace Treaty that was concluded between Estonia and Soviet Russia 90 years ago, thus ending the Estonian War of Independence.

Summary

This February issue of Diplomaatia is dedicated to the Tartu Peace Treaty that was concluded between Estonia and Soviet Russia 90 years ago, thus ending the Estonian War of Independence.
In the opening article, Peeter Järvelaid, a jurist, writes about the position of the Treaty in the history of law in Estonia, its meaning for Estonian contemporaries and the creators of the Treaty. Järvelaid claims that the wording negotiated in Tartu was later used by the leader of the Soviet delegation at the peace talks, Adolf Joffe (1883-1927), to conclude peace treaties with Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. “The Tartu Peace Treaty, which served as a basis for other treaties, was one of the peace, border, economic relations and other treaties that played a significant role in post-Versailles Europe,” asserts Järvelaid.
For the people living at the time, the Treaty essentially meant the end of fighting. According to Järvelaid, the leader of the Estonian delegation, Jaan Poska, considered the words of an ordinary woman to be the most delightful expression of appreciation for his work – there was a woman on Liiva Street who had made the sign of the cross over the authors of the Treaty when she said: “You saved our sons.”
“There is no doubt that the Tartu Peace Treaty is the founding document of Estonia’s statehood. President Lennart Meri has rightfully said that the Treaty was the birth certificate of the Republic of Estonia,” writes Järvelaid.
In his article, Peep Pillak, a historian, portrays the leading figures of the peace talks on the two sides – Jaan Poska, Leonid Krassin and Adolf Joffe.
Jana Vanamölder, a diplomat serving at the Estonian Embassy in Moscow, introduces the memoirs of Estonian diplomats who worked in Moscow between the two world wars. The Estonian Embassy, established in 1921, was the first embassy in Russia’s new capital. As an aside, the Embassy of the Republic of Estonia still operates in the same building at Maly Kislovsky Lane where it was opened back then.
The memoirs of five Estonian diplomats and officials who served in Moscow between 1926 and 1940 are kicked off by Heinrich Laretei, former Ambassador to Moscow from 1926 to 1928. “In Moscow, the embassies of the Baltic states and Finland carried much more weight than one would expect given their sizes. The reason was that their staff knew Russian and were well acquainted with the situation in Russia. Only the German Embassy in Moscow had its own speakers of Russian,” writes Laretei in his memoirs, which were first published in Stockholm in 1970.
In addition, Diplomaatia publishes an essay on the nature of Putinism by Lev Gudkov, a Russian sociologist, Doctor of Philosophy and Director of the Levada Center, an analytical research organisation. According to Gudkov, the political system that has taken shape in Russia since 2000 is not merely conservative, but it impedes or even suppresses the development of other sub-systems in society (including the Russian economy, science, education, civil society and the public sphere). “Putin’s regime that started with gaining control over the mass media and then over the judicial system, together with the parliament, has managed to put an end to the differentiation processes of the institutional system, which were launched in the 1990s, the processes that were necessary to ‘separate’ the state from society,” asserts Gudkov. “Putinism is a decentralised system for the employment of institutionalised violence in order to fulfil the interests of persons and clans who are in power – a practice which previous totalitarian regimes have perpetuated in Russia’s power structure. Putin’s regime is unstable and the prospects for its continuation or peaceful handing over of power are quite bleak.”
Erik Terk, Director of the Estonian Institute for Future Studies, reviews a book edited by Sergey Karaganov and Igor Yurgens, bearing the title, Russia vs. Europe: Confrontation or Alliance? (in Russian). Terk claims that this collection of articles makes one thing quite clear: Russia has no other potential strategic partners than the European Union, regardless of the EU’s various shortcomings. Russia’s market concerns make it more dependent on the EU than the EU is dependent on Russia due to its energy needs. “It seems that it would be wise to adopt the approach of developing a lasting model of cooperation. The question is not ‘whether’, but ‘how,'” writes Terk. The authors, however, treat the United States and the enlargement of NATO as negative factors, so the whole book is quite anti-American. “This automatically says everything about Estonia’s position: the Baltic states, Poland and Great Britain are cronies of the USA in the EU who hamper the constructive development of EU-Russian relations,” states Terk.

Filed under: Paper issueTagged with:

No comment yet, add your voice below!


Add a Comment