Mihail Meltyuhov’s latest book is a thorough piece of research that aims to demonstrate how the Baltic States are merely territories that a world power needs to ensure its security. This angle is hidden in the title: not countries, but a battlefield, a stretch of land where constant fighting should take place in the name of a powerful country. When you read the book more thoroughly, at times this first impression is confirmed, then it becomes doubtful again, and sometimes it even disappears. Meltyuhov is a serious historian. But history is often written by the victors and, for Russia, the end of World War II in Europe is the greatest, not to say the only, victory in its history.
I was involved in one of the events in the history of this collection. The book was published in Tartu because the compilers could not find a willing publisher in Russia in 2014. The Estonian Literary Museum came to the rescue; and we were sitting at a bar in Tartu one November night, waiting for a phone call. In fact, the compilers drove to Tartu, hid a number of copies of the book between children’s things in their car and then smuggled them into Russia. Once they had crossed the border, they called us. I began to draw parallels between this and the stories I had read as a child about heroic Bolsheviks who similarly smuggled forbidden literature into Russia.
Discussion of a new world order has intensified on essentially four occasions during the last 100 years: under the leadership of Woodrow Wilson after World War I, when the League of Nations was born; after World War II, when similar discussions led to the creation of the UN, EEC, NATO and the Bretton Woods institutions; and after the Cold War, when the term was also frequently used. In 2014, discussing a new world order is once again topical in international media and literature. This is because of developments and crises due to which the existing balance has increasingly shifted: the rise of China and India, and many small conflicts in Asia; the decreasing influence of the U.S. resulting from the dynamics of several recent conflicts; the shrinking influence of the EU, caused by internal institutional tensions; the Arab Spring and the subsequent turbulence in a number of Middle East and North African countries; ISIL, Iraq and Afghanistan; Russia’s responses to the “colour” revolutions, the Russo–Georgian War in 2008, and the Ukraine conflict in 2014; an increase in poverty and hunger caused by the economic crisis of 2008, in which developing countries blamed the developed; climate change; cross-border terrorism; and so on.
This summer, 100 years will have passed since the outbreak of the First World War, so it is not surprising that historians and others are trying or will try to explore the causes and effects of that great tragedy yet again.
Russia’s principal remaining natural resources are located in the Arctic. While the country’s ambitions to conquer the part of the region it does not already hold are great, there is no money to back these in reality—nor will any materialize in the future.
Migration is a difficult topic to talk about, particularly when in many European nations political extremists have monopolized the discussion. Those who do not find racism and xenophobia compelling try to avoid the issue. Estonia’s history of migration differs considerably from that of Western Europe, meaning the discussion over immigration in Estonia has a completely different starting point. Still, it is an issue where finding a balance between political correctness and blind nationalism is not a simple matter. Talking about migration often causes emotions to go through the roof.
The era of cyber conflicts could perhaps compared to the days when America had just been discovered and warships, pirates and buccaneers from various countries sailed into the Caribbean Sea. One of the differences with the 16th century is that one of the vessels trying to bring about order in the ‘cyber-sea’ of today is sailing under the Estonian tricolour flag – blue, black and white.