Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-05-09-Speech-3-037"

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"Mr President, the first and most important thing to state is that Estonia is an independent nation, not a Russian satellite state. This means that we cannot begin to talk in muted tones about the need to understand Russia and its history. Rather, we must understand that Russia is mounting a blockade against Estonia and demanding that another country’s government resign etc. Emphatically, these are not matters for which we should be showing understanding. The Russian Government, the Russian-speaking minority in Estonia and everyone else do, of course, have the right to criticise activities such as the removal of a bronze statue. However, Estonia is not a Russian satellite state within Russia’s sphere of interest, but a free and independent nation. The instances offered by Mr Cohn-Bendit when he begins to talk in this House about quite different issues, notably the situation of the minority populations in the three Baltic republics, are unhelpful. Obviously, that is another, albeit worthwhile, discussion. What, however, we are talking about now is Russia’s being entitled – or, rather, not being entitled at all – to do what it has in fact done. The fact - in itself extraordinary – of the Red Army’s having defeated Hitler is irrelevant. That victory is something that we can celebrate. Subsequently, the Red Army settled down to the long-term bullying of Estonia. In 1939, Finland lay north of the Gulf of Finland and Estonia south of it. The two countries had approximately the same standard of living and were in many respects quite similar. When the Russian occupation came to an end, Finland was one of the world’s richest and most successful countries, while Estonia – which is now very successfully working its way up – was in the doldrums. These costs must not be forgotten. We are not now required to understand Russia. What we have to remember now is that it is the independent nation of Estonia that we are talking about, not a Russian satellite state."@en1

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