Plain language by President Ilves

Wednesday, July 18, 2007 at 5:12 | Posted in Estonia, eu, russia | Leave a comment

There is an interesting interview with the Estonian president Thomas Hendrik Ilves in Spiegel International. (Thanks for the link, Jaanus!) The interview was published as early as 26th June but somehow escaped my eye. However, it is by no means out of date.

I’ll give you two quotes for tasters:

Ilves: Sometimes we need someone to hate, a concept of an enemy. A year ago it was Latvia, nine months ago they deported hundreds of Georgians from Moscow and searched for schoolchildren with Georgian names, and now it’s our turn. Why? The fear is that true democracies will show the Russians that the philosophy of a “guided” democracy is wrong. If Western democracy, with freedom of the press and the rule of law, functions in Estonia, Ukraine and Georgia, then the argument that it cannot function in Russia, merely because they supposedly have a different culture, simply doesn’t hold water.

SPIEGEL: How should the EU deal with Russia in the future?

Ilves: We must abandon the myth — which some people in Germany have propagated — that Russia is a large democracy. It simply isn’t. I believe that would save us some illusions. We will need a pragmatic relationship with Russia, because it supplies most of Europe’s natural gas.

President Ilves very elegantly strips off many of the myths about Russia among the so called old EU member countries. It is refreshing to read thoughts of a top politician delivered in plain language where things are called by their proper name. It pays off to take the time to read this interview.

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