Interfax spreads lies about Estonia

Sunday, August 12, 2007 at 6:03 | Posted in Estonia, russia, Sports | Leave a comment
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The Russian propaganda agency Göbbels News news agency Interfax reports that 20 members of the youth organisation “Our Country” on Friday staged a protest in Vladivostok against the annual Estonian military sport event Erna. Interfax quotes the protesters as saying:

Some 800 former SS officers have arrived in Estonia from ten countries. The Estonian prime minister thanked them for having fought for “the liberation of Estonia” during World War II.

Baring in mind that Erna is considered to be the toughest military sport event in the World, those “former SS officers” must be real iron granddads, surviving a tough route of 150 kilometers to be passed in five days on foot, carrying a complete package of a soldier’s fighting equipment. After all, the youngest surviving former SS officers must by now be well in to their 80’ies.

It is of course easy to protest against something which takes place thousands of kilometers away when you have no idea what it actually is about. That way you do not have to worry if your statements do not match with facts. Unlike the “Our Country” activists, I have actually seen the event with my own eyes.

For two years ago, I stayed for 24 hours in the base camp of Erna in Kautla which is also the goal of the tour. My press accreditation allowed me to move around all over the camp and talk to people. I also saw the first teams arrive into the finish.

Unfortunately I had ran out film so I am unable to confirm my testimony with photos. I am therefore asking you to take my word that I saw no men in their 80’ies in the camp area and certainly not among the participants. Even the honorable umpires were somewhat younger than that.

Neither did I see any persons, equipment nor symbols even distantly similar to anything associated with SS. I saw many professional soldiers, volunteer home guard men and women, young scouts, journalists covering the event and local people visiting the camp. I even had a long nice chat with a Chinese general.

It is understandable that young ignorant activists far away in Vladivostok may have gotten it wrong. However, it is anything but understandable and certainly not acceptable that Interfax passes their lies without making it straight. I do not believe that the agency did not know the truth. If that is the case, it is even worse.

Second thought, I can actually offer you more than my word. If you want to get an idea what the event is about you can download this video from the Erna web site. And do not forget to watch closely: if you detect 80 year old former SS officers among the competitors, please let me know.

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