TALLINN - Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip confirmed on July 22 in a meeting with representatives of American Jewish organizations held in Washington that Estonia is entirely opposed to any expression of racism and anti-Semitism, reports news agency LETA. “There has never been any anti-Semitism in Estonia at the state level,” he explained. “Even with the Estonian people, who suffered terribly under totalitarian regimes over the years, anti-Semitism and racism are simply not in their nature.”
Ansip reiterated that all incidents of race hate are condemned by the Estonian government, adding that the Jews who live in the country – a community that the government supports in any way it can – consider it their homeland and a safe place to live. The American Jewish organizations recalled with gratitude the official opening of Tallinn’s synagogue in 2007, in which many of their representatives took part.
The prime minister expressed his disquiet at the attempts being made within certain circles to depict Estonia as a hotbed of neo-Nazism, highlighting the provocative misrepresentation of the Sinimaed memorial events as one example. He underscored the fact that Estonia, as a nation occupied first by the Soviet Union and then by Nazi Germany, did not take part in World War II. The Sinimaed area was, nevertheless, the site of the bloodiest confrontations on Estonian soil during the war, with 2,500 locals who had been unlawfully mobilized into foreign forces being killed on both sides.
Prime Minister Ansip stressed that the Sinimaed gatherings are a civic initiative – a series of memorial events held to remember those who lost their lives in World War II, like many others held elsewhere in Europe. The events are not attended by representatives of the government.
“But they have nothing to do with Nazi ideology,” Ansip said. “Portraying a memorial event to the war dead as a sign of neo-Nazi tendencies as some have done is deeply offensive to all Estonians. Our country suffered greatly under Communism and Nazism alike.”