On several occasions over the past two years Russia's state-controlled media has carried the opinions of experts who, with access to Soviet Foreign Ministry archives, openly discuss the illegal activities that led to the incorporation of Estonia into the USSR.
In 1940 the three Baltic countries were annexed and absorbed by the Soviet Union. Some of our politicians still claim that all three joined the U.S.S.R. of their own free will. But declassified documents from the Soviet Foreign Ministry paint a completely different picture. The Soviet Union incorporated the three republics after sending in troops, changing their governments by force, and holding elections that could not be called democratic by any stretch of the imagination.
As has been pointed out here before it may take some time until the government of Russia formally acknowledges those activities. But it's nice to see that the ball has indeed started rolling at the "expert level." Eventually it will trickle down to the politicians themselves. As Mlechin rightly points out:
... Modern politicians are in no way responsible for events in the 1930s and 1940s. Why should they display false solidarity with the criminals of that era?
In the comments section there was a question about how Estonians have dealt with the legacy of the German occupation. I decided to browse on over to www.okupatsioon.ee to find out. They have an excellent group of films, just click on films and you will get to choose which part of the 50 year-long occupation suits you.
It is told from the Estonian perspective. However, it lacks the passion or broad statements you'll find in Mart Laar's books. A lot of information is obviously left out, but it addresses collaboration with the Germans, and the concentration camps in Estonia. Many of the interviewees were children and teenagers at the time, so it's based on many personal stories.
One part that will change the way I view Kuressaare forever is that the castle was actually used as a dumping ground for bodies during the first year of Soviet terror in Estonia in 1940. The old wells were filled with victims. It's just ... disgusting.
It's unbelievable to watch how a small people - 1 million - are first invaded by a foreign power and 'inducted' into the 'Sun of Stalin' where clocks are set to Moscow time and slogans are displayed in barns. Then come the Germans, who send young Estonians off to schools in Germany to begin "Germanization" of Ostland. Then the Stalinists come back in '44. I haven't seen anything so bizarre since I watched old videos of "struggle sessions" in Mao's China in the 60s.
There's even an interview with Kindral Ants Laaneots, who spent a good part of his childhood in a camp in Siberia.
Highly Recommended for Estophiles.