Russia has urged NATO and the European Union to come up with an assessment of the recent Nazi gathering in Estonia. A regular meeting of Estonian Waffen SS veterans took place in Sinimae in northeast Estonia on July 30. For several months in 1944, Sinimae was the scene of fierce fighting between the 20th Estonian SS division and the advancing Soviet troops. The losses on both sides totaled 200,000.
In a special statement on the issue, the Russian Foreign Ministry expressed regret that despite public protests in Estonia and an international outcry the Estonian government had once again sanctioned the gathering of those responsible for mass killings and atrocities in Nazi occupied lands. The Estonian government’s tacit approval of such meetings requires a political and legal assessment from Estonia’s partners in the European Union and NATO and from relevant international bodies, the ministry said. What is particularly alarming is that actions glorifying Nazi collaborators, spreading neo-Nazi, xenophobic and racist ideas among youth and calling for a revision of the results of the Second World War have become systemic.
Maxim Mishchenko, a Russian MP and leader of the Young Russia movement, gives his view:
"What happened in the Estonian town of Sinimae on July 30 is a big international scandal. Because, if we look back at history, we’ll see what the 20th Estonian SS division was carrying out punitive operations. During the war, there was a concentration camp, the largest in Estonia, at Kluga not far from Sinimae, where, historians say, between 7,500 and 8,500 Jews were killed. Jews were brought there from all over Estonia and from neighboring territories. By allowing Nazi gatherings, the Estonian authorities throw down a challenge not just to Russia but to the entire international community. This is nothing more than an attempt to reanimate fascism."
Another pro-Nazi youth event is set to begin in Estonia on August 3. Called “Erna March”, this three-day military-sports game is actually aimed at glorifying the feat of Erna, a subversive group of Hitler’s Abwehr intelligence service, which operated in the rear of the Soviet army in 1941. The Erna game is further proof of the dangerous tendency, the Russian Foreign Ministry warns.
Without a proper rebuke, Nazi propaganda can generate ideological twists in people’s minds, resulting in such tragedies as the Breivik case in Norway. The 32-year-old Norwegian Anders Breivik, who shot dead dozens of teenagers in cold blood at a youth camp on the Utoeya Island not far from Oslo, frequented Europe’s largest neo-Nazi web site.
Many international organizations, among them NCSJ, a prominent Jewish human rights watchdog in United States, have strongly condemned Estonian Nazi gatherings as insulting to the memory of the victims of fascism and propagating neo-Nazism.
The Voice of Russia