Monday, June 18, 2018

‘Without Soviet Troops, You’d be a Lampshade,’ Russian Embassy Tells Russian Opposition Figure in Estonia

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 18 – The degradation of Russian official discourse takes many forms, but one of the clearest is offered today by what the Russian embassy in Tallinn told Yevgeny Kristafovich, a ethnic Russian Estonian politician whom Moscow has banned from visiting Russia because of his supposed Russophobia.

            Ten days ago, the Russian government put a large number of Estonians and residents of Estonia on a watch list because of their supposed Russophobia. Among them was Kristafovich, an ethnic Russian. (For background on this action and its hyperbolic character, see

            Following that action, many of those so listed have spoken out in the Estonian media to point out the absurdity of the Moscow action. Kristafovich has done so, and in response, the Russian embassy in the Estonian capital has issued what it views as an incontrovertible defense of its position.

            The embassy told Kristafovich that “if there had not been Soviet troops, then at best you would have been made into a lampshade or soap” by the Nazis and therefore any criticism of Russia is wrong. And now the Estonian news agency has reported it on its site (

            On the one hand, this is nothing more than a case of Russia using the Soviet Union’s contribution to the defeat of Hitler as a universal moral solvent that supposedly cleanses it of any responsibility for other actions it has taken, a position that Vladimir Putin has implicitly insisted on since becoming Russian president.

            But on the other, it is an example of the increasing nastiness of Russian diplomats who until recently had generally behaved better than the hosts of Moscow television talk shows but who now appear to have fallen in line with the very worst of them by deploying the kind of “argument” the Russian embassy in Tallinn has used in this case. 

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