“Prava Ludiny” (human rights) monthly bulletin, 1999, #10
The Council of Europe inspects Ukraine Whom can we employ as the President? What is the cost of a vote? Prohibition of discrimination
Motor ambulance service needs urgent aid Women’s rights
Ukraine is a law-abiding state by 4.6% Interethnic relations
Introduction of privately owned prisons Court practices
Conscription will be conducted according to the new order of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine Army
An international conference on wiretapping NGO activities
Special services of Estonia and combat of crime ESTONIA: Estonia under occupation and the reinstatement of open society THE CHECHEN WAR: Terror against a people Point of view
15 potential Russian MPs stay in a Crimean prison
The Council of Europe inspects Ukraine
The inspection was caused by the appeal of the . Kanev foursome. to the PACE.
Practically all state mass media actively support the pre-election campaign of Leonid Kuchma. Last week Aleksandr Tkachenko, the speaker of the Supreme Rada, won a court suit from Vadim Dolganov, the chairman of the state TV company. The cause of the conflict was that Mr. Dolganov refused to transmit Tkachenko. s appeal devoted to the Independence Day of Ukraine. Only Leonid Kuchma was given this opportunity. Vadim Dolganov, for his devotion, was given a state award and appointed the President. s adviser. Now all the capacity of state TV channels are used for the active promotion of Leonid Kuchma.
The former speaker of the Supreme Rada, the leader of the socialist party, MP Aleksandr Moroz, who also is a candidate to the Presidency, became an object of especially sharp criticism. In order to get the access to the first channel of the national television Mr. Moroz initiated the adoption of the special decision of the Supreme Rada of Ukraine. Yet, Vadim Dolganov refused to fulfil this decision.
On 14 October President Kuchma made a speech, in which he said that if the course taken by him is continued, then Ukraine must not fear any complications in her relations with international organizations. He added that next year Ukraine must pay more then three billion dollars to service foreign loans. Although it is quite impossible, no default threatens Ukraine. Nonetheless, just in several recent years the relations between Ukraine and many international organizations began to worsen.
The authors of the report made public declarations that financial aid from international organizations ought to be given to Ukraine, depending on the situation with human rights and, in particular, with the freedom of speech.
Whom can we employ as the President?
The main indicators, such as gross industrial output, the duration of life and rating of the country according to the UNO assessment, are falling fast and have reached the critical value. Cold and hunger have become common for millions. So which can be the civilized exit?
I think that the way out does exist. The essence of the problem is that in electing a President there is a great probability of error, of the possible situation when the new President will be unable to improve the situation. After all this is a common difficulty, and the standard solution is well known and tested in life.
If the employer has doubts that a worker to be employed will work badly, then the mechanism of sacking must be made simpler. New employee is taken for a probation period, determined in the contract. Presidential election can be made similar: the employer (the Ukrainian people in our case) takes the President. If there are doubts about his efficiency, the way out is to shorten the term of employment, thus ensuring that the error can be corrected, i.e. the President can be sacked in a simpler way.
So I suggest (taking account of extraordinary circumstances) to elect the President for two years. It is clear that during this time a good President can substantially improve the situation. Everyone must understand that four years is a long term, and, having an inefficient President, the country may just collapse. Yet, to fire the legally elected President before the legal term is now practically impossible.
So it is necessary to elect the President for two years. Certainly, this means additional expenditures, but four years with an inefficient President will be more expensive.
It goes without saying that to realize this plan one must introduce changes into the Constitution. But it is possible.
What is the cost of a vote?
The operating President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma is supported by the government bodies in his campaign. So, Leonid Zhunko, the chairman of Sebastopol state administration, is at the same time one of the regional department of. Zlagoda., which is the union aimed at the support of Leonid Kuchma. As a member of Zlagoda., he openly and actively presses on the voters to make them elect Kuchma. I am the President. s man. , said Zhunko at the conference of Sebastopol city council. In all state offices, including law-enforcing agencies, the walls are pasted with portraits and promises of Kuchma.
While the state administration services Kuchma, another body of the self-rule, the elected city council, actively supports the communist candidate Piotr Simonenko.
Another candidate, Evhen Marchuk, sent million of letters to individual voters. Some people received not only letters. For example, pressmen of the newspaper . Real estate of Sebastopol. got several tins of sprat in a tomato sauce (the cheapest tinned fish available). The idea was supported by Piotr Simonenko. s fans: two old women, who came to his election headquarters, got ten tins of stewed meat each. The fans from Simonenko. s headquarters in Sebastopol refused to confirm the donation, but said that if they had money, they would cover Sebastopol voters with presents from the Ukrainian communists.
Leonid Kuchma also does not forget this traditional way of winning sympathy. Recently he presented to Sebastopol a trolleybus, while his wife Liudmila scatters television sets and freezers at schools, orphanages and hospitals. The candidates declared very modest incomes, such that they are hardly sufficient for feeding their own families. Nonetheless, they find money to give presents to their voters. What breath-taking happiness expects Ukrainian voters when one of them wins!
Prohibition of discrimination
Motor ambulance service needs urgent aid
. Prava ludyny. already discussed problems of the motor ambulance service, one of which is the shortage of cars. The Kharkiv Group for human rights protection took part in the discussion and in the solution of the problem. We are glad to inform our readers that the district got several specialized cars, including some of Japanese make.
In September 1999 the motor ambulance service of Kharkiv district again turned to our group, asking to assist. This time they have complained of pay arrears. By today a part of employees did not get their salary for this year, and only 40 workers got the pay for the beginning of the year, April including. Nobody promises to pay the money in the near future.
The claim is handed to court for paying the due money.
Such are hard facts. certainly, a lot of emotional questions can be raised. Can hungry and irritated people work well with patients? Why must workers of the motor ambulance waste their time and nerves for court trials? Many more similar questions can be raised, but we believe that our readers can themselves ask and answer them.
Ukraine is a law-abiding state by 4.6%
In fact, the country lives not by laws, but by various acts and instructions. All in all 1295 laws exist, but only 5 of them are the laws of the direct action (for example, the Constitution). Yet these laws are not executed. The main reason is the multi-year practice of muddling up the legislation, so that even the Constitution is not used as the law of direct action. Nowadays, after almost three years since the Constitution was adopted, no court decisions taken on the basis of the Constitution proper are known. Courts themselves suffer from the sublegal acts which often contradict each other or contradict the operating laws. For instance, no laws exist that regulate the principles of financing from the state budget or define the responsibility for incorrect expenditures of the budget financing. There are plenty . unlawful laws. at the top level: we mean decrees of the Cabinet of Ministers. There are also many non-Constitutional decrees of the guarantor of the Constitution. . The only way out is the adoption of laws of direct action. , Viktor Medvedchuk, the deputy speaker of the Supreme Rada, told pressmen of the newspaper . Day
Introduction of privately owned prisons
Those people, who, until the court decision must be considered respectable citizens, live in the inhumane conditions. It is impossible to separate people who have contagious diseases (including AIDS) from the healthy inmates. The cells abound in cockroaches, bedbugs and lice. No one of the convicts ever sees clean bedclothes. The cells are not ventilated, so the tobacco smoke, the miasma of unwashed bodies and everlasting filth create the unbearable atmosphere. The cells are cold in winter and hot in summer. The toilet seat is not partitioned from the cell, there is no water tap to wash. The food has not enough calories, to say nothing about its taste. The food is the same for everybody, regardless of the health and religious beliefs. The cells are overcrowded several times compared to the nominal capacity. The convicts suspected in different crimes are kept together, which causes fights, on the one hand, and criminal instruction, on the other. The convicts are forced to do different chores, without any account of their physical abilities and skills. The medical aid is virtual. The coercive inactivity results in emotional stresses and destruction of health.
The incarceration before court virtually became a legalized aid of the ODA. Investigating officers are interested in the cruel treatment of the convicts, which makes them often confess in real or imaginary crimes.
We believe that the way out of this dead end lies in creating privately owned prisons (POP). In POPs the convicts must pay for their upkeep, or it may be done by a third party. POPs must provide acceptable conditions of upkeep: clean ventilated cells, medical aid, acceptable food and other natural conditions. People, who are suspected in violent actions, ought not to be kept in POPs.
Creating POPs will solve another problem, which is becoming rather urgent. We mean claims handed by convicts on recompensing damage. The damages claimed are rather high, which is not surprising, taking into account the upkeep conditions. Practically, every convict released from the preliminary prison can sue the prison administration and win the suit.
Establishments, similar to the suggested POPs, exist in many countries. The experience of the USA shows that introduction of commercial prisons allows the economy of budget means and better upkeep of convicts than in state prisons. The economy of budget expenditures is especially important in our country, since our budget is very fragile.
The important question is where to place POPs. We believe that they must be situated in district centers. To reconstruct the existing state prisons is too expensive. Besides, it is practically impossible to retrain the personnel that has accustomed to ignore the human dignity of the convicts. In district centers, as the inheritance of the custom to build immense objects, there exists a lot of spacious buildings with the large adjoining territory, which are deserted now. The adjoining territory will facilitate guarding. The cost of vacant buildings and adjoining territory is negligibly small compared to the corresponding costs in larger towns.
There is a lot of jobless in district centers, so the labor costs much be less than the average pay of employees of the Ministry of Interior.
In district centers there are, as a rule, large hospitals, that work at about 50% of their capacity. The building of POPs will aid in getting jobs for the local medical personnel and will provide cheap medical aid for the convicts.
The cost of food, especially the retail prices, in district centers is substantially lower than in larger towns. District centers, as a rule, are close to the oblast center, so it will not be critical to take a suspect to the oblast center for the interrogation, etc.
Summing up, it is possible to keep a convict quite well for Hr 300 per month, and very often this money can be paid by the convict, or some third party, or charity.
Experimentally, I propose to create a POP in the town of Artsiz, Odessa oblast. We have a hospital for 700 beds, of which now only 200 are occupied. Recently the army garrison was disbanded, and there are many unused buildings, which can be occupied for POP. As to the starting expenditures, we can get credit from communal establishments and from private investors.
Conscription will be conducted according to the new order of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine
In contrast to the previous Instruction a subsection 16-ã has been introduced. It describes disorders resulted from an acute somatic illness, which ended in convalescence. Recruits, who are covered by this subsection, are considered able-bodied for military service.
Article 19 (initial features of chronic alcoholism) is changed by describing the initial features of drug addiction and toxic substance abuse. The reason is the increase of recruits (compared to 1994) suffering from drug addiction and toxic substance abuse. In my opinion this additional description is quite justified, since at initial stages of drug addiction and toxic substance abuse behavioral disorders may be quite essential, and some of them must be regarded as disability to military service.
Commentaries are sometimes doubtful. For example, in the commentaries to Article 14 (disorders due to an organic lesion of the cerebral brain), epilepsy is included into the list of organic diseases. It is not clear if this statement can be related to cases when epilepsy is revealed as psychogenous equivalents without any features of an organic lesion of the cerebral brain.
The criterion for the ultimate decision both in Article 14 and in Article 16 is practically the same: absence or presence of organic lesions of the central neural system. The commentary to Article 18 is interesting: impudent behavior and disobedience cannot be assessed as unhealthy symptoms if they do not follow form the entire personality structure. Perhaps, the authors mean the Gannushkin triad (psychopathy criteria): totality of changes, their stability and frequent desadaptations. Using this criterion, it is difficult to find the difference between the compensation of psychopathy and undisciplined behavior.
The commentary to Article 19-B does not describe distinctly the initial stages of drug addiction and toxic substance abuse without personality disorder and changes of reactivity. So, what can be determined distinctly is the psychic dependence, which can happen also in the case of . episodic use of drugs and toxic substances. .
PL commentary.According to our experts, Order No. 207 as compared to Order No. 2, will substantially worsen the quality of recruits. Especially dangerous is the new form of Article 87, which actually abolishes the postponement due to hypotrophy. Due to the new Order, youths will be recruited whose weight exceeds 46 kg, independently of the height. It is not taken into consideration, in contrast to Order No. 2, that hypotrophy is frequently one of symptoms of some latent pathology: endocrinopathy, diseases of the digestion system, etc. The three-year postponement because of the steady hypotrophy enabled doctors to inspect the potential recruit and to find a somatic malady, if any. If to obey Article 87, in the form given in Order No. 207, it will result in recruiting a youth with dystrophy and somatically ill, since the article does not take account of the ratio of the weight and bone-muscular system, as well as the ability of the recruit to physical loads. The experts believe that all this may result in the increase of the latent ill in the army and to the growth of the number of invalids. Our experts appeal to the Union of soldiers. mothers to insist on improving this article.
Article 71 (spine diseases) is formulated in such a way that the degree of disorders of the spine functions is determined by the number of medical inspections of the spine. Article 90 (allergy) introduces this dependence too. Thus, the development of the disease, i.e. ability or disability to military service, is determined by the past inspections. The experts consider that in the modern economic situation, when the majority of potential recruits have no money to pay for inspections, the level of the above-mentioned diseases may be determined by giving a postponement during which the patient must be inspected gratis by the direction from the recruiting commission.
We have already received many complaints from the youths suffering from the above-mentioned diseases. The district recruiting commissions just change limitation grade 5 to limitation grade 4.
The previous Order reflected the position of the Ministry of Defense which was aimed at blocking the conscription of the ill. Now Order No. 207 opens the door for misuse and arbitrary interpretations. It is not difficult to foresee that this year recruits will be less healthy than of the previous one; more finances will be lost by the state for treatment of unhealthy servicemen; as always, tax payers will suffer. It is not difficult to predict that there will appear more deserters, and among them the proportion will increase of those, who cannot stand psychic and physical loads.
Kharkiv Union of soldiers. mothers insists on introducing amendments to Order No. 207, especially the text of the amended articles
An international conference on wiretapping
Each participant of the conference was given the following printed matter:
the European Convention of human rights and freedoms (the official translation to Ukrainian of the last version of the Convention, which contains the Protocol No. 11);
the list of Conventions of the Council of Europe signed and ratified by Ukraine as on 20 July 1999, in Ukrainian;
the document . Security services under constitutional democracies: principles of oversight and responsibilities. , in Russian and English;
a quarterly . The freedom of speech and privacy. , issues 1 and 2, in Ukrainian;
the leaflet . Observance of human rights in Ukraine in 1998. , the special issue of the bulletin . Prava ludyny. , No. 11 (48), published by KG, in Ukrainian;
The book . Wiretapping in the international right and in national legislation of 11 European countries. , special issue of the bulletin . Prava ludyny. , No. 12 (49), in Russian;
a review of KG activities, in Ukrainian and English;
the agenda of the conference.
The book on wiretapping attracted the greatest interest of the participants. The book attempts to survey the legislation of a number of European countries on wiretapping and the analysis of their legislation with respect to the norms of the European right. At first a definition of wiretapping is elaborated, then some decisions of the European Court on human rights (up to the beginning of 1996) are described, standards are defined to make the national legislation concord with Article 8 of the European Convention on human rights. After this the main statements of the international right are compared with national legislation in 11 European countries: the United Kingdom, German, Finland, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russia and Ukraine. The survey of national legislation of each of the above-listed countries has the purpose of answering the questions: Which are the conditions when the state power has the legal right to intercept a telecommunication? Which is the procedure of getting the permission to wiretap? Which are the procedures of checking whether the wiretapping is correct? To which degree national legal procedures agree with the standards set by the European Court on human rights? The next part of the book provides information about international and national projects aimed at oversight of the information processing in electronic communication, such as the intercontinental system . Echelon. , the project ENFOPOL suggested by the Council of Europe, the USA laws aimed at the support of law-enforcing bodies in the sphere of communication, the Russian system COPM, etc. The appendix to the book contains a translation from German of the law on telecommunication, as the law which regulates the modern electronic communications.
Wiretapping was considered at the conference as a part of two wider problems: 1) Which is the legal base for the interference of the state bodies into the communication exchange? 2) How must special services act in democratic societies in order not to abuse human rights? The first problem was elucidated in the report of Vsevolod Rechitskiy, the Constitutional expert of KG, a assistant professor in the National Juridical Academy. This report titled . Freedom of information exchange in the context of the modern philosophy of the right. . Readers of . Prava ludyny. will soon be able to get acquainted with this report in the bulletin. The report of Andrzei Rzeplinski, Helsinki foundation of human rights in Poland, professor of the right in Warsaw University, was devoted to the second problem. His report was titled . Survey of the project . Security services under constitutional democracies. : results and prospects. . Another report on the topic, related to the second problem, was delivered by the doctor of law Kate Martin (USA), titled . Survey of . Principles of oversight and responsibility of security services in democratic societies. . . After this all the experts present at the conference reviewed national laws and law-applying practices of wiretapping in their countries, speaking not only on wiretapping, but about any informational control. Stephen Livingston, Doctor of Law from the UK, an expert of the Council of Europe, made a report on court decisions of the European Court on human rights concerning wiretapping. The report . Ukraine is a member of the Council of Europe: successes, prospects, problems. was delivered by Oleksandr Pavlychenko, the director of the Information and Documentation Center of the Council of Europe in Ukraine. Several reports concerned various aspects of the Ukrainian laws and law-applying practices of the information control in telecommunication networks.
In our opinion, the conference demonstrated many drawbacks of the Ukrainian laws on the information exchange control, as well as in the laws of many other countries. The European Court insists that wiretapping may be conducted only after receiving a sanction of some court. Another important demand is to make the wiretapping procedure transparent, to facilitate the oversight. Another conclusion of the discussion is that in all countries security services would like to make the legislation on wiretapping such that it would facilitate their work, and they manage to get such laws exactly as the public permits them to do it. The more passive the public is, the less efficient are the oversight procedures and the more probable misuse is.
Yet, the new technologies bring additional opportunities for criminals. Now the crime has become very sophisticated, because the criminals use new information technologies. So security services must possess adequate facilities to stop and investigate corresponding crimes. That is why such projects, as . Echelon. , INFOPOL, COPM and the like have appeared. That is why it is very important to analyze information exchange under the new conditions and to develop new guarantees of the human rights protection in this sphere.
Special services of Estonia and combat of crime
Today, the special services of Estonia include:
- The Security Police, founded on the basis of law, acting by its Statutes and subordinated to the Ministry of Interior. The Security Police is responsible for counterintelligence, investigation of offences against the state, corruption, organised crime and large-scale economic crimes;
- Information Service (foreign intelligence);
- Government Communication Service;
- 2nd unit of the Staff of Defence Forces (military intelligence).
The law on persecution and search activities entitles, besides the police and security police, only the customs, frontier guards, military police and prison board to undertake such activities within the limits of their competence.
The activities of all special services are co-ordinated by the head of the State Chancellery.
There exists a draft law on special services. The law prescribes the structure, interrelations, functions, subordination, rights and obligations of all the special services of Estonia. The draft is still worked on and will be presented to the Riigikogu in near future.
Riigikogu has a committee responsible for supervising the activities of the security police in the ODA. Parliamentary control over all special services is vested in this committee.
As crime-related statistics was classified information during the occupation, we do not know the concrete numbers. Street crime was relatively low. Corruption among the party elite, Soviet nomenclature and red tape was high. Militia controlled street and household crime quite efficiently. Malfeasance and corruption were greater problems, and the KGB was responsible for combating this type of crime. In order to investigate a case of corruption that involved a person included in the nomenclature, warrant from the corresponding party unit had to be obtained. Not infrequently, the culprits were just subjected to punishments by the party, e.g. reprimanded or transferred to another post.
After the re-establishment of independence, the number of crimes has increased due to several reasons:
- a slight deterioration of the economic situation amongst certain strata of the population;
- increase of unemployment, especially amongst non-Estonians, who have lost their well-paid jobs in the military industrial complex and cannot find a new job because they cannot speak Estonian;
- uncertainty of the position of Soviet immigrants . they have lost their privileged social status;
- abolishment of Soviet and creation of Estonian structures of legal protection and a period of ineffective operations connected with this situation;
- opening of borders, better perspectives for certain types of crime, etc.
The crime rates increased until 1994, after which a small decrease followed, while the number of certain serious criminal offences (homicide and rape) somewhat decreased in 1994-1996, other types of offences such as drug-related crimes are the upward trend. The number of economic crimes is high too. Their investigation is often very slow due to low quality and lack of experience of investigating staff. There have been some corruption-related scandals too.
During the years of totalitarian occupation, the state and people of Estonia suffered serious damages. All of the state institutions were abolished and replaced with authorities of the Soviet occupation. About one-fourth of the pre-war population was killed, deported to Russia or escaped to the West. Ethnic purges altered the ethnographical composition of the population . the percentage of Estonians dropped from 97% to 64%. Agriculture was destroyed and traditional rural lifestyle was ruined due to collectivisation. Economic development was not in concord with the needs of Estonia. Compared with neighbouring countries, e.g. Finland and Sweden, with which Estonia. s economy was comparable before World War I, economy was sent spinning back some ten years. Perhaps the gravest consequence is the deterioration of moral and ethic values of the people due to the communist ideology.
Thanks to the favorable course of events and the stamina of the people and their leaders, the reign of occupation terminated and Estonia. s independence was re-established without victims. Riots and bloodshed were avoided also after restoring the legal order and government structures. Soviet special services were liquidated without undue excesses, however, most of the archives and records of them were taken away to Russia. Many leaders and collaborators of those services also departed to Russia, probably leaving a secret net of agents behind, subordinated to the corresponding Russian services.
Estonian special services were practically built from scratch with many difficulties encountered on the way due to lack of specialists and experiences. Today, these difficulties have mostly been overcome.
The period of occupations and the crimes of the communist totalitarian regime are investigated by many public and social organisations of Estonia. They issue publications and reports, organise exhibitions and establish museums.
A few criminal cases have been initiated with respect to crimes against humanity. However, their investigation is complicated, as many of the documents and culprits are missing.
Today, Estonia has restored constitutional order and all state structures. In all major respects, Estonia is a stable and open society that guarantees fundamental freedoms and democracy. However, lot of time and effort is needed to be able to overcome the consequences of the occupation in all realms of life and to combat economic backlog.
ESTONIA: Estonia under occupation and the reinstatement of open society
(Regime characteristics while pre- and post-perestroyka)
Towards the end of the rule of the Secretary General Brezhnev, the Soviet totalitarian communist regime had reached the highest level of stagnation, finding itself on the verge of an economic and political collapse. The attempts of Andropov, who inherited the post of Secretary General after Brezhnev. s death, to improve the situation failed, whereas the year of the geriatrocratic reign of Chernenko further aggravated the situation. The course taken towards glasnost and perestroyka introduced in 1985 by the new young Secretary General Mikhail Gorbachev soon got out of control and opened path to processes that led to the breakdown of the Soviet Union and the end of the occupation of Estonia, annexed before World War II.
In order to correctly understand the events and processes that occurred in Estonia one must take into account that unlike a majority of other countries subjected to communist or fascist totalitarian regimes, in Estonia those regimes were not of national origin: the regime was forced on Estonia under agreements signed by the Great Powers. The Estonians viewed those regimes as foreign and put up a resistance.
The Soviet system was a central, one-party and very strictly regulated rule. Nominal . people. s power. which was designed to function via the structure of soviets in fact was subordinated to the policy-making bodies or party committees, as they were called in the soviet context. This also applied to the executive power that was organised in the form of executive committees (. workers councils. ). In reality, the only right vested in the republics of the Soviet Union was that of implementing the directives of the Central Committee of the Communist Party with local conditions only slightly taken into account. By the way, it should be mentioned that although formally there was the Estonian Communist Party, in fact, under its statute, it was not independent but just a territorial organisation of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
Courts, although formally independent, were in practice subordinated to the Party committees as the judges . members of the Communist Party . had to obey corresponding Party committees. The penitentiary system was paramilitary, centralised and subordinated to the Ministry of Interior of the Soviet Union.
The legislative power was vested in the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union and in the Supreme Soviets of the republics. Laws of the Soviet Union prevailed over republican legislation. The Supreme Soviet of a republic had no right to adopt laws contrary to the Soviet Union law. All the laws were in fact prepared and previously agreed in the corresponding Party committees and then unanimously approved at the Supreme Soviets.
Control over economic and financial activities of all enterprises, institutions and organisations was exercised by the State Control Committee (at one time it was called . Peoples. ) by the Council of Ministers (government) and the Audit Agency by the Ministry of Finance. Prosecutors office had also supervisory power. Heads of all the institutes that had controlling/supervising functions were included in a nomenclature and appointed to offices by the corresponding Party committees; they were members of the Party and obeyed the orders of higher Party committees.
Structure, functions and nets of security structures
In Estonia, the basic force behind the Soviet structures of security was the National Security Committee (KGB) within the Council of Ministers of the Estonian SSR, which in fact obeyed only the corresponding federal security committee. The leading role of the Party was carried out in such a way that the head of the KGB was a member of the Bureau (the main directing body) of the Central Committee of the Communist Party in Estonia, whereas the heads of local bodies were members in the bureaux of corresponding regional Party committees.
In Estonia, KGB personnel were composed of members of the Communist Party who mostly were Russians.
In the Soviet Union, police was called militia, which was the main unit of the Ministry of Interior. Militia was in charge of securing public peace, handled criminal and economic offences, accounted for and supervised the technical condition of transport vehicles, etc. Grave crimes . from the standpoint of the authorities . such as political, large-scale economic crimes involving foreign currency, banditry (which in Estonia meant armed resistance to the occupation rule), terrorism, sabotage, mass riots, etc. were under the jurisdiction of the KGB.
On the territory of Estonia, a substantial part of the Soviet Army was present, mainly missiles, aeroplanes and tanks and some units that had a special assignment. The exact number of military is unknown, but is estimated to have been around 120-150 thousand people. However, it is fair to say that those troops did not interfere with the events and processes that occurred in Estonia and some officers of the occupation army even had fellow feelings for the national liberation movement. A good example of this is the Major-General Dzhokhar Dudayev of the Tartu division of strategic aviation troops, who later became the president of the Chechnia and who was very much interested in the strategies and tactics of the national movement for freedom. Another proof of this side of the occupation army in Estonia is the fact that during the 1991 putsch, the leaders of the coup d. etatin Moscow summoned a division of of paratroopers from Pskov to suppress the Estonian national movement for freedom and did not dare to use the local troops of occupation for this purpose.
The Estonian KGB was organised in the same way as the KGB of the Soviet Union. The Estonian KGB too had Department 1, which was responsible for intelligence, however, unfortunately we know virtually nothing of its activities. We can only guess that it performed espionage activities through the Estonians who lived abroad. We know more about the activities of the Department 2, which was responsible for counterintelligence. The competence of this department included tailing foreigners, who entered the territory of Estonia, and the tourist organisations Inturist and Sputnik (which can be called KGB subdivisions), authorising and organising the trips of Soviet citizens abroad, opening and closing so-called . exit files. , etc. The Department 4 was responsible for combating . banditry. . After the suppression of the armed resistance of the Estonians by the occupants in the second half of the 1950s, this department lost its importance. The Department 5, which monitored the Estonian movement for freedom and political disposition of the people, etc. is of special interest for us. There were several other subdivisions that tapped telephone lines, perused the letters, maintained state secrets in enterprises and organisations, body-guarded Party bosses, etc.
The frontier guards of the KGB on the territory of Estonia were included in the Northwest frontier command. We do not have reliable data on their repressive activities except the fact they were involved in mass deportations.
In Estonia, there were troops of the Soviet Army with special assignments, subordinated to the General Intelligence Administration of the General Staff (GRU), but we do not have information regarding their interference with local affairs. Their main task was allegedly to conduct intelligence activities and acts of sabotage on the territories of the North European countries.
The Prosecutor. s Office had a special role in the Soviet system of repressive bodies. Formally, the Prosecutor. s Office supervised compliance of all the government proceedings, the KGB included, with the Soviet law. The Public Prosecutor of the Estonian SSR was appointed by the Prosecutor General of the Soviet Union and was accountable only to the latter. The Prosecutor of Estonia was also a member of the Central Committee of the Estonian Communist Party.
During the perestroyka, special militia units (OMON, SOBR) were formed in the Soviet Union, however, not in Estonia. Similarly, there is no evidence of the operations of the special units of the KGB and GRU called Alfa and Vympel in Estonia.
In Estonia, places of confinement were classified into the places of preliminary confinement, investigative wards in which persons suspected of crimes were kept, corrective labour institutions in which persons convicted by a court were kept. All of them were subordinated to the Ministry of Interior of the Soviet Union. Soviet terminology did not know the expressions . political crime. or . political prisoner. . People accused of crimes against the Soviet power were persecuted by the KGB and considered to be criminal offenders guilty of . crimes against the state. . After the KGB prisons were liquidated in mid 1950s, those prisoners were kept in general investigative wards of the Ministry of Interior. After court sentenced them, they were taken from Estonia to Russian special prisons and camps. In the final years of the Soviet power in Estonia, no such inmates were kept in the corrective labour institutions.
The Soviet Union used the ideology of praising and idolising of the state security organs, calling them the . battle unit of the bolshevik party. , . brave institutions that protect what the workers have achieved. , . the knights of revolution. , . the shield and sword of the proletarians. , etc. This propaganda had no effect on Estonians. Although some Estonians-collaborators worked for the KGB, the majority of Estonians condemned them.
We do not have reliable information on how densely the Estonian society was impregnated with the net of KGB informants by the end of the occupation, since the KGB took the archives containing records on operative work and the files of agents to Russia. However, knowing the situation of Czechoslovakia and the German Democratic Republic, where virtually every tenth person worked secretly for security organs, we guess that the situation could not have been much better in Estonia. Nevertheless, perhaps Estonia was not so utterly immersed with agents because the Czechoslovakian and German authorities, albeit totalitarian, were still of the same nationality as the population whereas the Estonians, even those who collaborated with the Soviet power, referred to the Soviet power as . Russian. and never as . Estonian. . The language barrier probably played some role too. Russian, being a Slavonic language, is difficult to master by an Estonian, as it belongs to another linguistic system. Many Estonians could not learn it even during the fifty years of occupation.
The role of the KGB in the Estonian society should not be overestimated. Many researchers tend, maybe even knowingly, to blame the KGB for all crimes and cruelties of the Soviet power. They forgot that the KGB or . the armed battle unit of the bolshevik party. , as Lenin so aptly called it, was always controlled by the Communist Party and just obeyed the directions of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee, although maybe its powers were greater during Stalin compared with the Brezhnev or Khruchev. s times. The decisions regarding the extent of admissibility of dissident thinking or punishing crimes were always made in Moscow by the Central Committee of the Communist Party and the KGB just fulfilled them. During Khruchev. s . thaw. , certain nonconformity of political thinking was allowed, but after the . Prague Spring. of 1968, the clocks were quickly turned back. In Estonia, it was the . bourgeois nationalism. that was persecuted especially eagerly.
Unfortunately, to this date we do not know much about KGB activities within the economic sphere. We know that the tenth directorate of Department 5 of the KGB was responsible for combating corruption and speculation. It was one of the channels via which security organs could penetrate the economic life. Many experts believe that such penetration and the creation of . umbrella. companies, as well as the transfer of money to personal accounts started already in mid 1980s.
Opposition to the Soviet power
In 1939, the government of Estonia, unlike the government of Finland which rejected the Soviet ultimatum and faced the armed attack of the Soviet Union, decided to follow in the footsteps of Czechoslovakia and surrender to the aggressor, hoping to avoid the horrors of war. Unfortunately, such hopes were short-lived. In the first year of the Soviet occupation alone more than sixty thousand citizens of Estonia, i.e. about 6% of its population, were shot, arrested or deported to Russia by the communists. Loss of sovereignty and atrocities brought along spontaneous mass resistance, including armed resistance, which became especially active when the Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union went to war.
The Germans refused to restore the sovereignty of Estonia and occupied it for three years during which another six thousand Estonians perished. Movement towards independence continued and became organised despite the German persecution. In 1944, an underground government was formed which, after the Germans withdrew their troops, was arrested and shot by the Russians.
An attempt to re-establish the independence of Estonia in the short period between the withdrawal of the Germans and entry of the Red Army failed.
1944 saw the beginning of the second Soviet occupation. In the second half of the 1940s and in early 1950s, resistance to the occupants was mostly armed. It was a guerrilla war that the Russians managed to neutralise only after the mass deportations of 1949 in the course of which almost 25 thousand people were deported to Russia . mostly women, children and old people, and after the establishment of collective farms, which cut the partisans off their supplies. The bloody suppression of the Hungarian riots by the Soviet Army in 1956, to which the state-parties to the Atlantic Charter turned a blind eye, meant that Estonians lost their last resort . the hope that the Western democracies would fulfil their promises of support. Yet, these countries demonstrated clearly that after Yalta, the Charter had no meaning for East Europe any more. Nevertheless, individual small groupings continued to hide in forests until the 1960s. The last famous . forest brother. was shot by the KGB in 1973.
After the defeat of the armed resistance, patriotic anti-Soviet activities continued, especially amongst the students of high schools. Underground groupings were spontaneously formed to publish leaflets, etc., but all those groupings were discovered quickly due to the lack of proper conspiracy, and their members were convicted. Nevertheless, those attempts continued until the Soviet dissident movement emerged in the 1960s. In Estonia, this movement was welcomed eagerly, and it soon turned into a fight for national liberation.
The main ideological motives behind the resistance movement were patriotic . re-establishment of Estonia. s independence, resistance to the communist terror and to rusification.
During the entire period of the Soviet occupation, Estonians did not manage to form one central movement of resistance. All the attempts to do this failed, and those involved were arrested by the KGB. Perhaps, this was even good because due to the absence of one central organisation it was not possible to destroy the whole movement. New groupings were formed instead of those that had been destroyed, not connected with their predecessors.
Towards the end of the German occupation in 1944, a large number of Estonians (almost 8% of the population, i.e. 80 thousand people) had managed to escape abroad. They set up Estonian communities in Switzerland, Germany, USA, Canada and Australia. They formed an exile government which, however, had no effect on what was going on in annexed Estonia. Nevertheless, Estonians in exile did a great job in informing the public about the events that had occurred in Estonia and won international support in damning the Soviet aggression and annexation of Estonia.
In strictly regulated conditions of the Soviet totalitarian system it was not possible to plan the fight with the occupation. The rapid collapse of the Soviet Union came as a surprise to everybody, including those involved in dissident, and national liberation movements, as well as in movements for protection of the rule of law.
Collapse of the Soviet system. Transition period.The root of the collapse
The political system of the Soviet Union was on the decline when Mikhail Gorbachev became the Secretary General of the Communist Party in 1985. The communist ideals which inspired the Russians before and during World War 2 had become completely valueless by the 1980s. The economy of the Soviet Union could no longer pay for the enormous military outlays. The system of collective farms had proved to be ineffective. The supplies of consumer goods to and the general living standard of the population dropped. The law machinery . militia, prosecutor. s offices and courts . was corrupted. Corruption was the greatest within the Party. The army was tied up in a hopeless war in Afghanistan and suffered from contagion of morals. Security bodies were the only ones which understood the depth of the crisis of the Soviet system.
Situation in Estonia from the mid-eighties to the collapse of the Soviet Union
Armed resistance to the Soviet power had been suffocated. In the course of pre- and post-war mass repressions, around 80 thousand people had been arrested and deported to the Siberian concentration camps and another 40 thousand people had been deported to Russia, i.e. 12 % of the population. Many of the survivors (about 50%) had returned to Estonia, but the demographic situation had changed. In pre-war Estonia, the Estonians constituted 97% of the population . a figure which now dropped to 64%. In Tallinn Russians formed 50% of the residents. In some towns (Narva, Paldiski, Sillamäe) and regions (East Virumaa) the Russians gained absolute majority. The Russian language became rooted. A large part of the Estonians lost all hopes for independence, reconciled with the occupation and tried to adjust to the Soviet power. There was a danger that the Estonian nation would assimilate with the Russians just like the Karelians, Vepsians, etc.
The course towards . perestroyka and glasnost. taken by Gorbachev gave rise to a new increase in national morale and led to mass movement against rusification. The first of those movements was the movement for the protection of national heritage in 1986, which in fact grew into a campaign that soon penetrated all the strata of the Estonian population. Then, in 1987, the so-called . Phosphorite War. broke out. Northeast Estonia has large deposits of phosphorite. The Soviet government planned to extract the phosphorite with help of labour imported from Russia. This exposed the environmental and demographic situation of Estonia to a great risk. The fight against operating these deposits soon involved all Estonians. The first public mass demonstration was held in Tallinn on 23 August 1987. The demonstrators demanded disclosure of the secret protocols to the Molotov . Ribbentrop pact. In September of the same year, a project advocating the economic independence of Estonia (. self-sustaining management of Estonia. ) was revealed to the public. Towards the end of the year, the youth held their first demonstrations to commemorate the Estonian War of Independence of 1918-1920. At these demonstrations they carried the blue-black-and-white national flag which, at the time, was prohibited. The army of occupation did not interfere. The KGB watched the events keenly. The attempts of the authorities to suppress the national movement by publishing articles that discredited the ideals of the national liberation movement or, in some cases, by scattering the demonstrators, failed. In 1988, the Estonian liberation movement split in two. The first of these wings, in which the decisive role was played by the progressive administrators and officials of the Communist Party, believed that liberation could be achieved gradually via the democratisation of the Soviet system and eventual withdrawal from the Soviet Union. The second trend was radical, led by the former dissidents, political prisoners and young humanists, and ultimately became the force that put an end to the Soviet occupation and re-established the Republic of Estonia that had been annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940.
In spring 1988 came the idea to create the People. s Front. The idea was initially conceived by the Communist Party and KGB to control the national movement and to muffle it into a superficial reform of the Soviet Union. But the People. s Front outgrew its conceivers and started to express the real interests and demands of the people. The Front was led by the representatives of the first wing.
The second trend was mainly represented in the Society for Protection of Antiquities which by that time had become a mass political organisation. It was set up in the summer of 1988 without the permission of the authorities. The second trend was openly expressed by the Estonian Party of National Sovereignty (PNS).
Irrespective of the principal ideological discrepancies between these two trends, there was no open hostility between them and they even pooled their efforts in organising many of the events.
We should especially mention the song festivals organised by the People. s Front at which tens of thousands of people sang patriotic songs. Due to them the period 1988-1991 is now called the . singing revolution. . Another notable undertaking was the organisation of the . Baltic chain. . - a chain formed of people from Tallinn to Vilnius under the aegis of the People. s Fronts of Estonia and Latvia and the Lithuanian Sayudis . on 23 August 1989 to mark the 50 thanniversary of the Molotov . Ribbentrop pact.
Campaigners for the preservation of the Soviet Union and continuation of the occupation of Estonia organised the International Front (later renamed International Movement) in 1988. The organisation was led by the heads of the Estonian military and heavy industry . established in Estonia during the years of occupation . and the Russian members of the Communist Party. The membership of the organisation comprised mostly Russians who had migrated to Estonia during the occupation. Unlike the Estonian organisations which did not have combat units, the International Movement set up assault teams which, in May 1990, tried to take the power, ut had to retreat under pressure from the Estonian hordes of people.
In 1989, the advocates of restitution started to register lawful citizens of the Republic of Estonia and set out committees of citizens. The movement culminated in the spring of 1990, when the Estonian Congress . the representative assembly of the citizens of the Republic of Estonia . was elected. Almost simultaneously election was held to the highest administrative body of the Estonian SSR . the Supreme Soviet. After the elections, a new government of the Estonian SSR was formed from the leaders of the People. s Front.
Break-up of the Soviet system
The 1990 elections to the Estonian Congress and Supreme Soviet were mostly carried out in line with democratic principles. The election campaign was relatively democratic, and the Soviet repressive organs like the KGB and Glavlit (censorship) did not interfere publicly. The Soviet Army on the territory of Estonia also participated in the elections of the Supreme Soviet, electing four deputies.
The Communist Party of Estonia split. The Estonian wing of the Party resigned from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and declared themselves independent. The Supreme Soviet adopted a resolution on the beginning of a transit period for the re-establishment of Estonia. s independence. The People. s Front and the Estonian Communist Party which formed the majority in the Supreme Soviet did not contemplate immediate restitution, but withdrawal of Estonia from the Soviet Union after the end of the transition period. The Estonian Congress, representing 900 thousand registered citizens and candidates to the citizenship categorically denied the idea of establishing new Estonia by the withdrawal of the Estonian SSR from the Soviet Union. They demanded the restitution of the Republic of Estonia that had been annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940.
Negotiations with the Soviet Union for the establishment of independence were started but soon dropped. Latvia and Lithuania also moved towards liberation. The Soviet government addressed several threat-filled statements to the Baltic republics. In Lithuania and Latvia there were even armed conflicts and victims, but this did not happen in Estonia. Apparently the federal government decided not to employ arms against the national liberation movements, fearing that the situation may get out of control and lead to unpredictable consequences.
On 19 August 1991 there was a putsch in Moscow. The putschists sent to Estonia a division of aerial-amphibian troops from Pskov. The troops of the Soviet Army present in Estonia stayed at their quarters. The directing body of the Estonian Congress . the Estonian Committee . and the Supreme Soviet finally came to an agreement in fear of military action.
On 20 August, the Supreme Soviet adopted, with the consent of the Estonian Committee, a resolution that declared the Republic of Estonia, annexed in 1940, sovereign. For the purpose of establishing lawful bodies of state (the Supreme Soviet was an administrative body of the Soviet power while the Estonian Congress representing the citizens of the Republic of Estonia had been formed spontaneously and did not believe itself to be lawful to act as a legislative body) it was decided to establish a Constituent Assembly on parity basis (30 members from the Supreme Soviet and from the Estonian Committee) to prepare a new constitution of the Republic of Estonia, submit the constitution to a referendum and, after the referendum, organise elections to a legitimate legislative body . the Riigikogu. during the summer of 1992.
On 21 August the putsch was suppressed in Moscow, and the Pskov division returned home without having resorted to any violence in Estonia except the conquest of the television mast of Tallinn. The Russian government and subsequently the government of the Soviet Union recognised the re-establishment of Estonia. s sovereignty. Thereafter, the whole Soviet Union dissipated.
On 20 June 1992 Estonia conducted a monetary reform, introducing the Estonian kroon, the exchange rate of which was fixed equal to one eighth of the German mark.. A new constitution was adopted by the referendum on 28 June, and the Riigikogu was elected on 20 September. The transit period had come to an end, and the sovereignty of the Republic of Estonia had been restored.
At the elections, the right-wingers and national parties won. The Democratic Labour Party, formed on the basis of the former Estonian Communist Party, did not pass the 5% threshold and did not get to the parliament. By the way, the Democratic Labour Party did not make it to the Riigikogu at the 1995 elections either. During the Soviet occupation the Estonians evidently became allergic not just to the word . communism. but even to the word . socialism. . There are still not any political parties in Estonia whose name would include the word . socialist. . Even the social democrats call themselves Moderates.
The coalition government formed after the 1992 elections started to restore and form the state structure in line with the constitution. The exile government abdicated and delivered its authorities to the new government.
Security bodies in the transition period
During the transition period, the KGB continued its activities on the territory of Estonia. As the KGB was subordinated to Moscow, the Estonian government of the transition period did not have any influence on it and could not control its activities or appointment of officials. The GRU also continued to operate on the territory of Estonia.
Things were different with militia and internal troops, which were subordinated to the Ministry of Interior of the Soviet Union. Unlike Latvia and Lithuania, special militia units (OMON) serving as instruments to suppress armed conflicts had not been formed. Internal troops were used in Estonia for security purposes and for escorting convicts, but, as we have already said, there were not political prisoners in Estonia, since they were kept in Russia. On 1 August 1990 the Prime Minister of the transitional government and the Minister of Interior of the Soviet Union signed an agreement for transferring the MoI structures located on the territory of Estonia to the jurisdiction of the Estonian government. Militia was renamed police and started to fulfil the police functions only. The internal troops of the MoI were withdrawn from Estonia. Estonians or citizens of Estonia became to be appointed to the highest directing positions, later they were used to fill vacancies of lower ranks too.
In 1991, after the re-establishment of independence, the Prime Minister of Estonia and the Chairman of the KGB of the Soviet Union concluded an agreement for the liquidation of the KGB in Estonia by 1 December 1991 and for the transfer of the files and property of the KGB to the Estonian government. By that time, the personal files of the staff and the network of agents and the records of the operations of the KGB on the territory of Estonia had already been removed to Russia. Estonia received the assets of the KGB plus just 28.5 thousand archive files on political prisoners, some accounts and records . mostly of historical and scientific interest. It should be mentioned that the committee organised for the acceptance of the assets and documents of the KGB was ineffective and its work was justly criticised.
During the transition period, the KGB naturally worked against the national liberation movement, implanting informers in the organisations that were established, using intrigue, provocation, false rumours and misinformation to interfere with the activities of patriotic organisations. However, as all the documents were taken away from Estonia and all the KGB leaders left Estonia it is not possible to give examples of actual operations.
The sabotaging/assaulting units of the Soviet Union, subordinated to the GRU, were withdrawn from Estonia only in 1994 when the troops of occupation left Estonia. It is possible that they were not just passive watchers, but also carried out intelligence operations against Estonia and implanted their agents . although these are only guesses.
Similarly, we can only make speculations about the agents of the KGB and GRU left in Estonia and about its transfer to corresponding bodies of the Russian Federation.
Remedy of the consequences of the occupation. Demolition of secret networks
The re-establishment of the Republic of Estonia meant that all structures of the occupation power were destroyed and abolished. However, the secret structures remained in Estonia. This is confirmed by the exposure and deportation of a Russian intelligence agent, who used diplomacy as a shield, and the disclosure of his Estonian informant by the security police in 1997.
Towards the end of 1995, for the purpose of purifying the morals of the nation, the Riigikogu adopted a special law on the registration of persons, who co-operated with or informed special intelligence or counterintelligence services of the countries that occupied Estonia, i.e. Germany or the Soviet Union. The law lists all such services and organisations in those countries. The law prescribes that those people who voluntarily appear before the security police until 1 April 1996 and confess their activities in such organisations will be provided with legal immunity. It means that the names of those persons become a state secret and cannot be disclosed by the State (unless, of course, such persons have committed crimes against humanity, war crimes or felonies while fulfilling assignments in such organisations). By the deadline, 1,153 people had appeared in the security police. After 1 April 1996, the security police started publishing the names of people who collaborated with special services of the occupants, but did not confess it. To date, 32 names have been published.
Even before that, Estonia had adopted a law on oath. This law stipulates that a person who seeks the office in certain governmental bodies listed therein must take a written oath that he or she had not been in the service or an agent of a special service of a state which has occupied Estonia, nor participated in the persecution of citizens of Estonia.
The assets of the KGB were transferred to the re-established security police which, under law, was prohibited from hiring persons, who had collaborated with the special services of foreign states. Exception was made for certain specialists in maintaining the special equipment if so personally granted by the Prime Minister.
All the archives of the KGB, Ministry of Interior and communist party were delivered to a branch of the State Archive established specifically for this purpose. Access to the documents in the archive is regulated by law and is granted to historians, researchers and law-enforcement officers under special conditions that prevent the misuse of personal information. Besides, a person, for whom there exists a file, may examine this file. It is also possible to examine the files of one. s perished relatives.
It should be mentioned that those, who have examined their files, are not bound with the previously mentioned obligation of the state to keep in confidence the names of former agents of special services who confessed their guilt.
Naturally, if false or inaccurate information is disclosed about someone, this person may appeal to a court to protect his or her good name. There have already been some court cases where the plaintiffs demanded dismissal of charges on collaboration with the KGB.
How to avoid acts of aggression and a reinstatement of a totalitarian system in the future
In the past thousand years Estonia has at least on five occasions suffered attacks from Russia, whose rulers believed that the Eastern coast of the Baltic Sea was a natural elongation of the Russian Empire. The major acts of aggressions were undertaken by:
- Grand Duke Yaroslav the Wise, who in 1030 conquered the stronghold of Tarbatu (Tartu);
- Tsar Ivan IV the Terrible, during the Livonian War in 1558-1583;
- Tsar Peter the Great in the Northern War of 1700-1721;
- Lenin during the Civil War in 1918-1920;
- Stalin during World War II in 1940 and in 1944.
Yaroslav, Ivan IV and Lenin were defeated, whereas Peter the Great and Stalin succeeded.
The best guarantees against new aggressions are:
- Firstly, the democratisation of Russia, but as Russia has no traditions of or experience in democratic ruling (except the Provisional Government of February-October 1917) it will take a long time. Unfortunately, to date the Russian Federation pursues imperial traditions and tendencies in its foreign policy;
- Secondly, integration of Estonia into European structures such as the European Council and NATO, which would rule out the possibility of agreements like those of Molotov-Ribbentrop and Yalta. Taking into account the importance of such integration for a steadfast democratic development of the country, this facet is the strategic goal of Estonia. s foreign policy.
The fifty years of occupation and the forcible introduction of the totalitarian communist ideology left their traces in all realms of life in Estonia. Demographic structure was altered. Estonia faces the challenge of converting more than 25% of its population . imported to Estonia by Russia with the goal of reinforcing its power . whereas there still exist forces in Russia which view the migrants as an outpost of future expansion (. Karaganov. s doctrine. , draft law on compatriots) . into citizens loyal to Estonia and integrating this part of population into Estonian society. It is also necessary to overcome the xenophobia caused by this situation. Agriculture and traditional rural life were disrupted. It takes years to reduce our backlog from the rest of Europe. The bolsheviks. ideology managed to devalue universal moral values. The number of crimes increased abruptly after the re-establishment of independence. Moral decay is perhaps the gravest consequence of the occupation. The remedy of the situation takes a lot of time and effort.
The crimes of totalitarian regimes are examined and related information is published by many state and non-government organisations in Estonia of which we should mention:
- State Commission for the Perquisition of the Crimes of Occupation Regimes formed by the Riigikogu for the compilation of the White Book. The Commission is funded by the state;
- Office for the Registration of Torture Victims in Estonia established by the Union of Torture Victims Memento, which registers, compiles and publishes lists of torture victims. The organisation is funded from donations (including those made by the Estonians in exile) and receives a small subsidy from the state;
- International Committee for Revealing Crimes Against Humanity Committees on the Territory of Estonia recently formed by the President of the Republic;
- Kistler-Ritso Foundation which is a private charity foundation established for the purpose of founding a museum of totalitarianism and which collects memoirs, tangible evidence of the crimes of the communists;
- S-Centre is a non-governmental organisation uniting historians and archivists, which collects, studies, classifies and publishes archive materials and documents.
The security police also investigate crimes against humanity. About ten criminal cases have been initiated. Some of the cases have been closed as the accused have passed away. Recently, the first court process in such a case was concluded. The accused was a KGB officer and was conditionally sentenced to eight years of imprisonment for the deportation of scores of families. These crimes are difficult to investigate because most of the culprits left Estonia and their residence is not known.
International organisations such as the OSCE, European Council and others have not demonstrated very much interest in bringing the crimes committed by the communist regime of the Soviet Union in Estonia to light or in publishing related accounts. International organisations for legal protections are also disinterested.
It is highly unlikely that an international trial, Nürnberg 2, will be organised for the crimes of communist party committed against humanity. Even in Estonia, communist structures of power have not been declared criminal under law, although attempts to that effect have been and probably will be made in the Riigikogu.
THE CHECHEN WAR: Terror against a people
A common Russian believes the saying: where a Russian lapot(sort of peasant footwear . Translator. note) stopped, the land became Russian. A common Russian believes that Chechnya is an unalienable part of Russia. The right for independence of the conquered or perfidiously annexed peoples is completely ignored. So such people cannot win independence by legal methods, and they sooner or later take to arms. Russia calls this banditry. Recall that the Soviet propaganda treated in this way the Ukrainian insurgent army, which fought for the independence of Ukraine.
Now Russia by bombardments and purges of the occupied territories terrorizes the population of Chechnya, whose forefathers were occupied in the 19 thcentury. In order not to tease Russia, not a single state dares to acknowledge the independence of Chechnya.
When desperate Chechens conduct terrorist actions in revenge to make the Big Neighbor leave them in peace, then their behavior can be understood. Meanwhile Russia destroys not those, who organized explosions in Moscow and Volgodonsk (by the way, the participation of Chechens in these explosions has not been proved), but peaceful people. Some Russian public figures, such as Krasnoyarsk governor Lebed, consider that this war is instigated by the Russian political elite with the aim of postponing parliamentary election. Russia destroys a whole people before the eyes of the world public, and the public are silent. However, the Ukrainian public is not passive.
On 15 October Ukrainian human rights protection activists and representatives of political parties set a picket near the Russian embassy in Kyiv. The former political prisoners: Mykola Gorbal, Vasyl Ovsienko, Mykola Plakhotniuk, Ivan Shakhiv, Vitaliy Shevchenko, Oles Shevchenko, members of Parliament Mustafa Djamilev, Refat Chubarov, Ivan Zayets, member of the former Parliament Larisa Skorik, took part in the picket. All in all the picket gathered about one hundred people. There were representatives of the Kharkiv Group for human rights protection, the Ukrainian Committee . Helsinki-90. , OUN, KUN, RCP, NRU, DemPU.
The members of the picket handed an appeal to the embassy.
A day before the following telegram was sent:
To the President of the republic of Ichkeria
We, Ukrainian human rights protection activists, representatives of public and political organizations of Ukraine, deeply sympathize with the Chechen people and protest against the armed aggression of Russia in Chechnya.
We regard inhumane actions of Russians as a shameful crime and demand the immediate termination of the genocide.
We pray for the brave Chechen people. Let God help you!
Mykola Gorbal, Vasyl Ovsienko, Vitaliy Shevchenko, Oles Shevchenko, Evhen Obertas, Anatoliy Rebro, Evhen Dykiy
The Kremlin attempts to preserve the integrity of the Russian Empire by terrorist methods are doomed. The first stage of the Empire. s disintegration happened on the edge of 80s . 90s, when 14 republics separated. Another stage, when autonomous republics will separate, is near.
All empires are mortal, and the Russian one will not be an exception.
Some Ukrainian press keeps repeating imperial stereotypes. This is not surprising: Ukrainians have just left the Russian captivity, but the mentality of the captive will not be cleaned in their heads at once.
Point of view
15 potential Russian MPs stay in a Crimean prison
The culprits came to Sebastopol on 24 August . the Independence Day of Ukraine. The young people, residing in various towns of Russia, arrived in Sebastopol by train. They came to the building situated in downtown, got up to the clock tower, welded the metallic door after themselves and began to scatter leaflets from the roof of the tower. Two hours later the Russian military and Ukrainian militia managed to open the door and detain the culprits. On the same day Leninskiy district court of Sebastopol tried them according to Article 206 part 2 (impudent and cynical hooliganism) and Article 187-5 (capture of a public building) of the Penal Code of Ukraine. The verdict was 15-day administrative arrest. However, several days later graver accusations were pressed on them. The leaflets were directed to Kyiv for the politological expertise with the purpose to find out if the leaflets contained appeals to overthrow the existing Constitutional order and violate the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Now the detained must expect much graver punishments.
Sergey Aksenov, a representative of the . National bolshevik party of Russia. , who hurriedly came to Sebastopol, told the correspondent from the newspaper . Ekspress-khronika. about the decision to put out all the culprits as candidates to the Russian State Duma. Now Sergey Aksenov is trying to sigh proxies, because the culprits, staying in the Ukrainian prison, cannot put out their candidatures themselves.
PL commentary.The Sebastopol human rights protection group sent the application to the General Prosecutor. s office, demanding to release the culprits. Some colleagues of us are surprised: how can we defend fascists? From our viewpoint, the colleagues from Sebastopol are right. The actions of the Russian demonstrators may not be qualified as hooliganism; Article 187-5 is also far-fetched. As to the graver accusations (Article 62 of the Penal Code), we are sure that it is incorrect to fight separatism by criminal persecutions.