Sunday, February 15, 2015

Bits and Pieces - February 15, 2015

Following up on that comment of President Obama's on the Crusades: the first victims of the first crusade were Jews. And then they took Christian Constantinople out in the Fourth Crusade. Kinda like ISIS, those folks.

Transcript of James Comey's speech about law enforcement and minorities.

The media continues its long slide into rumor without fact-checking.

We do voluntary, poorly-enforced treaties all the time. There's reason to believe a similar climate treaty would work too.

Old postcards from Estonia. Reval is modern-day Tallinn, Dorpat is Tartu.

"What Russia Wants." I wish we knew. There are a lot of signals with a lot of possible interpretations. This is a pretty good article, though.

How Vladimir Putin paralyzes his neighbors with "frozen conflicts."


The Blog Fodder said...

Question: Would the Baltics have been better off under Nazi or Communist rule? Depends on who you were I suppose. Jews and Slavs no, others most likely yes. At least with Hitler you knew who he was after. With Stalin, it was anyone and everyone at random

Cheryl Rofer said...

You're thinking of a "If Hitler won the war" scenario?

As you probably know, comparing the Nazi and Soviet occupations during World War II is a difficult thing to do with people who don't have much knowledge of that time. In the West, the Nazis are total, unalloyed evil, and nothing good must be said about them. It's an understandable reaction to how the war went west of Berlin.

But between Berlin and Moscow, the contrast was between Soviet and Nazi occupations. Sort of like a choice between pneumonia and cancer. There weren't any good choices.

I think your overall assessment is right. The Soviets in 1940 killed many Estonians and sent others to camps in Siberia and Kazakhstan. They targeted those who might oppose them, including people who were not necessarily anti-Soviet but just had some power: mayors of towns, university professors, police chiefs. They didn't finish the job before the Nazis pushed them back.

When it was clear that the Soviets were coming back in 1944, the people who knew they would be targeted tried to leave Estonia, and a great many succeeded. Others were killed or removed.

There were concentration camps for Jews and others in the Baltic States. I don't have numbers, but I suspect that more people were killed in Estonia under the Soviets and more in Lithuania under the Nazis, just because of the demographics.

Overall, pretty bad both ways.

The Blog Fodder said...

How do you want to die? Be shot or hung?