So the situation in Estonia has calmed down to a certain level, everyone was asking me "oh is it dangerous in Tallinn??". No way, the riots were just one night but thats all that has really been reported on foreign news, there have still been some simmering issues but nothing major. Walking around Tallinn, many shops are still boarded up and the general signs of events are around the place. The real test is coming today however, it is the 9th of May and this is when the Soviets celebrate the end of WWII day… its a crazy thing because of time differences, even though the papers were signed the day before in West Europe, it was 12:40am by Moscow time so they mark it the day after… those whacky commies always needed to be a bit different to the rest.
I went searching for the bronze statue all day, some minor setbacks like going to the wrong cemetary completly didnt phase me and eventually, just as I was about to give up, I found him, hes not so well marked, not *quite* a tourist attraction yet but that doesnt stop swarms of Russians visiting the site. There were Russian media there interviewing some old lady, taking some heart-string-tugging shots of her laying flowers.
So on my way out a confused looking guy asks me for directions, turns out hes a journalist from Kommersant, which is the only independant Russian newspaper yet. His name was Michael and he was a really interesting bloke, I spoke to him for about half an hour on a range of issues and it was great to here his insiders view, as I have mentioned before I dont *really* know any Russian people and yet I make enough broad ranging comments on their country and culture. He was in Tallinn to cover the 9th of May events incase the shit went down again, his first article has already been put online at the newspapers website. Im dissapointed he didnt mention meeting me, come on! How many aussies go and visit old Soviet statues in formerly occupied nations?! Some of the things I asked Michael
Him: We are the only independant newspaper left in Moscow and we publish in English too
Me: So do you feel any pressure from the Kremlin however anyway?
Him: Maybe you didnt understand me.. i said we were the only independant newspaper left.
Me: Yeah… I know that but still… they can *try* and put pressure on you right?
Me: So can you openly critise Putin?
Him: Sure, we do it all the time
I wish i had more time to talk to Michael but he had to run off to the interview with the extreme right wing Russian dude he mentions in the article.
So thats it, Tallin is peaceful and I think its going to stay peaceful even today, the day the Russian guys promised to start it all up again. Everyone is prepared now, its expected, I think things will stay in control but tonight will tell.
Ive really loved covering the events of the past few weeks in Estonia, Ive really felt like Ive been amongst the action, like ive seen history happening in front of my eyes, hearing everything as it happens and being able to gauge local peoples feelings and thoughts on a daily basis. Ive got more shots of the big bronze dude in the gallery, go check it out.
He was the co-founder of Comedy Estonia, Comedy Finland and Comedy Latvia. Louis writes, does gigs and performs at private events through the Baltics and Finland