jump to navigation

Ida-Euroopa kuristiku serval 3. märts 2009

Posted by toimetus in ajalugu, Euroopa, kapitalism, majandus, tõlkelood.
trackback

idaeuroopa20 aastat kestnud karmide neoliberaalsete reformide pärand
Kirjutas: Michael Werbowski

Kakskümmend aastat pärast Berliini müüri langemist näeme me “uues” Euroopas natsionalismi, ksenofoobiat ja paremtiiva ekstremismi tõusu. Regiooni ajalooliselt painanud kummitused on uuesti tagasi, aga miks just preagu?

Mulle meenub, kuidas lugesin 1990. aastate lõpul, kui ma tegin oma magistridissertatsiooni ja uurisin post-kommunistlikke riike, Peter Gowani raamatut „The Global Gamble.”  Praegu tundub see raamat peaaegu prohvetlikuna, kuna ennustas ette kõike, mis antud regioonis on juhtunud. Tagantjärele võib öelda, et kõik need põhilised fraasid ja hüüdlaused “tagasipöördumisest Euroopasse,” mida kehastasid Lech Walesa ja Vaclav Havel ning mida ma tol ajal kuulsin, paistavad tänasel päeval kulunud, asjakohatud ja õõnsad. Tol ajal olid need olulise tähtsusega, et müüa “uut korda” Kesk-Euroopa rahvamassidele, kes olid täis indu uuesti läänega ühineda.

Missugusesse Euroopasse on nad nüüd tagasi pöördunud? Sellisesse, mis on tegelikult kujutanud endast kahte aastakümmet täis heitlikku segu karmist “šokiteraapiast” ja neoliberalismist ning mille tulemused on samuti üsna segased? Paistab, et üleminek on loonud “ühendatud Euroopa,” mis on “edukalt” viinud läbi kogu “teiseks Euroopaks” nimetatud regiooni korporatiivse ülevõtmise. Selles protsessis on ruineeritud tekstiilivabrikud Poznanis, söekaevandused Katowices, terasetööstused ja relvavabrikud Slovakkias ning laevatehased Gdanskis – selles mereäärses linnas, mida teatakse liikumise “Solidaarsus” sünnikohana.

Lääs alustas turukapitalismi sisse viimist otsekohe pärast müüri langemist. Selle peamiseks müügiagendiks ehk turustajaks oli Jeffrey Sachs, äärmiselt tark ja osav noor Harvardi professor, kes pühitseti praktiliselt “šokiteraapia” apostliks või isaks. “Šokiteraapia” vormiks oli “uus üleminekumajanduse teooria.” Gowan kirjeldab seda kui “lääne-orientatsiooniga plaani regiooni ühiskondlikuks ümberkorraldamiseks,” mille sihiks oli jõuda turumajanduseni. Samal ajal põrkus Sachs kokku mõnede väljapaistvate mõtlejate skeptitsismiga, nagu näiteks parun Ralf Gustav Darendorf.

Gowan, kes on London Metropolitan University rahvusvaheliste suhete professor, selgitab, et Saksa “vana kooli” sotsiaaldemokraat Darendof väitis, et Kesk-Euroopale majandusliku mudeli peale sundimise asemel, peaks regionaalse kasvu edendamise nurgakiviks olema “olemasoleva sotsiaalsete institutsioonide võrgustiku respekteerimine” ja sotsiaalsete isntitutsioonide tugevdamine “ideede ringluse” abil. “Arutelude, läbirääkimiste ja kokkulepete kaudu saab ülesse ehitada konsensuse.” Õigusriik, kus eeldatavasti peaks valitsema “seaduse võim” tuli rajada “avatud ühiskonna” ja “kodanikuühiskonna” kaudu. Taas kord vaid hüüdlaused, mida populariseerisid tolle aja “algatajad,” nagu näiteks George Soros. Reaalsus oli siiski sootuks teistsugune. Sachs lükkas tagasi Darendorfi “avaliku eksperimenteerimise” vabas ühiskonnas. Ta kartis, et see viiks elanikkonna reformi suhtes valele teele.

Veel ühe võimaluse tsentraliseeritud majanduste reformimiseks lääne kapitalismi eeskujul pakkus välja tuntud pankur Alfred Herrhausen, kes toetas vähem radikaalset ja rohkem “järk-järgulist” “turukapitalismi” sisse viimist Ida- ja Kesk-Euroopas. Poliitika põhialuseks oli hoida vana Nõukogude Liitu kui majanduslikku üksusest, tervena. Sellistvõimalust pidasid ameeriklased ketserluseks ja mütevälistati. Idee oleks võimaldanud “sihtmärgiks” oleval regioonil säilitada kaubanduslikud sidemed oma seniste peamiste eksporditurgudega idas ning samal ajal liigutada uut Euroopat üldiselt või järk-järguliselt lääne vabaturu kapitalismi poole. Sach uskus, et see võiks rahvahulgad ohtlikule eksiteele viia.

Teine plaan, nagu Gowan oma raamatus osutab, oli Ameerika plaan, mis sisaldas Euroopa Liidu (EL) enda institutsioonide väga ulatuslikku restruktureerimist ning kutsus üles loobuma ühisest põllumajanduspoliitikast (CAP), selleks et avada Lääne-Euroopa turud Kesk-Euroopa põllumajandustoodete ekspordile. Või nagu Gowan hiljutises intervjuus märkis, “see oleks tähendanud regioonile soodsa juurdepäärasuvõimaluse andmist Lääne-Euroopa turgudele.” Kuid Brüssel ei olnud valmis iseenda reformimist läbi viima. Põhimõtteliselt ütles Brüssel 1990. aastate alguses Kesk-Euroopa riikidele: “Me ei hakka teie eksporti sisse lubama,” märkis Gowen.

Veel ühe alternatiivi esitas Prantsusmaa presidendi Francois Mitterand’i tippnõunik ning Euroopa Rekonstruktsiooni- ja Arengupanga (EBRD) rajaja Jaques Attali. Pangast pidi saama regionaalset arengut kujundav institutsioon. Põhiolemuselt pidi panga rolliks olema finantseerimise ja erakapitali sissevoolu tagamine, et aidata infrastruktuuri üles ehitada ning luua seeläbi kohalikke töökohti. Säilitades samal ajal uue Euroopa tööstusliku baasi enam-vähem tervena, mis omakorda oleks stimuleerinud “kodukasvatatud” majandustõusu. Kuid see põrkus samuti šokiterapeutide nägemusele, kelle taotluseks oli regioonis maha lõhkuda terved tööstusharud, et võimaldada välismaa rahvusvahelistel ettevõtetel restruktureerida ja üle võtta “üleliigsed” vabrikud, mille ostsid välja ja mida majandasid Euroopa Liidu ettevõtted “vanast” Euroopast.

“Tegelikult on tõsiasi, et uues Euroopas toimus väga suure hulga inimeste tohutu vaesumine,” ütleb Gowan. Lisades: “Seda fakti varjatakse jutuga, edust ja ebaõnnestumisest ning peidetakse sihilikult majanduslike varade kohutavat hävitamist, mis regioonis aset leidis.”

Sachsi majanduslik mudel oli suunatud kogu Ida-Euroopale. Mudel oli kooskõlas angloameerika kokkuleppega kuidas regiooni ümber kujundada. Peamiseks eksperimentaalseks patsiendiks oli Poola, kus “šokiteraapia” teooriaid käisid papagoi moodi korrutamas IMF-i, Maailmapanga ja USA ametiisikud, kes kõik laulsid ülistuslaulu Sachsi poliitikale.

Mantra oli järgmine: otsesed välisinvesteeringud (FDI) “loovad töökohti, suurendavad tootlust, tekitavad majanduskasvu ja tõstavad elustandardit. Need toovad kaasa uusi tehnoloogiaid, uusi juhtimisvõtteid, uusi turgusid ja paremaid äri tegemise viise.” Põhilise mänguplaani osaks oli lausrünnak kodumaisele toodangule. Nii toimus post-kommunistlike majanduste kõikides sektorites.

Tarbekaupade sektoris oli seda kõige paremini näha. Poola habemeajamisvedelik, Tšehhi odekolonn jne hakkasid äkitselt kaupluste riiulitelt kaduma. Gowani andmeil kasvas Lääne-Euroopa mulitnatsionaalsete kompaniide toodangu import Ungarisse aastatel 1989-1991 kahekordseks. Poolas, mis on regiooni suurim turg, tõusis nende toodete osakaal koguimpordist samal perioodil 18,2 protendilt 31,6 protendile. See “tõrjus välja” kohalikud tootjad ja sundis neid äritegevust lõpetama. Gowan kirjutab:

“See ekspordi kullaauk oli suuresti ekpordikrediitide tagajärg,mida toetasid suuresti Lääneriikide valitsused, kes andsid ekspordikrediite ja krediidigarantiisid oma riikide eksportfirmadele … neid toetusi esitati kui abi ekspordikampaania sihtriikidele.”

1990. aastatel, samal ajal kui IMF ja Maailmapank nõudsid, et Kesk-Euroopa valitsused lõpetaksid oma põllumajandussektori subsideerimise, ujutas Euroopa Liit regiooni üle omaenda farmerite tugevalt subsideeritud põllumajandustoodetega. See hävitas peaaegu täielikult Poola ja Ungari talupidajad, kes suutsid kommunistliku valitsuse ajal tegutseda suhteliselt kasumlikult ja olid majanduslikult üsna sõltumatud. Tänu dumpingupoliitikale tuli suurim vastuseis Euroopa Liidu liikmeks saamisele just Poola farmeritelt ja nende Ungari kolleegidelt. See “protestihääletus” kanaliseerus “populistide” toetuseks, nagu Andrei Leppner natsionalistlikust “enesekaitse parteist” ja tema relvavennad “Poola talupoegade parteist”.

Lisaks kõrvaldati šokiteraapia tippajal, 1990. aastate alguses, kaubandusbarjäärid nagu seda propageerisid kaubanduse liberaliseerimise ülempreestrid. Praeguseks ennast diskrediteerinud ja peaaegu iganenud Maailma Kaubandusorganisatsioon korraldas regiooni suhtes massiivse dumpingu, mille tulemuseks oli, et Tšehhi ja Poola sealihatootjad uputati üle tugevalt subsideeritud Euroopa Liidu singi ja peekoniga. Gowani sõnul muutis niisugune poliitika Kesk-Euroopa põllumajandussektori “üleliigseks.” Asja tegi veelgi hullemaks, et 1990. aastate alguses kehtestas Euroopa Liit tegelikult keelu igasugusele loomaliha ja elusveiste sisseveole Kesk-Euroopast, tänu ühele sigade katku juhtumile Ungaris.

Ma mäletan seda eufoorilist õhkkonda, mis järgnes veretule “sametrevolutsioonile” ning kuidas ma istusin ühes Praha õllekeldris ehk pivnice’s, koos teiste ajakirjanike ja diplomaatide-luurajatega. Minu ees oli Vladimir Dlouhy, kes töötab praegu konsultandina firmades Goldman Sachs ja ABB Corporation. Tol ajal oli see endine Tšehhoslovakkia kaubandusminister üheks peamiseks figuuriks, kes viis läbi “turusõbralikke” reforme Tšehhi-Slovaki vabariigis.

Ta selgitas meile valitsuse poolt kupongide ehk vautšerite abil korraldatava erastamise eeliseid ja komplitseeritust. Kuulasin süvenenult tema segadusse ajavat loitsimist kõige selle kohta. Mõned aastad hiljem ilmnes, et kogu skeem oli tegelikult võlts. Paljudele tšehhidele, kes investeerisid oma säästud kupongide abil toimunud erastamisse, sai selgeks, et need suurejoonelised skeemid olid peenelt välja töötatud pettus. Veidi taustmaterjali selle kohta: Gowani raamat juhib tähelepanu sellele, et pärast müüri langemist vajas Kesk-Euroopa meeleheitlikult juurdepääsu lääne kapitalile. Juurdepääsu saamiseks pidi Kesk-Euroopa avama oma turud välisinvestoritele ning kapitali regioooni kutsuma või meelitama.

Üheks “merkantilistliku” poliitika osaks oli “püha kolmainsuse” Maailmapank-IMF-EL “sihtmärgiks” olevad riigid, nagu Ungari, Tšehhi Vabariik ja Slovakkia, kes kõik avasid oma tööstussektorid välisinvestoritele ning ütlesid Euroopa Liidule: “Võtke, mida te tahate,” nagu Gowan seda väljendab. Niisugune neoliberaalne poliitika eelistas siiski Euroopa Liidu liikmesriikides asuvaid multinatsionaalseid korporatsioone ning poliitka viidi täide toetussüsteemi abil, mis soosis Brüsselis asuvaid suure äri lobbygruppe ning seda kohaliku tööstuse arvel. Uue Euroopa valitsused pidid erastama suurema osa oma tööstusest ning müüma selle välismaistele huvilistele nii kiiresti kui võimalik. Need kavaldamised on tuntud nimetuse all “erastamine kupongide kaudu.” Kommenteerides erinevusi selles skeemis, mida rakendati erinevates riikides pisut erinevalt, märgib väljaanne „The Economist”:

“Iga riik on läinud oma teed. Tšehhi Vabariik on kontsentreerunud vautšeritele, et kiiresti edasi liikuda. Ungari on keskendunud riigifirmade erastamisele aktsiate müügi teel, lootuses soodustada efektiivsemat juhtimist, aga kõik on kohati väga viltu läinud. Poola alustas riigifirmade erastamist aktsiate müügi teel, kuid avastas, et protsess on aeglane ning on nüüd üle läinud vautšeritele. Mingitmoodi jõutakse välja ühe ja sama asjani: kuna eraisikutel ei ole praktiliselt mingit akumuleerunud kapitali, siis maksab lõpuks enamike privatiseerimiste eest riik. Kuna kõik see on uus, siis on reeglid sageli ebatäpsed või lihtsalt puuduvad sootuks” (18. november, 1995).

Nagu nädalaleht ülalpool mainis, olid erastamispoliitikad enamasti raskesti mõistetavad ja halvasti korraldatud ning sageli oli tulemuseks, et väga väärtuslikud kodumaised varad, nagu energeetika, transport või tööstus, müüdi maha nii, et välismaised huvilised said nendelt tehingutelt tohutuid kasumeid. Loomulikult läks tubli osa neist kahtlastest tehingutest saadud kasumitest ka ebaausatele valitsusametnikele, endistele kommunistliku partei mahhinaatoritele ja teistele semudele, kes erastamisprogramme korraldasid. See jättis kohalikud pensionärid ja “väikeinvestroid” külma kätte, koos oma praktiliselt väärtusetute riigi poolt välja antud kupongidega, mille eest saadi ainult murdosa nende algsest väärtusest.

Lisaks oli protsess läbi imbunud korruptsioonist mille tulemusel kaotasid miljonid tšehhid, poolakad ja ungarlased oma säästud, mis olid investeeritud riigi omanduses olevatesse, kuid samas välismaalaste poolt juhitavatesse ettevõtetesse. Lääne kontseptsioon “korporatiivsest valitsemisest,” kus eeldatakse, et juhtkond on vastutav aktsionäride ees, puudus erastamisprotsessis täielikult ning see paistis olevat tähtsusetu Euroopa Liidu tehnokraatide jaoks, kes protsessi üle järelevalvet tegid. Paljud asjaolud tulid avalikuks ulatuslikes kohalikes meediareportaažides 1990. aastate lõpul.

Pärast välismaalaste poolt toime pandud suurriiklike varade röövimist kogunesid Mailmapanga ametnikud, IMF-i tehnokraadid ja neoliberaalsed ideoloogid 2000. aastal Prahasse, et vaadata ja imetleda neid neoliberaalse poliitika aastakümneid, mis olid toonud uue Euroopa elanikkonna enamusele peamiselt kibedaid vilju. Ometi ei olnud tol ajal näha veel mingaid märke lähenevast poliitilisest maavärinast, mida me praegu Ungaris näeme. Võeti “püsiv ja kindel” kurss edasistele reformidele ja uue Euroopa integreerimisele Euroopa Liidu majanduslikku mõjusfääri.

Pärast hiljutisi rahutusi Baltikumis ja mitmetes Balkani osades, mis panid värisema need väärtpaberiportfellide haldajad, kes tegelevad “tõusvate turgudega,” on saanud selgeks, et regioon kannatab rängalt erastamisväsimuse ja ohjeldamatu spekulatiivse ahnuse kõrvalmõjude all. Sõnum on selge: 20 aastat pärast kommunismi langemist on isu täiendavate reformide järele hääbumas. Faktiliselt on regioon ära kannatanud kõik selle, mida hetkeseisuga taluda suudetakse. Maailmapank-IMF-EL “püha kolmainsus” on lükanud Kesk-Euroopa Argentiina-laadse kollapsi servale.

***

Originaal: Michael Werbowski. 25.02.2009. Eastern Europe on the Brink. The Legacy of 20 Years of Unrelenting Neoliberal Reforms.

Advertisements

Kommentaarid

1. Hubbil - 5. märts 2009

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/596548
Uudis, 39 kooliujulat pannakse kinni kui raha ei ilmu.

Mida arvab uks ameeriklane sellest Werbowski artiklist? Nad ei anna poolt peeru selle eest.

Miks on luterlik maailmavaade siiani koige onnestunum? Selleparast, kallid lugejad, et ta jutlustab sulle seda, et peale rasket tood saabub onnistus. Mis iganes, onnelik pensionipolv, onnelikud lapsed jms. See oli nn American Dream alustala. Mis toimus Bush-Clinton-Bush ajal, oonestas paris tugevalt seda. Bushid olid evangelistid (tule minu ruppe ja ma armastan sind peale seda kui sa oma raha mulle annad).
Bush junior oli muuseas hardcore ajuvaba, keda kasutati ara huvigruppide poolt. Ma ei saa suhtuda tosiselt kellegisse, kes vaidab, et talle on oeldud midagi korgemalt poolt. Bush jr on seda vaitnud vahemalt kaks korda avalikult. Skisofreenia?

Mina panen telefoni korva aarde, kui ma kuulen helinat. Ja ei oota et keegi mulle helistaks peale oma tuttavate-perekonna. Mul on tugev kahtlus, kas on olemas meie maailmast valjaspool olevaid olevusi, jumalaid. Usun, et neid ei ole. Aga see usu jutt on uks tundlik vark, teemast valjas ka. Kui uks teadlane suudaks toestada, et jumalat pole olemas, peaks naiteks Iisraeli riik lopetama oma eksistentsi. Sionismi alustala kaob justkui ara. Maailm oleks probleemi ees, kuhu paigutada 7 miljonit juuti. Naerukoht. Miljonite umberpaigutamine on tanapaeval vaart haigutust, seda tehakse tihti.

2. analyytik - 6. märts 2009

TIMOTHY GARTON ASH: Euroopa tõehetk
EPL, 06. märts 2009
http://www.epl.ee/artikkel/461102

Timothy Garton Ash
The Guardian, Thursday 26 February 2009
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/feb/26/european-union-solidarity

3. struula - 6. märts 2009

Hüva Hubbil. Kõik ei ole kuld mis hiilgab. Vähegi taibum näeb poliitilise näivuse maskeraadi läbi. USA-s on loomulik ja vältimatu usu ja poliitika põimumine, kas see meile meeldib või mitte. Kui Bushidele (kellele iganes) on kasulik muude rollide seas kanda uskliku maski (valijate hääled!), siis eda ka kõhklematult tehakse. Ära otsi usku ega Jumalat sealt, kus seda/teda pole. Viimane on tõesti teine teema…

4. Hubbil - 6. märts 2009

Struula, tosi on. Baptistid-evangelistid-jt hardcore fundamentalistid on otsustanud USA presidendivalimiste saatuse juba 20 aastat kui mitte rohkem. Kui ma tohin meelde tuletada, siis USA president on koige mojuvoimsam isik maailmas. Kristlik fundamentalism USA-s on nuud saanud omale jarglased. Ehk pigem need munad mis on munetud, hakkavad nuud tibusid tooma. Ekstreemsed usufanaatikud on tostnud oma pead igal pool. Valmis tapma ebaoigluse eest minevikus, kattemaksuks ja oma usu paremaks tunnistamise eest.

Toesti oleks vaja kedagi, kes toestaks, et seda monoteistlikku jumalat pole olemas. Uhe jumala moiste on tekitanud tohutuid verevalamisi just selle parast, et vaieldakse, kelle vaade Issandale ja tema prohvetile on oigem. Monoteistlikud on judaism, kristlus ja muslimi usk. Nuud, miks nad uksteist nii roomsalt tapavad oma ideaalide nimel, saab ehk seletada just selle konkurentsiga territooriumi ja inimhingede ule. Judaistid ei ole veel prohveti leidmiseni joudnud. Aga mis ma raagin voib minu vanaisa hauas ennast ringi keerama panna, ta oppis Tartus teoloogiat. Ei tea, monikord kirjutan rohkem kui vaja.

5. 1 aprilli liikumine - 7. märts 2009

Jajah, neonatsismi ja fashismi tõusu on näha ka eestis, selline organisatsioon nagu natshnoi dozor.

6. Hubbil - 9. märts 2009

Kas 5. 1 aprilli liikumine – 7. märts 2009 ,
voi 8. marts voi mina tappis ara blogi diskussiooni? Arge tehke mind narviliseks, raakige millestki.

7. Michael Werbowski - 9. märts 2009

Dear Estonian readers,

It seems my article on 20 years of unrelenting neo- liberal reforms in E. Europe, which appeared recently on http://www.dissidentvoice.org has elicted some interest in your fair Baltic country. I am very pleased that it was translated ( my thanks to the translator) into Estonian. Regretfully, although my Czech and German and some Russian is acceptable, I am unable to read nor understand your language. If someone would be so kind to translate some of the remarks above related to my article into English or German, this would be most helpful for research reasons and greatly appreciated by the author as well. Best MW

8. Oudekki - 9. märts 2009

Dear Michael Werbowski – welcome commenting here and once again thank you for the really interesting article.

Hubbil – as I suppose you do speak english, could you be so kind and repeat yourself in this language :) Struula ?

9. Michael Werbowski - 9. märts 2009

Yes , my language is English (American)..Is there any possible way for someone to please translate for me the comments above into English so I and other English speakers and readers can understand them?

Thank you or as you say Tänan väga
MW

10. khmm - 10. märts 2009

I would say, your critique is typical “easy target”. You’re saying “neoliberalism sucks”, well, wasnt that easy… You think socialist states are doing much better? Is Sweden doing better?

11. khmm - 10. märts 2009

I would say it is naive and intellectually very lightweight to blame everything on current economic crisis only on neoliberal reforms and alleged stealing by Western Europeans. I think it has much more to do with terrible communist legacy.
As one writer said about it:

“Europe’s east is sinking ever more deeply. Into what, you might ask. Into the cesspool of the economic downturn is the answer from the hip. The situation is, however, more complicated than that. As in the case of the US’ automobile industry, the crisis everybody talks about merely coincides with one whose unrelated factors have caused the current general downturn. The roots are much deeper than we care to admit. East Europe suffers from ailments that have to do with a “sinful” but un-repented past and unsolved territorial and population issues (they go back at least to 1919). To make matters worse, there is also an inherited tradition that has been amplified by decades of socialism that nurtured short-term thinking and corruption. In part, the following case is indicative of the broken crutch used to propel the otherwise healthy. In Romania a Ceausescu-offspring will get possession of the loot the thievish “Leader” had accumulated. This is possible because, as an essayist has noted “the people do not care”. Why do the “people” not care? Because they are convinced by their past experiences in collectivism that they, their concept of justice and their will, do not matter. The result is unchecked and bad government. From this, we learn that, while government cannot make you wealthy, good governance is a pre-condition of collective success in the pursuit of the good life.”

12. Michael Werbowski - 10. märts 2009

First of all, who ever you are, you make some very valid points. Certainly it is a bit puerile to blame all that ills E.Europe on neo liberal insanity based on the corporate foreign takeover of the region. There are other factors for sure. I wanted in my piece only to show the link between 1989 and 2009 and the policy decisions taken in between and how they have impacted today’s crisis. There is in my view and was in the past a concerted strategy by the IMF World Bank, EBRD, EU etc to transform the region into a new accessible market , with qualified cheap labour for western corporations . I am not saying that communism was neither better nor am I trying to diminish in any way the hardships and depravations, that is both material and conceptual (lack of freedom) under the old and rotten communist system. My premise is that after 1989, the “baby was thrown out with the bathwater”. That is, all aspects of social equity, full employment, and a notion of community, were discarded in the name of the holy ideology of “Washington consensus” which sanctified the dominance of the marketplace over everything else on earth including human welfare. In my view, which is based on the works of academics I quoted in my piece, the radical reforms imposed by the west were no different from Lenin’s “new economic policy” or Mao’s “great leap forward”. Neo liberal policies ruthlessly dictated by Wall Street instead of the Kremlin or the People’s central committee were wrong…Now we see the results of this very bitter harvest in the region: popular unrest coupled with economic turmoil.

13. Piret - 10. märts 2009

Michael – good points, overall. For the last decade, the economic boom based on cheap credit has flooded the Baltic countries. Now, as the tide goes out, we see who is swimming naked, and apparently it’s the entire Baltic economies. Add to this the fact that we are dealing with unconsolidated democracies, the governments’ utter failure to deal with the economic crash, eroded social safety nets (thanks, neoliberals!) and just a pinch of nationalism — not a pretty cocktail, is it? As someone much smarter than I likes to say — we are in 1931 and ready to flip a coin. Heads, we get Roosevelt. Tails, we get Hitler.

14. marco - 10. märts 2009

Interesting discussion. In my perception, what happened – from a purely economic point of view – was the destruction of an economically integrated area, Comecon and especially USSR, exactly while the other half of our continent was gearing up its own economic integration. We were trying to get rid of our currencies, and on the “Eastern” side the most exotic ones were popping up here and there. We – the EU – were dismantling borders, and “they” were setting up fences and barbed wire. We were trying to coordinate our policies, and “they” were shutting down one planning entity after the other. So, some states threw away a higher level of economic integration for the sake of a looser one, namely entering – and not or all of them – the EU. But, in fact, it was a pure nonsense to destroy a viable economic system, a viable system of interdependent markets just to set up a new system that, simply, does not work. The break-up of USSR has been first and foremost an economic tragedy for its former members, since they have lost a viable market – in fact one of the biggest in the world – and there was nothing to replace it but a this fictional leverage-based “economy” that, thanks God, is now evaporating all over the world. Closing down steel mills and opening up financial hubs, after all, was a very bad idea. Destroying engineers and feeding bankers was an even worser one. Baltic countries – and in fact all of “them”, meaning all of the former integrated countries – have nowhere to go, from an economic point of view. They severed their economic ties with Russia, and it seems to me these gentlemen never bothered to take a look at a map. It is obvious that Baltic states, and Eastern ones, must have very solid, good and priority economic relations with Russia. Or prepare for the worst. There will be no bail-out from Brussels. As soon as oil will go up once more (very soon, I guess) Moscow will be there, sitting by the river and smiling. The dead corpses of political dynosaurs – the nationalists – will roll downstream, and Russia will be the only one enity able to bail-out what will be left – not that much, I suppose – of present, fictional economies. Frankly speaking, I do not see, thanks God, very much room of maneuvering for Hitler-style politicians. I know what happened in the ’30s, but I also know that no fascist-like regime would have happeared, or at least survived, without Mussolini’s and Hitler’s backing. So, either one of the EU big 4 falls in the hands of fascists, or nobody will give any Mart Laar a penny to pursue extremist paths. Let’s not forget that US is collapsing, and will be very busy at home, with what is left of its militay might and political attention caught somewhere between Panshir, the Gulf and possibly Mexico. Europeans will have to make it by themselves, and Russia will not be very kind with us. One day, we will all learn history’s lessons, and we will act accordingly, avoiding criminal idiocies such as nationalism, or economic fundamentalism.

15. Hubbil - 11. märts 2009

Oudekki asked me to translate my answer to Struula. Struula said: not everything that shines is gold, rather it’s fool’s gold. Anybody with the consciousness will see that in the US the mingling of faith and politics is validated, whether we like it or not. If someone like Bush wears a mask as a true believer, Struula believes, this is done to get more votes.

I sort of disagreed with Struula, my claim is that there is a tendency in US, that fundamentalist christians have been deciding the faith of elections for at least by 20 years. Chosen to lead the society and chosen to chose the leaders. That’s why I greet Obama as a new wind in politics of the most powerful country, I would say, the Empire.

Translating my answer to Struula: hardcore evangelists have been deciding the fate of presidential elections for 20 years if not more. If I can remind you, US president is the most powerful person in the world. Christian fundamentalism has come home to roost. The eggs that have been laid, have produced extremist fanatics everywhere. Now they are ready to kill with a vengeance or for the sole purpose, that their faith is better.

I need someone to prove that God doesn’t exist. Monotheistic religion has created so much suffering because so many people are ready to kill to prove that their version of God and his Prophet is the right one. That can be explained by the will to obtain more souls and territories. Judaists are no longer proselyters. They are exempt. Meaning they are no longer expanding. If my late grandfather had heard what I just said, he might turn over in his grave. He studied theology.

Well, that was rather loose translation. Again, this forum is not about religion.

16. Michael Werbowski - 11. märts 2009

Good day All,

Thank you or Tänan väga, for taking the time to translate your remarks.. if possible I would like to start another related discussion as to where do the Baltic states ( Estonia) go from here in the post crisis period?.. Towards closer ties with the EU, that is seeking to adopt the EURO common currency ASAP, or towards Russia and forming some sort of free trade area with them?

MW

17. Khmm - 12. märts 2009

Mr. Werbowski, are you serious?
What makes you believe any of Baltic States has any interest forming free trade area with aggressive fascist neighbouring state??? Would you like to discuss Russian-Georgian free-trade atrea too?
We all are members of EU and unless EU will collapse and NATO lose it’s coherence, it is absurd even assume Baltics will choose Russian way. If you know history at all, you should know, all “cooperation” with Russia has ended with occupation by them.
Don’t take lunatics as Marco seriously here, him calling Mart Laar an extremist and USA collapsing, makes me laugh.

Oudekki: Please refrain from personal attacks. We discuss on arguments here.

18. Michael Werbowski - 12. märts 2009

Good day Sir,
I think we misunderstand each other, nobody including me is suggesting the Baltics join the CIS or anything like that… each EU country has preferential agreements on a bilateral basis while remaining within the EU so why not with Russia…you also missed my point it seems, Russia whatever their horrible history in your parts could one day also be an EU country..anyhow the old Soviet Bloc is gone and dead thank goodness . but what will replace it ? The EU has only partially filled the vaccum to the East ( leaving out the Ukraine for instance) ..My other point is maybe the Baltics should consider joining the Euro like Slovakia did.

MW

19. Hubbil - 12. märts 2009

Khmm is one exemplary Estonian. I’m sort of happy that Khmm is throwing in some of his/her thoughts. Makes for me easier to explain where Estonia is right now. But I think Khmm was more provocative than thoughtful. I’d like to think that, because otherwise it would be too dumb.

Estonians take pride of many things. Being among the top in any ranking has become a national sport. In my lifetime I have read so many times that Estonians are (selfproclaimed) on the top of the world. Most beautiful language, most colors and patterns in their national dress, tallest and smartest race in the world.

This sort of mindset is rather common at the moment. I do believe, that this has something to do with the self-protectionism. Objectively, I’m proud to belong to this small national group, but I’m wary of all the extremism that Estonian society currently has. Protectionist and nationalist ideas in Estonia are bordering to fascism. And that is a bad mistake, that one cannot learn from the great wars of the last century. Ironically, main ideologist behind the scenes, Estonian gray cardinal or Dick Cheney, is Mart Laar, man with a degree in history. His influence to what is Estonia now, is immense. He has talents and having born in the noble family in Great Britain, let’s say, 150 years ago, he would have become at least a minister. What I want to say, is that this talented mr Laar has inhaled too much dust from the history books and has learned no lesson.

Estonian society is rather conservative. I don’t expect any radical changes toward Russia or EU. What I do expect, is gradual distancing themselves from US. Estonia has more ties to US than to it’s neighbours. I’m talking about the ideological and cultural thinking. Thinking about the USA as a world leader is in itself not a bad idea, they are leaders in so many aspects. But being the sycophants, servants, stewards is a bad idea.

Now, all doom and gloom are hanging over Estonia. Economy, that used to be the pride of the right-wing parties (all 2 of them), is kind of eroding. Also, the damper has been put lately on the nationalist propaganda.

Culturally, Estonia belongs to the western world. Historically and geographically not so. Culture in Estonia is that of the german landlords. History has been a struggle for life for downbeaten peasants. At one point in history, after the plagues and famines and wars, landlords just shipped in new peasants from nowadays Poland. Now we have in southern Estonia people with brown eyes and dark hair. That happened so long time ago, that all the newcomers are now indistinguishable except for some facial features.

Recent struggles between the Estonians and the russian-speaking population is somewhat exemplary. Estonians, who form now the upper class (german-speaking upper class was removed quite violently at the beginning of the last century), are repeating history’s mistakes. Why are they doing this antagonizing stuff, leaves me dumbfounded. Probably some people see in their minds patriotism in the key of the world long gone. Being in the German cultural area for 800 years has left it’s footprint. But Estonia is not Germany…

As to where the Baltic states go post-recession… Toward the old Europe. That means also, that they have to fix up their relations with Russia and somewhat also to apologize to everyone. Both, Russia and Europe are annoyed with Estonia. I would see Estonia somewhat abandoning it’s historical ties with Latvia and Lithuania and moving closer to Finland and Sweden.

20. Hubbil - 12. märts 2009

Dear MW, Estonia will be finally in the EU, which is sometimes called EUSSR, after the euro comes as a blessing?

I was a government official in Estonia in May 2004, when Estonia became EU and NATO member. Everyone was patting themselves for a good job. I lost my career when I said that all this crap is counterproductive to the idea of independence. Independence in my interpretation is not moving from under one umbrella to another. Switzerland is independent. Probably historically, being in the hotpoint of forces of Europe, they chose the neutrality. Other option would have been being runned over by the armies trying to reach the other country to beat.

It kind of amazed me in Switzerland that these guys don’t have much history before the 1500-s. Now, that leads me to think, that Estonia should declare itself outside of any associations. Estonia at least has a longer history than Switzerland has.

Bilateral agreements with Russia are out of fashion. But that thing is going to change soon. I don’t remember perhaps correctly, but Estonia took some obligations after joining EU. One of them was about borders. Estonian parliament added a spit to the border agreement some couple of years ago and naturally, russkies threw it back. So, against the agreements that Estonia signed to join the EU, Estonia still has not got the border agreement with his neighbour. Joining the eurozone is another example of Estonia failing. Estonia hasn’t fullfilled most of the criterias to join the Europe despite being in the eurozone now for 17 years plus.

Everybody wants to join the eurozone, where not one stupid has to worry about their own responsibility. Everybody wants in, but rare on wants to bear the responsibility. I really think that the common currency of euro has suffered by low standards to accept new members to EU. Has suffered a lot. Euro by now should be the leading currency.

And for God’s sake, why do the Estonians need EU? EU seems more and more like the empire that Charlemagne dreamed about.

That makes me sad. Speaking and thinking in Estonian.

Estonia has an establishment like every other country has and has, namely the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Believe me or not, they are the most sensible and thoughful people in Estonian society. Perhaps because they have seen world or perhaps the FM has higher standards regarding who do they employ.

Now, this most noble establishment in Estonian society is speaking thru the mouth of the foreign minister. Who is a rather childish figure right now.

The girl at the head of the FM before him was one fantastic figure. Caught in some airport, because she was dressed like a prostitute. Foreign minister before her was the current Estonian president, mr Ilves. The later is a former CIA collaborator who became famous for sitting on his FM ministerial desk (literally) fronting Russian journalists. He’s the one who decided to f..k the random blonde and drop his educated wify. Maybe this dude has good human qualities, but I’m not aware of them. He is the president of Estonia, chosen by the way not by the people of Estonia. Election laws in Estonia are in continuous flux. But right now, nobody is electing the supreme leader in direct votes. I’d rather see the French approach to elections, or Israeli, whatever. Small pond with fishes with big ambitions.

Perhaps a year ago, the Supreme Court of Estonia prohibited the changes in the election laws for the period of one year before the elections. Now, everybody is riding their political horses to either challenge this ruling or to take advantage of it.

From personal point of view, I’m expatriate. Nevertheless, I have had some contacts with the so-called establishment in Estonia. My brightest moment came when (at the time) the current PM and justice minister visited my old friend in Toronto when I was there. I can even say that the PM sleeped in my bed… Please don’t be disturbed, he slept in the bed that I owned, haha.

Estonian justice minister, mr Vaher was at the time one of the persons, who was pretending for the inheritance of my friend’s former girlfriend. That was on his agenda, when PM and mr Vaher visited Toronto. My friend said no no no and later, to me, that his girlfriend would have not had any money if she hadn’t been his girlfriend. To what I agree, because he was the smart one in the family.

Weeks later, mr Vaher said during the phone conversation, that he will crack my friend’s head with an axe. I happened to be a person to whom my friend called right after. So I remember clearly what my friend said, because of the disturbance and surprise that anything like this can really happen. Believe me, my friend he at his 80-ties quite agitated.

Anyways, the phone conversation is not recorded. I rely on my friend’s words and personal observations. What is recorded, legally, is Vaher’s family’s attempts to forge documents in Canada.

I couldn’t care less, but mr Vaher is still active in Estonia. As a member of Parliament. That show’s me that the Estonian society is sick. Lawyer being sicko is no news, but lawyer like mr Vaher being prominent and not accused of anything in the society leads me to think that something is rotten.

21. Khmm - 12. märts 2009

So, Oudekki where are you now, when Hubbil is writing personal insults and unproven accusations? Are these allowed here, cause his insults and views are similar to yours?

Oudekki: I am not living on computer. And your comments are clearly provocative. Are they not?

22. MW - 12. märts 2009

yes , it appears in the post Iraq ,post crisis debacle that “new” Europe i.e the Baltics as well, might return to the “old” one.This might be a good thing. Perhaps it’s better being under the EU than the U.S umbrella, especially when the U.S one is made in China… Humour aside China ownes America ( U.S Debt and credit funded by them).

23. marco - 13. märts 2009

dear Khmm, I can assure you I am not coming from the Moon, so I cannot be lunatic, even if I were to like it. You assume the present one is not a collpse? Well, Obama plans to spend more money on the bail-out than what US spent during WWII… Money that US does not have, by the way. So China will be kindly asked (in fact it has already been asked by Mrs. Rodham, as you know) to save United States of America. Isn’t it already a crystal-clear sign of collapse? But whatever. Mart Laar… Believe me or not, if any European politician would have written books hailing Waffen-SS his/her career would be over, thanks god. But, I propose you one thing: call Laar, or write him, and ask him to translate and publish his SS-loving books on the US market. Then we will see what will be the reaction.
Coming to the very interesting question of MIchael: my answer is that we will see very soon wether Estonia will move towards € or towards free-trade agreements with Russia. I think Estonian economic actors (entrepreneurs, unions, traders etc) should try to supercede politicians, in order to get rid of ideological rubbish and go back to common sense. If such a thorough analysis will be conducted, with ideologically-imbued nationalists kilometers off, I think the Russian options will be finally chosen. Or even a mix of the two which, in my personal opinion, would be the best solution: countries and peoples such as Estonia and Estonians shuold always avoid having only one point of reference at a time.
One last word on these ridicolous nationalist and Waffen-SS lovers. They are the staunchest Stalinists left. Their mental attitude is 100% Stalinist, with a blind belief in meaningless ideology, with their idea that politicians are: 1) the vanguard élite, and all the others have to obey; 2) those entitled to have the last word on everything.
Moreover, they bear the same, old slave attitude towards an External Big Brother, be it Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler, or Bush junior. What can they do now, poor men, when Obama made it clear that mending fences with Moscow is his first priority as far as former USSR space is concerned?

24. Hubbil - 13. märts 2009

Marco, hat tip.

25. tjah - 18. märts 2009

times are hard now due to the fact that several bad things coincided. But this too will pass and what remains is the unprecedented growth in living standards in Estonia in the past 18 or so years. At worst this crises will knock us back a couple of years but we’re still way ahead from where we were.

Marco, relationship with Russia is not up to us or our governments. We’ve seen all kinds of governments here come and promise a new opening. Vähi’s governments made several efforts, as did Siimann’s as did Kallas’. Surely you can remember the embarassments where our ministers bent over backwards and offered all kinds of concessions and getting in return an ever growing laundry list of grievances. Russia will open to us if Russia wants it, on Russia’s term – you better just accept it. Nothing we do can influence it.

Marco you are obviously misrepresenting Laar’s books and his position. The man’s grandfather was shot by the nazis!

MW, I suppose you haven’t heard of the saying – when you owe the bank 300 000, the bank owns you – when you owe the bank 300 000 000, you own the bank. China is in a difficult situation – if it undermines the cash Obama is printing – it will destroy its most important market and its savings in one fell swoop – if OTOH it underwrites the cash it will just postpone the crises. I think its a relatively safe bet that they’ll opt for postponing the crises and hope that one day US elects a fiscally responsible president of the world.

26. TIMOTHY GARTON ASH: Uue kapitalismi poole - 23. mai 2009

[…] uut aru­saa­ma jät­ku­suut­li­kust sot­siaal­sest tu­ru­ma­jan­du­sest.Related BlogsIda-Euroopa kuristiku serval « Kaheksanda Mai LiikumineNo tags for this […]


Sorry comments are closed for this entry

%d bloggers like this: