Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Estonia vs. France

Reading comments to the article posted below i got some thoughts about the stereotypes about Russians in Estonian society. Some people think that the situation is completely different, than in France. In my opinion the situation is more similar, than it appears to be. Let's take a look:

1. Russians have been brought to Estonia to displace the native people in contrary to France, where migrants were invited to do the dirty job.

It's not correct 'cause there is a significant part of Russians who were living here for centuries, and most of the people who've been moved to Estonia after WWII have been sent here to work, to build up industry, infrastructure and so on. If you don't know it was not that easy to move within the Soviet Union on your own will. So we have common goals of migration, but somehow different motivators, in case of France migrants moved on their own will searching for better fate. In soviet times there was almost no difference in quality of life in urban areas, the income depended only on the job position. Only in northern regions the salaries were significantly higher, but in general it was defined by the state, who will be sent to the certain position. Hence, most of the people got here by fate, with minor influence of own will.

2. The social situation

It's not about the causes of riots but about reasons. In this light the situation is quite similar, first of all the migrants (or the most aggressive part of them) are living in kind of ghettos, where the influence of the state is low. It's probably the most significant factor, so to say the through-time connections between generation are much stronger, than through-space. There's no official discrimination in both countries, but anyway non-native inhabitants have huge difficulties to get a good job position due to the nonacceptance on the emotional level. Such conclusion can be made based on statistics. The language doesn't play important role, all the young people in France and the most of them in Estonia can speak the local language, they are born there but the native people, standing between the choice usually prefer candidates of own race other things being equal. It isn't good but it's the common practice. I don't want to tell that it is unavoidable but xenophobia is really wide spread in Europe, it's in human nature, in some countries it just stays under control of rationality and of course the level of xenophobia is also different from country to country. So, if one wants to change the situation, one should start from own folk. The toleration of people who are different would be the main goal. It's sad but true, that it's pretty idealistic dream. As it was mentioned above xenophobia is a part of human nature and it's impossible to wipe it out completely. Such goal would be similar to the construction of communism. But to increase the level of toleration sounds to be realistic.

3. The influence of the state

In both countries the state prefers not to care to much about the origin of the problem, most probably i wouldn't be wrong telling that the reason of it lies close to the national pride. And in both countries there are political forces who exploit this pride. They do it quite effectively, in France it has happen several times, when Le Pen was close to win the presidential elections (luckily not this time, but Sarco is also not really friendly to the immigrants), same in Estonia every election the nationalistic parties get a significant amount of votes. Such behavior just plants the time-bomb under the society. It should be accepted, that pure national states do not exist anymore, the new stage of development has arrived.

4. The criminality

Such an artificial national stratification leads to formation of large risk groups, where people can't see the perspective of life. The loyalty in such groups is also low, as well as the respect of the laws. One can say the society doesn't pay attention about what's going on in those groups until people step on the way of crime. Even in this case the society prefers not to identify the social reasons of the problem, not going beyond the unique cases. The same can be told about drugs.

Unfortunately I'm not very familiar with the present situation in France, something has been done with the problem during the last year? If someone could provide some information in English, please give me a link.