The Corner

The Rewriting Must Stand

A long-standing theme of the Putin presidency has been the attempt to blend the whole of Russia’s 20th Century — czarist and Soviet – into something around which modern Russia can unite. Thus in 2005 Putin described the break-up of the USSR as “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the last century, while there was no official objection to the release a few years later of Admiral, a romanticized biopic of Admiral Kolchak, one of the greatest of the “White” military commanders in the civil war that followed the Bolshevik coup.

Given the nature of the Soviet regime, that’s involved the restoration of quite a few myths. For example, the Baltic States were never “occupied,” something that would have come as news to those who were murdered, imprisoned, or deported in after the Soviet takeovers in 1940 and 1944. The Soviet invasion of Finland in 1939 is also a tricky topic, as Finnish lawyer Kari Silvennoinen has just been reminded.

Window on Eurasia:

On Friday evening, Kari Silvennoinen, a Finnish lawyer and the author of two books that criticize Moscow’s actions in 1939-1940, “Soviet Guilt” and “Soviet War Crimes Against Finland,” was arrested at a Moscow airport and kept without food and water for 14 hours before being expelled…


Mr Silvennoinen suspected that the reason for his arrest was that he has written two books, “The Soviet Guilt” and “Soviet War Crimes Against Finland”, that are highly critical of the role of the Soviet Union in European history. Mr Silvennoinen’s arrest comes amid a major DDoS attack against several websites connected with the Finnish non-governmental organisation, Pro Karelia [the greater part of Finnish Karelia was annexed by the Soviets in 1940], which has highlighted many of the same issues as Mr Silvennoinen.

Ah yes, DDoS attacks.

Where have we seen those before?

Well, there was this event in 2007 (here reported in the Guardian):

A three-week wave of massive cyber-attacks on the small Baltic country of Estonia, the first known incidence of such an assault on a state, is causing alarm across the western alliance, with Nato urgently examining the offensive and its implications.

While Russia and Estonia are embroiled in their worst dispute since the collapse of the Soviet Union, a row that erupted at the end of last month over the Estonians’ removal of the Bronze Soldier Soviet war memorial in central Tallinn [the memorial was re-erected in Tallinn’s military cemetery], the country has been subjected to a barrage of cyber warfare, disabling the websites of government ministries, political parties, newspapers, banks, and companies…

A coincidence, I’m sure.