No. 33




Will we get lost in history? Semiotic knots in a post-modern state. Estonia

  • Igor Gräzin

    Member of the Riigikogu, Estonian Reform Party

Post-modern technological factors of societal development (Internet, digitalization, sharing economy, etc.) are objectively aimed against the fundamentals of modernistic culture. Globalization sweeps away relative economic advantages, national traditions, languages, cultural codes (rituals, carnivals, etc., as defined by Meletinsky). The migration crisis not only demonstrates this objective tendency, but also the total inability of the European elites to manage new problems of significant magnitude. Neither Merkel nor Hollande are leaders, but bookkeeper types that perform at the mid-managerial level of a mid-size company. Two crises combine to form a perfect storm: objective globalization (or Europeanization), and mediocrity in cabinets.

This gives Estonia its chance within the degrading environment of the EU. Although both (Estonia and the EU) are destined to disappear, a small country with a wealth of culturological frontiers (rural v. urban, archaism v. digitalism, Moscow/Russians v. Europe/Estonians, Tallinn v. Tartu, closed semiosphere of forests v. open sphere of the seas, Nordic ethnic v. Central European substrate, etc.) may buy the prolongation of its identity. Paradoxically, it is the EU officialdom that helps to carry out this task by restoring the infrastructural identities of the recent past. The fundamental decay of Southern Estonia set against the accelerated movement of Northern Estonia towards Finland can be countered by the restoration of Livonia as a fundamental Central European entity around the metropolitan Riga, Daugava River, and the East-West highway from Saint Petersburg to Paris that runs through Livonia. Livonia was the birthplace of ethnic Estonian culture, and will be able to prolong its existence, while Northern Estonia will go along with the internationalization processes of Finland and Scandinavia. (Official political goal of modern Estonia is “A New Nordic”. This is perfectly true for Tallinn and its surroundings alongside the Gulf of Finland.) Europe should be brave enough to overcome the narrowness of accidental political borders of the last century.

Full article in Estonian