It has come to the attention of the Estonian Central Council in Canada, that a far-left platform has published an article that distorts and manipulates the content of a recent exhibition about Ukraine’s struggle for independence throughout the 20th century. The article’s content aligns with current Russian government anti-Ukrainian narratives and disinformation operations.
The exhibition, “Ukraine in 20th Century Crises” was developed and authored by Estonia’s leading national historical institution, the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory. The Institute was founded by former Estonian President Lennart Meri and Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves is it’s patron. The institute is partnered with other national institutes of memory across Europe and is mandated to protect and raise global awareness of Estonia’s history. This includes the defence of our history against Russian manipulation of it.
Over the past decades, Russian information operations have sought to manipulate Estonian history including the outright denial of Russia’s Soviet era colonial occupation and repression of Estonia and its people. This includes defaming all Estonians who fled Nazi and Soviet terror in WWII as Nazi collaborators. This narrative is completely false and is intended to provoke hate towards our community and dehumanize and delegitimize us as Canadians. This has led to serious threats against the Estonian community in Canada including a recent threat to spread anthrax due to Estonia’s support for Ukraine.
However, Estonia and our community in Canada are not alone. Ukraine and the Ukrainian community in Canada have been the victims of a much more intense campaign by the Kremlin and Kremlin aligned proxies here in Canada to manipulate their history and deny Ukrainians of their culture, language, heritage and historical experiences.
The exhibition that was hosted by Tartu College in partnership with the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory, Estonian Central Council in Canada, VEMU and the Central and Eastern European Council in Canada, was organized to express solidarity with the Ukrainian people and the millions of displaced civilians and the tens of thousands who have been killed.
The content of the exhibition was produced by Estonia’s leading academic historical experts and was researched and written with the highest academic standards.
Ukraine’s WWII history is one part of this much larger and broader national history which is covered by this exhibition. Stepan Bandera, Roman Shukhevych and the OUN were actors in Ukraine’s WWII era history, and this is noted in the exhibition, as is their relationship with the Nazi occupiers. Just as the exhibition does not sensationalize the Soviet genocide against the Ukrainian people, it also does not sensationalize or glorify any aspect of Ukraine’s WWII history.
Any efforts to manipulate or distort the nature of the content in the exhibition and the suggestion that it glorifies Ukrainian involvement in any genocide or other criminal activity is patently false and defamatory. Such narratives align directly with current Russian information operations targeting the Ukrainian community in Canada, which aim to intimidate and silence them and their supporters.
Canadian articles that promote hate towards the Estonian community have been reported to Canadian law enforcement and we are considering legal action to, for example, cover the significant additional costs of security and law enforcement presence at our community events due to the threats that have been sent to our community.
The Estonian Central Council in Canada (ECC)/Eestlaste Kesknõukogu Kanadas (EKN) is a nationally elected council founded in 1951 that furthers the interests and development of the Canadian Estonian community.