What Future for Ukraine? (Letter to the Editor, The Economist, 26 February 2022)

I read your article on the situation in Narva, a town in Estonia close to the border with Russia (“Who’s next?” 5 February). Today’s 80% ethnic Russian majority is not the result of a “legacy” of Narva belonging to the Russian empire and then to the Soviet Union. In fact, at the end of the 1930s the overwhelming majority of Narva’s inhabitants were ethnically Estonian. The demographic change was made first in 1944 by Soviet carpet bombing that destroyed 95% of buildings and forced survivors to flee. The Soviets then did not allow Estonian citizens to return to their hometown, which had become part of a new Soviet military uranium mining complex.

Native Estonians were not considered trustworthy to live in that area. They were replaced by people resettled from the Soviet Union. Today’s Russian majority was created by local ethnic cleansing.

A reader
Tallinn, Estonia

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