Abstracts for Akadeemia 9/2006

Peeter Kaasik
Red Army soldiers’ mass grave and monument at Tonismägi in Tallinn

In April 1945 at least twelve Red Army soldiers allegedly killed during the “liberation” of Tallinn were buried in a mass grave at Tonismägi in Tallinn. It was a reburial of corpses that were exhumed from individual graves in Tallinn or its vicinity. Whose decision it was to have a mass grave in central Tallinn is not exactly known as the arrangement of the burial has not been recorded in the documents of Communist Party or government authorities of the time. Indirect evidence suggests that the burial was organized by the commandant’s office of Tallinn garrison whose documents, however, are not kept in Estonian archives.
Later, several questions have arisen concerning the number and identity of the buried, and it is impossible to know for certain who have actually been buried at Tonismägi. Different sources yield a total of 14 names of persons who may be buried in the mass grave at Tonismägi. From the time of the burial, the names of nine persons are known and three were anonymous. In May 1946 the provisional monument on the site was blown up, and the restored monument bore 11 names and no unknown persons were mentioned. On the memorial plaques of the monument unveiled at Tonismägi in 1947, 11 names and two unknown were inscribed of. In the 1970s the unknown ones were “identified” under dubious circumstances, and their names were added. Thus, as for some of the names, it is uncertain whether such people existed at all. Different sources also reveal discrepancies in initials, spelling of names, ranks and dates of death.

The circumstances of their death are also unclear. As Tallinn was seized by the Red Army in September 1944 without resistance, where did the dead bodies come from? As some of them are known to have fallen tens of kilometres from Tallinn, can they be called “liberators” of Tallinn? Why is there a disproportionate number of officers, including a colonel and two lieutenant colonels, while, in general, most victims were from enlisted ranks?
Before the reburial, most probably from autumn 1944, two other graves of Red Army soldiers are known to have existed near Charles XI Church. Where exactly the graves were located, how many people were buried there, and whether they were reburied in 1945 is not known. Some of the buried may have died under shady circumstances that did not fit with the official Soviet conception of history and led to the emergence of many legends. The most widely spread legend speaks about Red Army soldiers marauding in Tallinn in September 1944, who were shot down by their own troops and buried at Tonismägi. These rumours cannot be proved wrong either; they may be based facts that were not recorded in writing when the events took place.

No matter under which circumstances these people died, each of the capitals of the Soviet republics was meant to have a liberators’ monument with a mass grave next to it. Tonismägi did not become a memorial to the “great victory” and to the fallen soldiers as a result of long-term planning but by coincidence rather. As late as in March 1945, the square next to Charles XI Church was considered unsuitable for the grave. The location in the city centre was chosen primarily for propagandist reasons and not because of lack of space at the military cemetery. On 18 May 1945, “at working people’s request”, the area next to Charles XI Church was renamed “Liberators Square”, and on 12 June the resolution of the Executive Committee of Tallinn Working People’s Soviet approved its layout. On 9 October 1945, a contract for creating the “Monument to Liberators” was signed with architect A. Alas and sculptor E. Roos. By May 1946 the final design was approved and the monument should have been unveiled on the twenty-ninth anniversary of the October Revolution (7 November 1946). The deadline was repeatedly postponed, and actually, the monument was unveiled on the third anniversary of Tallinn’s “liberation” on 22 September 1947.

To sum up the above, we can say that the “Monument to Liberators” at Tonismägi can be primarily regarded as a compulsory element of city planning after the “Great Patriotic War of the Soviet Union”. It had to be located at a place accessible to the public and have a spacious square for the compulsory rituals on the anniversaries of the Soviet regime and the Red Army. The dead were of secondary importance and, most probably, by the end of the Soviet period, the exact location of the grave was unknown as the area had repeatedly been relandscaped, and later designs did not specify the place of the grave.

Enn Soosaar
Tiredness of aliens and the third generation

The unrest in France in autumn 2005 showed that the question whether twenty-first century Europe is or is not able to find a form of coexistence between different races and cultures that would be acceptable for the majority has not found an answer yet. We are facing the fact that none of the integration models applied in the last half century has given the desired result – neither the attempt of the French to assimilate foreigners, nor that of the Brits to integrate them, nor the Danes’ or the Dutch’ extreme tolerance and complaisance.

The negative experience with “third generation” aliens that Europeans are facing now is the more difficult to comprehend as almost a U-turn has taken place. Contrary to expectations, the most inflammable are those who, after cutting the old roots, should have been able to grow new roots in their new homelands. One of the reasons can be that, under the tensions of the globalizing and impersonalizing world, the preservation of one’s earlier identity seems to be simpler and more essential than finding a new one. Simultaneously, a new attitude has emerged (or is emerging) among many immigrants of African and Asian origin. They want to be in Europe but not to be Europeans who would acknowledge and share European ideas and values but to carry on the attitudes they would have had if their grandfathers had not picked up their travelling sticks in hope for a better life. Neither do they agree to the European principle that, in spite of confessional and dogmatic differences, the task of all major religions should be to decrease hostility in the world. Against this background, it is incomprehensible why twenty-first century Islam gives great leeway to clerics who are ready to bless terrorist acts of violence.

At the same time, there are several indications that tiredness of aliens in Europe is increasingly changing into intolerance to them. The relative stability of Europe is not shaken by external factors only. Politicians like Le Pen, Haider, Blocher, Fontain, Fini, Griffin gather popularity with their populist demagogy. The duty of the three major parties – conservatives, social democrats and liberals – is to end the game of hide-and-seek and understand that neither the tiredness of aliens nor the “third generation” of immigrants in the present-day European Union are a marginal phenomenon that can be left to extremist movements. It is a two-way street. We can hope for success only in the case of rapprochement – they from that and we from this end of the street. And both sides should hold it self-evident that the rules are not imposed by the newcomers but by us, the masters. But, considering what has happened until now, are we still able to believe in the possibility of such a change in attitudes?

Hellar Grabbi
At the Primary School of Tallinn Teacher Training College and Secondary School of Science

The émigré Estonian author residing in the US continues the memories from his school days. He attended six schools in the following sequence: State English College, Primary School of Tallinn Teacher Training College, Tallinn second Gymnasium (Secondary School of Science), Geislingen Estonian Gymnasium (in Germany), William Jewell College (Missouri, USA) and Columbia University (New York). He has already written about his first three school years (“At the State English College”, Akadeemia No. 7, 2004).

Grabbi entered the fourth form of the Primary School of Tallinn Teacher Training College in autumn 1940 and completed the sixth form and the whole school in spring 1943. In autumn 1943 he entered the first form of the Secondary School of Science, and completed it in spring 1944. This was the end of his schooling in Estonia as in the autumn he left Estonia fleeing from the advancing Red Army and the Soviet occupation.

Maret Kark
Emptiness versus infinity – on the freedom of interpretation of the early Dzogchen and Mahamudra upadesha texts

In the present study, Padmasambhava’s system of views is analyzed with compatible semiotic methods in which two principles of inquiry – logical and linguistic – have been taken into consideration. By way of linguistic analysis one can conclude in the light of modern science that the ancient sign-systems of the indestructible methods (vajrayana) were atitra/atiyoga (rdzogs chen) – triune genesis, tantra (rgyud kyi theg pa) – the triple encoding system of genetic inheritance, and mantra (sngags kyi theg pa) – the threefold system of the science of mind and phenomena.

Various geneses describe the process of evolution in similar symbolic terms that later crystallize into different semiotic systems. The early Tibetan semiotic systems of Bon and Dzogchen and later Buddhist Mahamudra depict the process of genesis in highly positive terms of manifestation.

The all good (kun tu bzang po) ground (kun gzhi) qualified as primordially pure
(ka dag) dimension of space (nam mkha’ dbyings) manifests as the completely pure expanse of enlightenment (byang chub dbyings), the nature of mind (sems nyid) that is self-arisen (rang byung) gnosis (ye shes) of void (stong) radiant light (‘od gsal).

The presence of the threefold manifestation (rig pa mngon sum) – void, light and knowledge – is an undivided (dbyer med) single sphere (thig le nyag gcig). Their simultaneous arising (lhan gcig skyes) is experientially marked (mtshan) by total bliss (bde chen). The unceasing (rgyun chad med) presence of knowledge (rig pa ye shes) appears (rang snang) as a variety of movements (rgyu) causing different manifestations to arise as self-reflections in a mirror (rang snang me long gzugs brnyan), the marks of which disperse by themselves (rang grol).

In the context of the early upadesha texts, voidness is not designated as a negative category of emptiness but inseparable from the gnosis of clear light. On these premises, it should be appropriate to re-define the term stong nyid, shunyata through the co-emergent aspects of light and knowledge and thus re-interpret it as omnipotence.

The meaning of the early Dzogchen trinity system is very similar, if not identical, to the Christian semiotic system of the triune God. It could be assumed that similar models of symbolic thinking were known before the Christian era already.

The numerical system seems to arise concurrently with the semiotic system of genesis in its early phase of generation and represents a different value orientation than our habitual dual number sequences from zero to infinity. Zero was not regarded as a cipher between negative and positive qualities and quantities but as a symbol of wholeness similar to the potentiality of a seed. In this way ciphers could be viewed as signs of the unfoldment process – the infinite expanse of reality was seen coemergent with the light of knowledge and characterized as totally fulfilling (rdzogs chen).

The inner meaning of genesis is expressed in triple symbolism (rgya) because symbols are a better means to disclose the pattern of the universal unfoldment process than philosophical concepts. Recent tendencies in contemporary science tend to disregard symbols as mythological, and thus less authentic than scientific terms. Ancient Dzogchen symbols on the other hand have the precision and universality of contemporary science to be called total semiosis (mtshan nyid, rgya chen, rdzogs chen).

The Dzogchen triune model could have been used as the hidden language generating mechanism among ancient nations. Similar descriptions of the linguistic genesis exist already in the A.s.tadhyayi of Pa.nini (sixth century BC).

In old Tibet the trinity model was applied in many spheres of life: social, religious, cosmological. In later times the three qualities of void, light and knowledge were treated separately and the primal value system seems to have lost its initial meaning.

David Lewis

Hume defined causation in two ways. He wrote, “We may define a cause to be an object followed by another, and where all the objects, similar to the first, are followed by objects similar to the second. Or in other words, where, if the first object had not been, the second never had existed.”

Descendants of Hume’s first definition still dominate the philosophy of causation: a causal succession is supposed to be a succession that instantiates a regularity. Until the publication of the article in 1973, a cause was (roughly) defined in regularity analyses as any member of any minimal set of actual conditions that are jointly sufficient, given the laws, for the existence of the effect. To turn such a definition into a defensible analysis, a number of problems had to be overcome.

The author argues that Hume’s second definition is not a mere reformulation of the first definition and offers an alternative – contrafactual analysis of causation. Then he tries to show how this analysis works to distinguish genuine causes from effects, epiphenomena and pre-empted potential causes.

Wesley Salmon
Probabilistic causality

Philosophical literature knows three attempts to offer a theory of probabilistic causality: Hans Reichenbach, I. J. Good and Patrick Suppes have offered fairly systematic treatments. In the author’s opinion, however, all the three are seriously flawed and the author attempts to provide detailed reasons for that.

It seems to Salmon that the fundamental source of difficulty in all three of the theories is that they attempt to carry out the construction of causal relations on the basis of probabilistic relations among discrete events, without taking account of the physical connections among them. This difficulty infects many non-probabilistic theories as well. When discrete events bear genuine cause-effect relations to one another – except, perhaps, in some instances in quantum mechanics – there are spatio-temporally continuous causal processes joining them. These processes transmit causal influence (which may be probabilistic) from one region of space-time to another.

There is a strong tendency on the part of philosophers to regard causal connections as being composed of chains of intermediate events, as Good brings out explicitly in his theory, rather than spatio-temporally continuous entities, which enjoy fundamental physical status, and which do not need to be constructed out of anything else. Thus, the fundamental status should be accorded namely to processes.

It seems to the author that the essential ingredients in a satisfactory qualitative theory of probabilistic causality are: (1) a fundamental distinction between causal processes and causal interactions, (2) an account of the propagation of causal influence via causal processes, (3) an account of causal interactions in terms of interactive forks, (4) an account of causal directionality in terms of conjunctive forks, and (5) an account of causal betweenness in terms of causal processes and causal directionality. The ‘at-at’ theory of causal influence gives, at best, a symmetric relation of causal connection. Conjunctive forks are needed to impose the required asymmetry upon connecting processes.

If an adequate theory of probabilistic causality is to be developed, it will borrow heavily from the theories of Reichenbach and Suppes; these theories require supplementation rather than outright rejection. Once we are in possession of a satisfactory qualitative theory, we may be in a position to undertake Good’s programme of quantification of probabilistic causal relations. These goals are eminently worth of pursuit.

Winter Academy

Winter Academy – a series of students’ conferences had its beginning in 2003. In the same year, Akadeemia published four presentations given at that conference (see No. 9, pp. 1954–1980). Winter Academy 2006 took place in Soomaa National Park from 3–5 March, its theme being Energy Injection into the Future. There were more than a hundred participants – students and experts from Tallinn University, Tallinn University of Technology, University of Tartu, Estonian University of Life Sciences and Estonian Academy of Arts. Below, we publish a selection of presentations made at the conference.

Kadri Loorman
Winter Academy. Legal, scientific and ethical aspects of soil protection

Soil is a most important environment element that serves many essential functions in nature, most of which are vital for humans, too. Soil determines the circulation, decomposition and energy flow of nutrients in the biosphere; microorganisms in soil perform a huge amount of chemical transformations between the biotic and abiotic soil components, and they are able to withstand extreme environmental conditions. Soil organisms make the nutrients contained in plant remains in the soil available for plants. Moreover, soil is the place where the food necessary for humans grows. Being the upper layer of the Earth’s surface, soil is also the physical environment for everything that moves.

Simultaneously, soil is endangered by many processes that can obstruct the fulfilment of its essential functions. The processes that endanger soil cover are, for example, erosion, decrease in organic matter content, pollution, salinification, decrease in biodiversity, covering of soil by buildings and other structures, landslides and floods. Along with them, the spread of deserts is extremely topical on the world scale; in Estonia, however, problems are caused by paludification and acidification rather.

During the study, many normative acts adopted in Estonia were analyzed; the article mentions the 12 most essential of them. The European Union planned to adopt its Soil Directive in May 2004, but it has not been done until today. When the directive takes effect, Estonian legislation has to adhere to it and adopt the Estonian Soil Act, which has to reflect and regulate the local problems of soil protection.

The present situation of soil protection in Estonian legislation shows that Estonia is not ready to pass a respective act yet. For the best result, we need a thorough study what should be legally regulated and how. As soil protection definitely requires an interdisciplinary approach in both legislative drafting and implementation, experts from many different fields should be engaged – lawyers, soil scientists, environmentalists, farmers.

Ene Kont
Winter Academy.Treatment of communication and concentration problems of autistic children by therapeutic horseback riding

People differ from one another by their mental and psychomotor abilities, background, personal qualities, features of character, etc. Usually the differences are so small that they remain unnoticed or, if noticed, they do not disturb the others or the person him/herself. From a certain point, however, the deviation can become disturbing, intolerable or even dangerous. As we all live together in the same world, people with disabilities and special mental needs should have opportunities for treatment, study, work and communication – in a word, for a fulfilling life.

The principal aim of the current study was to find if and how horseback riding therapy can help autistic children to cope better in everyday situations and communication with peers at home, kindergarten and school. The subjects of the study were two children who had been diagnosed pervasive development disorder and hyperkinetic disorder – 6-year-old twin boys Zak and Joshua. They were introverted, as if living in their own world.

Riding therapy classes were conducted in Rebala stable for six weeks twice week – a total of 12 therapy classes with both children. I could draw the following conclusions from my research: 1. Riding therapy develops autistic children’s ability to establish and tolerate physical contact, thus improving their communication with other children. 2. Riding therapy enriches children’s vocabulary, develops their speech and memory, thereby improving their communication skills. 3. Riding therapy develops children’s power of attention and concentration, thus increasing persistence and reducing hyperactivity.

Kati Kangur
Winter Academy. Involvement of local interest groups in the formation of knowledge-based management of environment

The article analyzes the appropriateness of citizens’ panels and focus group interviews for developing knowledge-based water economy in the basin of the River Emajogi. The study tests the possibility of knowledge-based social dialogue according to the following indicators: representation of interest groups in the discussion, participants’ opportunities to present their interests free of social pressure, applicability of discussion results and their political influence.

The nine focus group interviews conducted in the region of the Emajogi in groups of 6-8 people revealed non-profit organizations’, business companies’, of local authority representatives’ and ordinary citizens’ attitudes to water economy. The panel of inhabitants of Rannu and Puhja municipalities listened to the viewpoints of an environmentalist, water tourism expert, representatives of the local development foundation and a land improvement bureau about the feasibility of development of water transport on the River Emajogi in the area of Alam-Pedja nature reserve. The ordinary citizens participating in the panel decided that development of water transport should be allowed only to the extent that would not disturb the habitats of valuable plant and animal species and traditional human activities in the area.

In the informal atmosphere of focus groups, the participants, encouraged by one another, put forward a number of original ideas how citizens could contribute to the protection of fish supplies and water, etc. Implementation of the offered solutions, however, can remain questionable because of their low validity. The weakly structured form of discussion contributes to the free flow of ideas, but does not allow feedback from the public or criticism by opponents. Although focus groups comprised a relatively small number of people compared to the population of the river basin as a whole, the result was representative as far as the amount of information gathered is concerned. The citizens’ panel facilitated exchange of ideas between ordinary citizens and experts and intensive learning by participants. Still, one may doubt whether a panel composed on the basis of demographic features is really representative of the various interest groups who live in the area. The small number of experts allowed discussing only a minimum amount of problems that development of water transport might bring about.

Focus groups and citizens’ panels can be a therapeutic forum where participants can voice their worries about the current problems of environment policy or some concrete trouble spots. If, however, the results are not valued or there is no system for implementing them, the involvement of citizens is pointless and even hinders the emergence of democratic discussion in society. Institutionalization of involvement and raising of awareness about its necessity and technical peculiarities would contribute to cumulation of positive experience. Consistent, systematic, purposeful and competent involvement of citizens would diminish conflicts in society and increase trust between authorities and citizens.

Henri Poincaré
Winter Academy.Last thoughts. II

Several articles and lectures collected under this heading were meant to form the fourth volume of the author’s works on philosophy of science. The collection was published in Paris in 1913, after Poincaré’s death. In the first chapter, he discusses the possible changes in natural laws in time and asks if we should be able to notice these changes. Thereafter he deals with several questions related to space and time: their mutual relations, the relations between space and sensations, motion and nature. He asks why space has three dimensions. He also discusses the logic of infinity, links between mathematics and logic, problems of quantum theory and thermodynamics and relations between science and ethics. The appendices at the end of the book deal with foundations of geometry, principles of infinitesimal calculus and other questions.

Published 11 September 2006
Original in English

Contributed by Akadeemia © Akadeemia Eurozine


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