Tallinn is full tonight... Big concerts on at the Song field The Weeknd and Bonnie Tyler (!). The place is buzzing and some sixty thousand concert goers have booked every bed for thirty miles around Tallinn.It should be a busy high summer, but it isn´t.
Tourism is down sharply overall. Only 70 cruise ships calling this season, versus over 300 before Ukraine. Since no one goes to St Pete, demand has fallen, and of course people think that Estonia is not safe.
We are tired. The economy is still under big pressure, and the fall of tourism is a significant part of that. The credit rating for Estonia has been downgraded as the government struggles with spending. The summer has been a little gloomy, and soon the long and slow autumn will drift into the dark of the year.
Yesterday I met with more refugees: the usual horrible stories, the usual tears. I try to make myself immune, but I can´t. These people are wounded in spirit, carrying their grief in a terrible cradling. I try to project hope and truth and positivity, but in the dark night I carry their despair to bed and it becomes my own.
I am tired of hearing the horrible stories. The utter cruelty that has been visited upon totally innocent people. I am tired of the painstaking way we continue to try to construct political coalitions to get Ukraine the critical support they need. This despicable invasion seems so self evidently a fight of good and monstrous evil, that we cannot understand how western leaders can even hesitate.
We seem to be back to those terrible early weeks, where fear and grim determination was in the eyes of the Estonians as we faced the reality that if Ukraine lost, then we would face the same fate. Its different of course, we do not think that the Ukrainians will be destroyed now. Yet, yet the costs that they have to pay are so horrific.
Now the insanity of the Putinists has descended to drunken raving: mad threats to NATO, threats of nuclear attack and the constant barrage of demented hate from the Vermin in the Russian media. Another thing that has changed is that we now see that this is normal, that the Russians support this fascism. The perception of Russia as anything positive at all, has simply fallen to pieces. The tolerance for them has utterly gone. I know that those who have the perception must make the allowances, but even with my Russian friends I struggle not to feel profound rage and hatred, and I think that this is now everywhere that the Soviet flag once flew. I warn myself not to even consider hatred as an option. It is a symptom of how tired we all are, the fear never goes away, the little coiled spring at the back of your mind.... This could happen here. It could happen again.
So why stay? Of course my life is here, I am settled, I love this country. To be driven out by runty Vova and his cast of gargoyles is insupportable. So I stay. But there is a price, even as the concert crowds gather, the shadows linger in the corners.