Spooked by Russia, Tiny Estonia Trains a Nation of Insurgents
Her face puffy from lack of sleep, Vivika Barnabas peered down at the springs, rods and other parts of a disassembled assault rifle spread before her.
At last, midway through one of this country’s peculiar, grueling events known as patrol competitions, she had come upon an easy task.
Already, she and her three teammates had put out a fire, ridden a horse, identified medicinal herbs from the forest and played hide-and-seek with gun-wielding “enemies” in the woods at night.
By comparison, this would be easy. She knelt in the crinkling, frost-covered grass of a forest clearing and grabbed at the rifle parts in a flurry of clicks and snaps, soon handing the assembled weapon to a referee.
“We just have to stay alive,” Barnabas said of the main idea behind the Jarva District Patrol Competition, a 24-hour test of the skills useful for partisans, or insurgents, to fight an occupying army, and an improbably popular form of what is called “military sport” in Estonia.
The competitions, held nearly every weekend, are called war games, but are not intended as fun. The Estonian Defense League, which organizes the events, requires its 25,400 volunteers to turn out occasionally for weekend training sessions that have taken on a serious hue since Russia’s incursions in Ukraine two years ago raised fears of a similar thrust by Moscow into the Baltic States.
Estonia, a NATO member with a population of 1.3 million people and a standing army of about 6,000, would not stand a chance in a conventional war with Russia. But two armies fighting on an open field is not Estonia’s plan, and was not even before Donald Trump, the Republican presidential candidate, said European members of NATO should not count on U.S. support unless they pay more alliance costs.
Since the Ukraine war, Estonia has stepped up training for members of the Estonian Defense League, teaching them how to become insurgents, right down to the making of improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, the weapons that plagued the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan. Another response to tensions with Russia is the expansion of a program encouraging Estonians to keep firearms in their homes.
The Jarva competition entailed a 25-mile hike and 21 specific tasks, such as answering questions of local trivia — to sort friend from foe — hiding in a bivouac deep in the woods and correctly identifying types of Russian armored vehicles.
（文／Andrew E. Kramer 譯／李京倫）
本文介紹波羅的海（The Baltic Sea）的愛沙尼亞，因應鄰國俄羅斯的軍事威脅，全民皆兵。標題的spook指猛然一驚，通常引發劇烈反應。《時代》雜誌評論美國總統當選人川普處理外交政策我行我素，讓全球領導人很緊張：Trump’s cavalier approach to foreign policy had left world leaders spooked.可當名詞使用：The big spider gave me a spook.
Insurgent指叛亂分子，常用複數；insurgent group是叛亂團體。Insurgent造本國政府的反，愛沙尼亞反抗的卻是俄國。梅爾維爾（Herman Melville）名著《白鯨記》（Moby-Dick）中，狂人船長亞哈（Captain Ahab）面對船員醞釀抗命，舉槍喝令眾人立刻返回工作崗位：commanded the insurgents instantly to return to their duty.
政壇的非主流也可用這個字描述，《華盛頓郵報》稱川普是the insurgent president-elect，《華爾街日報》說他是a political insurgent。
主流或建制派勢力的英文是the establishment (forces)。