The week in pictures: November 17-23 ({{commentsTotal}})

The week began colorfully, with three out of four parliamentary parties launching ad campaigns ahead of the March 1 national elections. All three campaigns received criticism nearly immediately.

The Social Democrats decided to draft pre-World War II cultural figures, including Anton Hansen Tammsaare, which led to criticism from the head of the Tammsaare museum, who said the writer was non-political.

Reform Party's decision to use the Ämari airbase for shooting location backfired when critics pointed out that the use of Defense Forces' resources for political gains is illegal. Other political forces jumped on the opportunity and also asked for permission to use the base for their political campaigns, but were denied by the Defense Forces.

Keit Pentus-Rosimannus was sworn in as the new Foreign Minister on Monday, leaving her previous post at the Environment Minister to MP Mati Raidma, who also took office that day.

The Reform Party pulled away in the Emor monthly ratings, and are now seven points (29 percent) ahead of others. The Center Party lost five points (now 22), while IRL (18) and the Social Democrats (22) both gained two. The largest shift came in the Russian-speaking demographic with many ditching the Center Party to back the Social Democrats.

The LNG terminal negotiations between Estonia and Finland achieved a breakthrough on Tuesday, with the prime ministers of the two nations agreeing to build one large terminal in Finland and a smaller one in Estonia, connected by a gas pipeline. Both sides hailed the result as a victory. The pipeline could be ready as early as 2019.

Estonia signed an agreement with the United States to buy 40 million euros worth of Javelin anti-tank missiles. An additional 8.4 million euros was also released from state reserves for defense, mostly to cover the cost of accommodating allied forces.

The trouble with Elron service disruptions was under focus last week, with the state-owned company blaming a combination of built-in faults, which manufacturer Stadler admitted to, the Raasiku accident, low quality of tracks and wild animals.

IRL managed to draft Viktoria Ladõnskaja, a Russian-speaking journalist and public figure, despite the party scoring a flat 0 percent popularity among ethnic Russians. TV presenter Tanel Talve, who won over 10,000 votes at the European Parliament elections, will run for the Social Democrats and unveiled a stat, economic and society reform initiative with former Development Fund chief Ott Pärna.

Parliament passed a work ability reform bill aimed at cutting the number of Estonians registered as either incapable or partly capable of work from the current 100,000.

New NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg was in Estonia on Thursday, meeting with the PM, new Foreign Minister, Defense Minister and President Toomas Hendrik Ilves. He said a strong NATO is the answer to the new security reality.

The government moved ahead with a Russian-language television channel, which could air in September. A study was released saying less than 10 percent of ethnic Russians in Estonia would rather believe Estonian media than Russian media. 38 percent would rather believe Russian media while 33 percent would trust both.

Russia said there is little chance of its parliament ratifying the Estonian-Russian border treaty in the current political climate. Estonian politicians said Estonia is not in a rush.

In sports, the national team failed to beat San Marino, officially the joint worst team in the world with Bhutan, while winning two less important games. The football league ended on Saturday, with two new teams, from Viljandi and Pärnu, joining the top division next season.



Siim Kallas.

Interview: Siim Kallas on ambitions, Estonian politics, and EU presidency

Following the local elections in October this year, Reform Party founder, former prime minister, EU commissioner, and presidential candidate Siim Kallas took on the job of municipal mayor of Viimsi, a community on the outskirts of Tallinn. In his interview with ERR's Toomas Sildam, Kallas talks about local government, his party, the EU presidency, and perspectives in Estonian politics.

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