To round up the year, news.err.ee brings to you its top 12 most popular stories in 2014. The winner may surprise you!
12. Warren Cummings Smith - Estonia's Secret Weapon on the slopes? Stuart Garlick's portrait of the US-born athlete, who represented Estonia in Alpine skiing in the Sochi Olympics, proved popular with our American readers. Cummings Smith finished 45th in the men's giant slalom and a respectable 26th in the men's slalom, being one of only 43 out of 115 who managed to complete the tricky track.
11. Tabloid's First Lady video causes media scandal. In August, an Estonian tabloid released pictures and a cellphone video of the First Lady Evelin Ilves, 46, in the embrace of a younger man at a
Tallinn nightspot. The revelation caused a media frenzy, leading to speculations of possible relationship trouble for the president and his wife of 10 years. Evelin later made a public apology in her Facebook page.
10. Border violators former KGB officers, says Russian Website. Two Russian fishermen were detained on Narva river in September for crossing onto the Estonian side and resisting arrest. A Russian website later reported that the pair were former KGB majors.
9. GALLERY: Tallinn Christmas Market. Pictures of the fairytale setting of the Tallinn Chistmas market became a right hit with our readers and Facebook fans, getting views from nearly 70 different countries.
8. Obama: 'You Lost Your Independence Once Before. With NATO You Will Never Lose It Again'. The US President Barack Obama's speech that formed the highlight of his visit to Estonia in the beginning of September had symbolic meaning for many Estonians, giving them renewed hope that history won't repeat itself after all.
7. Estonia 'May Be Next.' It Was Also First. Our editor-in-chief's analysis of Estonia's growing concern over Russia in the wake of the annexation of Crimea and the Estonian-Russian border treaty, with which Estonia signed away half of the Seto region, sparked a vigorous debate in the comments section.
6. Teacher Killed in Viljandi School Shooting; 9th Grader in Custody. The tragic events in Viljandi, where a 15-year-old student fatally shot his German teacher, shook the nation to the core and also received wider international coverage. Two months on and the motives behind the crime are still not entirely clear. Investigation continues while the shooter remains in a medical institution.
5. GALLERY: Estonian Winter Wonderland. We are pleased to announce that the award for the most popular gallery 2014 goes to ERR readers, for their photos of Estonia in winter. The snowy landscapes have racked up over 2,500 recommends on Facebook. Since then readers have also continuted to our storm gallery by uploading their pictures to minupilt.err.ee.
4. Everything You Wanted to Know About Russian Troop Locations (But Were Afraid to Ask). An interview with Kaarel Kaas, the editor of Diplomaatia monthly, about the location of Russian forces near the Baltic region, proved popular with the readers from Latvia, Lithuania and Sweden.
3. Baltic States Russia’s Next Target after Georgia and Ukraine, Says Russian Analyst. Russian political analyst Andrey Piontkovsky told Lithuanian news website lrt.lt that once the EU bows to Russia in relation to Ukraine, the Baltic states will be the next target. EU today lacks outstanding leaders and sound policies to counter Putin’s geopolitical expansion and the problem is similar to Munich in 1938 - the western leaders fail to grasp the nature of the regime and keep appeasing a dictator, said the analyst back in February.
2. Estonian Counterintelligence Officer Abducted to Russia at Gunpoint From Estonian Soil. Runner-up in this years top 12 is the abduction of Eston Kohver, an internal security service agent, from the Estonian-Russian border on September 5. Russia accused Kohver of being an Estonian spy, Estonia claims that he was just doing his job investigating cross-border corruption. News.err.ee continues to run regular updates on the almost non-existent progress in the case.
Yet, even this most serious of security scandals could not beat Latvian Province Holds Referendum on Joining Estonia, the April Fools' spoof that went viral on social media and got a very high 6,391 recommends in a single day, with some readers apparently buying into the report while many others joined in the fun in the comments section.
Editor: M. Oll, S. Tambur