What the papers say: Järvik should have retired, Pärnu's actual population ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Estonian newspapers (photo is illustrative).
Estonian newspapers (photo is illustrative). Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

On Friday, Nov. 8, in addition to several other major topics, the papers in Estonia also wrote about the 2019 farmer of the year's opinion of the minister of rural affairs, the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) throwing proverbial stones, Pärnu's actual population size, and a hot dog restaurant's new owner.

Farmer of the Year: Järvik should have just retired

Farmer of the Year and Voore Farm director Indrek Klammer said that while he wouldn't tell Minister of Rural Affairs Mart Järvik (EKRE) to resign as the opposition is currently demanding, he believes that Järvik should understand for himself whether or not he is fit for the job, weekly Maaleht writes (link in Estonian).

"I've met him four times, and each time he's told me his life story and said that he was about to retire when this offer [to serve as minister] came along," Klammer said, adding that in that case, he believes Järvik mad the wrong choice.

Farmers are unsatisfied with Järvik's work, he continued, and have expressed as much regarding the things he has left undone. Klammer also added that the minister tends to make decisions quickly, without consulting with farmers on relevant issues first.

Throwing stones now commonplace

While Mary Kross, the American wife of Estonian politician Eerik-Niiles Kross (Reform), did not in fact have rocks thrown at her in an alleged attack last fall, the proverbial throwing of stones has nonetheless become commonplace, particularly by the coalition Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) against minorities and foreigners, columnist Andrus Karnau said in an opinion piece published by daily Postimees (link in Estonian).

Members of the Estonian government are disparaging foreign workforce, and attempting to take steps such as reducing work permits and calling on state officials to document foreign employees' real estate transactions, but there have been no reports of companies not wanting to hire, tenants not wanting to rent to or people attacking Ukrainians, for example, and no court rulings including the keywords "incitement of hatred" in which the victims were foreigners.

Of course, it's possible that police are investigating such incidents as regular crimes, not as political or human rights offenses, as was the case with Kross, although statutes exist in the Penal Code regarding attacks on people on the basis of their language or origin — or it's possible that there are few such attacks, or none at all.

But what is most bothersome for many, the claim that Estonians threw rocks at a foreigner, is ironic, considering that EKRE earned nearly one fifth of all votes cast in the March 3 general election, and that with the help of slogans referring to the harassment of immigrants and sexual minorities.

While they haven't restored to physically throwing rocks at anyone yet, EKRE has proverbially thrown stones at just about everyone, most recently in Pärnu and Tartu, where their verbal attacks were aimed directly at people on the basis of their sexual orientation.

Pärnu population reduced by data systematization

Claims on social media that Pärnu's population is shrinking are untrue — the reduction in population numbers is the result of a systematization of statistical data, as more people are moving into than out of the city, regional paper Pärnu Postimees writes (link in Estonian).

Pärnu's official population shrank by 611 as a result of a nationwide update that entered into effect on Jan. 2, according to which personal addresses registered in the population register at only the municipal level, i.e. without an exact street address, were voided. The majority of Estonia's local governments likewise saw their populations shrink for the same reason.

In reality, as of the beginning of October, 371 more people had moved to Pärnu than moved away; last year, another 339 more people moved to Estonia's summer capital than moved away.

According to the population register, as of Jan. 2, the population of the City of Pärnu (including its municipal districts) stood at 51,272; by Oct. 1, its population had increased to 51,477.

Employee takes over bankrupted hot dog restaurant

After years of operating at a loss, the owners of popular Tallinn hot dog joint Hotokas, located next to the likewise popular pub Pööbel, filed for bankruptcy in October, daily Postimees writes (link in Estonian).

One employee, however, couldn't bear to see the place shut down, and decided to take it over instead, and by the end of October were granted a license to operate a restaurant.

The new owner, who immediately began working to develop the restaurant, explained that they found that Hotokas nonetheless does have potential and has a great location. They admitted that it will be difficult going at first, in part because the restaurant's suppliers and partners were skeptical after going unpaid by the previous owner, but expressed hope that the risk will pay off.

In addition to its namesake hot dogs, the menu now also features other foods including entrees, soups and cake.

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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