While the focus of much of the past week was on Christmas, which is celebrated over several days in Estonia, plenty still went on, including budget announcements, year-end interviews, and a happy ending to a missing persons search. Here's a snapshot of events in Estonia from the past week.
Late last week, ETV aired an extended interview of Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) by Archbishop of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (EELK) Urmas Viilma, where the two discussed topics ranging from the environment to the prime minister's belief in God and which politicians, if any, should be put in timeout.
On Saturday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited the troops at Tapa Army Base together with Ratas, where he also helped serve Christmas lunch to British troops serving in NATO Battlegroup Estonia in the canteen.
On Sunday, President Kersti Kaljulaid reflected on 2019 in a year-end interview with daily Postimees, highlighting the great deal of positive but also stressing the need to tackle climate change.
She also attended the first candle-lighting ceremony of Hanukkah in Tallinn on Sunday night.
On Monday, despite criticism from several prominent politicians, including current foreign affairs minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa), convicted traitor Herman Simm was released early from prison in Tartu. Simm served 11 years and two months of his 12 year, six month sentence after being found guilty of transmitting thousands of classified documents to Russian authorities over a period lasting nearly 13 years.
In an end-of-year interview with the Russian-language Postimees, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas reiterated that Estonia does not cooperate with Sputnik.
Sanctions against Rossiya Segodnya are forcing the organization conducting its business under the Sputnik brand to vacate its rental premises in Tallinn, and banks in Estonia have been reported to have withheld Sputnik paychecks in October already likewise due to sanctions. Russia, meanwhile, has threatened countermeasures against Estonia over these sanctions.
It was reported on Monday that the United States will be allocating $175 million in its 2020 defense budget toward military cooperation and development in the Baltics, a move welcomed by Minister of Defence Jüri Luik (Isamaa).
Two senior members of daily Postimees' editorial team also announced their resignations that day, citing differences with future development plans and concerns about media independence as reasons for their departures.
Good news over Christmas
Christmas peace was proclaimed in several towns and cities across Estonia on Christmas Eve, following the first proclamation thereof in Jõgeva on the Third Sunday of Advent.
On Christmas Day, ETV charity telethon Jõulutunnel raised over a quarter of a million euros, which will go toward the construction of a new, dedicated home for children and young people where they can receive treatment for mental health issues.
A young woman who had been missing for a week was found alive by volunteer searchers in Tallinn's Pääsküla Bog on Thursday.
Editor: Aili Vahtla