What the papers say: Saaremaa rally pride and possible urban flight

Estonian newspapers (picture is illustrative).
Estonian newspapers (picture is illustrative). Source: Arvo Meeks/Valgamaalane/Scanpix

The perennially serious topic of domestic violence, the economic and environmental push towards rural living, and the success of Estonia's top rally driver in the WRC championship were among the offerings in Estonia's newspapers and news portals Monday, Oct. 7 2019. All links in Estonian.

President: Domestic violence can no longer be signed-off as a "second world" problem

President Kersti Kaljulaid spoke at a conference aimed at combating domestic violence, according to daily Õhtuleht.

The Women Against Violence Europe (WAVE) conference brought experts from across Europe to Tallinn, where the president noted that the issue had been swept under the carpet for too long, partly on the assumption that since Estonia was not quite at the same economic level as its nordic neighbors, there was no alternative but than to do this.

This is changing now, however, the president thought: "Because we are now looking in the mirror and recognizing that we have a problem and that special efforts are needed to solve it," she said.

President Kaljulaid made a statement at the end of April when she vacated the Riigikogu at the time then-IT minister Marti Kuusik came to take his oath of office, at the new coalition's swearing-in ceremony. Kuusik had faced media allegations that he had engaged in domestic violence, a matter which has now gone to court.

"We do not yet have a 100 percent conviction in our society that we need to deal with violence against women and children, but with the help of international networks, we will be able to become aware faster," Kaljulaid continued, noting that the support network so far as it has gone in Estonia so far has been staffed mainly by volunteers, something which may come under increasing pressure as more and more incidents of domestic violence get reported.

Climate change policy makes increased rural living inevitable

An opinion piece in daily Eesti Päevaleht (EPL) Monday, by activist and Social Democratic Party (SDE) member Henrik Nurste, suggests climate change issues may be in part resovled by a flight from the cities, to the countryside.

Nurste noted that increased greener policies and their effects are inevitable, which requires a "de-carbonization" and thus deindustrialization, which would necessitate a return to the land, reversing the course of social history over the past 200 years.

This might be more suitable in Estonia, given its relative sparse population and small industrial sector, though the piece does not overlook the rigors of rural living.

Nonetheless, reducing consumption is essential for the world's population to remain sustainable, which in turn leads to a reduced workforce and therefore alternatives to the traditional labor market.

Fun day out for senior citizens

Speaking of rural affairs, agricultural weekly Maaleht noted that the annual senior citizens festival takes place on Thursday.

Granted this takes place in Tallinn rather than the countryside, but the event boasts an exciting lineup of activities including singing, dancing and even painting, as well as walks and light sporting activities.

The event kicks of Thursday at 9.00 a.m, at the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds (but will be held indoors), with a welcoming speech by social affairs minister Tanel Kiik (Center) and is followed by health discussions, light gymnastics and performances, including one from music heartthrob Uku Suviste.

The vent is free, and runs until 7 p.m., and Maaleht recommends walking to enjoy the autumn colors, or failing that coming on public transport on the 1A, 5, 8, 34A, 60 or 63 buses. A limited number of parking spaces are available outside the Song Festival Grounds.

When you deny your traditional moral basis, bad things fill the void, says portal

In abandoning the Christian faith, the west is losing its moral bedrock, according to an editorial on news portal Objektiiv, which sees an ongoing struggle between good and evil as the main reason for the necessity of the church and its mission.

The piece argues that the confessional, as conducted by the Roman Catholic Church and to a certain extent the eastern Orthodox, Anglican and some other churches, and its ensuing repentance, is particularly key, which if endemic in society, could lead to a fewer number of laws, prohiitions and punishments, and thus a greater human freedom.

However, the piece says, with the naturalist materialist, relativist and secularist ideologies which predominate in the west, a belief in moral absolutes has been thrown out along with a belief in a supreme deity

The piece argues that since the state cannot fulfill a role adequately here, and in fact in so doing brings about a distorted pseudo-religious state of affairs which tends towards totalitarianism.

Thus family, plays a vital role, the piece argues, but at the same time, the "gap" left by the departing Christian religion in western societies cannot be wholly filled by either the state or a watered-down, state-friendly Christianity, if that society, its civilization, as well as the national identity of its constituent parts is to survive and revive.

Objektiiv's editor-in-chief Varro Vooglaid is head of the Foundation for the Protection of Family and Tradition (SAPTK).

A furniture supplier to avoid

On to more worldly matter, news portal Geenius has given a heads up about a potentially unreliable furniture company, which may have been deceiving its customers.

The firm, Forward Mööbel OÜ, has seen two cases go before the consumer complaints committee (Tarbijavaidluste komisjon), united by similar complaints where customers ordered furniture and made substantial down payments, only for the goods to not materialize nor the money to be returned.

In June, the committee ruled on a case in favor of the consumer, who had waited nine months for promised furniture they had paid €1,750 towards and still received nothing, but the deposit still has not been returned, Geenius reports, meaning the company has been blacklisted.

Another customer reportedly experienced the same treatment from Forward Mööbel last October, paying €1780 euros in advance and not seeing either money or furniture.

Geenius advises readers who have experienced problems with the same company to contact it here.

Tänak pride of Saaremaa, says fellow islander Ivo Linna

Finally, legendary singer Ivo Linna has expressed his pride in Ott Tänak's continued WRC rally success and title challenge, not least because he is from Saaremaa, as is Linna himself.

Speaking to regional daily Saarte Hääl (part of the Postimees Group), Linna said that he had kept up with the rally season where possible, enjoying the lows as well as the highs, and pitting Tänak, 31, at the top of the all-time pantheon of Estonia rally drivers.

Linna noted Tänak's determination and psychological strength, but also sang the praises of other Estonian athletes, even those not from Saaremaa, including Maicel Uibo, who clinched Decathlon Silver last week at the World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar.

Nonetheless, his busy schedule keeps Ivo Linna from watching the Saaremaa Rally, a non-WRC event taking place next weekend, much to his chagrin.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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