What the papers say: China, kringling and rising postal prices

Estonian dailies (picture is illustrative).
Estonian dailies (picture is illustrative). Source: ERR

Reported attacks on a cultural center which screened a film related to LGBT+ issues, the rise of China, the state postal service simultaneously cutting home newspaper deliveries while raising prices, and whether it was ok to eat kringles or not were among the topics in the Estonian media on Tuesday, Oct. 8.

All links in Estonian unless otherwise stated.

LGBT+ movie screening not state funded as such

One of the most significant culture spots in Pärnu, according to Eesti Ekspress, the Tempel alternative music and arts club, has been under attack as a result of the actions of people, some of whom are reportedly supporters or members of the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) at a movie screening of an LGTB+ movie on Sept. 26 which was attended by three attendees, with opponents to the screening taking photos of those arriving.

The movie, Wild Nights with Emily is a biopic about nineteenth century U.S. poet Emily Dickinson, who may have been gay, and its screening was related to what the protestors called homo-propaganda, not least since its screening was footed by Pärnu City Government to the tune of €16,000.

However, the screening did not cost €16,000 according to a piece in investigative weekly Eesti Ekspress, but instead the club received two separate grants of €8,000, neither of which was directly aimed at supporting the movie's screening.

An exchange of opinions was also recorded between Andres Tölp of Tempel, and those picketing the screening, some of whom were reportedly members of white supremacist group the Soldiers of Odin, as well as EKRE supporters and members; the discussion included questions as to whether the club would support satanist events, to which Tölp replied it would not, prompting his interlocutors to ask where the line was drawn between that and the movie screening.

The article states that a post referring to an earlier murder in Pärnu also linked it, the murder, to the club – the post had appeared on the Pärnumaa Volikogu (council) social media page, which the piece argues could make it a police matter.

OK to eat kringles sometimes

What might be called "kringling" (not an official term), the act of eating kringles, a type of Nordic pastry popular in Estonia, is no sin, according to the head of a new sports club, also in Pärnu, Katrin Saare, as reported by regional daily Pärnu Postimees.

Eating kringles in moderation for most people, provided they eat a balanced diet and exercise, is fine, said Saare, who was speaking in the light of media reports last month that fitness guru and candidate in May's European electionsm Erik Orgu, had been partial to the same delicacy. Allegedly sometimes sending out girlfriends or others to buy them for him due to his high profile as a healthy eating expert.

Simply making the next meal a light one would be fine, post kringle-binge, Saare said, noting that attaining a healthy lifestyle was not difficult, and people simply needed to be better informed about their lifestyle choices.

Uptick in Baltic journalism about China

According to Defence League (Kaitseliit) volunteer-staffed blog Propastop (link in English), September was the month for writing about the influence of China, its intelligence services and the nexus with potential Chinese investment in the region, not only Estonia but Latvia and Lithuania as well, concerns hardly dispelled by the Chinese embassy in Tallinn reprimanding a Postimees journalist last month.

The media in China has also been on the case, the piece said, with the state-owned Hong Kong daily Wen Wei Po reportedly mocking the Baltic states as nothing more than a hotbed of corruption, low wages and internecine struggle, a move which led to the Latvian foreign minister summoning the Chinese representation in that country to give them a heads up on the Baltic Chain protest and independent Latvia's history.

According to Propastop, Estonian politician and former Free Party leader Andres Herkel also wrote in Postimees, stating that the Chinese communist way of thinking is so different from that of Europe that people find it difficult to comprehend, and International Centre for Defence and Security newsletter Diplomaatia, cultural weekly Sirp and public broadcaster ERR had all also covered China and totalitarianism as a whole, as well as a widespread mistrust of social media – China was not the only culprit here, the United Arab Emirates and even Spain came into focus.

Estonian Language House effect spreads beyond just Narva

Northeastern Estonian regional daily (and Postimees-group owned) Põhjarannik noted that the opening of the Estonian Language House (Eesti Keele Maja) in Narva was only the beginnig for the region, with its activities to be felt in Kohtla-Järve too.

The move followed an agreement signed between the Integration Foundation and Taltech's Virumaa College.

"There will probably be no more private language houses, but these two [existing] houses will cover the entire country," said Irene Käosaar, director of the Integration Foundation, according to Põhjarannik.

Tallinn most cultured city in Northern Europe

Tallinn ranks eighth among the 50 most cultured cities in Europe, and first in northern Europe (arguably second, after Edinburgh - ed.), according to recent research, online magazine Estonian World reports (link in English).

The list, compiled by travel search platform and fare aggregator Wanderu, used criteria such as the total number of cultural landmarks like museums, theaters and churches, per capita, in European cities with populations over 300,000, which put Tallinn in the top 10, and in the top four when it comes to museums per capita.

The research noted that Tallinn was a bit like a Baltic combination of Florence, Amsterdam, Barcelona, and Moscow, and was nearly as well-stocked culturally as the larger Norwegian capital, Oslo.

The only European cities to outrank Tallinn on the overall list were Florence, Lisbon, Prague, Naples, Amsterdam, Bologna, and Edinburgh, with the Estonian capital one place ahead of Paris.

Latvia was 16th, Vilnius 18th, St Petersburg 31st, and Helsinki 35th.

Eesti Post/Ominva in 11.1 percent home delivery price hike

State-owned postal service Eesti Post/Omniva wants to increase delivery prices by over 10 percent, and combine the more lucrative parcel delivery with newspaper home delivery, according to a piece published by business daily Äripäev.

Citing public broadcaster ERR, the article says that the decision was made after a general meeting at Eesti Post/Omniva, and was then conveyed to IT and foreign trade minister Kert Kingo (EKRE).

However, the rise, set at 11.1 percent, would potentially collapse home delivery of local papers altogether, many such publications say, though the government reportedly agreed with Eesti Post's suggestion that post offices slated for closure might be kept working via separate subsidies.

The problem of home delivery of local papers is exacerbated by Eesti Post's decision to reduce the frequency in addition to raising prices, Postimees Group regional papers representative Margus Mets told ERR, according to the piece.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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