Feature interviews

Feature: Good enough to quit competition

18.08.23 NEWS ... Jerry Mercury and Estonian artist Ingrid-Silvia Erikson talk about quitting one's day job to pursue art, its challenges and how to be inspired by competitors.

EDF chief: I would sooner take 300 men like Gideon than close the border

06.06.23 NEWS ... Gen. Martin Herem, commander of the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF), warns that some losses are inevitable should war break out in Estonia, and that people need to be prepared to mitigate the initial shock. The general would not close Estonia's borders during a mobilization as he is convinced the army would assemble.

Interview | American student on swapping Virginia for Estonia

04.11.22 FEATURE INTERVIEWS ... Curiosity and part-Estonian heritage were the key reasons Kirsten, a 21-year-old American studying international business management at Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech) decided to come to Estonia, even as the dark fall days and a far more reserved populace sometimes make this a challenge, she tells state integration program New in Estonia.

Feature | First Estonian nominated for British LGBT leadership award

02.08.20 NEWS ... Ian Gustav Ahlberg is the first Estonian to be nominated for a British LGBT Award, and has been recognised for his leadership skills promoting the voices of the Financial Times' LGBTQ+ community. ERR News caught up with Ahlberg last month to discuss his life, work and the differences between LGBTQ+ rights in the U.K. and Estonia.

Jüri Ratas' year-end interview: I don't want to be president

28.12.19 NEWS ... Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) gave a year-end interview to ERR's Russian-language TV channel ETV+, covering a range of topics including the status of native Russian-speaking politicians in a coalition including the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE), the future of oil shale, the influence of big business in the country, and his relations with the president.

'How do you shoot people?': Remembering Afghanistan, 40 years on

27.12.19 NEWS ... December 27 marks the 40th anniversary of the outbreak of the nine-year Soviet-Afghanistan war. ERR's Toomas Sildam met one of that war's Estonian veterans, who recalled the opening salvo of what was supposed to be a short operation, just three days later on December 27, with the assault on the Tajbeg Palace, near the Afghan capital, Kabul, and the assassination, after more than one previous failed attempt, of the Afghan leader Hafizullah Amin, who the Soviet Union had lulled into a false sense of security but who was suspected of being a United States spy.

Interview: Finnish Prosecutor General Raija Toiviainen in Tallinn

09.11.19 FEATURE INTERVIEWS ... Who Estonia's next prosecutor general will be is still up in the air at the time of writing, as current incumbent Lavly Perling comes to the end of her first five-year term. In Finland, the appointment has no such shelf-life.

Feature: Feminist forum to shine a light on sustainable social movements

27.10.19 NEWS ... Next weekend, on Nov. 2, web magazine Feministeerium is to host its first Feminist Forum, TALFF. The event will offer a space for people to gather, listen to debates, and meet like-minded people. ERR News caught up with two of the web magazine's founders Aet Kuusik and Nele Laos, to discuss Feministeerium, feminism in Estonia, and equality.

Rene Kokk: We need to talk about both the nuclear plant and pulp mill

25.09.19 FEATURE INTERVIEWS ... Minister of the Environment Rene Kokk (EKRE) believes climate warming is partially anthropogenic but does not think highly of electric cars, is skeptical of Rail Baltic, vows to reduce the size of clearcut areas, is against a green tax on airline tickets but in favor of bio-additives in motor fuel, wants nesting peace for birds in conservation areas and is not planning to replace the ministry's secretary general.

Interview: Lord Mayor of London on links with Tallinn, both old and new

28.05.19 FEATURE INTERVIEWS ... The Lord Mayor of London, Peter Estlin, was in Tallinn at the beginning of the week, and very kindly met us, providing a snapshot of what he was doing here, his role, and how he sees future relations between both the City of London and Tallinn, and more broadly, the United Kingdom and Estonia.

Interview: NATO commander on challenges of role in Estonia

17.03.19 FEATURE INTERVIEWS ... Having already interviewed some of the personnel from the 1 YORKS battle group, the third such battle group to form, together with its NATO allies, the core of the alliance's Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP), it made sense to catch up with the commander of the eFP, Col Giles Harris, formerly of the Welsh Guards. I was very privileged to be able to do just that, at the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) HQ in Tallinn, providing a great opportunity to colour-in further the picture of what the British-led eFP does here, its aspirations and its day-to-day activities.

Interview: British soldiers with NATO Battle Group reflect on job well done

12.03.19 FEATURE INTERVIEWS ... Estonia has been a NATO member since 2004, but only in recent years has any of that become more visible to most people. With US troops first arriving in 2014, the impetus grew after the 2016 Warsaw Summit's decision to strengthen NATO's eastern presence in the Baltic States and Poland. Within a space of time which might make Brexit negotiators, on both sides, hang their heads in shame, the Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) and its principal base at Tapa became reality in 2017.

Christmas interview with Archbishop Urmas Viilma

23.12.18 NEWS ... Archbishop Urmas Viilma has been head of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (EELK) for four years, ample experience to draw on his reflections on the church, the largest denomination in the country by attendance.

Interview: Researcher on Faroese e-Government and the Estonian experience

12.12.18 NEWS ... Being a small, northern country once ruled over by Scandinavians, Estonians are in an ideal position to bring their e-government know-how to their distant cousins strung out across the North Atlantic, on the Faroe Islands. This is by no means, however, a one-way street, but more of a crossroads — or rather an X-Road, given Estonia's name for its widely-known interoperability solution — with Estonia benefiting just as much from the symbiotic relationship.

Interview: Riina Sikkut on health, labour, equality and her role

05.11.18 NEWS ... Of Estonia's ministerial roles, all 16 of them, that of Health and Labour gets sidelined compared with more "glamorous" positions like defence, foreign affairs, finance, or justice.* It tends to get politicised around election time, often skewered by opponents for costing too much in taxation (via the health and unemployment insurance funds) yet paradoxically presiding over underfunded or ineffective systems.

Interview: Vahur Afanasjev's tribute to a fading culture

15.10.18 CULTURE ... Vahur Afanasjev is a multifaceted man who has written poetry as well as prose, produced films, performed music, and dabbled in many other creative arts. Time and again, these activities have landed him in Estonia's spotlight. Yet when his novel Serafima and Bogdan was published last year, it became resoundingly clear that Afanasjev is a writer above all – and a fantastic one at that. The novel first won the Estonian Writers' Union's Novel Competition and then, this spring, received the most esteemed local literary prize: the Cultural Endowment of Estonia's Award for Prose. To top it off, the work has been highly acclaimed and is currently being translated into English for publishing in the UK. Serafima and Bogdan is a pan-generational story about the lives of Russian Orthodox Old Believers inhabiting the western shore of Lake Peipus. It endeavors to determine the driving forces behind revenge and violence, as well as to comprehend what man's role is here on earth.

INTERVIEW: World-famous opera tenor José Cura on new Tallinn production

20.09.18 CULTURE ... This month, Tallinn's Opera and Ballet House (Rahvusooper) finds time in its permanently frenetic schedule to host a new production of La fanciulla del West, by Puccini. Set in the old American West, it deserves to be as familiar as La bohème and Madama Butterfly, or, for hitherto opera ignorati such as myself, even simply Nessun Dorma as it accompanied Paul Gascoigne's crying at the 1990 World Cup Finals.*

FEATURE | Interview with the Kalamaja archaeological time team

01.09.18 FEATURE ... This summer, what would appear to be just another Tallinn construction site became something of a celebrated case as the preliminary digging work led to the discovery of a wealth of mostly domestic artefacts from the late middle ages. The find, in Tallinn's Kalamaja district, effectively filled in a gap in knowledge about society in Estonia in the 15th century.

'No (stateless) person, no problem?': An interview with Yana Toom MEP

04.08.18 NEWS ... I arrive slightly early for my interview with Yana Toom at her constituency office in a fashionable street in central Tallinn, only to find out that she has beaten me to it and is already there. A very tall woman, easily recognisable thanks to her distinctive russet hair, she is wilting in the current heatwave in Tallinn just as much as I am and we go out for a pre-interview cigarette on the office balcony (''I'm just a summer smoker'' I say, not very convincingly).

Palling: Uber law will have 'huge economic and environmental benefits'

19.06.17 NEWS ... The Riigikogu passed the so-called rideshare bill into law last week, regulating the business of platforms like Uber and Taxify. According to Kalle Palling (Reform), instrumental in the bill’s introduction, this kind of legislation is the litmus test of any tech-savvy state.

Professor: Populism and idiocy have a natural limit

16.06.17 FEATURE INTERVIEWS ... According to professor of particle physics and television presenter Brian Cox, the life-expectancy of a post-factual world is necessarily limited, as it will inevitably lead to the collapse of civilisation.

Andrus Ansip: 'We decided to solve the problem before it got out of hand'

25.04.17 FEATURE INTERVIEWS ... In 2007, the European Union’s commissioner for the digital single market, Andrus Ansip, was prime minister of Estonia. In his interview with ERR, he talks about how he experienced the events surrounding the removal of the Bronze Soldier ten years ago.

Under siege: Events at the Estonian embassy in Moscow

25.04.17 FEATURE INTERVIEWS ... During the Bronze Night riots, the Estonian embassy in Moscow was surrounded by protesters, most of them members of the Nashi and Molodaya Rossiya. They threatened the embassy and its staff. Then-ambassador Marina Kaljurand told ERR News in an interview how events unfolded in the Russian capital.

Alar Karis: Moving security sciences academy pointless

14.03.17 FEATURE INTERVIEWS ... Auditor General Alar Karis spoke in the Riigikogu on Monday and found rather clear words to describe the Justice Ministry’s continuing push for a complete move of the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences to Narva. In a quick interview with ERR News, he explains why.

Marina Kaljurand: The essence of the Tallinn Manual

17.02.17 FEATURE INTERVIEWS ... How can international law be applied on a cyberattack? What is the legal meaning of sovereignty and human rights in cyberspace? Modern technology represents an enormous challenge for law and policy makers. The Tallinn Manual 2.0 is a pioneering tool that helps them find their own direction.
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