Feature

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

20.09.18 ... 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.*

Finance authority: Denmark knew about Danske risk in 2012

17.09.18 ... The Financial Supervision Authority (FI) relayed suspicions about Danske Bank transactions in Estonia to the Danish head office in 2012, it says. Following an FI inspection in 2014, Danske was obliged to curtail non-resident accounts with the Estonian branch, though neither this nor word from the Danish authorities happened quickly.

INTERVIEW: Tallinna Vesi CEO makes Tallinn water even more transparent

15.09.18 ... Utility company Eesti Energia may hold more media headlines, with its wind farm acquisitions, green energy and charges of monopoly behaviour. But there is another utility – not nationwide and with a smaller turnover, but still providing for one third of the Estonian population with an absolute essential, water – which merits a closer look.

Major artists support worldwide, Estonia-inspired cleanup day

13.09.18 ... World Cleanup Day (WCD) 2018 on Saturday, 15 September sees music stars join millions worldwide, getting their hands dirty, as well as performing and spreading the message, with input from ERR News too.

FEATURE | Interview with the Kalamaja archaeological time team

01.09.18 ... 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.

Inside look at the Russian propaganda factory as it operates in Estonia

30.08.18 ... A 2016 arrest by Estonian intelligence agents of a 55-year-old citizen of the Russian Federation led to the discovery of a whole trail of electronic communications, giving us a glimpse of just how Russian Federation-funded sites, masquerading as news, operate as well as some of the figures involved in their finance.

Accommodation discrimination: Does racism in Tallinn rental market exist?

26.08.18 ... ''Is Estonia a racist place?'' is a question which has been repeatedly raised on expat online forums recently, with claims arising that this is indeed the case in the apartment rental market and expats living in Estonia often reporting getting rejected by a potential landlord/lady. Those commenting sometimes state their belief that this rejection is due to the colour of their skin. A recent piece on online magazine Estonian World condensed some of these reported experiences. But comments sections often generate more heat than light, so how do we go about sifting the facts from the feelings?

Thirty years on, Estonian-Irish relations continue to flower

21.08.18 ... It was thirty years ago this year that a small group of Irish musicians made their way to Estonia to take part in one of the most extraordinary, not to mention one of the first, albeit unofficial recognitions of Estonia as a (potentially) independent nation.

Ragnar Klavan and the leaving of Liverpool: To Cagliari for €2 million

18.08.18 ... Liverpool's loss is Cagliari's gain it seems, as the Sardinian team sign star Estonian defender Ragnar Klavan for €2 million. Angelo Palmeri gives us the details about what to some of us might look like an interesting direction in Klavan's career.

Trump's tariffs and their potential effects on Estonia

09.08.18 ... "Trade wars are good, and easy to win," so tweeted US President Donald Trump at the beginning of March this year, thus commencing a round of tit-for-tat tariff-imposing between the US and, well, most of its trade partners. But will this affect Estonia and if so, how much?

Expat problems: 'Does anybody know where I can find Pho Bo in Estonia?'

08.08.18 ... For many foreigners/expats/immigrants, call them what you will, living in Estonia, particuarly if they don't speak Estonian well, can be frustrating. Knowing where to find an English-speaking doctor or dentist when they are sick, or where to find a good lawyer, plumber or electrician, how the public transport system works – even such esoteric worries as where the best Vietnamese Pho Bo is to be had in town, can be far from clear. Fortunately Deniss Peld, himself formerly an expat who was living in Berlin, and a native of Estonia, has set up a helpful website which can answer all these questions and more. We asked Deniss about the site, his motivation for setting it up and how he sees it developing in the future.

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

04.08.18 ... 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).

Feature: Behind the European Intervention Initiative

05.07.18 ... Last year, 25 of the EU's 28 member states committed to the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) scheme, spurring a wide array of specific military projects and investment pledges, French President Emmanuel Macron's European Intervention Initiative being one of them.

"It's the rules, stupid!" Estonia and EU financial framework negotiations

02.07.18 ... The European Union is currently in the early stages of its negotiations about the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for the 2021-2027 period. Though funding may be received through new priorities, co-financing rules are a source of worry for the Baltic states, and especially to Estonia.

Video: Overnight storm causes floods in Tallinn streets, damage to TV house

22.06.18 ... Last night saw a storm in the Tallinn area which wrought havoc with transport and even contributed to curtailing the last few minutes of ETV's broadcast of the Argentina-Croatia World Cup football match.

Netherlands recruits Baltic states to compensate for effects of Brexit

12.06.18 ... The Netherlands is building new coalitions within the EU to compensate for the loss of the UK as the union's main free trade champion, and has found partners in the Baltic states. At the same time, a domestic policy issue involving gas supplies and the Dutch stance on Russia have the potential to put what has been dubbed the New Hanseatic League to the test.

In case of crisis, NATO lacking capability to quickly move troops eastwards

08.06.18 ... While NATO is working to establish a "credible deterrent" on its eastern flank, swift and large-scale allied troop movements across Europe currently aren't possible. The infrastructure as well as the planning capacity of the Cold War is largely gone and now needs to be rebuilt step by step, an overview presented at the Dutch Ministry of Defence showed.

Faroe Islands look to Estonian example setting up own e-government system

14.05.18 ... The Faroe Islands are an archipelago of 18 tiny and remote islands in the North Atlantic. An autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, which already has an e-state of its own in place, they decided in favour of Estonia"s approach—for technological as well as political reasons, writes Richard Martyn-Hemphill.

Macron, Merkel in the White House: Back to basics

08.05.18 ... French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were both in Washington D.C. recently, on visits to the White House. Whereas President Macron was greeted with a lavish state reception, Chancellor Merkel’s visit was a modest working visit.

Social Democrats challenging the status quo now a matter of survival

22.04.18 ... What seemed to be just an option has now become a necessity. Coming up with proposals for real change appears to be the only way for Social-Democratic parties not to disappear in an ever larger undifferentiated political center. Both in Germany and in Estonia, the current phase of transition will determine the fortunes of SPD and SDE in the coming months.

Feature: Ruussaar in Eastern Ukraine, Part 4 | Corruption

31.03.18 ... ERR's Ainar Ruussaar traveled to Eastern Ukraine in February this year as part of a training program for local journalists. In the fourth and last article of his series, Ruussaar talks about an aspect of Ukrainian life that has decisively affected the country's fate as well as its reputation: corruption.

Feature: Ruussaar in Eastern Ukraine, Part 3 | Mariupol

25.03.18 ... In the third feature of his four-part travel series, ERR's Ainar Ruussaar describes his destination, Mariupol, a historic city, resort town on the Sea of Azov, and industrial center all in one.

Feature: Ruussaar in Eastern Ukraine, Part 2 | On the train

18.03.18 ... ERR's Ainar Ruussaar traveled to Eastern Ukraine in February as part of a training program for local journalists. This is the second of his four-part report on his trip, in which he talks about his journey from Tallinn to Mariupol. ERR News is publishing Ruussaar's account of the situation in the area over the next few weekends.

Feature: Ruussaar in Eastern Ukraine, Part 1 | War

11.03.18 ... ERR's Ainar Ruussaar traveled to Eastern Ukraine in February as part of a training program for local journalists. ERR News is publishing Ruussaar's account of the situation in the area over the next few weekends. This is the first of four parts, where he describes his arrival in the Mariupol area.

Feature: Why the radical right is here to stay

04.03.18 ... If there is one thing we can take for granted after the rise of the radical right in Europe is that the populist parties are here to stay. To understand the exclusive relationship between the people and these factions, we have to look beyond the mere politics of scaremongering and unveil the asymmetries of a dislocated class conflict.

Riigikogu thanks those instrumental to state's creation, preservation

22.02.18 ... The Riigikogu adopted a declaration on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia on Thursday to thank all those who were instrumental to the creation, defense, preservation, and restoration of the Estonian state.

Feature: The case for a progressive income tax in Estonia

18.02.18 ... Estonia’s income tax scheme based on a flat rate worked well during the boom years. But as EU structural support payments are about to shrink, the government is looking for new sources of revenue, and inequality is growing, it is time Estonia considered coming up with a progressive income tax of its own, Federico Plantera writes.

Part 3: First blood spilled for sovereign Estonia on Feb. 25

17.02.18 ... In the third and final part of a special three-part series dedicated to the pivotal events of Feb. 23-25, 1918, Piret Kriivan, host of Vikerraadio's "Estonia's Story," spoke with Tallinn City Archives director Küllo Arjakas about the events of Feb. 25, including what was arguably the first battle fought in defense of the newly independent Republic of Estonia.

Feature: Crimea and Ukraine's role in ongoing disinformation campaigns

15.02.18 ... To talk about a new multipolar world order and current threats to global security without mentioning the annexation of Crimea is the same as using a compass that indicates only three of the four cardinal directions, Oleh Pokalchuk and Marina Dadinova write in a recent piece for the International Centre for Defence and Security.

Part 2: Salvation Committee begins issuing orders on Feb. 24

10.02.18 ... In the second part of a special three-part series dedicated to the pivotal events of Feb. 23-25, 1918, Piret Kriivan, host of Vikerraadio's "Estonia's Story," spoke with University of Tartu Associate Professor of Estonian History Ago Pajur about the events of Feb. 24, including how German troops marched on Tallinn and Tartu even as copies of the Estonian Declaration of Independence continued to spread across the country.

Part 1: Estonian independence proclaimed in Pärnu on Feb. 23

03.02.18 ... In the first part of a special three-part series dedicated to the pivotal events of Feb. 23-25, 1918, Piret Kriivan, host of the Vikerraadio program "Estonia's Story," spoke with Pärnu Museum director Aldur Vunk about the events of Feb. 23, including the details surrounding the first proclamation of Estonian independence that night in Pärnu.

Blue Awakening: The next generation of Estonian nationalists

15.01.18 ... Nov. 30, 2017 marked the fifth anniversary of the youth organization of the Conservative People’s Party of Estonia (EKRE), Sinine Ӓratus ("Blue Awakening"). Blue Awakening was founded and is currently led by Tartu city councillor and EKRE board member, Ruuben Kaalep. Although EKRE is a relatively new party, founded only in 2012, they are growing rapidly and have come in third in Estonia's monthly party ratings.

Michael Kofman: What actually happened during Zapad 2017

23.12.17 ... German tabloid Bild reported earlier this week that in its Zapad 2017 exercises, Russia ran scenarios that included an invasion of the Baltic states, Poland, Finland, Sweden, and Norway, and bombing Germany. Security and defense expert and global fellow at the Wilson Center's Kennan Institute, Michael Kofman, provides a more realistic account of what Russia's military exercises actually were.

November 1917: Estonian Provincial Assembly declares itself supreme power

28.11.17 ... Following the October Revolution, the Estonian Provincial Assembly declared itself the supreme power in the Governorate of Estonia on Nov. 28, 1917. This marked the beginning of Estonia's political struggle for independence, and also the violent backlash the country would face over the following years.

The specter of Red October still haunts the Baltic states

07.11.17 ... The Baltic states followed a unique trajectory following the October Revolution, breaking free from Bolshevik power and enjoying two decades of independence. When Sovietization finally arrived, the region’s peoples responded by leading double lives. It was a tactic that ultimately played an important role in hastening the Soviet Union’s demise.

Kaur Kender: The world's most diseased place for the Estonian language

14.09.17 ... The case brought against him, and especially the prosecutor's appeal of the first-tier court's acquittal based on both the constitutional freedom of art as well as the lack of a damaged party is nothing short of an all-out and totalitarian attack on an essential freedom of Estonian society, and eventually also an attack on the Estonian language itself, Kender writes.

Dmitri Teperik: A turning point for Ukraine’s national resilience

11.09.17 ... In a few months, Ukraine will commemorate the fourth anniversary of its rebirth as a nation in a military conflict with Russia that has initiated many previously badly missed reforms, changed the security perceptions of many Ukrainians, and reshaped societal values while continuing to influence the country’s socio-economic development.

Commissioner Věra Jourová: EU law needs to keep up with digital development

04.09.17 ... The European Union needs to keep up in terms of digital development, and its approach to corporate law needs to be updated accordingly, EU Commissioner Věra Jourová said on Monday. Jourová is attending the Justice Ministry's conference on the subject in Tallinn on Sept. 4 and 5.

Steinmeier: History mustn’t be used as a weapon

23.08.17 ... While Aug. 23 marked a low point in history with the signing of the pact in 1939 that would later bring so much destruction and death to Europe, with the Baltic Way in 1989 fifty years later it also stood for optimism and courage and the Baltic longing for freedom, German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in his speech at the Estonian Academy of Sciences.

Kaljulaid: Conflict between national and liberal values doesn't exist

21.08.17 ... In her speech given on the occasion of the 26th anniversary of the restoration of Estonia’s independence in 1991, President Kersti Kaljulaid spoke out against replacing dealing with the country’s actual issues with trumped-up and artificial conflicts—the latter of which were a threat to democracy.

Estonia hosts the EU presidency in the usual casual style

07.07.17 ... The Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European union is now well under way, and so far there have been no major glitches. ERR News went along to Tallinn Creative Hub on Thursday, to the Informal Meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers to see how things are coming along.

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

19.06.17 ... 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.

On the hunt for contraband cigarettes

16.06.17 ... Over the past four years the Tax and Customs Board (MTA) has managed to reduce the market share of contraband cigarettes by half. The success of their work is based on large-scale operations, confiscating millions of cigarettes that if sold would benefit not the state, but organized crime. The following is an account of one of their most successful operations—involving a contraband cigarette factory in Tartu County.

Professor: Populism and idiocy have a natural limit

16.06.17 ... 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.

Summary of ERR News' June 2017 readership survey

14.06.17 ... The survey asked respondents to answer ten questions. At a total of 123 form submissions, the survey is not representative of all of ERR News' readership, but nonetheless gathered a lot of useful information.

Meri Conference opening panel: EU far from obsolete, common goals strong

13.05.17 ... The 2017 Lennart Meri Conference’s opening panel discussed the prospects of the European Union in an ever-changing environment, the challenges it faces internally, and its direction in terms of more coordinated defense. Speakers included EU foreign policy high representative Federica Mogherini, President Kersti Kaljulaid, and former Italian prime minister Enrico Letta.

Kalev Stoicescu: The significance of Macron's election victory

11.05.17 ... Research fellow at the International Centre for Defence and Security (ICDS) in Tallinn, Kalev Stoicescu, writes that Emmanuel Macron's victory in the French presidential elections is of tremendous importance for Europe, and a defeat for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his efforts to divide the European Union.

Disinformation Review: Russian fear-mongering continues

11.05.17 ... Stoltenberg wants war, NATO’s April exercise in Ādaži was the preparation of the alliance’s upcoming attack on Russia, the Baltic police forces are running cleansing and punitive operations, and Baltic Russians are subject to experiments altering the human psyche: A glimpse of the news coverage of the Russian state media.

Don't go for basic income, go for new work and tax models instead

04.05.17 ... President Kersti Kaljulaid spoke at the St. Gallen Symposium in Switzerland on May 3, calling not for a basic income for everyone in the face of societal change, but instead for openness towards new models and solutions. Here is the president's speech in full.

Gallery: New Triigi-Sõru ferry enters regular service

01.05.17 ... Built in the shipyards of Baltic Workboats in Nasva, the latest of Estonia’s new island ferries, the Soela, will take up regular line service between the islands of Saaremaa and Hiiumaa today Monday. Unlike the larger ferries recently introduced on the routes from the islands to the Estonian mainland, Soela was finished a week before the deadline.

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