12.12.18 ... 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.
05.11.18 ... 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.
15.10.18 ... 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.
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.*
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.
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).
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.
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.
25.04.17 ... 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.
25.04.17 ... 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.
14.03.17 ... 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.
17.02.17 ... 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.