Interviews

PPA chief: No major disruption likely in Narva in near future

17.08.22 NEWS ... While there were likely to be minor incidents in Narva on Tuesday evening following the removal of the Soviet tank monument, and of other Soviet-era monuments in the vicinity, the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) had no information that any major disturbances would happen, the authority's director general, Elmar Vaher, forecast – and indeed turned out to be correct about.

Narva mayor: We need to offer the people of Narva something in return

16.08.22 NEWS ... Mayor of Narva Katri Raik (SDE) told ERR in an interview that because the removal of the "Tank T-34" monument will hurt Narva residents, something that can help soothe the pain must be offered instead. Raik also said that the Narva opposition is looking to sue the central government.

Interview: There's no shortage of work in Estonia, says furniture producer

16.08.22 NEWS ... In an interview with ERR, Jaak Nigul, board chair at furniture producer Tarmeko, said that there is no shortage of work in Estonia. He believes a public sector cutback could immediately free up labor, and noted that right now, people can survive on unemployment benefits alone, which isn't motivating them to find work.

Reinsalu on visa ban: Russian citizens cannot be differentiated from Putin

12.08.22 NEWS ... Foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) said ordinary Russian citizens cannot be treated as a separate category from that country's leader, Vladimir Putin, the aggressor in the current conflict in Ukraine.

Road builders may take state to court over soaring materials prices

11.08.22 ECONOMY ... Companies engaged in road building may approach the state to compensate them for rising construction costs relating to projects ordered by the state. Road builders also do not see the conflict in Ukraine, a major factor in the price rises and in canceled projects, as something for which they are responsible, but rather more a force majeure event.

Edward von Lõngus: What matters is creation

09.08.22 CULTURE ... Estonian graffiti and street artist Edward von Lõngus, who has remained a mystery in the art scene, keeping his appearance and personal details hidden from the public, tells Shameema Binte Rahman in an interview about his approach to social issues, creative process and why the art matters more than his physical body.

Tallinn's education chief: Transition to Estonian schooling not feasible

06.08.22 NEWS ... The new chief of the Tallinn Education Department Kaarel Rundu discusses teacher shortages, the feasibility of the transition to Estonian-language schooling, the coronavirus pandemic and Ukrainian refugees in an interview with ERR.

Environment minister seeking balance, won't let Forest Council fight

02.08.22 NEWS ... In an interview with ERR, Minister of the Environment Madis Kallas (SDE) discussed how logging further away from people's routes could help resolve the dispute surrounding logging. He also believes that the building exclusion zone on Estonia's islands could be reduced, and that pollution abatement needs work as well.

Arvi Hamburg: Belief in market solution to electricity crisis is naive

20.07.22 NEWS ... While the principles agreed by the new coalition to mitigate the effects of the energy crisis will help to alleviate its symptoms, the electricity market needs deeper reform, says Arvi Hamburg, chairman of the Energy Council of the Estonian Academy of Sciences. The entire Baltic and Nordic region requires a comprehensive and consistent energy development strategy.

Justice minister: Legal order requires same protection as press freedom

20.07.22 NEWS ... New Minister of Justice Lea Danilson-Järg (Isamaa) tells ERR in an interview that protecting legal order must not be overlooked when seeking to safeguard press freedom. Who has made mistakes in interfering with the work of others is up to the courts to decide.

Helme: Economy minister Sikkut punishment for the Estonian people

15.07.22 NEWS ... Chairman of the opposition Conservative People's Party (EKRE) Martin Helme welcomes the new coalition's decision to hike family benefits but criticizes the incoming government of the Reform Party, Isamaa and SDE in other aspects. Helme believes Reform is taking advantage of the Social Democrats and that two Isamaa ministers could prove hapless.

Isamaa head: We wanted to bring new people into politics and the party

15.07.22 NEWS ... Chairman of the coalition Isamaa party Helir-Valdor Seeder told "Aktuaalne kaamera" evening news that the party's goal was to introduce political newcomers as ministers.

Interview | Pakosta: Revoking war grave protection unrelated to Ukraine war

13.07.22 NEWS ... In an interview with ERR, National Heritage Board Director General Liisa Pakosta says that revoking the heritage protection status of war graves, a process the board initiated this week, is purely a technical effort. According to Pakosta, the Constitution of Estonia doesn't permit the Heritage Board to determine whether a war grave marked with a memorial during the Soviet occupation may also be of historical value as well.

Head of Tallinn heating provider: Tenders have not yielded enough gas

13.07.22 NEWS ... The arrival of expensive LNG in Paldiski this winter forcing the capital's heating provider Utilitas not to use shale oil reserves it could be forced to procure as backup would constitute a bleak scenario, CEO of Utilitas Tallinn Robert Kitt says.

Principal: French Lyceum fosters understanding between Estonia and France

20.06.22 NEWS ... On the occasion of the basic school graduation ceremony for ninth grade students on Friday, Peter Pedak, director of the Tallinn French Lyceum, revisits the history of the school.

Georgian ambassador: Estonia's experience is important for us

17.06.22 FEATURE ... Today (June 17), Estonia and Georgia celebrate the 30th anniversary of their diplomatic relations. ERR News spoke to the Georgian Ambassador to Estonia Archil Karaulashvili about plans to further develop economic relations, EU membership aspirations and Russia's war in Ukraine.

Isamaa electricity market reform has not been given green light at talks

16.06.22 NEWS ... Isamaa managing committee member Aivar Kokk said that the party wants the electricity market reformed in a way to obligate Eesti Energia to cap the price of electricity at €50 per megawatt-hour for households. The Reform Party and Social Democrats have not greenlit the plan.

New competition chief: Suspicions in society that not all prices fair

15.06.22 NEWS ... Incoming Director General of the Estonian Competition Authority Evelin Pärn-Lee says in an interview to ERR that it is her task to determine whether prices develop fairly and bring proceedings when that might not be the case. She says that competition supervision needs to be ramped up in Estonia in which field Latvia and Lithuania have taken more forceful steps in recent decades.

Marielle Vitureau: Covering the Baltic States as a French correspondent

14.06.22 NEWS ... Marielle Vitureau is a French independent journalist. She has been the correspondent for Radio France Internationale, Courrier International and other media in the Baltic States for the past twenty years. Based in Vilnius, she is mainly covering social issues and the integration of the Baltics into the European Union.

Ossinovski believes Isamaa genuine in seeking a working coalition

13.06.22 NEWS ... Member of the board of the Social Democratic Party (SDE) Jevgeni Ossinovski tells ERR in an interview that he believes Kaja Kallas has learned from mistakes made in the previous government. He says that it is the task of the head of government to make sure partners feel dignified and able to realize their political priorities.

Mart Laar: Center and EKRE combination comes off pro-Russia

06.06.22 NEWS ... Former Isamaa leader and prime minister Mart Laar considers Kaja Kallas and Jüri Ratas creating a government crisis to have been irresponsible but does not support Isamaa working with Center and the Conservative People's Party (EKRE). Laar said that Center and EKRE are not the best combination for Estonia right now as they come off pro-Russia.

Isamaa leader: I can't say we have more in common with EKRE and Center

03.06.22 POLITICS ... Isamaa could not be stated to have more common ground with the Center Party and the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) than with the other political parties in Estonia, Helir-Valdor Seeder, Isamaa's leader says. Seeder particularly expressed doubt over the two parties' – both of which Isamaa was in office with 2019-2021 – motivations in rejecting a Reform Party bill addressing the kindergarten system in Estonia, in an interview with ERR's Indrek Kiisler which follows.

EKRE vice-chair not ruling out coalition with Reform

03.06.22 NEWS ... In an interview with ERR, Henn Põlluaas, vice-chairman of the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE), said that he would like to see the previous government coalition of EKRE, the Center Party and Isamaa restored as it was the most workable. However, Põlluaas did not rule out a coalition involving the Reform Party.

Interview: Kallas doesn't deny claim about forming new ruling coalition

02.06.22 NEWS ... In an interview with ERR on Thursday, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said that coalitions can be broken up in minutes, but they take significantly longer to form, adding that they are never formed via the media.

President's economic advisor: Estonia's spending out of hand

29.05.22 NEWS ... Economic adviser to the president Kaspar Oja tells ERR in an interview that past campaigns to introduce new expenses are putting strain on Estonia's state budget.

Timmermans to ERR: Russian gas difficult to shake but decision unavoidable

24.05.22 NEWS ... The European Commission last week unveiled plans for ending Europe's dependence on Russian gas and oil. Vice President of the Commission Frans Timmermans admitted to ETV foreign affairs talk show "Välisilm" that shaking Russian gas will be extremely difficult.

Sven Grünberg: Everything bad in the world comes from ignorance

19.05.22 CULTURE ... Sven Grünberg says in a lengthy interview to Meelis Oidsalu that a person is obligated to develop themselves as everything bad in the world ultimately comes from ignorance. He also says that manly men have been suppressed in European culture of late and that weepy, soft and squashy men seem to be the latest fashion – the two sides seem to lack a sensible balance.

Center whip: Family benefits sought as supplementary budget unsatisfactory

16.05.22 NEWS ... Center Party Riigikogu group head Jaanus Karilaid tells ERR in an interview that Center put forth the family benefits bill because the supplementary budget fell short of the party's expectations.

Ranking US diplomat in Estonia: 'Nobody needed to tell me Russia a danger'

14.05.22 FEATURE ... In the ongoing absence of a new ambassador, U.S. Embassy Charge d'Affaires Brian Roraff remains the ranking U.S. diplomat currently serving in Estonia. Tallinn is not his first assignment in the region, however, and as he said in a longer recent interview with ERR News, he knew the focus of the U.S.-Estonian relationship would be security and NATO cooperation.

System operator: Alexela will procure quay and floating terminal by itself

12.05.22 NEWS ... The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, Elering and Alexela have reached an agreement for moving forward with LNG terminal project. Taavi Veskimägi, head of transmission system operator Elering, told ERR that Alexela will construct the mooring quay and is prepared to procure the floating terminal.

Interview | Putin's war failing, but return to normalcy will take years

07.05.22 INTERVIEWS ... Getting back to normal relations with Russia might take a generation even as the current war in Ukraine is going badly Vladimir Putin, US diplomat Christopher Robinson said in an interview with ERR's Ilja Dotšar, which follows in its entirety.

Environment minister: Estonia needs strategic stockpile of firewood

05.05.22 NEWS ... Minister of the Environment Erki Savisaar (Center) tells ERR in an interview that the government should have a strategic reserve of firewood similarly to other fuels. The ministry is prepared to discuss hiking logging volumes to alleviate the industry's material shortage and avoid massive bark beetle damage.

Estonian police prepared for spontaneous May 9 provocations

04.05.22 NEWS ... The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) says that spontaneous provocation or conflict next Monday, May 9, marked in the Russian Federation as 'Victory Day', are likely in Estonia, while the authority will do all it can to mitigate any issues, PPA northern prefect Joosep Kaasik told ERR, in an interview which follows.

Elering head stops short of promising LNG terminal in Paldiski by fall

03.05.22 NEWS ... Taavi Veskimägi, head of the Estonian power and gas transmission system operator Elering, told ETV morning show "Terevisioon" that Estonian consumers will have gas supply security next winter but stopped short of promising that it would be ensured through the planned LNG terminal in Paldiski.

General Ben Hodges Q&A: Ukraine could push Russia back by end of 2022

03.05.22 INTERVIEWS ... It is possible to hope Russia could be pushed back to the positions it held in Ukraine on February 23, before it launched its full-scale invasion, by the end of 2022, former commanding general of the U.S. Army in Europe Ben Hodges told ETV's "Valisilm" in an interview this week.

Estonian angel investor sending aid convoys to Ukraine: This is personal

27.04.22 FEATURE ... For Estonian IT entrepreneur and angel investor Ragnar Sass, the war in Ukraine is more personal than most. ERR News spoke to the Salto-X and Pipedrive co-founder about his efforts to take humanitarian aid to the war-torn country, his business interests there and the Estonian startup scene.

Interview with Center MEP Yana Toom: We're losing voters over Ukraine war

14.04.22 NEWS ... The war in Ukraine is having a negative impact on the Center Party's rating, but a bigger concern right now is maintaining the peace in Estonia, which means calling off the witch hunt and putting an end to pushing the country's Russian-speakers to a point we don't want them to reach, Center board member and MEP Yana Toom told ERR on Wednesday.

Estonian ambassador to the US: Ukraine aid changing as the war develops

12.04.22 UKRAINE LATEST ... American assistance to Ukraine is evolving in line with military developments on the ground and with Ukraine's changing needs, Estonia's Ambassador to the United States, Kristjan Prikk, told ERR in an interview which follows.

"Deserted" – A desert fairy tale flirting with Stockholm syndrome

08.04.22 CULTURE ... "Deserted" is a collaboration between Estonia, Sweden and Finland, with filming locations in the exotic Jordanian desert. It's a masterful desert fairy tale for the senses that evokes conversation. Director and screenwriter Kadri Kõusaar and actor Frida Westerdahl discuss the film and the making of.

Head of Orthodox church: Bombing civilian objects is a crime

31.03.22 NEWS ... Metropolitan Eugene of the Estonian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (MPEÕK) does not deny Russia's invasion of Ukraine but stops short of condemning the Russian leadership for unleashing war, pointing to different interpretations of the ongoing aggression. The metropolitan tells ERR in an interview that he does not believe the war and different attitudes are causing a schism.

Head of Rail Baltic Estonia: Construction stuck behind planning

30.03.22 NEWS ... While raw materials shortage caused by the war in Ukraine and sanctions are the primary concern for the construction sector today, slow design work seems to be hounding the Rail Baltic project, CEO of Rail Baltic Estonia Avar Salomets says in an interview. It is too soon to gauge the potential effects of building materials price hike.

Zelenskyy: We will execute Russian ultimatums when we no longer exist

23.03.22 UKRAINE LATEST ... President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy says in an interview to three European Broadcasting Union (EBU) journalists that Ukraine is only a step to the result Putin is talking about, going after Europe. First to take the Baltic states, countries that were part of the USSR, and then other countries that had Soviet army and Soviet influence.

Ukrainian ambassador: Ukraine wants peace but Russia wants war

15.03.22 UKRAINE LATEST ... Russia aims to destroy Ukraine if it cannot conquer the country, Ukrainian Ambassador to Estonia Mariana Betsa said. In a lengthy interview, Betsa spoke about her main duties during the war; refugees and the founding of a Ukrainian school in Estonia; and why Ukrainians will fight for Kyiv until their last breaths.

Diplomat: Around 20,000 Estonian citizens still reside in Russia

01.03.22 NEWS ... While a large number of Russian citizens would like to get exit visas from that country in the current situation, there are also around 20,000 Estonian citizens resident in the Russian Federation, a diplomat from the Estonian embassy in Moscow says.

Maasikas: West underrated Ukraine's importance to Russia's imperial thought

01.03.22 NEWS ... EU ambassador and Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine Matti Maasikas said a slew of very smart analysts were gravely mistaken ahead of the war in Ukraine when they believed Russian President Vladimir Putin wouldn't cross over into outright war. This proved the West underestimated Ukraine's importance to Russia's imperial thinking.

Sikkut: Politicians reminded of e-state importance when something breaks

27.01.22 NEWS ... Siim Sikkut was the deputy secretary general in charge of digital development for five years during which he saw seven ministers come and go. He believes that the digital proficiency of both officials and politicians needs to be boosted for the Estonian state IT system to endure and be improved. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications should have a bigger say and the entire field more money, Sikkut finds.

Keres: Government in breach of Constitution by retaining restrictions

26.01.22 NEWS ... The government is in breach of the Estonian Constitution by moving forward with existing restrictions in a situation where the Omicron variant of the coronavirus has complete altered the situation, sworn lawyer Paul Keres tells ERR in an interview. He urges dropping Covid measures and allowing people to return to normal life.

Meelis Oidsalu: We should listen to Macron and address our own fears

24.01.22 NEWS ... President of France Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday urged Europe to create its own "security and stability" plan in relation to Russia. Macron said something very important and it should be heeded, security expert Meelis Oidsalu said on the Vikerraadio "Uudis+" show last week. Estonia should also address its own fears.

Irja Lutsar: People should be allowed to events if they test negative

20.01.22 CORONAVIRUS ... Former government scientific council chief virology professor Irja Lutsar told ERR in an interview that she considers it reasonable to allow people entry to events if they go through coronavirus testing, since the Omicron variant has changed the epidemiological situation.

Central bank: Estonia can hopefully avoid recession

19.01.22 ECONOMY ... Bank of Estonia vice-president Ülo Kaasik told ERR in an interview that the energy price shock will affect Estonia's economic growth indicators negatively, but it is still too early to assess how bad the setback will end up.

radio tallinn

About us

ERR News is the English-language service of Estonian Public Broadcasting, run by a fully independent editorial team.

To read up on ERR News' comments rules and to contact ERR's other services, please follow the link below.

Staff, contacts & comments

donate to ukraine

Hea lugeja, näeme et kasutate vanemat brauseri versiooni või vähelevinud brauserit.

Parema ja terviklikuma kasutajakogemuse tagamiseks soovitame alla laadida uusim versioon mõnest meie toetatud brauserist: