Opinion

Urmas Viilma: Sanctity of MS Estonia grave site needs to be unconditional

19.09.21 OPINION ... The private expedition headed by Margus Kurm is planning work and activities in and around the wreck of MS Estonia that could violate the sanctity of the grave site, Archbishop Urmas Viilma writes.

Märt Väljataga: How to cool the mark?

19.09.21 OPINION ... The question of who is cheating whom is not always as straightforward as it is in the case of the coronavirus, Märt Väljataga writes in a comment originally published in Sirp magazine.

German president: Baltic states, 'you are not alone'

17.09.21 OPINION ... Anyone who threatens the Baltic states threatens the entire North Atlantic Alliance and Germany, said President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier during a meeting with heads of state of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on Thursday, the 100th anniversary of the countries' diplomatic relations.

Jaak Aaviksoo: Climate policy and national interests

16.09.21 OPINION ... I am in no way contesting the need to rise to climate challenges, while actual results depend more on careful consideration and responsibility than pace and ambition. The green turn will still need to observe Estonia's national interests.

Opinion: Is Zapad 2021 any different from Zapad 2017?

15.09.21 OPINION ... It is still too early to make any conclusions about Russia's large-scale strategic-operational exercise Zapad 2021, but it is possible to identify at least three developments that have taken place since the Zapad 2017 exercise, Martin Hurt writes in comment originally published on the ICDS website.

Kaspar Oja: Women's salaries have been growing faster than men's

15.09.21 OPINION ... The salaries of women have been growing faster than those of men since the financial crisis, Kaspar Oja writes.

Külli Taro: Politicians canceling themselves

14.09.21 OPINION ... By keeping politicians from holding high office or making important decisions, we are doing a disservice to politicians as well as society in general, Külli Taro writes in Vikerraadio's daily comment.

President Kersti Kaljulaid's autumn session speech in full

13.09.21 OPINION ... On Monday (September 13), President Kersti Kaljulaid opened the autumn session of the Riigikogu. ERR News republishes the speech in full.

Ivo Felt: An object of no national importance

13.09.21 OPINION ... If funding for Estonian films decreases, the best of us can perhaps find work making English movies in the future, Ivo Felt writes in culture journal Teater. Muusika. Kino.

Laanet: Zapad 2021 escalates highly tense international security situation

11.09.21 NEWS ... The large-scale Russian and Belarusian Exercise Zapad started on Friday. Estonian Minister of Defense Kalle Laanet (Reform) has issued the following statement to ERR News in response to the escalation of an already-tense international security situation.

Juhan Kivirähk: Alienation down to politicians' backlog

10.09.21 OPINION ... Many politicians said they are looking for someone capable of building bridges and overcoming alienation between the state and society during the recent presidential election. However, combating alienation is not just the president's task but every party and politician's, Juhan Kivirähk writes.

How to prevent the virus crisis from becoming a fundamental rights crisis?

10.09.21 OPINION ... Provided we do nothing to strengthen judicial review, offer mitigating measures for businesses next to restrictions and avoid unnecessary ones in the coronavirus crisis, we will become jointly responsible for having defeated the virus at the extent of the rule of law.

Estonia supporting another fossil ghost

09.09.21 OPINION ... We should cease all investments in fossil gas and fossil fuel infrastructure in general. Everything else would constitute knowingly ignoring the effects of the climate crisis, Uku Lilleväli writes.

Research fellow: Aim of Russian information warfare to sow chaos and strife

08.09.21 OPINION ... Historical memory stands for constructing meanings for historical events and can be talked about on the level of the individual, society and state. ERR's Novaator portal asked Defense Forces Academy senior research fellow Vladimir Sazonov about the significance of historical memory in Russian policy.

Toomas Sildam: Ministers running in local elections unfair

08.09.21 OPINION ... Voters have the chance to tell ministers running in local elections loud and clear that while they wish them luck in the central government, local affairs are under control, Toomas Sildam writes in his weekly comment.

Carl Bildt: Lennart Meri Lecture 2021

07.09.21 OPINION ... These days it's thirty years since Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania regained their independence. It was a dramatic time. In retrospect, it all looks straightforward or even harmonious, Carl Bildt co-chair, European Council on Foreign Relations; former prime minister and former foreign minister of Sweden, said while giving the Lennart Meri Lecture during the Lennart Meri Conference at the weekend.

Raul Rebane: Let's find the president a residence of their own

06.09.21 OPINION ... Raul Rebane proposes the President of Estonia be found an official residence. It is complicated for a president to make such a proposal, because people will accuse them of wanting to build a house for themselves. In actuality, a residence is no different from a work computer or car, Rebane notes in Vikerraadio's daily comment.

Indrek Kiisler: Forget about a broad-based coalition in Tallinn

05.09.21 OPINION ... I'm sure no one doubts that the Center Party will win the local election in Tallinn. Whereas I believe that [Mayor] Mihhail Kõlvart will propose a coalition first to the Reform Party even should Center retain its absolute majority in the city council, Indrek Kiisler finds in Vikerraadio's daily comment.

Daniel Fried: You too are in danger when your neighbor's house is on fire

03.09.21 OPINION ... "You too are in danger when your neighbor's house is on fire." Truly wise words by Horace. This principle of solidarity was learned at great cost and is still under challenge, Daniel Fried of the Atlantic Council writes, ahead of this weekend's Lennart Meri Conference in Tallinn.

Kajar Kase: Shocking success of presidential election

02.09.21 OPINION ... The 2021 presidential election was a shocking success, a triumph of statesmanlike conduct and cooperation over party interests and cheap popularity, Kajar Kase writes.

Tiit Terik and Jan Trei: Covid crisis cannot be overcome without local govs

01.09.21 OPINION ... The new vaccination plan needs to include a carefully weighed and negotiated role of local governments and expectations for the plan's realization. We propose including the nationwide local government union in the planning and execution of the vaccination and activity plans, Tiit Terik and Jan Trei from the Association of Estonian Cities and Rural Municipalities (ELVL) write.

Aimar Ventsel: Who is a Russophobe?

31.08.21 OPINION ... An accusation of "Russophobia" renders the world neatly black and white, works to legitimize Russian policy for the masses, supports the vertical of power and helps the opinion leaders of the "bottom floors" of society sort things out in the heads of their followers, Aimar Ventsel writes.

Tõnis Saarts: 30 years from the democratic turn – formula for success

31.08.21 OPINION ... To sum up the success of Estonia's democratic turn, the keywords of an economic model free from oligarchs, multiparty system, the Russian minority and the threatening nearness of Russia stand out, Tõnis Saarts finds in Vikerraadio's daily comment.

Sildam: Will the Riigikogu elect a new president on Monday? They just might

27.08.21 OPINION ... It is now three days until the Riigikogu will begin electing a president. How great are the chances that the central criminal police's personal protection office will take Alar Karis under their protection as an elected president? The probability is not low, but it is also not a safe bet.

Opinion | Transnational education: The next Estonian export?

25.08.21 OPINION ... Worldwide, the coronavirus pandemic has closed borders and reduced the number of students studying abroad. At the same time, however, it has actually opened new opportunities for Estonia to further promote itself as a world leader in higher education. Now's the time for Estonia to apply its e-state expertise to transnational education, writes Jay Allen Zameska, a student representative at the University of Tartu.

European Parliament President: I truly admire Estonia's transformation

21.08.21 OPINION ... European Parliament President David Sassoli praised Estonia's path to freedom and democracy on Friday (August 20) during a visit to the country to mark the 30th anniversary of the restoration of independence.

President Kaljulaid: We will persevere if we stay honest and bold

20.08.21 OPINION ... Smart and bold decisions are needed so that every person in our country genuinely feels that they live in a free and caring Estonia where everyone is granted equal opportunities, regardless of whether they presently belong to the majority or the minority on any issue, President Kersti Kaljulaid said in a speech at the celebrations of the Restoration of Independence.

Jüri Ratas: Every Estonian must feel safe and cared for in this country

20.08.21 OPINION ... We want Estonia to be a cozy and beloved home not only for the nation who has been living in this corner of the world for centuries, but also for everyone who has tied up their life and fate with Estonia, speaker of the Riigikogu Jüri Ratas said at a special Riigikogu sitting on the Day of Restoration of Independence (Taasiseseisvumispäev).

August 20th Club president: We have won and fulfilled our dreams

20.08.21 OPINION ... Ask yourselves every morning – what can I do for myself and my country? And every day, do something for yourselves, your loved ones, your colleagues, your friends, and for Estonia. And when you have done that, your day has been a success and life in Estonia has improved, said president of the August 20th Club Ants Veetõusme at a special Riigikogu sitting on the Day of Restoration of Independence (Taasiseseisvumispäev).

Andreas Ventsel: What exactly is the president's symbolic power?

18.08.21 OPINION ... There should not be any utopic requirements expected from the upcoming president so that there would be no need for disappointment later. All the more so as we give the president's words and actions symbolic values and meanings in time, writes University of Tartu semiotics associate professor Andreas Ventsel.

Toomas Sildam: Not who, but what are we electing?

16.08.21 OPINION ... In two weeks, on August 30, the Riigikogu will start electing a new president. "It is more important to know what we are electing and not who we are electing," former President Toomas Hendrik Ilves has told Eesti Päevaleht. Right now, we do not know either, ERR journalist Toomas Sildam writes.

Merle Karro-Kalberg: Local governments lack city greenery development plans

15.08.21 OPINION ... Small Estonian cities seem to be suffering from a virus. No, I'm not talking about the coronavirus but a seemingly equally infectious condition that makes one hate urban trees and sees them cut down whenever cities make changes. The linden alley on Haapsalu's Posti street recently achieved posthumous fame, with the bell now tolling for the trees lining the Uus street in Viljandi.

Opinion Festival panel: Estonia could repeat 4G success in transport turn

14.08.21 OPINION ... If Estonia managed to cover a sparsely populated country in a 4G network, switching to green transport should not be an insurmountable task, British green transport pioneers found at the Paide Opinion Festival. Local experts said that cities and rural areas require separate approaches in Estonia.

Opinion Festival | MEPs looked for solutions to coronavirus crisis

14.08.21 OPINION ... Members of the European Parliament criticized Estonia's handling of the coronavirus crisis and tried to answer the question of where the EU will land after the crisis at the Opinion Festival in Paide.

Opinion festival | Party heads debated presidential election and Covid

14.08.21 OPINION ... The parliamentary parties' chairmen debate at the Opinion Festival in Paide touched on the presidential election, coronavirus measures, taxes, kindergarten fees, public transport and nationwide broadband.

Watch Again: Paide opinion festival panel talks on Green Transport, NATO

13.08.21 NEWS ... ERR News live-streamed two panel discussions at the annual Arvamusfestival (Festival of Opinions) at Paide on Friday afternoon, which can be watched again via the video links below.

Taking security for granted? NATO and the Baltic states

12.08.21 OPINION ... After a long period focusing mostly on expeditionary warfare, NATO is relearning old skills related to deterrence and collective defense and learning how to apply these in new strategic circumstances. It is certainly on the right path, while this process requires continued focus and investment, head of defense policy and strategy program at the ICDS Tony Lawrence writes.

Priit Uring: Were Päts and Laidoner deported?

12.08.21 OPINION ... Of the former heads of state of the Republic of Estonia, eight out of ten were arrested during the first year of occupation. They were either murdered or died in captivity. Curiously enough, Konstantin Päts escaped this fate, Priit Uring writes in a comment first published in Sirp magazine.

Lauri Vahtre: Extreme humanism, anti-humanism and a fully loaded lifeboat

10.08.21 OPINION ... While the state is a tool for terrorizing and blackmailing neighbors for some nations, Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians are not among them. Therefore, by protecting their country, they are protecting themselves and every individual member, Lauri Vahtre writes.

Kaimar Karu: Estonia deserves better from the presidential election

10.08.21 OPINION ... Presidential elections in Estonia are just around the corner. Two of the five parties in the parliament have enough seats to put forward an official candidate, but for that person to get elected, the MPs from at least three parties need to agree. Keeping in mind the current political reality, make that four. As can sometimes happen during turbulent, straining times, there is a risk of partisan politics taking precedence over dialogue and collaboration, writes Kaimar Karu.

Külli Taro: Covid certificate to become part of everyday life

10.08.21 OPINION ... The government cannot be held responsible for every time the virus is transmitted, every case of illness or even death. No democratic country can keep people exhibiting symptoms home by force or ban all parties, Külli Taro finds in Vikerraadio's daily comment.

Madis Vasser: Subjects of the technokings

09.08.21 OPINION ... Estonians, while a largely non-religious bunch, are characterized by unwavering faith in various unproven high-tech miracles that are hoped to solve all manner of systemic environmental problems, Madis Vasser writes in a comment originally published in Müürileht.

Toomas Sildam: Four parties needed to elect the president

09.08.21 OPINION ... The search for candidate for president has landed back on square one. President of the Estonian Academy of Sciences Tarmo Soomere, whose name was put forward by Center Party leader, President of the Riigikogu Jüri Ratas, does not have enough support in the Riigikogu. Journalist Toomas Sildam asks what next in his weekly comment.

Indrek Kiisler: How about we calm down concerning Covid

09.08.21 OPINION ... It is complete exaggeration to claim we are on the verge of a disaster? While every dose does count, a difference of a few percentage points [in vaccination figures] can do nothing to thwart the third wave of the coronavirus at this point. And everyone who really wanted it has found a vaccination station and got at least their first dose, Indrek Kiisler writes in Vikerraadio's daily comment.

James Rock and Robert Kiisler: Austerity to deliver elections to EKRE

05.08.21 OPINION ... The ruling coalition needs to change course and do it now. Its painful and ultimately avoidable austerity policy is hurting the rating of the coalition parties and playing into the hands of the rowdy and demagogic radical conservatives, James Rock and Robert Kiisler write.

Mari-Liis Jakobson: Muddling through the coronavirus crisis

04.08.21 OPINION ... Even though the national vaccination strategy document is far from being perfect and fails to fully answer all questions, execution becomes more important than detailing every last effect at one point, Mari-Liis Jakobson says in Vikerraadio's daily comment.

Mihkel Mutt: Taking an electric vehicle halfway

04.08.21 OPINION ... The main alternative to the economic benefit of drowning in our own swill, that still sounds somewhat grisly, lies in new technologies. Their introduction also works to liven up the economy and oil the conveyor belt. This has turned, "New electric vehicles for everyone!" into the slogan of the day. In truth, we should start living differently.

Pärtel-Peeter Pere: What about Elron's bicycle fine?

03.08.21 OPINION ... People will be forced to pay considerable sums if passenger carrier Elron fails to change its bicycle tickets stance. Cars will become even more dominant in Tallinn and other cities. Taking the bike has been made harder for people once again. Journeys will lengthen and domestic tourism will suffer, Pärtel-Peeter Pere writes.

Lauri Tõnspoeg: The carbon sword as a political weapon

03.08.21 OPINION ... The European Union plans to spend €1.8 trillion on saving the natural environment and climate that in reality seems to be little more than a fresh coat of green paint for recent slogans, with greenwashing becoming the latest political tool for geopolitics, Lauri Tõnspoeg writes.

Piret Ehin: Presidential election system in need of changes

02.08.21 OPINION ... The current presidential election system in Estonia entails uncertainty and indeterminacy that could work to undermine the legitimacy of elections, dissuade suitable candidates from running and alienate citizens from politics. In summary, the current system of electing the president needs changes, Piret Ehin writes.

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