Opinion

Kristiina Raud: Why is LGBT+ so special?

18.10.19 ... We agree with our opponents on one thing: we really could use more donations to ensure our independent work capacity. However, that does not mean what we do only matters to a few people, Kristiina Raud from the Estonian LGBT Society writes.

Andres Siplane: Shooting oneself in the academic foot

17.10.19 ... No reform should be based on just one or two studies, Andres Siplane writes

Raul Rebane: Heroes are made heroic by behavior, not achievements

14.10.19 ... Raul Rebane voices his take on two major recent events — the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha and the closing of Tallinn Television in Vikerraadio's media comment.

Jevgeni Ossinovski: Education is the best public investment

11.10.19 ... The education system must proceed based on two core values: quality and equal access. Or to put it simply (and to borrow from Barack Obama), so that even the poorest kid would have access to the best education, writes former education minister Jevgeni Ossinovski.

Jaan Raik: On the Taltech case, without paranoia

10.10.19 ... A week before the start of the new academic year, Postimees launched an attack on supposedly rampant corruption in Estonian universities. The first to take flak was TalTech, followed by the University of Tartu. The phenomenon was described as systematic – just the tip of the iceberg revealed by a whistleblower, writes Jaan Raik, member of TalTech's Ragnar Nurkse institute investigative committee.

Keit Pentus-Rosimannus: Estonia could be a climate neutrality trailblazer

07.10.19 ... While the government took its sweet time giving the EU climate neutrality target the green light, the move is very welcome, Keit Pentus-Rosimannus writes.

Indrek Neivelt: It would be good to avoid dogmas in tax debate

04.10.19 ... It would be good if the tax debate could avoid dogmas and all proposals would be given a chance. We must definitely tax polluting the environment more and introduce a tax on sugar, Indrek Neivelt said on Vikerraadio's daily comment section.

What the papers say: Teach your neighbor Estonian, Lidl prices, pensions

25.09.19 ... On Sept. 25 the papers were still mainly discussing the budget, pension increase, and the case of the missing former head of Danske Bank in Estonia, Aivar Rehe. But here are some other stories and comments that were also in the news on Wednesday.

What the papers say: IT minister's Huawei phone, pensions, Christmas trees

24.09.19 ... On Tuesday, Sept. 24 the papers were discussing pension increases, a TV interview with IT minister Kert Kingo, and the hunt for Tallinn's next Christmas tree.

Tambet Laasik: State sanctioned violence

23.09.19 ... Sworn lawyer Tambet Laasik writes about domestic violence judicial practice in Estonia and concludes that the entire system is geared toward making victims accept their status and move on, instead of protecting them. The side of prevention, dealing with threats and protection of victims is virtually nonexistent.

What the papers say: Forestry and flying squirrels

18.09.19 ... A snapshot of the media landscape in Estonia on Wednesday, Sept. 18, brings more discussion of the state of education and medicine in the country, a discussion of how forestry relates to climate change issues, and just what the role of a central bank should be. One long-standing weekly is celebrating its 30th anniversary this weekend, and workmen on Estonia's eastern border had to stop for the day when a flying squirrel put in an appearance.

Opinion: A tale of two protests, and why both are doomed

15.09.19 ... Two protests took place over the weekend, both of them somewhat tilting at windmills. The larger of the two in particular ⁠— which seeks the overthrow of the current coalition ⁠— needs to seriously address its approach if it's going to make headway, since at the moment it looks more like an argument over preferences ("We don't like this party in office") rather than principles, writes ERR News' Andrew Whyte.

Opinion: The entertainment and educational value of Brexit

13.09.19 ... The Brits' agony over Brexit is a golden opportunity to watch and learn. Referendums play a very important role in democracy, but they are a tool whose use must be very carefully considered, think tank Praxis director Tarmo Jüristo found in commentary provided to Vikerraadio.

Opinion: Either too small to escape punishment or too big to punish

11.09.19 ... Nobody should be above the law, and yet every day, there's something in the news about things being rigged, schemes, embezzlement — and even petty theft from the supermarket, writes columnist Ivan Makarov for daily Postimees.

Kaja Kallas: Government may not have red lines, but Estonia does

10.09.19 ... Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) has said that he does not have any red lines or issues on which it's not possible to compromise. The fact that it's possible to compromise on truly anything, including a lack of political responsibility, is confirmed by the actions of the current government on a weekly basis, MP Kaja Kallas, chairwoman of the opposition Reform Party, wrote on the first day of the Riigikogu's fall session.

Opinion: Academic elite administering Aaviksoo deck lashing on sinking ship

01.09.19 ... Recent revelations of the alleged misuse of European Union funds at one particular department at Taltech, formerly Tallinn University of Technology, are already resulting in a default, tried-and-tested, reaction and coping strategy at home. However, since the issue brings the union, more specifically the European Commission, into scope, doing so this time might be too little, too late, writes former ERR News managing editor Dario Cavegn.

Opinion: Government of Jüri Ratas will last for long time yet

30.08.19 ... Announcements that the coalition of Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) is about to fall apart have been around since it took over in April, updated monthly by various pundits who will doubtlessly continue down the same road, writes editor-in-chief of ERR's radio news, Indrek Kiisler. But contrary to doomsayers' predictions, this government is bound to be around for a good while longer.

Opinion: Estonia's low money laundering risk isn't so surprising

28.08.19 ... Conflicting recent media reports have managed to place Estonia both at the top and near the bottom of the scale in its ability to combat money laundering. Last year's high-profile Danske and Swedbank scandals in particular caused some concern internationally, yet according to a recently published, respected index, Estonia actually went up one place (to first place, no less) since last year. Clearly, then, the picture must be a nuanced one. Entrepreneur and e-residency expert Adam Rang helps us paint a clear picture of the realities.

Former chief justice: President should send more laws back to parliament

28.08.19 ... Estonia's last presidents have sent regrettably little legislation back to the Riigikogu, former chief justice, Rait Maruste finds. That the head of state makes so little use of her right to reject new and amended laws to have them reassessed is not in the spirit of the Constitution in the best sense, Maruste wrote in an opinion piece for daily Postimees.

Opinion: On research and timesheets

27.08.19 ... Last week, the word timesheet became a new joke and curse word in connection with the research funding scandal to break in connection with an institute of Tallinn University of Technology (Taltech), but as journalist Marju Himma said in commentary to Vikerraadio, words have power, and the word timesheet will likely end up having an effect on how research work is measured in the future.

Toomas Hendrik Ilves: We stand at the gate of two countries

26.08.19 ... Former President of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves noted on the occasion of the Restoration of Estonian Independence on Aug. 20 the significance of the event in the current political climate, hoping that today's young Estonians need never become émigrés in the way that many of their antecedents did.

Opinion: The fight for the future was also a fight for the past

23.08.19 ... Historian and senior researcher Kaarel Piirimäe discusses the events that made it possible for Estonia to restore its independence and the Baltic Way.

Analysis: President Rose Garden speech notable in domestic politics focus

21.08.19 ... President Kersti Kaljulaid's Restoration of Independence Day speech at the Kadriorg Palace Rose Garden on Tuesday evening was notable for its focus on domestic politics, according to ERR's senior political journalist Toomas Sildam.

Papers: Ratas too accommodating dealing with EKRE

19.08.19 ... Estonia's largest newspapers agreed in their Monday editorials that Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) has been too accommodating towards EKRE, and that the much-cited "red lines" of the prime minister, limits of a certain brand of politics and good taste that he said after the general election he wouldn't accept, no longer exist.

Opinion: With Helmes staying on, Ratas losing last bit of credibility

16.08.19 ... The main issue in this crisis isn't one of trust, but the fact that the Helmes have finally exposed themselves as scheming, clueless schoolyard bullies. Letting father and son stay on means that Prime Minister Jüri Ratas is ready to compromise even on principal matters of decency and conduct to keep his government together, which doesn't bode well for the coming months, writes ERR News editor Dario Cavegn.

Opinion: Clarify politicians' motives, priorities before talking wage rises

15.08.19 ... The issue of uncompetitive salaries has been a major factor in a number of MPs, some of them high-profile, leaving the Riigikogu in recent years. But could calls to raise MPs' pay be confusing symptom for cure, asks ERR News editor Dario Cavegn.

Opinion: MP salaries should be increased

14.08.19 ... MP salaries have stagnated as a result of a past inadequate legislative amendment. As a result, Riigikogu salaries have become relatively unattractive compared to other jobs. Considering the budgetary impact of possible raises in salary, ERR journalist Huko Aaspõllu finds in commentary to Vikerraadio that MP salaries in Estonia should be increased.

Opinion: On EKRE and constantly being in the spotlight

13.08.19 ... Either building national strategies on the foundations of scandalous statements and insults is simply a means of short-term success for certain groups or we really are more stupid than we seem, Estonian journalist Raul Rebane said in commentary on Vikerraadio.

Opinion: Centre and Isamaa warned EKRE

12.08.19 ... Those who sounded the death knell for Jüri Ratas' second government jumped the gun. But those who consider the current government coalition of enduring may be fooling themselves and misleading others, writes journalist Toomas Sildam.

Opinion: Ignorance, absurdity, and hope at the 2019 Opinion Festival

09.08.19 ... What is tangible at the 2019 Opinion Festival in Paide is the new trinity of Estonian public debate that has crystallized in recent years, with a progressive, open-society focus on one end, a very solid technocratic middle, and an almost isolationist, hard-line national conservative focus on the other, writes ERR News editor Dario Cavegn.

Digest: Domestic policy changes already affecting foreign relations

31.07.19 ... Former Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Paet (Reform) writes in an opinion piece for daily Eesti Päevaleht that the current government's changes to domestic policy have been extensive enough to substantially affect Estonia's foreign policy as well.

Sildam: Officials right to ask questions when in doubt of government

25.07.19 ... A public comment of a high-ranking Estonian diplomat points to a certain aimlessness of Estonia's foreign policy. This is immediately followed by another spat between different camps in government, with pro-European ministers on one side of the table, and nationalist-populist troublemakers on the other. Which begs the question who is really in charge, writes ERR's political editor, Toomas Sildam.

Opinion: Lack of debate about new Mein Kampf translation worrying

24.07.19 ... While Estonia's largest bookstore chains decided that they won't carry a new Estonian translation of Mein Kampf, there has been little and thus far only very superficial discussion of the topic in local media. Considering the current political and social situation as well as how Estonia has dealt with its own complicated history in the past, this is worrying, finds ERR news editor Dario Cavegn.

Opinion: President keeping pot boiling on rival's own bid

22.07.19 ... In a recently-published Foreign Policy interview, President Kersti Kaljulaid said she "hates" the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) for their actions and added that part of her present role involves putting out fires and mending Estonia's reputation abroad. The timing of the interview's publication might seem surprising, and even as one action in a much broader battle between the incumbent president and a would-be successor, ERR News editor Andrew Whyte writes.

Opinion: Children are society's greatest asset

17.07.19 ... While it is not a matter for the state or government to direct families how to live their lives, nonetheless, if families continue to have an average of less than two children apiece, the Estonian populace runs the risk of dying out in the long run, Minister for Population Affairs Riina Solman (Isamaa) argues in a recent opinion piece.

Opinion: Personal experience in journalism

17.07.19 ... There are two topics in the current media sphere where the conflict between personal experience and research results and statistics is particularly acute. Among other reasons, this is because the issues are artificially hyped by some politicians, scientists and journalists, noted ERR journalist Rain Kooli on a recent Vikerradio broadcast.

Opinion: Song and Dance Festival not the preserve of politicians

09.07.19 ... The Estonian Song and Dance Festival is for everyone, regardless of constitution, regimes and governments. It is not the preserve of politicians, and so should not be hijacked by them, writes ERR's Merilin Pärli, a participant in the Song Festival herself.

Toomas Sildam: Following PACE walkout, should Estonia leave the UN too?

03.07.19 ... Following the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe's (PACE) recent decision to reinstate Russia's voting rights in the assembly, journalist Toomas Sildam writes about the importance of strategic patience to Estonia's foreign policy.

Opinion: Mary Kross case product of election-season virtue signalling mania

01.07.19 ... A recent case of the wife of a politician providing false evidence is by no means an isolated incident. The police handle dozens of similar cases every year. Instead, the story is an example of the casual abuse of the media by people who have been able to throw their weight around without any repercussions, ERR News editor Andrew Whyte writes.

Opinion: Laagna Road procession of deadlocks itself worthy of a Nolan movie

17.06.19 ... The story surrounding the on-off, will-they/won't they be closing Laagna Road and, according to recent reports, a whole slew of other trademark routes in and around central Tallinn has itself become almost worthy of a movie, particularly one dealing in espionage or counter espionage. There are at least two possible ways of discerning who is in the right and who is in the wrong here, writes ERR News' managing editor, Andrew Whyte.

Opinion: Kremlin friends an isolated group at European Parliament

12.06.19 ... The bubble inflated by right wingers and eurosceptic forces prior to the May European elections was popped on election day, according to MEP Urmas Paet (Reform/ALDE).

Opinion Digest: UN Security Council seat a complex victory

10.06.19 ... Opinion on Estonia winning a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council (UNSC) for 2020-2021 has mostly been positive, with the consensus being the experience and boosted profile the office should bring outweighs some of its challenges.

Opinion: UN Seat concentrating minds, not divisive folly

10.06.19 ... Estonia's recent UN Security Council (UNSC) victory might tempt many to assume that, in the whole "globalists/federalists" versus stay-at-home nationalists war of words dominating recent months, the former won and confirmed their primacy, while the latter have been dealt a richly deserved blow and will now retreat back to their caves.

Züleyxa Izmailova: Walkback on Reidi Road compromise undermining trust

07.06.19 ... The Tallinn City Government's possible withdrawal from an official agreement regarding the limiting of the Reidi Road construction project undermines the trustworthiness of the city government itself, writes former Tallinn Deputy Mayor Züleyxa Izmailova (Greens).

Adam Rang: E-Residency helping Estonia combat criminality

06.06.19 ... Is it contradictory for Estonia to both welcome e-residence as well as deter nonresident criminals? Adam Rang, an Estonian entrepreneur who formerly worked at Estonia's e-Residency program, argues that one is not possible without the other.

Urmas Viilma: Is a human life worth just 12 cents?

06.06.19 ... From a Christian perspective, and based on the principle of loving thy neighbor, the top priority when shaping alcohol policy should be people's lives, health and safety, not tax receipts, Archbishop Urmas Viilma, head of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (EELK), found in commentary first published in Eesti Kirik.

Opinion: In moment of truth, state has no solutions for marginalized areas

05.06.19 ... No four-lane highways, no steps to encourage entrepreneurship in the counties, no concrete substance in regional programs — in its first few months of existence, the current ruling coalition hasn't given a single indication that they have any solutions to offer to help stop marginalization in Estonia, Põhjarannik editor-in-chief Erik Gamzejev says in commentary on Vikerraadio.

Indrek Neivelt: Our high quality of life goes well beyond wages

05.06.19 ... Our wages can't continue to grow 7-8 percent per year for long. Our competitiveness won't be able to keep up, and so this growth has to slow in the future. But we're still not taking into account other advantages to living in Estonia, businessman Indrek Neivelt said in commentary on Vikerraadio on Tuesday.

Toomas Hendrik Ilves: The blue, black and white flag, then and now

04.06.19 ... Today, on June 4, the Estonian flag turns 135 years old. This is a speech that I gave 15 years ago, at a conference held at the EÜS House in Tartu dedicated to the 120th anniversary of the Estonian flag, and unfortunately it is more relevant now than it was then, writes former President Toomas Hendrik Ilves.

Public letter: Elron, imagine the effects of your bike ban

04.06.19 ... Estonian passenger rail operator Elron announced on Monday that it would be banning all bikes from its more popular departures on certain routes on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays during the summer season. In a public letter penned in response, writer, theater critic and bike rider Andres Keil calls on Elron to consider the effects of its bike ban on regular Estonian residents, as well as consider more viable solutions to the overcrowding issue.
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