Opinion

Mihhail Lotman: History is war

19.02.20 ... "History is war and needs to be won." These rather noteworthy words were uttered by Russian President Vladimir Putin when meeting with historians on June 22, 2016. No historian dared argue. The utterance concerned the battles of the so-called Great Patriotic War. Putin's logic seems to suggest these battles are still raging, among other things, in treatments of history, Mihhail Lotman writes.

Oliver Nääs and Diana Minumets: State overregulating tenders

18.02.20 ... A visible trend toward criminalization of the public procurement process has begun to directly interfere with everyday work of specialists and caused a lot of unnecessary red tape and squandering," sworn lawyers Diana Minumets and Oliver Nääs write.

Ossinovski: Social democrats' core voter disappointed in social democracy

18.02.20 ... Former chairman of the Social Democratic Party Jevgeni Ossinovski gave an interview to Müürileht (link in Estonian) where he admits that the simple working man is disappointed in social democracy. Ossinovski suggests social democrats should make climate their new focus.

Toomas Sildam: Time to notice those who fought in Afghan war were our boys

17.02.20 ... The Estonian state recently noticed and gave repressed status to veterans of the Chernobyl disaster living in Estonia. It is high time to do the same for people the Soviet Union sent to fight in Afghanistan in 1979-1989, journalist Toomas Sildam writes.

Opinion: President Kersti Kaljulaid as the new opposition

17.02.20 ... President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid is effectively the country's political opposition, as her recent returning of the pensions reform bill to the Riigikogu demonstrates. While the two opposition parties seem to have been relatively quiet in recent months, this may just be the option needed to maintain any type of opposition.

Janar Holm: What happened to a comprehensible state budget?

16.02.20 ... The role of the Riigikogu in state budget proceedings has become increasingly secondary. In addition to decision-making capacity, the legibility of the state budget has also shut the door to Toompea Castle behind it, Auditor General Janar Holm writes in a comment originally published in the National Audit Office's blog.

Toomas Sildam: We do not want political courts and judges

16.02.20 ... A country that's comprehensible and sympathetic leaves administration of justice up to courts and not politics and is one where an ambassador can honestly tell MPs how the country's policy looks from afar, without having to fear removal, journalist Toomas Sildam writes.

Life on the Estonia-Russia border or from bureaucracy to ghost cemeteries

12.02.20 ... An acquaintance of mine well-versed in the ways of life in Russia describes it as a paradise of simple choices that are always between bad and worse. That is exactly the situation people living close to the Russian border now find themselves in, journalist Mirjam Mõttus says in Vikerraadio's daily comment.

Toomas Sildam: Once more, how many foreign policies does Estonia have?

06.02.20 ... President Kaljulaid and the government will be able to decide or at least discuss Estonia's foreign policy heading at a lunch scheduled for Monday (the lunch took place on February 3), journalist Toomas Sildam writes.

Holger Kiik: Of fallacies, based on cursing climate policy

30.01.20 ... Fallacies are a form of rhetorical self-defense that reduces the chances of the debate leading participants closer to the truth as it makes use of misleading argumentation. We often use these tools involuntarily and without noticing it ourselves. Holger Kiik explains some of the more common fallacies.

Luik: Raudsaar solid choice as new Postimees editor-in-chief

29.01.20 ... Newly-appointed Postimees editor-in-chief Mart Raudsaar is a conservative, 'Christian' choice made by Ekspress Meedia's competitor Postimees Grupp, according to Ekspress Meedia owner Hans H. Luik.

Peeter Laurits: Devastation in the woods and humanities

29.01.20 ... The plundering of sacred sites has become an everyday and state sanctioned practice, with a similar degree of devastation taking place in the field of humanities, Peeter Laurits says in Vikerraadio's daily comment.

Opinion: Kersti Kaljulaid has sustained value of state awards

28.01.20 ... Today's announcement of who will be getting state awards this year, signed into effect (from Antarctica) by President Kersti Kaljulaid, is demonstration that the value of the national decorations has been enhanced, according to historian and former politician Küllo Arjakas.

Pentus-Rosimannus: Climate policy double dealings to prove costly

27.01.20 ... Switching to climate neutrality is the greatest and chief goal of the European Commission. Why should the EU support those who are really pushing their wagon in the opposite direction, Keit Pentus-Rosimannus writes.

Allar Jõks: Chancellor of Justice bang on target

24.01.20 ... Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise is bang on the money in her comments on the constitutionality of the government's pensions reform, rights lawyer, and one of Madise's predecessors, Allar Jõks.

Marko Mihkelson: Why Stalinist history matters to Putin

24.01.20 ... We don't know whether Russian President Vladimir Putin has read Yevgeni Zamyatin's dystopia "We" or George Orwell's even more famous novel "1984." We don't know whether cadets at the KGB school in Okhta were Putin studied were taught about these forbidden books, while his actions in restoring authoritarian power in Russia have been both Zamyatinian and Orwellian in nature, Marko Mihkelson writes.

Hundimägi: Kranich's criticism of Äripäev unfounded

23.01.20 ... Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Äripäev Aivar Hundimägi writes in reply to criticism by Heiki Kranich that when a journalist learns of important circumstances that raise questions of a potential conflict of interest or demonstrate relationships between entrepreneurs and politicians, they need to be published along with relevant explanations and comments by those involved.

Marten Kokk: European climate policy and Estonia's chance

17.01.20 ... The European Commission published its vision of how to finance the European Green Deal the day before yesterday. The deal itself was published on December 11. Europe has clearly plotted a course for carbon neutrality by 2050 that is the only sensible and responsible reaction imaginable, considering what is happening to the planet.

Andres Parmas: Punishment is always society's revenge

15.01.20 ... Even though any punishment is always society's revenge to some extent, its effect cannot be limited to paying for pain with pain as that would constitute failure to address the reasons that have led people astray, Prosecutor General Andres Parmas (42) says.

Opinion: Interior ministry bill restricts foreign students' rights

14.01.20 ... A draft amendment to the Aliens Act tabled by the Ministry of the Interior makes it incomprehensibly complicated for foreign students to study in Estonia, restricts their opportunities to work and earn a living, and obstructs them from staying on and working in Estonia, argue Joanna Kurvits of the Federation of Estonian Student Unions (EÜL) and Allan Aksiim, chair of the University of Tartu Student Council (Tartu Ülikooli Üliõpilaskond).

Kaarel Tarand: Parties' hopes for survival not dashed yet

14.01.20 ... Net assets of Estonian parties sported a deficit of €2 million last year, giving those with money to spend the chance to buy legislation and other benefits. Kaarel Tarand suggests doubling state budget support for parties to remedy the problem in Vikerraadio's daily comment.

Opinion: Without panic, Southeastern Estonia not running out of people

13.01.20 ... If a municipality's best and only idea is to construct a new municipality center while cutting back on support for the region's private schools, it is little wonder residents up and leave, Mirjam Mõttus says in Vikerraadio's daily comment.

International law expert: Estonia joined the 'real world' with Iran crisis

08.01.20 ... Estonia faces its first serious challenge since starting its two-year stint as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), in the light of the stand-off between the United States and Iran, says Lauri Mälksoo, professor of international law at the University of Tartu.

Raul Rebane: Prime minister and February 24

08.01.20 ... Raul Rebane analyzes Prime Minister Jüri Ratas' decision not to attend the president's February 24 reception, saying that the step might prove much more significant than believed.

Marin Mõttus: Baghdad glowing

07.01.20 ... The recent confrontation is rendering the situation more volatile in the entire Middle East and beyond, but its axis, glowing core and the principal battlefield will likely be Iraq, Marin Mõttus writes.

If we do not support our own media, we will start paying for others'

06.01.20 ... Countries that are among the wealthiest in the EU have already surrendered most of their advertising revenue to foreign platforms, meaning less money for investigative journalism and all manner of quality content, Mart Raudsaar, head of the Estonian Association of Media Enterprises, writes.

Analysis: What happened at Postimees and its effect on the media in Estonia

03.01.20 ... Postimees is heading into 2020 without an editor-in-chief, short on strong journalists and in a situation where a conflict with the CEO is affecting the work of the editorial board in general. This might herald a fundamental change for the Estonian press in different scenarios.

Urmas Reinsalu: It was a year of media radicalization

02.01.20 ... President Lennart Meri once said that the press was acting like a political party. I did not understand the criticism at the time. I believe I do now. Meri was suggesting that the media was trying to enforce its agenda in the public domain, [Minister of Foreign Affairs] Urmas Reinsalu writes.

Põlluaas: We can achieve so much together

02.01.20 ... It has been a tradition in Estonia to give a new coalition 100 days without criticism. This worthy practice was flouted this time: by the opposition, the media and the president. I would like to urge all of you to be more thoughtful and respectful towards each other, President of the Riigikogu Henn Põlluaas says in his New Year's greeting.

Papers: Pharmacy moguls cutting off their own noses to spite their faces

19.12.19 ... Editorials in two Estonian dailies on Thursday were highly critical of the snap decision by retail pharmacy chains to close a large number of outlets on Wednesday afternoon, calling the act blackmail and the cynical manipulation of people's well-being. All links in Estonian.

Belittling cashier also hits EKRE voters

17.12.19 ... By insulting Finland's young female prime minister, Mart Helme first and foremost insulted his own voters: people who have simple jobs, less fortunate people and rural area residents, Marju Himma says in Vikerraadio's media comment.

Analyst: New mode in Estonian politics

17.12.19 ... Constant short-term scandals constitute a new situation in Estonian politics, but because no coalition partner wants to break apart the government, there is no end in sight, University of Tartu political analyst Martin Mölder said on Vikerraadio.

Law change curtailing reporting of ongoing court cases sees widespread use

17.12.19 ... Media reports say that courts have been zealously using an amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure, which entered into force last year restricting press coverage of courtrooms.

Mart Kadastik: Feelings are real

17.12.19 ... Whatever different experts think about the sensibility of the second pillar of pension, for example, that is not what is splitting society. It hardly excites anyone. What is pitting people against each other concerns values that cannot be measured, Mart Kadastik writes.

Toomas Sildam: Once again we have to apologize for Mart Helme's words

16.12.19 ... The new Finnish government is making Estonian interior minister Mart Helme's hair stand on end because, in his words, "a cashier has become prime minister," ERR's Toomas Sildam writes, adding that in actual fact it is Estonian diplomats' hairs currently standing on end as they have to clarify Helme's words, so clearly insulting to a friendly neighbor.

Indrek Neivelt: Empty threats in 2019

14.12.19 ... Indrek Neivelt looks back at the year 2019 in Vikerraadio's daily comment and finds that the things people were warned against had little real impact.

Jüri Ratas: Europe must celebrate hope for the future

11.12.19 ... The year 2019 should not go down in history as the one when a new metallic cover started to settle over the window of Europe, PM Jüri Ratas said when giving the Riigikogu an overview of the government's European Union policy.

Agu Leinfeld: Let us have an internet-free day in Estonia

05.12.19 ... Agu Leinfeld proposes having a day without internet every year in Estonia. A day when all companies, schools, hospitals, places of sale and state agencies would work without internet-based solutions.

Aivar Hundimägi: Minister Martin Helme found a tax nugget

05.12.19 ... Minister of Finance Mart Helme (EKRE) unwittingly drew attention to a harebrained rule in Estonian tax law this week, Aivar Hundimägi says in Vikerraadio's daily comment.

Head of the Lutheran church Archbishop Urmas Viilma's advent reflection

04.12.19 ... Head of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (EELK) Archbishop Urmas Viilma gave an advent reflection at St. Mary's Cathedral (Toomkirik) on Wednesday. The English transcription follows.

Aivar Kokk: Pension reform should not overlook role of funds

03.12.19 ... The pension reform is important because it will give people the chance to decide their finances and future for themselves. At the same time, it is equally important to make sure pension funds continue to invest in the Estonian economy, Aivar Kokk writes.

Marju Himma: National university threatened by poor grasp of Estonian

03.12.19 ... The national or Estonian-speaking university recently celebrated its centennial. The anniversary will see debates on the situation of Estonian higher education and research. Whether the onslaught of foreign languages places it in jeopardy? Do researchers still communicate the results of their work in Estonian? To what extent does the trend of internationalization endanger it, Marju Himma asks in Vikerraadio's media comment.

Sildam: Neither officials nor politicians can run the country by themselves

02.12.19 ... Current EU Ambassador to Ukraine Matti Maasikas said two years ago that the conviction according to which officials could run Estonia by themselves is false, Toomas Sildam writes.

Annely Akkermann: A shift in use of power

26.11.19 ... By dismissing the Ministry of Rural Affairs' secretary general Illar Lemetti, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas has not solved Estonia's government crisis but created a new and even bigger one.

Media mogul Hans H. Luik: Anonymous comments fell victim to capitalism

26.11.19 ... The owner of one of Estonia's two major private media groups says that the standard of anonymous online comments on media sites began to fall, as editorial staff at such publications started to optimize costs and move towards a simpler common denominator.

Tarmo Jüristo: Perhaps we're not about to get used to threats

26.11.19 ... The price of being a public figure or participating in politics should not be one's preparedness to stoically suffer obscenity, death or rape threats, Tarmo Jüristo says in Vikerraadio's daily comment.

Samost and Sildam: Mart Helme forgot one rule of communication

25.11.19 ... Interior minister Mart Helme (EKRE) forgot one simple rule of communication when talking to the Estonian government's "plan B" to the Finnish media, ERR senior journalists Toomas Sildam and Anvar Samost found.

Jaak Madison: E-voting reform and constitutional infringement

19.11.19 ... The new foreign trade and IT minister should consider the constitutional aspect of e-voting as it has turned out by now that the Riigikogu decision from 2005 that admitted constitutional infringement but said it was less important that anticipated positive effect on voter turnout has proved inaccurate, MEP Jaak Madison writes.

Siim Kallas: Democracy and power, power and democracy

14.11.19 ... We could have a citizens' assembly made up of respected people based on professional and social position. This body should have quite a few members. It would not take the place of legislative power but complement it with opinions, Siim Kallas writes.

Huko Aaspõllu: Pharmacy reform has failed

13.11.19 ... Everyone understands that a reform that would only allow dispensing pharmacists with higher education to own pharmacies, set to enter into force from April of next year, will not take effect in time. Instead of playing for time or introducing cosmetic changes to the reform plan, the pharmacy market should be liberalized to a substantial degree, ERR journalist Huko Aaspõllu says in Vikerraadio's daily comment.
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