Opinion: Isamaa isn't showing some teeth, it's saying we're still here

13.07.20 ... Ohh, Isamaa is showing some teeth, several people interested in politics were surprised to note as they followed Isamaa and the Conservative People's Party of Estonia's (EKRE) verbal battles in recent weeks. In reality, however, Isamaa wasn't showing any teeth; it was reminding its coalition partner that it exists, journalist Toomas Sildam writes in an opinion piece.

Kaupo Meiel: Pedal and prices to the metal

12.07.20 ... Entrepreneurial people in the accommodation, catering or souvenir business in Southern Estonia are thinking of ways to benefit from Rally Estonia in September and have every right, Kaupo Meiel writes in Vikerraadio's daily comment.

Huko Aaspõllu: Lottery – sensible or senseless?

09.07.20 ... Last week, an Estonian citizen won €11 million playing the lottery. It is the single biggest lottery win in the history of Estonia and makes the winner one of the wealthiest people in the country at least for a time. At the same time, playing the lottery is still an utterly senseless financial decision, even though it might be rational from an individual's point of view on certain conditions, ERR's Huko Aaspõllu says in Vikerraadio's daily comment.

Ilves, Laar, Kross, others sign Dalai Lama birthday letter of good faith

07.07.20 ... Marking the 85th birthday of the 14th Dalai Lama on Monday, representatives of the Tibet Support Group of the Riigikogu, the Estonian Institute of Human Rights and the Estonian Institute of Buddhism as well as two-time former prime minister Mart Laar and former President Toomas Hendrik Ilves signed a letter in which they called on authorities and people in economics not to conclude agreements with an authoritarian country that may mean short-term gains, but also long-term damages.

Lauri Tõnspoeg: Of basic income without ideology

05.07.20 ... No more than 100 years ago, old-age pension was incomprehensible for a great many people, while it came to ensure societies peace and prosperity for a long time. Basic income could help contain bureaucracy associated with other benefits and leave people healthier, happier and wiser, entrepreneur Lauri Tõnspoeg writes.

Erik Gamzejev: No justification for municipal media

03.07.20 ... Municipal media doesn't solve a single public problem, while it helps those in power stay there with the help of public funds and constitutes unfair competition for private newspapers, Erik Gamzejev finds in Vikerraadio's daily comment.

Martin Helme to finish Isamaa exodus started by Ansip

02.07.20 ... Journalist Raimo Poom writes in an Eesti Päevaleht analysis (link in Estonian) that Andrus Ansip's efforts to add a measure of blue, black and white patriotism to the Reform Party and render it a mass political platform started the inevitable decline of Estonia's previously go-to conservative party Isamaa (formerly IRL), which work incoming EKRE chairman Martin Helme has a good chance to finish.

Toomas Sildam: 'Hands off Eskimo ice cream!'

01.07.20 ... Martin Helme's biggest challenge as the incoming chairman of the national conservatives is to fight for new voters while trying to keep or find potential coalition partners, whereas those two struggles cannot be fought with the same weapons, journalist Toomas Sildam says in Vikerraadio's daily comment.

Opinion: COVID-19 crisis brought new realism to Estonian-Finnish relations

26.06.20 ... During the COVID-19 crisis, the government of Estonia's northern neighbor, Finland, based its decisions on national interest and looking after its own, writes Director of the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute at the International Centre for Defence and Security (ICDS) Kristi Raik, in an article on the ICDS website. Finland is likely to act in the same way in future crises, Raik argues, meaning Estonia should not get its hopes up on that front.

Opinion: Rail Baltic holds up a mirror to Estonian society – up to a point

23.06.20 ... While Rail Baltic does not physically exist yet, it has been on the drawing board for many years and has brought into relief certain "self-evident" truths about Estonia which can then be tested, such as the oft-repeated claim (particularly by people outside Estonia) that it has a small population or that projects related to Estonia never seem to pay off when placed in an excel spreadsheet, writes ERR senior journalist Anvar Samost, in regional daily Põhjarannik.

Opinion: Merike Jürilo was made an example of

19.06.20 ... The government cut Health Board director general Merike Jürilo loose. Whether there was real reason to do so, however, isn't possible to judge from the outside, writes ERR radio news chief Indrek Kiisler.

Opinion: Estonia can have Estonian university professors in the future

18.06.20 ... Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech) macroeconomics professor Karsten Staehr comments on the potential lack of Estonian professors in the future, saying that in order to make doctoral studies more attractive, students must be given conditions equal or better than those offered by private business or the public sector.

Diary of Karl Soonpää on June 17, 1940

17.06.20 ... Auditor General Karl Soonpää's diary entry from June 17, 1940 – 80 years ago.

Expat addresses Riigikogu constitutional committee on 100th anniversary

15.06.20 ... Swiss national and Estonian resident Dario Cavegn addressed the Riigikogu's Constitutional Committee on Monday at an event which marked the centennial of the signing of the original Estonian constitution.

Tõnis Saarts: Coronavirus crisis and the future of democracy

15.06.20 ... The idea of a night-watchman state and neoliberalism have become so unpopular that it will hardly prove possible to reanimate them in recent form. Tõnis Saarts writes about what could take their place in a comment originally published in the Sirp magazine.

Mihhail Lotman: Antiracists are using the same arguments as racists

11.06.20 ... Semiotics professor and Riigikogu member Mihhail Lotman commented on protests and restlessness in America, saying that part of the anti-racism discourse from white people portrays black people as incomplete, and who need to be told fairytales, not the truth.

Opinion: Tech, industry key to making recent CO2 emissions drop permanent

11.06.20 ... Many countries are now reopening after a major part of the world has been put on lockdown to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. A number of economic activities have been put on hold, people have almost stopped flying for three months and there have been many reports of localized air quality improvements. Carbon emissions are expected to drop by 8 percent according to the International Energy Agency (IEA); however, this should barely have any effect on the climate crisis. The reason is only the transformation of industry and technology can really address needed structural issues causing climate change, writes Taavi Madiberk, CEO of Estonian tech firm Skeleton Technologies.

The hocus-pocus of state support

10.06.20 ... It is important for Estonian companies not to get used to broad-based subsidies and for society to remain constructively skeptical of every new measure. Enterprise does not need support but equal treatment, Aivar Hundimägi finds in Vikerraadio's daily comment.

Kiisler: Ratas taking advantage of what's left of the coronavirus crisis

10.06.20 ... Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, who finds himself in the €50,000 scandal, is pulling out all the stops to come off as a bystander," Indrek Kiisler writes.

Marju Himma: Three points on tragic incidents

09.06.20 ... The Lihula shooting is yet another traumatic experience Estonians have not gone through in such a form before. However, it includes enough similarities with other tragic incidents to provide food for a few lessons, journalism scholar Marju Himma finds in Vikerraadio's daily comment.

Sildam: Lihula tragedy raises the question of tougher weapons permit checks

09.06.20 ... Adding rural area patrols and introducing tougher weapons permit conditions would not bring back the two people killed near Lihula, while it would be the least the state could do with this tragedy in mind, journalist Toomas Sildam writes.

Finnish, Estonian ministers: Bridge spanning Gulf of Finland reopening

08.06.20 ... There is a symbolic bridge connecting Estonia and Finland: centuries-old close relations between two countries and peoples, the importance of which is especially clear now that the movement of people between the two countries has been halted for several months due to the coronavirus crisis, write Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) and Finnish Minister of Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto on the centennial of Estonian-Finnish diplomatic relations.

Kaido Sirman: Of border guard challenges and myths

07.06.20 ... Internal security planning will prioritize all interior ministry tasks being equally executable in the future. That is also one of the reasons why border guard has been paid more attention lately, adviser to the interior minister Kaido Sirman writes.

Opinion: Estonian energy giant playing Russian roulette with shale oil

07.06.20 ... Banks and credit rating agencies have taken a clear stance that investments in shale oil operations by the state-owned Eesti Energia – whether made by the state on behalf of the taxpayers, or by the private sector – are too high of a risk. This raises questions about the conditions under which Eesti Energia seeks foreign debt for its planned shale oil plant, and whether taxpayers' money should be used to desperately hang on to this unreliable sector.

Kaarel Tarand: Meeting his eminence

04.06.20 ... Rulers have clearly recovered from the virus. While the powers that be, in a surprise move, latched onto opinions by scientists and other experts in the coronavirus crisis, the door has now been slammed shut once more in the face of facts and knowledge, Kaarel Tarand says in Vikerraadio's daily comment.

Riina Sikkut: Wage gap and strawberries

04.06.20 ... Attacking foreign seasonal labor and criticizing farmers and horticulturists has proved an unpleasant and lingering topic for the Conservative People's Party (EKRE) that might even end up impacting its rating.

Opinion: Unemployment insurance benefit not to reach people who quit

03.06.20 ... While the Ministry of Social Affairs felt people who leave employment voluntarily or following an agreement by the parties should qualify for the unemployment insurance benefit in spring, the government has shelved the initiative following the coronavirus wave. At the same time, people whose employment contract ends under such circumstances have several simple schemes at their disposal to still qualify for the benefit, Huko Aaspõllu says in Vikerraadio's daily comment.

Paper: US protests nothing like 1968, says former ambassador to Estonia

03.06.20 ... In a recent interview with daily Eesti Päevaleht (EPL), former United States Ambassador to Estonia James D. Melville says that the presidential response to the current, widespread protests in the aftermath of the killing by Minneapolis police of George Floyd on May 25 bring out the hypocrisy of the present incumbent in a situation quite unlike anything the former ambassador had seen before.

90 public figures sign open letter against new oil plant in Ida-Viru County

02.06.20 ... Ninety Estonian public figures, opinion leaders and creative persons are turning to the government with a public letter, asking it to revoke the building permit for the new Enefit282 oil plant and pull state support for the project. ERR News publishes the address in full.

Kaja Kallas: ERJK bill shows that politics really is horse-trading

02.06.20 ... What this bill suggests is that politics is horse-trading and saving one's own skin that has nothing whatsoever to do with the Estonian people and the future of the country, Kaja Kallas said in the Riigikogu during the first reading of the bill that seeks to abolish the Political Parties Financing Surveillance Committee (ERJK).

Jaak Valge: Foreign labor and the Estonian nation state

31.05.20 ... Temporary work has been a springboard for foreign labor to move to Estonia permanently. If we believe in the future of our society and the state's continued prosperity is more important to us than short-term gain, we will not use cheap foreign labor, Jaak Valge writes.

Peeter Koppel: Economy after the coronavirus crisis

31.05.20 ... The ongoing healthcare crisis has been both tragic and enlightening. I've learned that we will never fly again, we will never travel again; never return to the office, restaurant, movies, theater, spa or – God forbid – the pub, Peeter Koppel writes.

Ilmar Raag: Anatomy of the coronavirus adaptation

29.05.20 ... When public attitudes in a democratic country become guided, then in the next wave of the coronavirus, society will probably no longer consent to the same restrictions, no matter how they get communicated, journalist and film director Ilmar Raag finds.

Külli Taro: Plan to change party financing supervision devious

27.05.20 ... Did those seeking the dissolution of the Political Parties Financing Surveillance Committee believe it would go unnoticed or are they simply not interested in the reaction of the public and experts? If the coalition no longer cares about public opinion, democracy is not working," Külli Taro says in Vikerraadio's daily comment.

Eleri Pilliroog: Equal treatment of foreign students a la interior ministry

27.05.20 ... The Ministry of the Interior has been looking to make it more difficult for foreign students to study in Estonia for months, with plans for a bill opposed by almost all important stakeholders under the guise of combating COVID-19, Eleri Pilliroog writes.

Priit Pikamäe: Legislative drafting ruled by chaos

26.05.20 ... The quality of legislative drafting in Estonia has dropped to a level where we can no longer speak of isolated mistakes but rather a general trend that seems to suggest professional competency required for preparing legal acts has disappeared from ministries, Priit Pikamäe writes.

Saarts: Integration policy shifts into overdrive

24.05.20 ... We needed three decades and the most unusual crisis situation of the past century to prove what has really been known for decades – that Estonia's Russians care about the country they inhabit, Tõnis Saarts says in Vikerraadio's daily comment.

Kristjan Kaunissaare: Railroad cannot be built on gut feeling

20.05.20 ... Progress on the Rail Baltic project was helped by a recent Supreme Court ruling as only a single challenge of more than 20 presented by the project's opponents was satisfied, Kristjan Kaunissaare writes.

Prime minister: Emergency situation over, crisis endures

19.05.20 ... Despite all the preparations, plans and training, neither Estonia nor any other country was ready for the crisis. It is our duty to learn from the situation. We need to come out on the other side of it smarter, stronger and more resilient, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas says in a political statement delivered in front of the Riigikogu.

Yana Toom: Bad Huawei and good America

17.05.20 ... If Estonia is truly independent, we need to be careful not only of Chinese technology but also that of our main NATO ally the United States, MEP Yana Toom writes.

Merle Viirmaa: Of respect for and within journalism

13.05.20 ... The Estonian Media Enterprises Association turned to the government in the name of its members to ask for direct support in connection with falling advertising revenue. The association never considered making even the slightest compromise in terms of its role as society's watchdog, giving up media freedom when it made its request," Merle Viirmaa writes.

Ruuben Kaalep: Crisis law vote democracy in action, not 'scrap law'

13.05.20 ... Coalition MPs supported a reasonable proposal on Monday, but at the same time an unreasonable one was voted down, in so doing providing balance, writes Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) MP Ruuben Kaalep, in response to a piece which originally appeared in ERR's online news in Estonian, and is in English here.

Helir-Valdor Seeder: Could Europe Day reach the Urals one day?

11.05.20 ... Our Russian-speaking population mainly watches Russian state programming that offers them another country's perspective on the War and history. Winners write their own history, which possibility Russia has made rather creative use of, Helir-Valdor Seeder writes.

Carri Ginter and Kaspar Endrikson: Goodbye dividends and executive bonuses!

11.05.20 ... Rules for state holdings in struggling companies set. Comment by sworn lawyers Kaspar Endrikson and Carri Ginter.

Opinion: Estonia leaves digital mark on UN

11.05.20 ... Nearly 80 countries in the UN responded to Estonia's invitation to discuss the lessons of World War II but... this meeting didn't even take place, writes journalist Toomas Sildam.

Ando Eelmaa: Private owners ensure sustainability of forest management

10.05.20 ... The recent "Mets" (Forest) yearbook suggests that there are some 100,000 private forest owners in Estonia, which is also how many different views we have in terms of how forests should be managed. A diverse approach in terms of how to care for and manage private forests can ensure their versatility, sustainability and biodiversity, Ando Eelmaa writes.

Defense minister: World War Two then and now, 75 years after its end

08.05.20 ... While World War Two, at least in Europe, ended 75 years ago to the day, its legacy is still as relevant as ever, particularly against the backdrop of those who would seek to rewrite history, writes defense minister Jüri Luik (Isamaa).

Kaarel Tarand: The old always die first

07.05.20 ... Kaarel Tarand thinks about death in Vikerraadio's daily comment and finds that immortality will never be found, no matter how much one borrows to get there.

Kristjan Mäe: NATO deterrence and defense stance in the coronavirus crisis

05.05.20 ... The global COVID-19 pandemic has been taking a toll on the transatlantic family for some weeks, while it has taught Estonia and its allies in NATO many important lessons, writes Kristjan Mäe, head of the Ministry of Defense's NATO and EU department.

Sofi Oksanen: Why monuments are symbolic. On little islets of Soviet people

05.05.20 ... Ukraine has faced a long, hard road in its journey towards full national identity so far, writes noted Finnish-Estonian writer Sofi Oksanen, in a piece in cooperation with the communistcrimes.org portal. There can be no looking back if it is to divest itself further of the Soviet legacy.
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