Editorial: Game of «Thrones»
In the supposedly still summer, important posts are stirring passions. With candidates abounding and procedures prescribed, intriguing interludes just cannot seem to go missing.
Editorial: a target for provocateurs
The little village of Vao in Väike-Maarja Parish with its centre of asylum seekers is being brutally pulled into a big game of becoming an epicentre of «events». Regrettably, the greatest harm happens to those who are thus attempted to protect, whether knowingly and intentionally, out of curiosity, or of outright stupidity.
Editorial: Facts, (Prime) Minister
Receiving refugees serves to heat Estonian public opinion better than today’s sunshine. Alas, emotions seem to trump the relevant kind of facts. Disappointingly, yesterday’s (extraordinary, sic!) press conference failed to create craved concreteness.
Editorial: run for your life
National Institute for Health Development has completed a study showing that health of Estonian males goes into steep decline after turning 35 as also related to diminished physical activity. In other words, that’s when the time and desire to run or work out fade out. Once out of shape, it is ever harder to get going again.
Editorial: mess made yet hope not lost
«Tsipras messed up.» The words by a eurozone official to Reuters serve to describe the conundrum created by the Greek prime minister by TV address to nation at midnight this past Saturday. On Friday evening the outlook had been a bit more benign: almost half a year of talks with the new Greek government under their belt, European leaders believed (or wanted to believe) that an agreement regarding continued Greek reforms would become reality. The needy one was Greece itself, firstly: this was the condition to be handed the last remaining €7.2bn of the €245bn aid package. The deadline is tomorrow as €1.6bn is to be paid back to International Monetary Fund.
Editorial: NATO deterrence convincingly enhanced
As again confirmed by news stories this week, allies in NATO have heard the alarm and the gotten their act together. Decisions taken at NATO defence ministers meeting are aimed at moving actual forces and speedier decision-making. While in Tallinn for a visit, the US secretary of defence declared decision to preposition equipment. To exercises long planned, extra ones will be added.
Editorial: lest the organism destroy itself
At today’s EU summit in Brussels, governmental leaders and heads of states are tackling the redistribution of refugees. The debate triggered by quotas suggested by the European Commission last month has turned out frighteningly furious. Reminding us of this main thing: whatever the solutions will be for Estonia, the way forward will not be via emotions and heresies, rather thru facts and soundness of mind.
Editorial: bikers blanketed in hybrid warfare
This week served up news splash by Facebook forum «Bike People» calling for support rally regarding Vao Village folks protesting against refugees. The forum, Tsiklirahvas in the original Estonian, is no organisation but an entertainment oriented web group traditionally posting pictures of motorcycles, videos, and fun. In Facebook, Estonia has others of like kind, such as Mootorratturid, Eesti Mootorratturid etc.
Editorial: false alarms of systemic order
Though increasingly used and vital considering the ever dearer human labour, automatic alarm systems need to possess this simple distinctive quality – they must work, technically and system-wise.
Editorial: the taxing decisions
The tax amendments package passed this Monday night was nothing nice. Pragmatically, it does secure the execution of policy agreed in government and the coalition can get its compromises enacted.
Editorial: state enterprise council – political substitute bench?
As some or several Estonians meet to create a company, they will never start by thinking how much to pay the members of council. Any management structure will be a means to reach the goals set. At that, businesses come with the single-eyed devotion to make a profit.
Editorial: the glass looks half full, rather
For the most part, «integration» assumes a critical tone when pronounced in public space of Estonia. In studies, and real life especially, we see the desired processes actually in motion. Yep, not fast enough, perhaps. Sure, there’s steps to be taken, and some perhaps to avoid.
Editorial: Tallinn Tech governors! Stop the travesty
Election of Rector for Tallinn University of Technology (TUT) has evolved into a bad case of a PR-travesty. Should board of governors (BofG) chairman Sandor Liive not decisively change his current trend, the farce – humiliating towards those involved and damaging to TUT reputation – could carry on for weeks.
Editorial: mountains know no mercy
Three Estonians lost and one severely injured, in Peru. A most tragic incident in the history of Estonian mountaineering. The last time Estonia had three alpinists perish was in Pamir Mountains, back in 1974.
Editorial: the manslaughter machine
Since the year kicked into gear, several serious accidents have shaken Estonia. The last in the row took the life of a one month old baby by a drunken driver speeding down the Tallinn-Narva Highway.
Editorial: Sven Mikser throws Taavi Rõivas a tough nut to crack
It is becoming increasingly obvious that Taavi Rõivas is no new Andrus Ansip – as to longevity being Prime Minister.
Editorial: Russia cloning impact tricks
Attacking or child protection rules and depicting these as inhuman – rather a novel type of Russian «treatment» of Estonia.
Editorial: Greek poker-bluff at abyss-edge
Debt payments by Greece are due every month, and almost weekly: like on June 5th, 12th, 16th and 19th. The Syriza-led government is playing poker on other European nerves.
Editorial: the shifting squirrels situation
Yesterday, Reform faced its general assembly in a peculiar condition. As the coalition got cobbled together, popularity nosedived – in April, mere 19 percent remained. For chairman, only one candidate had been set up: the Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas who has admitted to mistakes made at power talks and public communication thereof. Meanwhile, not running for chief herself, MEP Kaja Kallas actively worked at having folks in next board who could in the future be counted on.
Editorial: a government taking its time to be born
The power trio is showing initial signs of ability to function. Sending the four year budget strategy for parliamentary discussions, they have finally expressed the actual tax amendments intended.
Editorial: German protection shown in action
The recent public confirmation of rotating German infantry companies coming to the Baltics, by members of Bundestag, is of great significance.
Editorial: silence – not always golden
The folks ferried between mainland and Saaremaa feel worried: in summer, the queues are a bother as things stand but ship swap by Saaremaa Laevakompanii may stretch them longer still – yet, the main hero keeps mum. On the one hand, people are justified in expecting information regarding plans of a company providing public services. On the other, entrepreneurs have their business interests to consider. And as the move is allowed by contracts, who could find fault with the entrepreneur.
Editorial: Why? Let’s look within
Saturday morning sunshine, central Tallinn. Slowly and serenely, townsfolk start strolling about. The coffee shops open their welcoming doors, and all is quiet... till the bang. The shock, the blood, the tears, and the ambulances screaming their way towards what just happened. Not limited to the people in both cars involved, a traffic island was rudely invaded as one of the vehicles was flung in its midst. 14 injured, all told.
Editorial: let all hands work
About every working-age individual in Estonia has encountered problems psychic and behavioural. In 2013, over 51,000 people purchased some prescription medicine to counter that. For more than 30,000 with such issues, work capacity has been partially or totally lost.
Editorial: on refugee issues and the folly of self-delusion
Pursuant to European Commission plan presented yesterday, Estonia is in for 326 refugees of official UN status from outside of EU i.e. the camps in Northern Africa and Middle East.
Editorial: banking enters times of emergency
In all likelihood, never before has world history had times when one makes fixed term deposits and gets no interest from the bank. Interest rate reflects the price of money which at present is unprecedentedly low. If something is cheap, little needs to be paid for it while one does not get much for it either.
Editorial: the victory day growing dim
To commemorate end of WW2 battles in Europe, every nation – including Ukraine on May 8th and Russia on May 9th – attributed its interpretation as organisers saw fit.
Editorial: the boat people – a shared EU burden
Stuffed into boats, refugees are drowning in the Mediterranean. Last year alone, 278,000 illegal EU border crossings were registered in the region. On their way to Europe, about 3,000 lost their lives. This year, the numbers are on the increase and, already, close to 2,500 have perished. Formerly regarded as a burden for the countries of destination, the crowds coming have swelled so large as to trigger the issue of EU responsibility.
Editorial: an e-Embarrassment eloquently explained
So they ordered us a new website, up there at the Riigikogu, for €98,000 allegedly paying for all works pre and post. The thing feels out of reach and hard to read, but host says this is a nonissue.
Editorial: the fearsome forces of nature
The 7.8 magnitude quake that shook Nepal this Saturday took the lives of thousands. The tremors were felt in neighbouring India, China and Bangladesh. Alas, the far-away Estonia was not spared either. Tragically, a member of our tourist group perished in Nepal. With dozens of Estonian citizens in Nepal during the earthquake, foreign ministry was yesterday able to claim most are okay.
Editorial: the wage gap – a problem for all
Yesterday, we had equal pay day in Estonia. Celebrated in quite a few nations, the date varies. In Europe, Estonia is the last in line – 111 days from beginning of year. This is the very number of days that the ladies must work extra, yearly, in order to earn as much as the gentlemen.
Editorial: Finns primed for a nice Prime Minister
What matters most is for somebody to win and put together a government – how apt these words by a Finnish businessman to express the frustration created by former coalition, a motley mix and therefore rather indecisive. Yesterday, the Finns elected themselves a new parliament. As predicted by polls, a decided winner emerged in Centre Party led by its new leader Juha Sipilä.
Editorial: Saue Parish, Mostly Harmless*
As the reader remembers, «The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy» by Douglas Adams begins by two examples of public vs private interests collision.
Editorial: no pay, no say
Today’s Postimees provides an overview regarding money coming to political parties during first three months of the year – as membership fees and donations, as well as drawn from state coffers. Glaringly, percentage of membership fees continues as pittance of sum total.
Editorial: finding friends not foes
To those current with foreign and security policy, not much is added by fresh Security Police annual review. Even so, the book comes with at least two benefits. Firstly, it puts the important information in a format easy to read by those unable to keep up with the constant news, studies and analyses. The annual review is recommended reading to those desiring a brief overview of information war and its tools. Secondly, on the basis of it weighty conclusions can be drawn, partially extendable to the agency’s own activities.
Editorial: how nice to raise kids in Estonia?
In Postimees today, child care options at concert halls, sports clubs etc are covered. Partially, answer to question posed in headline depends on options of a parent, together with kids, to consume culture.
Editorial: Finland changing course
Today’s Postimees features an opinion article by Finnish journalist Jarmo Mäkelä casting some light on changes weighty in the context of the fast-approaching general elections in Finland, yet unnoticed by the public. Turns out, a greater than expected agreement has emerged among leading Finnish politicians regarding defence policy – including the issue of drawing nearer to NATO.
Editorial: new govt set to accelerate thru grey stone
The new government is in office and ready to roll. Not much time to accelerate, admonished the President. Counting from Election Day, the 38 pages of the agreement took 38 days to complete – Estonia’s record length of the ages. In the words of prime minister Taavi Rõivas, it emerged through the grey stone.
Editorial: a new government, a new predicament
Until all is sure, nothing is sure. This is apt to describe where we are at, with the government. The basics have been agreed, but that may not mean a final solution. With the 38 pages of power agreement approved, executors thereof – meaning: the ministers – are far from certain.
Editorial: «unbelievable ugliness» is apt
Unbelievable ugliness – an assessment by University of Tartu rector Volli Kalm to Institute of Physics research fellow promising gymnasium gals altering of exam results in exchange for becoming his mistress. Naturally, the university will have to talk to the individual and gain needed insight. Still, one will have to agree to the rector’s initial reaction: behaving like this, a person may no longer work at the institution.
Editorial: the vital fifteen minutes
Where in Estonia would one dwell? Where to buy or build a house, a summer home? A criterion might be: should fire strike, will the rescuers arrive before it’s too late.
Editorial: catastrophe risks may be reduced, not removed
In all likelihood, Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz intentionally crashed into a mountain killing himself and all aboard – totalling 150. Why? Was there something the airline failed to do? Are there systemic errors in aviation making this possible?
Editorial: always ask about the medicine
In Postimees, today, Tallinn University professor Airi Värnik laid out main problems related to side effects and combined effects of medicines. A needed step towards mapping the issue.
Editorial: rarely, but happen it does
In Europe at least, flying has felt like a super safe thing to do for a long while. Occasionally, we do read the news about accidents with casualties, but usually «where we are not» or where we travel seldom – Asia, Africa, or Russia, to look closer. In European Union, we have flight safety rules in place, the surveillance does function, and moving about the continent by plane has long ceased to seem like an adventure.
Editorial: one in thirty procurements contested
Not limited to challenges to definite public procurements, rules thereof have undergone loads of debates more general by nature. Since 2007, when Public Procurements Act was passed, for various reasons it has been amended for a whopping fifteen times.
Editorial: the e-state way of thinking
It’s a long time since the man in the street thought e-state was ministers sitting at desks dong digital document exchange. In information and communication technology, every month, day and often a minute counts.
Editorial: counting the blessings of dwelling in Estonia
This is the day to think about what makes one happy. As you read this, the planet is celebrating International Day of Happiness.
Editorial: the court just does its job
Boys accused in attempted rape of a girl of 12 were acquitted, by court. Criticism towards the court overflowed, in newspaper websites and social networks. Gender equality commissioner weighed in, finding that court judgments are often gender-biased. Anger boiled over. Understandably, as a child has suffered.
Editorial: a tight finish on political «ski stadium»
Excitement abounds till the very last hundredth of a second – a sports commentator might shout about the Ladõnskaja vs Sester race for Riigikogu. One is reminded of the Finnish national tragedy back in 1980 – at Winter Olympics, their Juha Mieto lost gold medal to Swede Thomas Wassberg by 0.01 seconds in 15 km cross country skiing.
Editorial: the future army of Europe
The idea of EU army by European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker on pages of German Die Welt was nothing new, really. From time to time, the topic has been debated. Even by Mr Juncker himself, the army was in general terms mentioned in opinion article published by Postimees, in May 2014: «The strongest of soft powers cannot for a longer period operate without defence capacities at least to a degree integrated. By Lisbon treaty, members states who so desire are awarded the option to unite their defence capacity into permanent cooperation structure.»
Editorial: the option of cultural backsliding
A look at fresh videos is like beholding Barbarians of old: wiping off works of dozens and dozens of generations – physical memorials to what mankind had achieved.
Editorial: the Moscow murder mystery
A whopping five guys have been arrested by a Moscow court, all suspected in links to Boris Nemtsov’s murder. All hail from North Caucasus. If indeed the bunch should include immediate executors of the killing in central Moscow, nothing even close to trustworthy is known about who may have ordered it – nor regarding the motives.
Editorial: tax law change breeds quitting feeling
For finance minister Maris Lauri, quit slip by Tax and Custom Board director-general Marek Helm was a suddenly. Turns out, she was not the only one surprised. The board has done well. Rather, the decision smells like VAT law amendment and the related changes in how the institution had to operate.
Editorial: injuries claiming Estonian lives
In 2013, we had 147,790 injured people treated by doctors in Estonia. Due to various injuries, 958 perished. A glance at European statistics shows the picture as among the saddest on the continent. Especially so with men.
Editorial: the Estonia we all share
Yesterday, our country had its birthday. Probably, every home has developed a way to celebrate. Some bake a cake, some uncork champagne. Some watch the concert, some like to see the presidential shakings of hands – drawn to the glamour.
Editorial: see you in four months … or sooner
To a bystander, Greece and the so-called troika – European Commission, European Central Bank and IMF – long look like the cacophonic quartet from a parable by Ivan Krylov. Which, as we know, ended in the morale: change the seating if you like, the sound gets no nicer.
Editorial: a bank's no municipal shop
Why is Tallinn city government so stirred up about creating a cooperative credit bank? Thus far, the public gets the impression that what we have here is another political campaign by Centre Party and its mayor/chairman Edgar Savisaar hegemony, the central message being to pit Tallinn against Estonia. By this, loyal electorate ought to understand: «we Tallinn» are forward-looking and do stand for the weak while life goes gloomily downhill for Estonian state.
Editorial: Putin and Orbán
Yesterday saw Russia’s President Vladimir Putin pay a visit to the EU black sheep, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. As part of the unofficial reception, demonstrators were out carrying posters with «Nyet to Putin! Yes to Europe!» and «We’ll be no Russian colony!».
Editorial: respect the bravery
Social ministry’s intent to make entry of father’s name mandatory on birth certificate may indeed help against trickery with allowances while not alleviating the broader problem. Estonia has too many kids growing up without fathers and, to solve the situation, a name on a certificate will not mean much. A document will not bring responsibility if it is otherwise avoided. And this latter issue ought to be the focal point.
Editorial: the bloodshed in Denmark – a blow at free society foundations
A month and a week ago, the free world was shocked by extremist bloodbath at attack Charlie Hebdo Paris headquarters. This Saturday, an extremist hand felled film-maker Finn Nørgaard at a debate over freedom of expression and speech. Later, the same criminal attacked Copenhagen synagogue killing the guard next door and wounding two police.
Editorial: the Minsk gambit
A sleepless night spent in Minsk, Belarus by four heads of European states has yielded a rather vague-worded declaration regarding the conflict in Ukraine while still stressing two vital principles – territorial integrity or Ukraine (without a word, though, on Crimea), and the need for a peaceful solution.
Editorial: the Finnish pipe dream
Remember punk group J.M.K.E. long ago singing about a pipe to Finland? The song said Tallinn would instantly empty out ...
Editorial: roles or stereotypes? That is the question
Two events, carried by like themes, fell on the same day yesterday. First the Postimees opinion leaders dinner discussing gender roles this year. And, secondly, University of Tartu applied research centre revealed results of study into views and ways of men in Estonia.
Editorial: predicting the parliament – a four, five or six pack?
Two parties with no prior parliamentary experience look likely to clear the 5 percent threshold this time around – Free Party and EKRE.
Editorial: much more than Ukraine at stake
The Friday to Sunday Munich security conference is best summed up by two conflicts, solution to which reaches beyond the destiny of Ukraine and far across EU/NATO borders.
Editorial: the marginal score a point
Alas, anonymous bloggers behind the Finnish «Todelinnen Tallinna» have achieved their assumed end: sowing ill will in Estonia-Finland relations – as high up as possible.
Editorial: thank you for the impact
The list of those to be decorated this year, by the President, has been published. Traditionally, this is a story of what the year was like, for Estonia – domestically and internationally. In the selection, time and values find equal reflection, and rightly so.
Editorial: help needed to arm Ukraine
This Monday, US foreign policy experts published a report saying the government should provide Ukraine military assistance for $1bn yearly in 2015–2017. They are talking radars, drones, communications, medical equipment, as well as lethal arms assistance such as light missiles to repel enemy armoured vehicles.
Editorial: the pre-elections state of mindlessness
Last week was spiced with strange things that happen as people in parliament get all elated about getting elected again. At times, calls have been made for them quit the sessions at campaign time – unavoidably, it all boils over with populism and attempts to shine forth. On the other hand, however, why grant folks at Toompea the privilege? Work on, honourable ladies and gentlemen, just as the other candidates for the most part do.
Editorial: strategic cooperation or tactical spending spree?
While a relatively successful user of EU support, Estonia does have stuff to think over regarding the new budget period. In our near-term investments, EU euros play a vital role. Therefore, should we use these unwisely or splash out stupidly, instead of hoped-for economic development all we’ll have is nothingness and an expensive (and at times pointless) infrastructure.
Editorial: the importance of being morally responsible
A tragic accident happens where not expected. People are hurt or perish. The public is shocked. An investigation kicks in... and is soon over – no necessary elements of criminal offence. Even so, liability is not legal alone, but a notion much broader. It’s not necessarily the establishing and the punishing of the culprit in eyes of law. Rather, it’s the sensing or moral responsibility.
Editorial: balm promised for Greek torments
Who could count the tragic ends of heroes in Greek mythology... This past weekend, fate came cruelly down Antonis Samaras and his centre-right New Democracy, after three years of navigating the treacherous waters of financial woes.
Editorial: the toothless and the slow
In run-up to elections, this is what the parties have detected to be wrong with Estonian health care system: dentists out of reach, and poor knowledge on matters of physical fitness. Unanimously, all see the easily accessible alcohol as a culprit, and election promises let us know this is no way to go.
Editorial: expand the sanctions
Till last week but one, with a measure of confidence one may have predicted that the year ahead would see lively discussions within European Union about easing the sanctions set to keep Russia in check. By its behaviour last week, the Kremlin has done away with any arguments for the latter. By now, even those wilfully blind should see that the peace agreement isn’t being honoured – neither by the Kremlin, not by the separatists it backs.
Editorial: hey, we’re family
«It is in the times foreign-politically difficult that maintenance of the bridge with Finland tends to slip our minds and signs of disrepair start to show,» Toomas Kiho, editor-in-chief of Akadeemia (the cultural journal) wrote in Postimees this past fall. «Regrettably, to the backdrop of current crises, the same seems to happening again.»
Editorial: the new Chancellor of Justice sounds sweet and thinks sound
Not known by jurists alone, Ülle Madise is recognised by radio audience and readers of newspapers.
Editorial: the land of the Golden Tangerines
In Estonia, Christmas and New Year inevitably come with tangerines. Kind of funny, these. Exotic and ... homelike. As the movie «Tangerines» rolled out in 2013, purely by quantity the Estonian movie year was called fruitful. Now, looks like harvest time is here, quality-wise.
Editorial: never delete history
It’s been embarrassing to track the time-consuming search to find ways to prove why the recordings of meetings at Riigikogu committees must not and cannot be preserved for a longer time. Strange how the desire to hide mechanisms of legislation is so great in the very Estonia trying to sell itself globally as an open and flexible small nation.
Editorial: fresh spring winds or windows firmly shut
With month and a half to go till general elections, hopes are somewhat up. Dissatisfaction with state of affairs has sent a signal: changes expected. In two ways, at least.
Editorial: Europe needs to speak a language the violent will understand
Freedom of expression and religion are foundational values, never to be given up! Countless in world and European history are the cases when words by somebody hurt the religious feelings in another. An achievement of civilisation being: such matters are debated in parliament and/or at court. This just cannot be that once not happy with what a fellow says, we grab a club or Kalashnikov.
Editorial: all rules kept. All wrong
It’s not just what we do, it’s what we don’t that has consequences. With the tragic fire on the opening day of the year, in Laekvere, Lääne-Viru County, both came into play. Both to our shame, as society.
Editorial: the depressing data on deaths by injury
In order to coordinate policy on prevention of injuries and deaths by these, a working group was instituted. Yet another legalese-sounding committee? Not this time. In reality, this is an extremely serious set of problems that the society will need to tackle if – as a nation – we wish to live a live healthier and happier.
Editorial: words will have to do
Yesterday, they killed journalists in Paris. Gruesome – as any act of terror, lives destroyed. Doubly dreadful when directed against the broader value of freedom of expression, and those standing in its defence.
Editorial: the Touch of the Year. The Year of the Touch
As each year comes to its close, the editorial board at Postimees pick a person whom we wish to compliment on remarkable things done. The name is announced when the year’s over. Yesterday, we did it for the eighteenth time around.
Editorial: under the shadow of the Almighty
About three years ago, say, there was this news item that for a moment made rounds in global media, declaring: Estonia is a safest state in the world... due to the absence of natural catastrophes. We really don’t have these decent hurricanes, tsunamis, tornadoes, earthquakes and volcanoes erupting. In the EM-DAT database registering the world’s natural disasters since 1900, Estonia’s initial entry is only found for 2005 January Storm aka the Pärnu Flood.
Editorial: Ämari sees fulfilment of Obama promise
While visiting Estonia, the US President Barack Obama announced plans to create at Ämari an US-Baltic-Nordic air force training centre. By then, negotiations over the essence of the near $1bn NATO programme supporting European allies had been going on for months. By now, details of said programme have reached the 2015 budget of US armed forces and, of that, about $25m are earmarked as investments into Ämari.
Editorial: no «Fascists», no «Commies»
Yesterday, governmental eyes beheld the final report on integration plan 2008–2013. One, for some reason, is reminded of this story of a grown guy who wets his bed. A friend says why don’t you go see a psychologist? In a couple of months they meet again. Friend asks bedwetter how he’s doing. «Excellent,» he says. «Wetting the bed no more?» asks the friend. «I do, but I’m no longer concerned about it,» says the other.
Editorial: booze populism
In Estonia, alcoholism is a serious problem. Takes no statistician or social scientist to prove that, any citizen may tell it all. Makes no difference if we are looking at alcohol related deaths, the traffic or just the street view. We are troubled by alcohol (over)users young and old. In all kinds of health and social costs, alcohol weighs heavy on us and causes grief as people close to us – family, neighbours, colleagues – gets drowned in its many sorrows. Also, alcohol plays a major role in crime and breaching of public order.
Editorial: risks realised, in Russian economy
In economic activities, any entrepreneur and investor needs to consider certain risks. These may be market risks, political risks, geographical risks or even force majeure. In some countries, these risks are lower, and higher in others.
Editorial: strange step by Russia in propaganda war
Obviously, the unprecedented uncovering of own agent Uno Puusepp in Russian NTV show «Our man in Tallinn» is an information (war) operation aimed to impact the public in Russia, Estonia and partner states of the latter. Explicitly, the Russian security service FSB is behind the move.
Editorial: public transport «pudding» – proof of the state reform
Who’s untouched by public transport? None. Even the car owner will need the occasional taxi, bus or train ride. Public transport needs to be as fast and comfy as can be. It needs to work where needed while affordable for client and provider alike – the latter burning taxpayer euros.
Editorial: hard potatoes and court overloads
A year ago, European Court of Human Rights happened to satisfy appeal by inmate against Estonian state. A drug lab manager was distressed by lack of sporting options behind bars. After that, complaints by prisoners snowballed to exceed appeals to Tartu Administrative Court by people at liberty – 1,100 out of 1,800 filed from jail. The said court is suffering the worst, located in region of the major prisons.
Editorial: Ms Merkel on road towards term No 4
The support by Christian Democratic Union (CDU) congress to its leader Angela Merkel, in Cologne yesterday, was remarkable indeed – 96.7 of the delegates in her favour. To this, add the more than half of Germans who, according to polls, would like the Chancellor in her third term to continue beyond the 2017 elections. Obviously, this is support undreamed of in lion’s share of Europe.
Editorial: power party ferment
Who, if any, could one consider an authority? Attempting to answer: someone who shares your world view (as, otherwise, perhaps, the basis for conclusions might prove too differing), who has experience, knowledge and the bystander look. For Reform Party, its creator, initial chairman and former prime minister Siim Kallas seems to tick all the boxes.
Editorial: taking the state by the horns
Yesterday, Estonian Cooperation Assembly revealed its ideas on reforming the state. A weighty event. Why?
Editorial: Moldova maintains trend towards Europe
At 90 percent of votes counted since Sunday election in Moldova, pro-European parties were predicted a tally of 56-58 seats at parliament and the Russia-minded to settle at 43-44. With 101 seats all in all, just like in Estonia, the next Moldovan government will probably lean towards the EU and the West, to continue on current path of integration.
Editorial: it’s elections, not war
«I’ll put on my tie and go scream at others on TV tonight,» is what Raul Rebane wrote about election campaign methods in Postimees last week. In the story by Nils Niitra about listless parliamentarians, the deputy Aivar Riisalu thus describes the colleagues not outstanding by activeness: they sit in bottom of the trench, trembling, green in the face, calling for Mama to help and wondering why they’re in the war after all.
Editorial: a war for independence of all peoples in Estonia
Today is 96 days sharp from the start of Estonian War of Independence. The victory, for Estonia, is impossible to overestimate. War is enforcing a will – while assessing the meaning of wars, we must ask what was the essence of the will which prevailed.
Editorial: intelligence temped
Crafty thieving is a main skill of a classical spy agent. Why else would Viktor Suvorov, in his «Aquarium», share the little tricks how one will also consider oneself while selling watermelons on Collective Farm marketplace. From literature, we know how a smart agent knows to approach the timid secretary of a high ranking enemy, the latter then making him copies of classified documents during lunch hour. These past years, the major spy scandals are all about information theft. Even so, stuff classified often comes with monetary value attached, and spies are not about the Purpose alone.
Editorial: the global echo of a death
One tragic incident which, on the face of it, might touch but the persons directly involved (and their neatest-dearest) may evolve into a chain reaction lasting for months – a story on every TV screen on the planet. A story to be interpreted with broad generalisations or used for propaganda.
Editorial: help the kids, spare the system
Ministry of education is proposing to prolong compulsory attendance so as to encompass whatever comes after basic school. The matter most problematic in eyes of ministry is the 20 percent average opting out of vocational schools.
Editorial: Estonia searching for archbishop
Thus sayeth Estonian Constitution: «Everyone has freedom of conscience, religion and thought. Everyone may freely belong to churches and religious societies. There is no state church. Everyone has the freedom to exercise his or her religion, both alone and in community with others, in public or in private, unless this is detrimental to public order, health or morals.»
Editorial: what matters most is a heart to help
Since 2004, Estonia is in the beautiful habit of pinning badges of honour on brave people who have caught crooks, helped along by fearless action, prevented a crime or assisted a victim. Thus, today’s Postimees covers acts of chivalry by those decorated this year round. Thought provoking stories – what may have happened, if... Strangers saved, own lives laid on the line.
Editorial: the run is on
By President, Riigikogu elections are yet to be proclaimed. There’s two months plus to go till official campaigning period kicks in on January 21st. But the waiting is beyond the parties to bear.
Editorial: «beer and wine audit» makes embarrassing history
Browsing the Estonian Development Fund «beer and wine audit» is first and foremost embarrassing. Let’s not forget: this is a legal person governed by public law, the spirit and basis for activities of which Riigikogu wrote into a specific law. The fund’s money comes from Estonian state.
Editorial: Cerberus crouching on data pile high
Compared to other countries, accessibility of public information in Estonia is almost okay. In many a nation of Europe, all kinds of data are much harder to obtain. Even with EU institutions, not always for granted you get what you want. In theory, if written rules be inspected, Estonia might stand out as a kind of example.
Editorial: controlling the future
So now we have two stories in a row featuring young people in sudden need of treatment while abroad – occasion enough to talk about health insurance.
Editorial: the earnestly agricultured Estonian
As prices drop the farmers are getting the creeps. Already, some are on loan payments holiday granted by bankers. Should the low linger, next year will thin the weaklings out. Laying entire blame on Russian food ban ain’t right – global market went into decline long before Vladimir Putin had the idea to forbid Western groceries.
05.11.2014, Andres EinmannPM
Editorial: Mistral – the «information carrier»
For information warriors in Moscow, France-Russia Mistral class helicopter carrier sales agreement is a card played with great gusto, aimed to undermine free world unity. Should the issue slightly fade, a Russian deputy prime minister will leak some paper – about first of the vessels to be delivered on November 14th – to then be refuted by the French.
Editorial: reasonable limits that limit nobody
Who would not remember the loan boom preceding recession? Everybody does – the lenders, the borrowers, and those that abstained. The last group was small. For we also remember that in the competition, loan conditions ended up altogether utopian. Almost, one might say, it was easier to get a loan than to go without.
Editorial: let us notice, let us listen, let us lend a helping hand
Today, all of Estonia is in shared mourning with those close to the late teacher Ene Sarap, her colleagues and pupils at Paalalinna School in Viljandi. What a terrible tragedy for the entire nation.
Editorial: the manifold lessons of an insult scandal
By finance minister Jürgen Ligi stepping down due to a social media message, a new layer was added to Estonian political culture. The effect of the layer on long term values, time will tell. The decision shows statesmanship and was justified, while also driven by domestic-political situation as weighing on Mr Ligi personally, Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas and Reform Party.
Editorial: cabinet cadre’s irksome irresponsibility
Entering into office, a member of Estonian government vows to bear responsibility before the state and own conscience. Meaning, an executive politician carries a greater weight. A politician may shame his party and himself; a minister will smear the government and the state. However strong-worded, a minister can’t just afford to blurt it out – in whatever media.
Editorial: Juncker & co. (incl. Ansip) @ Europe’s & Estonia’s service
With unexpected ease, the new European Commission got settled. Just some weeks ago, parliamentarian blessing seemed far from guaranteed by deadline and in full. Thus, Jean-Claude Juncker has again proven to be a crafty politician, able to navigate a generally satisfactory outcome in complex political waters.
Editorial: Welcome to e-Estonia!
Yesterday, the much-talked-about e-resident bill, aimed at providing foreigners with Estonian ID-cards, passed the Riigikogu with flying colours – 80 for and none against.
Editorial: example alone matters
A sad story laid out in Postimees today: having battered his pregnant partner, a man may get three years if convicted. Just a case among thousands, though...
Editorial: conflict brewing in Baltic Sea waters
Ever since Friday, Swedish armed forces have fishing for reasons for «foreign underwater activity». Among the isles of Stockholm, a broad military operation is underway – one involving vessels, choppers and infantry.
Editorial: prioritizing security or political comfort?
Yesterday, Riigikogu gathered to ponder the vital state level issue of «Altered Security Situation in Europe». In their reports, foreign affairs committee head Marko Mihkelson, foreign minister Urmas Paet and defence minister Sven Mikser rather richly painted a picture of the current security political situation, and Estonia in it. The focus was on Russia’s aggressive politics, while touching upon other stuff from radical Islam to Ebola.
Editorial: hired by Tallinn
So now we know: as his legal advisor, Mayor of Tallinn has hired former Harju County Court judge Valeri Lõõnik – once in public limelight as the man who at first instance pronounced «not guilty» those accused in the infamous land exchange saga.
Editorial: smudge over troubled water
The Saaremaa Laevakompanii and Saaremaa/ Hiiumaa ferryboat connection is quite an odyssey. Over the years, plans have changed, ministers fallen, parties quarrelled. The discussions-protests-challenges-debates pose a material for dissection by generations to come.
Editorial: «same old same old» for Centre Party
This time, Kadri Simson’s path towards being prime minister was short indeed. Despite the massive media coverage, interviews and programme-articles in almost all the main news channels, the idea failed to grow wings in the place where Centre Party really Editorial: «same old same old» for Centre Party.
Editorial: fix your own mess
Remember «Chief Crossing of Central Estonia», festively finalised four years at Mäo with $30m spent? Five-year warranty time ticking, holes abound...
Editorial: quit the PR and guard the border!
Not bad basically when politicians/officials in charge get busy publicly prioritising problems of their domain. And we do realise: the times they are a-changing, asking for altered approach.
Editorial: peepshow stars against own will
Easy to label stuff... the police set up security cameras and we pour forth phrases like Surveillance Society, Big Brother, Police State. In some ways that may be – the police knows information is an advantage and we do want them to do well protecting us.
Editorial: patience runs out
When unwilling or unable to decide, somebody may do it for you... on their own conditions, and by their best tricks. Looks a bit like that with the hospitals network, in Estonia. Politicians have shied away from decisions on small hospitals, and now the two regional centre chiefs have grabbed the wheel. It’s the big vs the big, grabbing for market share.
Editorial: somebody stop these Mr Beans from building us roads
Why do these roads of ours become bad (so fast)? Again and again, we the users and the car owners have to pose this question. By media, the ball is passed to scientists, to builders, to the officialdom. The answers vary according to who is saying, and no doubt the reasons are many. A standard reply goes like we’re not so rich as to ensure all-out excellent road repairs. In other words, there ain’t no money and that’s it.
Editorial: deep dealings in shallow waters
In the ideal Estonia, simple stuff might as well be solved. The ideal Estonia could be characterised by absence of Saaremaa and Hiiumaa ferry connection debates all but drowning us every once in a while.
Editorial: time for kindness!
Strolling down a department store in Estonia, many are the tempting fragrances the nostrils notice – an abundance of sensations for the prodigal buyer and the stingy abstainer alike.
Editorial: when foreign policy turns domestic
Russia’s neighbours are getting the feeling of living at the foot of a volcano. Firstly, one is forced to learn all about volcanoes. Also, preparedness is needed for earthquakes shaking the occasional fence.
Editorial: Estonia – example of staying free
Defending Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius is just as important as defending Berlin, Paris and London – a highlight from the US President Barack Obama’s speech in Tallinn, yesterday. Naturally, we need this assurance of unshakeable dedication. We need it declared to ourselves, to some lazy-like allies, and most of all to the potential aggressor.
Editorial: economy afloat
In spring, finance ministry set this year’s Estonian real terms GDP growth at 2 percent. Yesterday, they issued a figure more realistic – 0.5 percent. Figuratively speaking, this year our economy keeps afloat – the nostrils, at least, above water. And that’s basically all. Beholding the neighbouring economies, not much hope any would assume the role of an engine to be pulling us along.
Editorial: esteeming education – essential for successful society
It’s a very important day today – schools start again. First and foremost, a milestone for the almost 15,000 who, in September 1st 2014, take this step for the first time ever. Even so, the occasion’s significance is not limited to the 137,000 pupils at general education schools – add the university students, and those studying at vocational institutions. Plus the grown-ups acquiring extra education or getting a new specialty.
Editorial: who weeps with the Mother of a Russian soldier?
After the Tallinn «Bronze Night» in spring of 2007, a main accusation towards us by Russia was Estonia not honouring the remains and the memory of fallen soldiers. Among other things, a Russian State Duma delegation was dispatched to investigate the matter.
Editorial: signs in the air – Estonia set for historic autumn heat
Estonia has stuffed three elections into intense 1.5 years – the local ones last fall; the EU elections this past spring; and the Riigikogu elections when next year’s winter is over. If, among other things, the coalition to be formed next spring will basically agree regarding the next President, our politicians are left with two and a half years of no elections.
Editorial: aim at health of mother and child
Is home birth risky? Riskier, definitely, as compared to Estonia’s well-equipped hospitals... The argument of most home births being a success is certainly irrelevant.
Editorial: Estonia, my very own!
«At long last I may breathe easy. I made it. My life is in me still. I’ve got my Estonia, my very own and free!» Just some lines from a documentary novel, written as a diary by Heino Kiik and published in 2007, called «The Joys of Breaking Free» (Vabanemise rõõmud). Penned in August 20th 1991 – 23 years ago.
Editorial: locking up the inner beast
If all goes according to plan, in ten years lion’s share of Estonia’s passenger carrying buses should be equipped with alcolocks. Drunk driving will be no more – with driver brains no longer working, a device will decide whether the guy goes to work or not that day.
Editorial: what’s the budget line for financing optimism?
It’s still summertime, but the signs of fall can’t quite be denied – note the occasional showers and birds of a feather flocking together. The joyful holiday faces of politicians as shining at Festival of Opinion Culture – the Arvamusfestival – in Paide recently will soon undergo a change in the corridors at Toompea, some to be thoughtful, some critical. As the Reformers and soc dems are hammering away at their first common budget, it takes no political or economic analyst to see – the task ain’t easy at all, in the current situation.
Editorial: a delicate European problem called Viktor Orbán
A headache indeed – the increasingly autocracy-minded statements and the ever tightening cooperation with Putin’s Russia by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. The issue being: how united is Europe in its values, firstly, and secondly in bridling the warlike neighbouring Kremlin. Obviously, the latter is searching for weak links in Europe. Alas, the still economically troubled Hungary and its populist-type anti-Brussels PM provide for one.
Editorial: a shot in own foot
Not too long ago, in 2010, then President of Russian Federation Dmitri Medvedev paid a visit to USA. With colleague Barack Obama they rode into a hamburger stand in Virginia where the Russian head of state heartily bit into the symbol of American life: a fat white bread double-decker with steak, Cheddar cheese, onion, jalapeno-paprika and mushrooms. To say nothing about the inseparable Coca-Cola.
Editorial: not out of the woods (yet)
Differently from, let’s say, the UK, Estonia is not a country used to vast lands belonging to a handful of owners. A basic reason for this is Republic of Estonia’s 1919 land reform whereby large land ownerships were nationalised and afterwards handed out as new farmsteads.
Is Estonian police turning dogs on peaceful citizens, cruelly beating alternative-culture-loving concert-goers and opponents of the government, having basically pulled out all the stops? Or is it, rather, that the Estonian police can’t guarantee the basic order, is letting crooks throw their weight around and retreating before all who have the guts to curse them waiving fists and what not?
Life in hell on earth
To be born in Gaza, in 21st century, is to be unlucky. For years dubbed «world’s largest open-air prison», the phrase probably isn’t too wide of the mark.
Editorial: why fear the votes of our very own kids?
A month ago, to the day, 41 Riigikogu members launched a bill to alter the constitution. Yesterday, the government said yes. Aim of the amendment is for 16 and 17 year olds to obtain voting rights – as things stand, 18 is the threshold.
Editorial: the multi-edged sword of sanctions
When in the 1980ies the Reagan administration imposed trade-sanctions on the Soviet Union because of events in Poland, the Kremlin propaganda called these meaningless and assured the USA it would just buy what it needed from other nations in the West. Even in the days of Jimmy Carter, there were restrictions because of Afghanistan – to no avail.
Editorial: let’s tackle the accidental deaths
How safe is everyday life in Estonia? Answers might be sought from various sources, but accidental deaths are a solid figure and, as divided into categories, will show the overall mental and physical situation.
Editorial: banning Kremlin’s lies
Doubtless, experiences of Latvia and Lithuania in combating Kremlin’s propaganda deserve Estonian attention.
Editorial: drowning Demon Alcohol in European money
A lot has been said about alcohol this summer, the chief trigger being the new Law and Order Act since July 1st allowing booze to be used in public – as long as others aren’t bothered. Alas, as characteristic to warm weather, drunken deaths on highways and in water have added fuel to the fire.
24.07.2014, Karin KangroPM
Editorial: the West must get her act together
«As Europe, we did far less than minimally needed to alter activities by Russia in each phase of this crisis,» said Poland’s foreign minister Radek Sikorski in a recent interview. According to him, Europe ought to have shown solidarity with Ukraine in 2013 already – then, maybe, the escalation could have been avoided.
Editorial: All Quiet on the European Front
The Continent diligently deliberates, debates, and decides ... As a rule, no major jolts, no U-turns. The member states desiring to be Alpha and Omega at decision making implies that to charismatic characters rise to top spots – such as might go solo whether by statements or steps taken.
Editorial: dog lost. Who cares?
While a large part of Estonia’s local governments require cats and dogs to be registered, this is partly just formality – of not much use when the pets are lost. The local registers merge into no larger database. We do have two national registers, but only 23 local governments (out of 215) have entered one of these. The rest are using Excel tables or checkered workbooks or have given up registering pets altogether, no matter if rules so require – in these formats, the registers are pointless.
Editorial: kill bench, kill problem?
Not long ago, Postimees got a phone-call by the troubled reader who told a story of apple trees on a lot next to an apartment-block in town. The apple-trees, she said, are old and nice, but whenever it rains drunks gather underneath the braches for shelter. «What to do?» there followed the traditional query. «Do I ask the town government to cut the threes down? I pity the trees, but how do we turn this around?»
Editorial: rise in responsibility boosts personal health
A couple of weeks ago, Postimees published an opinion article by health expert Ain Aaviksoo on changes needed in Estonian healthcare system. One thing Mr Aaviksoo pointed out was importance of personal responsibility: health damaged through years of bad behaviour will not be fixed by a brief visit to doctor’s, or some days spent at a hospital.
Editorial: a moderate communist reformer
Eduard Shevardnadze, who died yesterday at the age of 87, will be remembered as the Mikhail Gorbachev era Soviet foreign minister easing tensions during perestroika and establishing more constructive relations with the West. His tenure at the helm of Georgia, however, was characterised by controversy – Shevardnadze led the country both in depths of Soviet stagnation, as First Secretary of Georgian Communist Party, and as president of the independent Georgia in 1995–2003.
Editorial: Estonian mystery
Estonian mystery – a comment by a foreigner casually overheard at the Song Celebrations... How creative-clear in capturing the great festivities dominating both Tallinn and rest of Estonia for the whole past week. A miracle, an enigma, a religious phenomenon – all in one. A tiny nation getting together every five years – and today it’s really all of us, adding the million glued to TV screens and Internet to the hundred thousand at the Song Festival Grounds – on a plot of ground to sing itself into a big eternal entity.
Editorial: looking the fear in its coffee-brown eyes
For lion’s share of Estonians, receiving refugees is rather a negative – as seen in an asylum related study presented yesterday. No big news really (three years back, results were the same) and it’s never too wise to praise or criticize the general mentality in a nation. We should ask ourselves, however, why we think like we do. And judge the foundations for it.
Editorial: chaos in Iraq would threaten broader security
Sunni extremists encouraged in Syrian civil war, Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant orISIL, have moved military activities over into Iraq. Quite successfully. Should Iraq be enveloped in chaos, neighbouring countries come under threat, thus impacting the bigger security picture.
Editorial: Made in Finland
Alexander Stubb (46), set to sit on Finning prime ministerial stool, is the embodiment of a trendy politician. The man casts a dynamic shadow and never seems to sit still.
Editorial: talk to kid, and do tackle alcohol
Who in their right mind would wish their kids to turn out binge drinkers, livers leaning towards the grave at 40 and lungs loaded with toxins?
Editorial: Tallinn stirred
While the voter is increasingly into Midsummer Night grill wurst thinking (to say nothing about football), opposition is stretching its fingers towards Tallinn power pie. From two angles.
Editorial: share glee, share gloom
The dividend coin has its two sides. Payment of these is sign of a company’s maturity, they say – rightly so, but still somewhat ironically. Which side is up, depends of the expectations one buys the shares with.
Editorial: look further than a few years
Work capacity reform, the new coalition’s initial bone of contention, should not be rushed with. The practical aspects ought to be thoroughly considered. Let’s not forget, also, that regionally the conditions for getting to work – public transport, jobs on offer, willingness and ability of local governments – greatly vary. Overlooking such small yet vital details, the reform cannot be of expected benefit.
Editorial: hoist Estonian flag in mast of every vessel? Never!
Maritime matters do matter for Estonia. Even so, expecting Estonia to favour the well-paid sailors by, for instance, having them treated in our excellent hospitals without paying taxes is just not fair towards other Estonian taxpayers.
Editorial: jump-starting circulation
European Central Bank (ECB) council decision, yesterday, to drop its deposit interest below zero is rare yet not unexpected. The trick has been done before, by Swedish and Danish central banks, to enhance economy – the nations, however, don’t use the euro. For the eurozone, this is a first.
Editorial: a $1bn pacifier
On Tuesday, the US President Barack Obama arrived in Poland with one billion dollars worth of measures to cement security of Central and Eastern Europe. The plan named European Reassurance Initiative might be interpreted as an initiative to pacify Europe or to restore its trust – and, doubtless, the step carries weight in helping us, in our corner of the world, to feel somewhat more serene towards the unpredictable Russia.
Editorial: Baltic Sea state – to weep, or not to weep?
The headlines shouting about sad state of Baltic Sea have kept popping up for decades. The condition of it, in the shouts, takes turns between being troublesome, terrifying, and ... By now, we may say the threats to Baltic Sea are rather well known. And, to protect it, a lot has been done.
Editorial: banking on a place
In Postimees today, Swedbank Estonia director general Priit Perens tells a truth at first glance shocking. Most of their branches – such as are outside of Tallinn and Tartu – are loss-making. Little local branches aren’t good for the bank to keep, all they do is swallow money. Still, the banker vows to keep the unprofitable doors open as long as people keep coming.
Editorial: plagiarism is deeply bad
Today’s Postimees tells the story of a case of a Doctoral thesis victoriously defended at Tallinn University of Technology (TTÜ) yet stirring severe suspicions of academic theft. No investigation followed, however, as the author simply withdrew her work. Makes one wonder: how serious are universities of Estonia towards plagiarism?
Editorial: «people’s republics» reveal real nature
Yet another apprehension of OSCE (Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe) special mission observers in Eastern Ukraine serves to vividly demonstrate the ills of the wilful destabilisation of the country by self-styled «people’s republics».
Editorial: celebrating democracy
For the time being, weeks filled with tension and debates are behind us. The judgment passed by voters has been delivered to politicians. Like it or not, the result is likely to be quite an honest picture of political picture in Estonia.
Editorial: Europe, Estonia cast votes
«No recipe to ensure that at next EU elections, five years from now, Europeans would vote with more insight, activity and «euroness»,» said Postimees’ editorial on June 15th 2004. A few hours ago, together with other newcomers, Estonia had done its first ever electing for European Parliament. 27 percent of voters had participated. Among those who run, our current President Toomas Hendrik Ilves triumphed.
Editorial: who holds the bag for a spy gone bad?
Let’s face it: agencies of the classified kind will never have absolute immunity towards traitors, connivers and crooks. Which will not spell automatic indulgence for politicians regarding intelligence bodies – we wash our hands! Quite the contrary! Intelligence and other defence activities serve the most vital of state interests. Goes without saying that political powers take an interest in data collection, legal protection, and national defence which must both formally and legally lie under the control and guidance of the bearer of supreme state power.
Editorial: picking personas
Estonia has enriched the world with use of «duck decoy» for vote magnets intending to boost other party cadre. But this time around, at EU elections, we go for the very persons – a poll ordered by Postimees shows two thirds will look to people, not parties. A whopping 54 percent will be banking on personas, plus a 19 percent who regard a politician above his party. Now, we can elect open lists, meaning that the ones with most votes in a party list will head for Brussels (and Strasbourg).
Editorial: partner change a boost to Reform Party
Fresh Emor poll says popularity of Reform Party has grown to 29 percent – should Riigikogu elections happen tomorrow, that’s how many would vote for the senior coalition partner. The last time squirrels were so well liked was 1.5 years ago, in October-November of 2012. By 27 percent, soc dems come second at basically same level as last month.
Editorial: how to break into bank vault?
Today’s the day that EU e-elections begin. Just two days ago, and international group of activists came out with an announcement that e-elections are not secure. The repercussions have split people into two fronts. A smaller part (mainly the long-term e-elections critics) thinks it was high time for someone to point out the weaknesses in e-elections. The rest have formed a defence, standing for the reputation of e-elections (and, more widely, of Estonia as an e-state), viewing the experts as an attempt by Centre Party to sway the elections.
Editorial: winter wilts Estonian economy
Initial data tells us Estonia’s GDP shrunk 1.9 percent year-on-year in opening quarter of 2014. The tradition is to call it a recession if decline persists for two quarters running. No need to sink deep into pessimism just for January-March alone; even so, those that deemed the finance ministry’s 2014 growth forecast cut by two percent too optimistic still have scored a point.
Editorial: be bold, talk to the politician!
No easy job, for a MEP-to-be on the road in Estonia. So let’s start by acknowledging those to at least try to meet the voters. The larger part seems content with one word slogans – Brussels (for voters) is far away, Riigikogu elections (for politicians) are at the door and resources (money, ideas and people) are used very sparingly.
Editorial: the mythologies of May
Yesterday, the West celebrated 69 since end of WW2 battles, in Europe. Memorial services were also held in Estonia. At Maarjamäe Memorial in Tallinn, a representative of the government laid wreaths in honour of those the war took. Servicemen of the Defence Forces thus also honoured the fallen among the Red Army at the military graveyard, also decorating with wreaths the Nazi victims’ memorial at Rahumäe Jewish Cemetery.
Editorial: a bizarre bill by archbishop
The priestly ethics code bill proposed by Lutheran Archbishop Andres Põder is a document of the strange sort, doubtless offering meat for mockers. Therein, good hygiene is for instance recommended – people would do well to wash up and tidy their fingernails. In basic school, a welcome piece of advice; but when told to a quarter of a thousand grown-ups highly educated…
Editorial: good to snatch the filthy cash
Time and again, writers and movie makers have sought, with a measure of success, to paint captivating pictures of great crooks and their struggles in life – as, perhaps, exemplified by the Corleone family saga written by Mario Puzo and set to the silver screen under Francis Ford Coppola. Oh the drama and the dreams turned upside down...
Editorial: law changed, mess remained
Starting April last year, new Public Service Act entered into force. As envisioned by then interior minister Kristen Michal, the result should’ve been making pay more public, plain and clear in ministries. The endless benefits for diplomas, language skills, seniority and what not would have to go; instead, employees should get basic wages boosted.
Editorial: ten years in European Union, always in Europe
Tomorrow, Estonia will have had a decade in EU. Ten years ago, we mainly joined for practical reasons. Even today, membership is largely viewed as a thing pragmatic: EU equals security, subsidies, freedoms to go and to come, options to work abroad, and access to a larger market. Even so, EU is not pragmatism and bureaucracy alone – it’s a shared world view, deeply rooted in the European culture. To grasp this world view is somewhat harder, and it is more readily forgotten than material gain. It’s worth remembering, though.
Editorial: understanding heavy metal
Neither Europe nor the world itself aren’t what they used to be during the final years that Lennart Meri was with us. «It’s the war drums sounding again,» said a veteran Finnish diplomat Jaakko Iloniemi, former ambassador to the US, in the conclusive lecture of Lennart Meri Conference – the 7th of its kind. «We are told that national borders drawn randomly and unfairly are redrawn. But what would the European map look like if one European nation after the other would raise a battle cry declaring that they have been unfairly treated, that they also have suffered?»
Editorial: time for Estonia to cash its NATO checks
Arrival of US 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team – 150 soldiers – into Estonia, to be rotated till the end of year at least, is a strong sign for sure. Up to now, the defence alliance has avoided permanent Western presence, unwilling to provoke Kremlin.
Editorial: funny vs fear
In Postimees today, health propagator Hannes Lents says drinking is not down in Estonia – no matter the campaigns. According to a fresh TNS Emor poll, there was a 1.8 percent decline, year-on-year, but that’s too little to prove effectiveness of ads on Estonian behaviour. True, less strong liquor and beer was downed, but the milder drinks and wine went up.
Editorial: Russian economic health already poor, pre-Crimea
Economically hurting, will Russia grow less or more aggressive internationally? Attempting to explain in hindsight the Kremlin getting militant regarding Ukraine and annexing Crimea, it’s easy to talk about the little victorious war waged to mask internal problems of the bully.
Editorial: a red/yellow rag to the Spanish bull
By those desiring independent Catalonia, Madrid is so angered as to resort to intimidation – playing the EU «trump card». Recently, the Spanish foreign minister Garcia Margallo said an independent Catalonia would be cast into the solitude of outer space, forever and ever separated from the European Union. The Spanish premiere Mariano Rajoy, in his turn, likened an independent Catalonia to the lone island of Robinson Crusoe.
Editorial: the absent barrier
In a grave accident at Raasiku, Harju County yesterday, a Tallinn-Tartu passenger train was hit by a heavy truck. The crash claimed two lives – one in truck, the other in train. Several were injured. With a hundred-some folks travelling towards Tartu in the four-carriage Elron train, if might easily have been worse.
Editorial: Kapo review throws light on tactics of Putinians
Traditionally, Internal Security Service annual reports feature overviews of Russian impact-activities, through the eye of counterintelligence. These same things that the Putin Regime is doing, all covered in earlier versions of the review and back then perhaps seemingly small in influence and insignificant, now easily fit into the empire-restoration-framework as exemplified in Ukraine. Annexation of Crimea and the current brutalities in Eastern Ukraine are totally impossible to miss.
Editorial: free will power makes for mighty state
Hard to imagine a contemporary state without input by volunteers. People increasingly willing to donate their free time and means towards public ends is a sign of an understanding: large-scale events succeed and security grows only when we all give a try. Volunteer actions are a vital stone in the foundation of today’s civil society.
Editorial: why take hammer to drive in screw?
Yesterday, on Equal Pay Day, the issue of ladies/gentlemen wage difference was stirred up again. The politicians and experts who undertook to opine are partly right and partly not.
Editorial: cruise peddlers must keep clients safe
A couple of lines dropped by Tallink personnel director to a TV channel have triggered a scandal in Swedish society, as well as yet another debate on attitudes related to rape. This is what the director said: «Every woman have to think about that first, how much they drink. They know where it could go. And also we can say that not every drunk person is raped.» The ship company has condemned the attitude that can be attributed to these sentences, and the director has apologised.
10.04.2014, Andres EinmannPM
Editorial: Russia trying to keep Ukraine unstable
These past days, the issue is sharply up: how to prevent a large-scale armed conflict in Ukraine leading to casualties and other unpredictable consequences.
Editorial: braving bombs in bathing suits
Incredible indeed how Estonians, serene and eager, are heading towards holidays in a region warned against by our foreign ministry citing significant terror threat, while same level warnings have been issued by other EU states. Among those polled by Postimees, some snapped up the last moment tickets. According to one travel agency, folks have lined up for the final flight – should some opt out, replacements are on swift standby.
Editorial: Estonian input in Central Africa a must
For Estonia, it is the right thing to go ahead with the French and other allies in the Central African Republic (CAR) operation. If there was anything that was wrong, it was the delay – thinking of the people in CAR and European interests. Whoever harps on this being immoral colonial war are blatantly lying. In the CAR conflict, thousands of civilians have been slaughtered. The mission is to take away the arms and keep further murders from happening.
Editorial: options and hazards among the five wisest
As assured by PISA educational tests, our students stand strong amongst global best. Among the 44 OECD countries involved in problem solving – the creative part of PISA basic tests – our 15-year-olds placed 12th. In Europe, we rank in top five: trailing the UK and Finland, Estonia comes third.
Editorial: blessed are the pure in heart
Who can touch the innocent. And should somebody try, in a state based on the rule of law protection is at hand. By that, we could sum up the whole issue around immunity of parliamentarians.
Editorial: the government – big promises, bleak premises
To do its job, the new government has less than a year. Let’s face it: first, they have to get accustomed to being government; then, the Riigikogu goes on summer holiday. And then it is elections campaign time. So: no great outlook for essential work. Add the obvious instability of the international situation, likely leading to economic consequences, we have identified another hurdle for the govt of Taavi Rõivas.
Editorial: no house without mourning
1941 and 1949 mass deportations by Soviet powers are genocide.
Editorial: Russia still threat to Eastern Ukraine
Aggressive behaviour by Russia continues. For weeks now, troops have been massed to Ukraine’s eastern border. Destabilisation-operations by Russia in Eastern Ukraine keep unfolding. By propaganda, a supporting image is being created about possible «referendums» to join Russia in other parts of Ukraine, in addition to Crimea.
Editorial: effectiveness more essential than items in treaty
The new government (if formed) is not blessed with comfy times to enter office. One thing to write stuff in coalition treaty – another matter what months ahead may bring in the shaky world next door, as also pertains to our economic environment. Clearly, the coalition-to-be-created must stand ready to react, swiftly and flexibly, to changing circumstances. Just like the two governments of Mart Laar, and the second one of Andrus Ansip’s.
Editorial: the peace of being happy
Next to those now working abroad and folks drawn to major hubs inside of Estonia to find employment, there are the 30,000 others who do some significant commuting from place to place. On occasions, job and home are half a hundred miles apart.
Editorial: fresh wallpapers
Hopefully, the new government will not be spinning wheels over cosmetic change.
Editorial: sanctions – too lean, too late
Response to Russian aggression against Ukraine is disproportionally weak by both USA and the European Union. On one side, there stand crimes against peace already committed, to say nothing about ongoing threatening. On the other side, there are visa bans and asset freezes regarding two dozen people. As glaringly obvious by now, the sanctions imposed yesterday came too late and are too lean.
Editorial: charade in Crimea flaunted as will of people
«Please don’t call it ‘referendum’ – sham poll/stunt/charade will do fine,» Edward Lucas, author of The New Cold War and journalist at the British weekly The Economist tweeted yesterday. The charade in Crimea, over the future status of the region, wasn’t just spitting upon international law; rather, it amounted to a bona fide case of vox populi turned into something totally distant from democracy. By the «result», everyone essentially is deceived – even those casting their vote in truth and conviction.
Editorial: a prime ministerial getaway
Siim Kallas takes flight for life more peaceful.
Editorial: let’s hear a healthy whine
On Estonian «elitarist communication crisis» and overly low esteem of self and state in hearts of inhabitants.
Editorial: Estonia 1940, Crimea 2014
Russia openly initiates incorporation of Crimea.
Editorial: Mine stuck under Prime Ministerial chair of Mr Kallas
The alleged letters of guarantee for $100m by Eesti Pank during Siim Kallas era, trigger mixed feelings. On the one hand, the entire period could be regarded a «fledgling state and its high-flying youthful leaders» kind of a time. Thus, looking back with the wisdom garnered over the years, one might do the ironic smirk.
Editorial: Sudetenland, take two
Two quarters of a century ago, an irreversible step was taken towards World War II, as a little piece of Czechoslovakia was offered to an aggressive Nazi Germany – the Sudetenland. Even though after Wold War I the region had remained a part of the newcomer-state Czechoslovakia, mostly German-speaking people dwelt there. For Hitler, that was enough; and, under the pretext of «defending the interests of the Germans», he claimed the parcel of land. In Paris and London, politicians were in power who, with concessions in everything and everywhere, were trying to avoid the fast-approaching war with Germany – not realising that these were the very steps that pushed Europe into a huge war.
03.03.2014, Andres EinmannPM
Editorial: Russia seeking to split Ukraine via Crimea
Just as Kiev gets a new government led by Arseniy Yatseniuk and is about to create a semblance of order out of chaos, a string of intense news keeps coming from Crimea and Russia.
Editorial: the Social Democratic Groundhog Day
Again, a new day dawning. Again, hopes arise of opportunities ahead. Again and again, Estonia’s soc dems find themselves facing options none of which they’d like to swallow. Try as you may, stand on your ears – as the sun comes up, same old same old comes around like with the TV guy played by Bill Murray, in the 1993 Hollywood comedy Groundhog Day.
Editorial: a nation that values freedom more than money
If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom, and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that too.
William Somerset Maugham
Editorial: border treaty pain
Quite clearly, people are not delighted at border treaty being signed.
Editorial: food chain options of Estonian health care
A Health Board investigation was launched regarding Pärnu Hospital after finding out that, due to language problems with a doctor from Russia, a patient’s health was endangered during anaesthesia. Thanks to intervention by other doctors, the no complications occurred. Even so, a glaring problem was laid bare in our health care.
Editorial: sexual violence not female issue alone
Despite its ghastly nature, sexual violence is a form of violence most hidden. For several reasons. One being shame, felt by rape victims even in the European cultural space, as opposed to those suffering from other forms of violence. Depending on the region, a person raped may face excommunication, even by family, as well as legal consequences – in some countries, the victim will be punished for adultery.
Editorial: wires crossed again. How come?
Well it’s gone haywire again, between education ministry and the schools. After teachers went on strike, the ministry vowed to prioritize their wage raise. Still, the teachers aren’t seeing any of the promised extra. Rather, new duties are being piled on.
Editorial: the comeback of Kallas
Joint affirmation by Prime Minister Andrus Ansip and EU commissioner Siim Kallas regarding the latter becoming the new prime minister settles the issue and equals an attempt to end the standstill of current coalition.
Editorial: Estonian doctors/hospitals challenged
On October 25th last year, the principle entered into force: no longer must our local patients see the doctor in Estonia, necessarily – rather, the step may be taken anywhere in EU. Health Insurance Fund will pay the bill, to the extent similar treatment would have cost in homeland.
Editorial: the horrible heartbeat-accelerating word
In issues of workforce, Estonia has been guided by the principle: better to export work than to import workers. With those willing to do blue-collar stuff scarce, wiser to place part of the work outside of Estonia, leaving the best and better paid jobs here. To get the cheaper work done, hands would be found abroad. Thence the understanding what kinds of workers Estonian state would need in the future: well trained specialists, white collar workers. From this, in turn, we derive the idea of what kind of workforce it makes sense to allow or to attract into Estonia.
Editorial: top sports and politics – tough knot to cut
For Estonian state officials, visiting Russia often proves a hot potato. With obvious mutual interests absent – like with border treaty talks – a conflict of values is easily stirred, and the question is asked what will be the impression of the trip.
Editorial: the sunny side of worker shortage
Let us, in simple terms, explain the heading. Work shortage spells sufferings for people without jobs, and their families – and for those with jobs, helping the unemployed is extra burden. Worker shortage, at least in our current situation, means Estonian economy is doing rather fine and various solutions exist for the problem.
Editorial: Tallinn’s school merger should start by talks
The need to rearrange Tallinn school network, to provide proper education unhindered by excessive or shrinking amounts of pupils – this is understandable. Even so: the way execution thereof is planned at least partially smells of settling of accounts between education ministry and city powers, possibly hindering birth of better organised study in Tallinn.
Editorial: fast loan – highway to hell or service like any other?
Traditionally, doings like that have been known as usury; in no culture, probably, are usurers praised as the good guys, salt of the earth and pillars of society. Are our quick loan offices just openers of hell’s gates and huge knots in nets of social ills; or are these merely services like any other in demand, a price asked and a client ready to pay? Both, it may be said, are represented in this biz.
Editorial: hostage crisis, starring Kross and Reinsalu
Call Eerik-Niiles Kross hostage of USA. Not alone in this condition, however: just as Mr Kross sits hostage to USA, defence minister Urmas Reinsalu is held hostage by Mr Kross. For both, the situation is anything but easy.
Editorial: Estonian, simply the best
Here and there, as people pause to chat, the topic keeps surfacing: who’s the most famous Estonian in the world? Never do these discussions birth the objective truth – universal criteria for worldwide fame simply lacking. Still, there are some among us, unquestionably planet’s best in their field.
Editorial: the timely tax talk
There are four bigger banks in Estonia: Swedbank, SEB, Danske Bank, and Nordea. In 2010–2012, the Golden Quartet made €1bn plus of net profit, between the four. A billion euros is very big money. To compare: this year’s state budget – upholding entire Estonian state – is €8bn. Might be more, but that’s what we have. What we do not have, even Death can’t take, to say nothing of the Taxman.
Editorial: diplomacy, peasant style
Sharpness of situation really reveals poor Baltic cooperation
Editorial: the person is paramount
The incapacity pension reform planned brings two main positives. Firstly, is heralds enhanced assistance to those not totally capable, yet desiring to work, in their attempts to re-enter labour market. And secondly: capacity or incapacity to work will no longer be determined by documents alone: people will come eye to eye. These were the very weaknesses of current system; thus, the reform may be considered an urgent necessity.
Editorial: sea-carrots coming
In all likelihood, the new orange trains are stuck with the nickname Carrots. To the ferries sailing the Väinameri Sea waters, the carrots are tied by a big political cord. In nearest of future, the state owned Port of Tallinn will announce competition to buy Republic of Estonia some ferryboats. If, in a few years, the sale gets sealed, the transport units supported by the state anyhow, one way or another, will again be in its ownership.
Editorial: labour policy + education policy = family policy
Too often, in Estonia, family policy is only viewed as payments of benefits. No doubt, family benefits are important; even so, never will Estonia be so rich that kids’ wellbeing could depend on state budget alone.
Editorial: MEP seat for Mr Herkel? Why not. And then what?
New party, new party – a well-known chorus sung in Estonia, over the years. By now, the emotions triggered by the ditty might fall three categories, yea even three: naive faith, or corresponding unbelief; or fear (perhaps real) within IRL.
Editorial: price rise moderate, feelings say otherwise
Statistics say one thing, feelings speak otherwise… As TV reporters ask folks in the streets or shopping centres regarding the rise of prices, most say it’s really big. According to statistics, however, last year’s price rise was rather modest, on the average – Estonia’s 2.8 per cent do indeed exceed the two percent goal set by eurozone; even so, compared to our earlier years the tempo has eased. For this year, experts predict especially good times for the consumer.
Editorial: a love grown cold who can hold?
This year, Europe may get two new states. Referendums of independence are planned by both Catalonia and Scotland. The path to independence will be easy for neither – mainly due to the sceptical stands of metropolitans, to put it mildly. While the UK is mainly relying on attempts to convince, Spain has taken a clearer path towards obstructing separation.
Editorial: the carrot conundrum
The new diesel trains, entered into Estonian folklore as «carrots», keep getting initial feedback not too nice: ticket sellers aren’t reaching everyone; no place to stick one’s luggage; not enough seats – and nowhere to stand, either.
Editorial: the speed camera – saviour of lives or money machine?
While on its website Police and Border Guard Board explicitly calls speed cameras saviours of lives, they might as well explain themselves to public at large.
Editorial: waiting for neighbours to gradually recover
For this year, Postimees predicts Estonian economy to grow 2.7 per cent. Which isn’t much. Should we desire, within reasonable time, to reach the European average, our economic growth ought to be five percent, minimum – in order to catch up, one does have to run faster.
Editorial: a year on auto pilot
Whither falls the diplomatic bargain?
Editorial: may faith in us arise
In these last and final hours of the year, many of us will surely be meditating on the relativity of time. Some days may seem endless; still, the years fly away. Such might be the way we glance back at events of 2013: whatever felt ever so important and exciting, filling the raging pages of today’s media, will over time lose its buzz and may look near meaningless in the big historical picture.
Editorial: show trial of clubs? Or emergency slaughter of sports?
With Tax and Customs Board writing to finance and culture ministries of having developed doubts that, under the label of tax-free grants, sports clubs are actually paying wages, one wants to coldly ask: what took you so long?
Editorial: Putin giveth, and Putin taketh away
This summer, as the Alexei Navalny court case kept unfolding, the writer Peter Pomerantsev likened Russia to their fairy tale forests: even when entering with the best of intentions, one may wind up in a house on chicken legs, their lives not worth a kopeck once that happens.
Editorial: the untold and untapped treasures of tourism
Holidays and the change of year mean impressive amounts of tourists in our midst, helped along by extra trains and additional buses. This is reason to rejoice for local tourism companies and all who have laboured to make Estonia known. Recent articles in international media praising Estonia as the Undiscovered Pearl of Europe and a wondersome spot to spend Christmas/New Year surely helped a lot.
Editorial: on carrots, sticks and state exams
As also affirmed by PISA test outcome, the Estonian education ain’t too bad – internationally speaking. No matter the local discontent. Quite competitive, the thing. Sure, anything can be improved; reverse always is preceded by a standstill. Still, education must be reformed with utmost care, to avoid pushing current results out of future students reach.
Editorial: Baltic purposes and Lithuanian interests
Rail Baltica, a dream that might materialise by support of the Brussels purse, has hit a new and somewhat unexpected obstacle.
Editorial: the yearly portion of weeks without power
In thousands of Estonian farms, power is still out four days after the storm hit. Wires and posts lay scattered on the ground, right where they fell. Farmers are hauling the mess aside, chopping at the trees cradled by lines. Eesti Energia, whose task this would be, is not too much help.
Editorial: grand question mark straightens into grand coalition
The post-election observations, by many, proved right: despite the hardships and hurdles, Germany again gets a so-called grand coalition i.e. a broad-based cabinet made up of Christian democrats (CDU/CSU) led by Angela Merkel and soc dems (SPD). The negotiations took months and were no piece of cake for participants thereof; even so, the outcome may prove quite stable – rather fresh in their memories linger both positive and negative experience from cooperation in 2005–2009.
Editorial: the trade triangle
Government and trade unions see political strike ban in different light.
Editorial: mist over English Channel. Again
These past months, debate over free movement of workers has been heated up by British government. Not only will this give Britain a «nasty country image» (as alleged by EU labour and social affairs commissioner Laszlo Andor) but may cool the already lukewarm relations with the rest of the European Union. Free movement of workers being a pillar of the single market, shaking this is not something the union may take lightly.
Editorial: Little Successful Brother
Estonian-Finnish cooperation could inspire rest of Europe.
Editorial: medicine retail needs injection of ideas
By Supreme Court decision, limits on establishing pharmacies are hereby unconstitutional. In other words, the debate raised by Chancellor of Justice regarding the eight-years-old clause in Medicinal Products Act, is finally over. Even so, the judgement by topmost court is far from the solution; rather, this provides basis for regulating the field. So: get to work, Riigikogu!