Posts tagged: estonia
estonia, i would expect some kind of restaurant.
This might be the first time someone else has posted a picture of mine. <3!
A kõrts is a barrelhouse/saloon/pub, and Veski is Mill.
Northern lights over Viimsi, Estonia.
Disco and Atomic War (Disko ja tuumasõda) 2009, dir. Jaak Kilmi
Though the weather in Chicago during the month of March is terribly wet, freezing, and all-around terrible, the one promising element of the month is the European Union Film Festival going on at The Gene Siskel Film Center. Thankfully, every year I can avoid the slushy March blues by seeing a plethora of amazing films from the EU.
I attended my first film of the festival this Saturday, the Estonian documentary Disco and Atomic War. This look into the media politics of the Cold War tells the story of radio and television waves traveling from Helsinki, Finland, through the Iron Curtain and into northern Estonia, including the Soviet metropolis of Tallinn. Jaak Kilmi gives viewers both insight into the deeply political ramifications of these free media waves, while also using staged narratives to tell (perhaps real, perhaps altered) personal stories of Estonians who engaged with illegal Finnish television and grew to love it. It is these narratives that really drive the story with their humor and combination of voice-over and visual narrative, and also point to the power western popular culture has in the face of enforced propaganda in the media. With the former Iron Curtain countries being only over 20 years old, and with social media websites driving youth in the Middle East to organize during recent government overthrows, Disco and the Atomic War is a timely film showing that pop can have power.
If you’re in Chicago, the European Union Film Festival happens throughout the month of March at the Gene Siskel Film Center. Click the photo above for schedules, location, and other information. Disco and Atomic War plays a final time on Thursday, March 10th at 8:15pm.
Andrus Ansip, Estonia’s prime minister, is a happy man. Whatever the result of the coalition negotiations in the next few weeks, his strong showing in Sunday’s parliamentary election means he is certain to keep the prime minister’s post that he has held since 2005. After the eternal Jean-Claude Juncker of Luxembourg (who beats him by a decade) that makes him the longest-serving head of government in Europe. Poland’s Donald Tusk is the runner-up, a few months behind.
Mr Ansip’s electoral victory is remarkable given his government’s record: it has pushed through an austerity programme (around 9 % of GDP) that in most countries would have had voters rioting in the streets, not queuing to re-elect their government. Estonia’s economy shrank by a seventh in 2009 and unemployment rocketed to nearly a fifth of the workforce. Salaries shrank by up to a quarter in some workplaces.
But now a recovery is strongly underway, driven by sharply rising exports, chiefly to Finland and Sweden. Growth in the last quarter of 2010 was over 6%, though unemployment is still stubbornly high at nearly 14%. In January, Estonia joined the euro. It is one of a handful of countries in the euro zone (apart from Luxembourg) that actually meets the single currency’s debt and deficit rules.
Mr Ansip’s free-market Reform party campaigned on a familiar programme of more tax cuts and economic growth. He believes that Estonia will become one of the five richest countries in Europe. That may take some time, but voters seem willing to trust him. Reform gained two seats, giving it 33 mandates in the 101-member parliament.
His coalition partner in the previous government, the conservative IRL, did well too, gaining four seats to reach a total of 23. IRL is the result of a merger between the Isamaaliit (which literally translates as Fatherland Union, though it prefers, oddly, to be known in English by the Latin Pro Patria) and the Res Publica party (which really does have a Latin name).
The new government is unlikely to bring many surprises. Mr Ansip is a manager, not a visionary. The big question is what happens to the opposition Centre Party, backed mainly by the country’s large Russian electorate. Its vote dropped slightly, meaning a loss of three seats to only 26 in the new parliament. The party’s leader, Edgar Savisaar, was at the centre of a row about clandestine party funding, involving the Russian railways minister and a donation to a Russian Orthodox Church being built in a Tallinn suburb (he is the mayor of the capital city). Estonia’s internal security service regarded the payments as close to treason—a view echoed by other political leaders who hoped to see Mr Savisaar crash and burn, or at least be toppled by party colleagues wanting to save their election chances. Mr Savisaar denied all wrongdoing. The election seems to show that his core voters seem him as the victim of a stitch-up, not a villain.
But Mr Savisaar, a fixture on the landscape since the Soviet era, is no longer at the height of his powers either physically or politically. The Social Democrats would love to woo his voters, who are currently in a political ghetto cut off from power at a national level. This election result gives the Social Democrats, under their 37 year-old leader Sven Mikser (a name to watch) a credible chance to create Estonia’s first mainstream centre-left political party, untainted by any suspicions about its ethnic or geopolitical loyalty. If and when that happens, Estonia’s politics will not just be stable, but outright boring.
This happened to me frequently last year, when I would approach a street lamp it would turn off, and turn on again when I’d passed. Freaky.
But apparently I’m not the only one.
Question: Why do some street lamps switch off when approached, and switch on again after the person leaves? Are their motion sensors broken?
Answer: Actually, we don’t have motion sensors.
(“Estonian police does not like Koit Toome”) via @onubella
“Politsei soovitab: 10 võimalust, kuidas vältida pahandustesse sattumist
/—/ Üldiselt ei puutu politsei tavakodanikega kokku, kui just inimesed ise selleks mingil viisil soovi ei avalda. Seaduskuulekat, korralikku ja viisakat noort ei tülita ükski politseinik. Samas, väga lihtne on reegleid eirates sattuda küllaltki suurtesse probleemidesse.
Toon välja mõned soovitused, kuidas mitte sattuda pahandustesse:
Ära tule ülemeelikus tujus tänavale Koit Toome „Mälestusi“ laulma
Teisi häiriv laulmine ja/või laulu valik tõmbab igal juhul politseinike tähelepanu ja neil tekib soov teiega vestelda.”
(EN: This is from a list of advice from the police to young people on how not to get in trouble. The first point says not to sing any Koit Toome songs on the street.)
“Kui te eirate Piiblis kirjeldatud kümmet käsku, pahandate jumalat. Kui eirate siin kirjeldatud kümmet soovitust, pahandate kokkuvõttes kõige rohkem iseennast.”
(“If you ignore the ten commandmets from the Bible, you’ll upset god. If you ignore the ten points of advice given here, in the end you’ll mostly just upset yourself.”)