Author Archive

No future for ethnic purity

No future for ethnic purity

I recently gave a series of lectures at Hugo Treffner gymnasium and other schools in Tartu about the crisis of civic nationalism. The students were fairly quiet during the lectures but I am told by their class teachers there was heated and furious arguments about what it all means for Estonia after I left. Some […]

Laar and the dilemma of monetarism

Laar and the dilemma of monetarism

A lot of people who don’t know much about Estonia have strong opinions about Mart Laar. A countryman of mine who I am sure has never heard of Kalevipoeg, A.H. Tammsaare or Tõnis Mägi called him: “one of the greatest men alive.” An anonymous poster on the Laar’s own blog recently called him: “a right […]

What is Room 101 for an Estonian?

What is Room 101 for an Estonian?

In Orwell’s “1984,” the main protagonist, Winston Smith, is brutally tortured and mercilessly beaten in the Ministry of Love. In the course of his torment he becomes aware from other prisoners that there is a place inside the ministry where something even worse is going on — Room 101. Later he is given the opportunity […]

How to describe Estonia to Westerners

How to describe Estonia to Westerners

Some people, when they go abroad, are ashamed to tell people they are Estonian, even when it is clear that the person they are talking to is sophisticated enough to know such a country exists. A person I knew once told me about a girl he met in a wine bar in London. On spotting […]

The greatest speech of all time

The greatest speech of all time

Think of every great speech from history. They all use parallelism. Think of the beatitudes. All blessed are the meek , All blessed are the peacemakers,All blessed are the poor. Think of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech. Think of Winston Churchill’s Battle of Britain speech. “We shall fight on the beaches, We […]

Brave new Estonia

Brave new Estonia

When my editor called me to write a piece about the Estonia’s Independence Day my first thought was: “why me?” I am aware there are a lot of people interested in reading what I have to say about this, that and the other, but surely a big patriotic event like Independence Day is best covered […]

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