kolmapäev, oktoober 11, 2006

Well Look Who Came to the Party

How did I miss this? Carl Bildt, whose blog I read pretty regularly, was recently appointed foreign minister of Sweden. He comments:

Well, things do happen in life, as we know.

On Friday I was appointed Foreign Minister of Sweden in a move that was widely seen as somewhat surprising.

And in many ways it was. But when asked, while it wasn't entirely easy to say yes, it would have been impossible to say no.


Estonia is lucky to have Bildt as the foreign minister of one of its largest economic partners, not to mention political allies. Bildt recently congratulated Estonia on its election of Toomas Hendrik Ilves as president and wrote one of the more moving tributes to Lennart Meri when he died in March. Along with Tarja Halonen, Bildt gave a speech at a memorial on the day of Meri's funeral in Tallinn.

In other words, he's a staunch ally. I wonder if he'll keep up blogging.

49 kommentaari:

Estonia in World Media (Rus) ütles ...

He seemed to suggest in one of his blogs that the role of Sweden in fending off possible Russian attack on the Baltics in 91-93 was far greater than thought, but the relevant information is just not yet public. I tend to agree.

Then, again, I sense that the anti-Swedish sentiment may be somewhat growing in Estonia, as far as they are holding back M/S Estonia information. Given timeframe he may be knowledgable about this issue as well.

Anonüümne ütles ...

You're seriously calling Estonia a Nordic country

BUAAAAH HAHAHAHHAAA!

Jens-Olaf ütles ...

anonym is a little late. It was out there: IT-people in Palo Alto,we gave all the examples.

Giustino ütles ...

You're seriously calling Estonia a Nordic country

BUAAAAH HAHAHAHHAAA!


Well I called it a post-communist Nordic country, which is what it is.

Giustino ütles ...

He seemed to suggest in one of his blogs that the role of Sweden in fending off possible Russian attack on the Baltics in 91-93 was far greater than thought, but the relevant information is just not yet public. I tend to agree.

Sweden has a genuine interest in the security of Estonia and the other Baltics, perhaps these days greater than Russia's.

Russia's interest seems to have been in using the Baltics as a transit point and defensive location. There is also a psychological need to own that space.

Yet at every sector of the economy it is Swedish and Finnish money that manifests itself the greatest - banking, media, manufacturing, food exports, tourism.

Only in the energy sector does the Russia of today have an interest in Estonia, and they are looking to bypass that via the pipeline.

In that sense, Sweden is the ascendant power.

Estonia in World Media (Rus) ütles ...

You are speaking about today, I am speaking about the time Bildt was important in everyday (global) politics. I claim to have secret knowledge, that's why I do. So does he.

helsinkian ütles ...

I recently heard another definition of a Nordic country: countries that use words for Christmas that resemble the English word Yule. That is apparently President Ilves who has defined it as such. That means Estonia, Finland, Scandinavian countries, Iceland and England.

Estonia in World Media (Rus) ütles ...

See here
http://bildt.blogspot.com/2006/04/story-of-true-success_23.html

cbr ütles ...

The success story of us gaining our independence again is ofcourse great but as they say, it doesn't bring the bread on the table. I liked how Ilves pointed out in his auguration speech that the new generation doesn't have to hear excuses about how we are the "Estonia that regained our independence". The new generation just doesn't know the word "regain" because it has only lived in an independent Estonia.
I don't know, I'm pretty young and maybe thinking of things too depressive (it's a cloudy, wet autumn day, hey who could blame me) but I really feel concerned about Estonia. I live in a small (province) town. I see all the TV programs about new fancy construction sites in and around Tallinn, I see that Harjumaa is really becoming the Estonia we wished it to be. But what about the rest of Estonia? Ida-Virumaa is still pretty depressing. I don't see any industrial potential in Lääne-Virumaa, I don't see any of that "science based manufacturing" that's being talked about so much. Where do we go from here? All the banks, shopping malls, telecommunication companies etc are owned by Finns and Swedes. The local heads just wait for orders from over the sea. I don't see very much to be proud of. And I must say, I'm quite a patriot, so that's not a problem. But the "miracle of our independence" isn't enough anymore IMO. We need some new wave of development.

That was pretty off-topic but at least got that off my chest ;)

Giustino ütles ...

Where do we go from here?

That was a great post. I was recently asked the question "what countries should Estonia model itself after?"

I am no expert, but I did notice that people in countries that are similar to Estonia - like Iceland or Finland - manage to do well even if they don't live in Helsinki or Reykjavik.

What is keeping the people of Seinäjoki and Akureyri afloat? Fishing and tango festivals?

Seriously, I want to know.

As for your comment, here's my thoughts:

1. Tallinn is not the only Estonian city that has benefitted from the recent economic boom.

2. Tartu looks mighty good too. Even over the past three years I have seen Tartu clean itself up quite a bit. It is also one of the few Estonian cities that is growing in population size. If you look at the birth registry at www.stat.ee, you'll see for yourself that Tartu is one of the few Estonian counties that consistently registers an increase in births year over year.

3. Both Hiiumaa and Saaremaa have shown promise as well, Saaremaa especially. The new port in Saaremaa will make it another Baltic transport hub, speaking of which -

4. The Estonian government has also invested in Sillamäe's port and now there is ferry service running between Kotka and Sillamäe.

5. Developing this transport opportunities is important to the economic success of the country. Think of all the successful Nordic cities - they are all ports. Oslo, Bergen, Turku, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Gothenberg ... see what I mean?

Now, you want to know about the other places - the Võrus, Põlvas, Viljandis, Rakveres, and Paides.

I don't know what to tell you. Their traditional economy has been agricultural/forestry or service-oriented, correct?

So what should be encouraged then? More manufacturing jobs in Viljandi and Rakvere Põlva? I am not an economist so I am open to all suggestions about what could raise the standard of living in these places.

Estonia in World Media (Rus) ütles ...

All is right Giustino, except Sillamäe is in fact private-owned port so it has little if anything to do with the government investments. Which is good, imho.

Giustino ütles ...

All is right Giustino, except Sillamäe is in fact private-owned port so it has little if anything to do with the government investments. Which is good, imho.


Well, I got that impression because Ansip went out there to attend the opening of the new and improved port. It's hard to tell where capital ends and government begins when you have private companies like FALCK that basically act as a third police force in the country.

Giustino ütles ...

Did I say third? I meant second.

Estonia in World Media (Rus) ütles ...

Well I called it a post-communist Nordic country, which is what it is.

Well, some Scottish guy participating in UK election campaign even calls Estonia "a beacon of democracy and capitalism" so I bet soon the supporters of "Nordic Estonia" concept will have to make efforts to convince people that Nordic is good enough to characterize this country.
http://tume.blogspot.com/2006/10/blog-post_116075101733095016.html

Estonia in World Media (Rus) ütles ...

Giustino, there was a story about Sillamäe in NYT:

http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FA0911FA39540C748EDDAB0994DD404482

INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS; In Estonia, Former Soviet-Era Port Seeks More Bustle
... blow up the port of Sillamae to prevent enemy ... a bustling commercial port that will allow Estonia to ... who helped lead Estonia's independence movement in 1989

cbr ütles ...

Sillamäe is btw a pretty town. Although the clerks in the supermarket looked dumb when I asked them to buy "macaroni salat" but body-language helped ;) But the buildings etc are nice. In Soviet times it was a restricted town where scientists etc lived and thus the buildings were also made nicer etc. It's even told that some of the orders to sculpt Sillamäe came from way up in the Soviet nomenklatura. The houses ofcourse need painting but it isn't an awful ghost-town with only grey cubes like Kohtla-Järve. And the port is nicely progressing too - fuel reservoirs are being built, there are already plans for new piers and a passanger pier for foreign tourists etc with a tourism centre. I wish all the best for them, it still feels like you're in Russia (except for the signs) but atleast it's not quite as depressing.

Giustino ütles ...

it still feels like you're in Russia (except for the signs) but atleast it's not quite as depressing.

Well, other than your Russians in Tallinn, the rest of the 25 percent of Estonia's minority population has to live somewhere - somewhere being pretty close to Russia proper (I think Sillamäe is less than 25 km from the border).


But back (sort of on topic), if Estonia wants to increase investments in the countryside, they should probably apply the Tallinn, Tartu effect to the other regions.

For example, the capital flowing into Tallinn supports the rest of Harjumaa and even parts of Laane Virumaa. Tartu capital similarly supports Põlva and Jõgeva counties as well.

It would make sense to identify perhaps three other 'prime locations' in Estonia to attract capital to. That way you say, ok, we are going to try and attract capital to Pärnu, Viljandi, and Kõhtla-Jarve, where we have the most people.

cbr ütles ...

Well capital doesn't just magically "come" to some location. There has to be something that attracts it, be it logistics, raw material, quality working hands etc. Kohtla-Järve already has a pretty big industry - the oil shale industry. VKG is making oil out of it and I'm under the impression that it's going pretty well. It also has cheap labour, yet again it doesn't have the best security record, nor is it exceptionally well positioned considering logistics.
Pärnu's logistical potential is higher because of it's a port. It's also close to Riga and presents export opportunities, yet Latvia isn't all that big either and bringing goods by trucks is probably more sensible. If you look at Viljandi, it's situated between "the bigs", Pärnu and Tartu. That makes it harder to attract people away from the large centres that are so close by. Rakvere is in a similar situation IMO. It's 100km from Tallinn, 125km from Tartu, Jõhvi is becoming the "capital of Virumaa". It doesn't have much for the tourists, except the Medieval castle, all the industries rather move to Kunda because of it's port. It is going to be really difficult getting regions that are becoming provinces involved in progress. Järvamaa is probably in a pretty hard situation too, also being situated between the "bigs".

Giustino ütles ...

all the industries rather move to Kunda because of it's port.

When I look at the map of Estonia, Kunda immediately stands out as a place that could foster growth because it is a port.

I guess the lesson is that some cities decline and others grow. Hell-stinky used to be just a small town and a fortress. Now about one million people live there. Meanwhile Turku - the old capital - is nice, but provincial.

Anonüümne ütles ...

Being Nordic is a cultural thing that Estonia doesn't have.
No matter how much Nordic countries invest on Estonian trade or security, she (Estonia) will stay as Baltic.

Gender issues are rather slavic in Estonia, in Nordic countries it's rather different (liberal gender policy, GLB-rights, gender roles). Girls look like hookers in the eyes of Nordics, men act as Russian men "too macho".

Yes, certainly Estonian as a language is closer to Finnish than any other language and yes, Kings of Sweden established institutions centuries ago.

Colonial France never calls their African colonies as part of France/Europe. Why would Nordic countries do that to their "colonial Baltics"? May sound harsh, but that's reality.

By calling Estonia a Nordic is just a political way to connect to Nordic model and escape the Eastern giant.

Anonüümne ütles ...

Sorry for not replying to original topic, but:
"Vike-Freiberga for UN Secretary General Candidacy Supported by Baltic-Americans Vote in UN Expected Soon - September 22, 2006

· As the first Secretary-General from Eastern Europe she would help integrate those nations with the UN's mission and activities, mindful of their historical desires for self-determination and peace;"

See the wording: Eastern Europe?
Not Northern. And that's a political statement by Estonian government.

Jens-Olaf ütles ...

Some people are very serious about nordic or eastern here. I do start a list now:
Estonian design: Nordic
Furniture: Nordic (no carperts)
Estonian myths: Nordic (Kalev, Viking style dresses, o.k.it's more like the Finish)
Mentality: Nordic ( do not speak, if you don't have to say anything worse)
Can live with silence beeing among others.
History: Living in isolated farm houses, not villages, that's more nordic than the Russian village tradition.
Literacy and education: Best in the Baltics and the Nordic countries in Europe before WWII.
...
Just what came in my mind.

Giustino ütles ...

Being Nordic is a cultural thing that Estonia doesn't have.
No matter how much Nordic countries invest on Estonian trade or security, she (Estonia) will stay as Baltic.


Baltic is a language/cultural group that encompasses Latvians and Lithuanians. As much as foreign powers (German knights, Russian tsars) tried to describe their Estonian serfs as "Baltic" - the reality is that they will never be true Balts because they don't speak a Baltic language.

Balts can point to cultural similarities. The males end their names with "s." I used to meet people that thought Estonia was a Baltic country, putting the 's' on peoples names.
"Juhans" "Olavs" "Jaaks" - pretty funny.

Their language is the oldest Indo-European language. Some can still understand some sanskrit. They are Balts.

Estonians don't have that connection because they are ethnically Finns. Seeing that the Nordic brand name has been used to promote Finnish culture, it makes sense for them to do the same.

Gender issues are rather slavic in Estonia, in Nordic countries it's rather different (liberal gender policy, GLB-rights, gender roles). Girls look like hookers in the eyes of Nordics, men act as Russian men "too macho".

That's why Estonia is a "post-communist" Nordic country. Had Estonia stayed on the other side of the line following World War II, it would have had similar 1960s/70s movements for women's rights/homosexual equality. But it wasn't open to those kinds of movements. Was the Sweden of the 1950s, pre-"awakening" Sweden, not party to similar gender roles?

And many women in Scandinavia DO look like AND ACT LIKE hookers. When I lived in Denmark, our weekly tabloid used to have pin-ups of local Danish girls flashing their breasts. Everyone told me that the Danish women "were loose" - and you know what, they were right.

Yet "Stine" in Denmark was enlightened and "Tuuli" with her hot RATE profile in Estonia is not? Give me a break. Talk about patronizing bullshit.

Sure, "Nordic" government female leaders don't look like hookers, but neither do their Estonian counterparts.

Scandinavian men like Estonian women because they remind them of their MOM - you know, good old 1950s Scandinavian MOM - back before women stopped wearing make-up and started demanding equal pay.

"Wouldn't it be nice to go back to the good old days," they secretly think. I am familiar with old fashioned Swedish attitudes. My cousin's family was a first generation Swedish family in the US in the 1950s. And trust me, those old Swedish guys were rigid, intolerant, and macho. They were ship builders and loggers and masons. They were tough.

Colonial France never calls their African colonies as part of France/Europe. Why would Nordic countries do that to their "colonial Baltics"? May sound harsh, but that's reality.

Colonial Denmark calls its former colonies (Greenland, Iceland, Faroe Islands) "Nordic." Colonial Sweden calls it's largest former colony Finland "Nordic."

By calling Estonia a Nordic is just a political way to connect to Nordic model and escape the Eastern giant.

Of course! That's the point. What other choice does Estonia have? Russia wouldn't have a problem plowing into a mass of Baltic peasants, but it will think twice about harming a little, harmless Nordic country.

And considering that Finns come from a similar culture of Scandinavian colonization and peasanthood, there is no justification for this nasty "get back in the hole you crawled out of" elitist attitude from the Scandinavians and especially the Finns. It's wholly unjustified.

Anonüümne ütles ...

It's way easier for Estonians to identify themselves as Balts, the lingvuistic difference is no excuse. They share the same history (not only the Soviet era, Riga and Tallinn have more in common than Tallinn and Stockholm).

Jens-Olaf ütles ...

Giustino, I vistied Norway when it was still poor, compared to its neighbors!
The Swedish looked down at them, the Danish too. Then came the oil. During the 80ies. Everything changed. It's about change. Some people would like to say: Yah, this is nordic! I do not forget discussion defending the norwegian point of view.

Giustino ütles ...

It's way easier for Estonians to identify themselves as Balts, the lingvuistic difference is no excuse. They share the same history (not only the Soviet era, Riga and Tallinn have more in common than Tallinn and Stockholm).

The "Baltic" culture you reference is the culture of Baltic Germans.
But they don't live there anymore, and therefore their influence is in architecture and old street names. They possess no base to propel them forward. There is no 21st Century Baltic German culture.

Each time Estonia has spoken for itself it has sought to identify itself with Scandinavia. When Estonia became independent there was some discussion over joining the Swedish empire. When Estonia was occupied, its president had drawn up plans for an Estonian-Finnish state should the issue become internationalized following the war.

Giustino, I vistied Norway when it was still poor, compared to its neighbors!
The Swedish looked down at them, the Danish too. Then came the oil. During the 80ies. Everything changed. It's about change. Some people would like to say: Yah, this is nordic! I do not forget discussion defending the norwegian point of view.


It all comes down to who has the money. Whomever has the money gets to tell others who they are and who they aren't.

Ask yourself: "Who gets to decide what is X and what is Y?"

I have a brain, I have used it, and this is my blog.

Thanks for reading!

Jens-Olaf ütles ...

I wanted to address the strong defenders of old Scandinavia. Which exists only after 1945. 1905 was even a period of seperation:
'Many documents related to the specific events of 1905 were destroyed during and following those years. Some historians speculate[1] that foreign interests played a stronger role than what had previously been assumed; in particular, that Great Britain influenced the dissolution in order to reduce German influence over Atlantic ports. Although Sweden's close relationship with Germany did not last long, Norway's independence immediately put it inside the British sphere of influence.'
From Wikipedia: The separation of Norway and Sweden

Giustino ütles ...

I wanted to address the strong defenders of old Scandinavia.

The EU and NATO have split the northerners. Norway and Iceland are in NATO but not in the EU, while Sweden and Finland are in the EU, but not in NATO. If Estonia ever gets the Euro, that will mean that Estonia and Finland will have the European currency, but Sweden and Denmark will not.
So where does pan-Nordic identity fit into that mess?

swede ütles ...

In your last comment you're talking about trade/politics again and forgetting culture.

Have you ever seen Estonian in the same table with Finn, Swede, Norwegian, Dane and Icelandic?

I have. Everybody laughs when Estonian is quiet and vice versa.

It doesn't matter whether there's NATO or not. It doesn't matter if there's EU or not. There's Nordic Council that makes the politics of Norden. It has ALWAYS been that way. The idea of "NORDIC" bases on that! It's a cultural concept. It's about welfare state, it's about the same sense of humor, gender equality and simple Nordic design. It's about depression and straight talk.

Estonian sense of humor has nothing to do with that. Estonian gender equality doesn't exist. No welfare state. The only pieces of Nordic you see are to be found in the wannabe-nordic Tallinn.

plasma-jack ütles ...

ALWAYS? Sorry, that means since the creation of the world? Or since the 10th century? Or 17th? Or maybe still 1920-s? Or 40-s? 70-s maybe?

Giustino ütles ...

It doesn't matter whether there's NATO or not. It doesn't matter if there's EU or not. There's Nordic Council that makes the politics of Norden. It has ALWAYS been that way. The idea of "NORDIC" bases on that!

Always. Since 1952.

It's a cultural concept. It's about welfare state, it's about the same sense of humor, gender equality and simple Nordic design. It's about depression and straight talk.

Estonian humor is dark and sinister. I don't even find it that funny.

The culture is similarly dark and melancholic. At the end of Kalevipoeg - the national epic, the hero cuts his feet off with his own sword. At the end of "Names in the Marble" - a recent flick about the War of Independence, the main character - an independence soldier finds out his idealized brother has been fighting for the communists. And all his friends get blown away by a machine gun.

The greatest similarities I have found with Estonian culture are with so-called Nordic works. I am a big fan of Ingmar Bergman - and what does he make films about? about a lonely knight playing chess with death [The Seventh Seal], about a young woman who is raped and killed and her father's revenge [Wild Strawberries]. Just look at the titles of Bergman's 60s films and you'll see the Estonian mindset:

The Devil's Eye (1960)
Through a Glass Darkly (1961)
Winter Light (1962)
The Silence (1963)
Hour of the Wolf (1968)
Shame (1968)

Estonian gender equality doesn't exist.

That's not true. The reason "women's movements" don't make much headway in Estonia is that for centuries the Estonian woman has always worked.

The Estonian women of today are doctors, lawyers, a presidential candidate [Ergma], journalists, editors, athletes - they do everything that men do in their country.

Whether they are truly equal is another question, but women do have reproductive rights [and there is no debate over this] and when they have children the state pays them their annual salary for one whole year while they stay home with their child.

What was that you were saying about gender inequality?

No welfare state.

Again, not wholly true. The big confusion here is the flat tax. Regressive Scandinavian types don't think you can guarantee people access to healthcare or a quality education without a 'progressive' taxation scheme that irritates citizens and businesses. In the Estonian model, the state takes a 26 percent [what is it this year? help me out here] flat tax and then uses those funds the way your state would.

Estonia is still a poor country and there is not as much wealth to redistribute via pensions, salaries for educators, health benefits to the population. But the Estonian system is far more in line with the Scandinavian welfare state than the system we have here in the US, where, even if we are employed, we may still not have access to any kind of health care whatsoever [except for emergency room visits].

The only pieces of Nordic you see are to be found in the wannabe-nordic Tallinn.

Tallinn actually strikes me as pretty slavic compared to the islands of Hiiumaa and Saaremaa [Dagö and Ösel in your language]. The Estonians have their own culture, but if I had to describe life there I would inevitably have to compare it to the Aaland Islands or parts of the Swedish archipelago. And that's why I use the 'N' word - because it comes in handy when trying to describe Estonian life to outsiders.

cbr ütles ...

The income tax is 23% this year and if the Reform Party stays in government, they are probably going forth with their program to lower it to 20%.

And Tallinn is pretty slavic, because it only has an Estonian population of ~50%. Probably the only city with such a low percentage of Estonians outside Ida-Virumaa.

Giustino ütles ...

And Tallinn is pretty slavic, because it only has an Estonian population of ~50%. Probably the only city with such a low percentage of Estonians outside Ida-Virumaa.

Estonians are 55 percent in Tallinn. I think I made that judgement because I have noticed that the young people in Tallinn are more "trendy" than in other Estonian cities. The females APPEAR to wear more make-up, wear more revealing/outlandish clothing, spend more money on appearance, etc.

This outward appearance is probably what led our anonymous and our Swedish posters to describe Estonia as 'slavic' when it comes to gender issues or that Estonian women 'look like prostitutes.' Yeah, some young women in Tallinn dress 'like prostitutes' [although the only *real* prostitutes I have seen are the ones on the streets of Washington, DC, and they didn't look like Estonian women.]

I can see how one might come to that conclusion having spent time in Tallinn. But I haven't really seen those trends echoed around the country. Someone said that perhaps Russian fashion trends/customs were influencing the Estonian ones in Tallinn. Could be.

helsinkian ütles ...

Giustino, you say Danish women are loose and act like hookers. That's such a stereotype. In a truly Nordic country it doesn't matter if you are sexually promiscuous. That doesn't make a woman a hooker. There's a difference between having promiscous sex and being paid for it. If you have sex and have a right to enjoy that sex yourself and you can call the shots at least some of the time while having sex, then you ain't a hooker.

Danish women are free and they have a higher suicide rate than women in most other European countries. That means they have responsibilities and power.

I think Estonia is becoming Nordic when it comes to gender roles and glbt rights. It's Latvia that wants to stay Baltic and will be the Alabama of Europe. Estonia is the most tolerant and progressive of the Baltic countries. Sure, people will say that the Estonian men beat their women and this is why Estonia is not Nordic. But domestic violence is a major problem in Finland and Sweden as well. It often is in countries where hard liquor is commonly consumed in order to get absolutely blasted (rather than beer being drunk in order to be social). But women can use violence too, especially if it's culturally ok for them to get drunk. If Estonian women drink less than Scandinavian women, then they are probably less Nordic.

About the 1950s: gay sex was legalized in Denmark in the 1930s and in Sweden in the 1940s. In Finland there were trials and people ending up in mental institutions (Soviet-style) throughout the 1950s way into the 1960s. In Finland even lesbians were convicted during the 1950s for having sex; in most countries of the world the anti-gay laws existed to control gay men, not lesbians.

The tabloids are having a field day in Finland with the Estonian ex-girlfriend of the party secretary of the conservative party (Kokoomus) having prostituted herself in his flat. Now had he had a Danish girlfriend, she would have gotten her revenge by cheating on him in his flat, not by selling sex in his flat. This is the key difference in acting like a hooker and acting like Bill Clinton. A Danish woman would probably act a lot more like Bill Clinton, which has nothing to do with acting like a hooker.

Kalju ütles ...

I guess it would help if before arguing about something one should have at least some knowledge about the subject.

Balts? What's that? Estonians belong to finno-ugric ethnic group. The same group as Hungarians, Finns, Maris and Vadjas (the last two are still in Russian territory in Northern Urals). The ethnic history actually shows that Finns were the ones who travelled a bit more north and settled in current Finland. First signs of Estonians are bit older than Finns, both still more than 5000 years old. One of the oldest ethnic groups in Europe…
So don't count Estonians as Balts - that's the obsolete thinking from former Soviet Union where three Baltic States were so different from others that they were counted as one "nation". Latvia and Lithuania are from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

Women’s rights? From history one could see that Estonia was in the same pace with most Nordic countries to grant voting rights to women (1918), virtually first country in the world to grant cultural autonomy to minority nations (1925).
Welfare? Estonia was far wealthier country before WWII compare to Finland and Poland for example.

Strangely enough nobody doubted in Estonians being Nordic nation when Estonian vikings burned down Swedish capital Siktuna in retaliation of Swedish vikings invading Ösel (Saaremaa). Then we were same Nordic Warriors, feared throughout Europe. That’s correct, Estonians are the reason why Stockholm was named new capital of Sweden :-)

Now please add life for three generations under Soviet Union. That's more than 60 years by the way. There are saying that to change something in society it take one generation - we were changed as a nation and as a country once proud of it's achievements. Could you imagine what would be different if same happened in Sweden or in Finland? And you guys were living in Soviet Union for 60 years?

Jens-Olaf is right. Culturally and ethnically Estonians are similar to Nordic nations. Correct, today with twists from communistic Soviet Union past. That's true. But hey guys - it's not even a generation passed since we regained our independence. Give us some time to get used to being independent again, and being proud of our country. Look what we achieved in 15 years. And imagine what we will achieve in next 15…

Giustino ütles ...

Estonia to me feels like an island. You are sitting up there looking across the Gulf of Finland at the lights of civilization (can you imagine, Helsinki as 'civilization'?).
And that's sort of it. To the East is Russia with it's strange alphabet and orthodox church and heavy history. To the south is Latvia, but, I don't know - Riga seems far away. No BIG airlines fly there - sure Finnair and Czech Airlines have smaller connection flights, but overall, there is a sense of isolation.

Franz ütles ...

"three generations under Soviet Union. That's more than 60 years by the way."
More than 60 years? Hm? 1940-1941 and 1944-1991. It's 48 years

Franz ütles ...

"Estonia to me feels like an island"
Really very strange. I have never had such feeling. There is possible to travel from Estonia to Germany with bus. But it is not possible from Finland

Kalju ütles ...

Oh, come on...

From historical sources you can see that Estonians, among vikings, played major part in Russia's history. Vikings, in Russia they were called 'varyags', were the founding source of Russia's ruling dynasty 'Rjurik'. There are numerous references in Russia's history that are talking about 'tchuuts' - Estonians - playing major roll in it. Heck, we even beat the s*** out of Russia in Independence War in 1918 when Russia invaded Estonia. So Russia is not strange country to us.

Sure, for an American it might seem that the Estonia is isolated. Sure, we don't have (yet) supermarkets the size of small town where you can shop your a** off. And besides, I'm not convinced that I would like such 'civilization'.
Look at the map of Estonia. You can hardly find any villages. You can find small towns but not villages like in Russia. Estonians have been always keeping some distance between their neighbors. We are happy to be left alone.

And, oh, Nordic Airlines (SAS), Air France and Lufthansa are BIG airlines and they are flying to Tallinn. Either by themselves or through code-sharing.

plasma-jack ütles ...

@kalju - pean natuke tähti närima / I must chew the letters a little (:

the Vadias actually lived in Vaiga, today's Jõgevamaa, not in Urals.

Strangely enough nobody doubted in Estonians being Nordic nation when Estonian vikings burned down Swedish capital Siktuna in retaliation of Swedish vikings invading Ösel (Saaremaa).

well that's a nice and romantic story, but unfortunately it has no historical backup. although a great opportunity to taunt Swedes.

but talking about stereotypes. the Swedes think that Estonian men are "too macho" and women "too slutty".

interestingly enough, the typical Nordic man is here believed to be overly feminine and women - well, women are believed to be simply ugly.

Well, for the truth's sake I must admit that I've met enough Swedish and Finnish beauties to disprove the last claim.

but I HAVE seen young men (so-called metrosexuals) in Stockholm who wear totally feminine haircuts. and I'm not just talking about long hair and hair foam here... so the macho-claim might be partially true.

you don't usually see people in Tallinn with haircuts like David Beckham here

http://sportsmed.starwave.com/i/magazine/new/hair_beckham.jpg

helsinkian ütles ...

As we Finns are accepted as Nordics, I think it should be absolutely clear that Estonians should be too. Estonians are our closest relatives, period.

I'm looking forward to Estonia joining the eurozone. It'll be great finally to be able to travel to a close neighbor without having to worry about the exchange rate.

Can it really be proven without doubt that Estonia was far wealthier than Finland in the interwar (1918-1939) period? I've heard this story in Finland many times that Estonia was so rich and Finland so poor back then, yet I recently saw somewhere in Finland someone (too bad I don't have that data and don't remember where it was) citing a source that Estonia and Finland were equally rich, or equally poor, before the war.

Franz ütles ...

Read for example this:
http://vana.www.postimees.ee:8080/leht/00/02/19e/lugu6.htm

Franz ütles ...

vana.www.postimees.ee:8080/leht/00/02/19e/lugu6.htm

Franz ütles ...

End is: /lugu6.htm

Kalju ütles ...

@plasma-jack: I have to correct you here :-)

You are correct, it's wrong to refer Maris (who are living in North Urals) and Vadjas (who don't). However, Vadjas are not from Vaiga (Wegele) region. Vadjas are claimed to name the region though...

Vadjas were historically occupying the territory called Ingerimaa (Ingria, currently Leningrad oblast in Russian Federation).
See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ingria

Vadjas themselves claimed that the territory between Gulf of Finland and Lake Peipsi originally belongs to them - to 'vaddelasit' (loosely translated: 'aborigines')

That is far off from the topic of the discussion though :-)

Giustino ütles ...

Really very strange. I have never had such feeling. There is possible to travel from Estonia to Germany with bus. But it is not possible from Finland

Oh, it's technically possible. But why the hell would you do it? The same thing goes for the bus ride from Berlin to Tallinn.

Giustino ütles ...

And, oh, Nordic Airlines (SAS), Air France and Lufthansa are BIG airlines and they are flying to Tallinn. Either by themselves or through code-sharing.

I was thinking of direct flights - so hard to find when you live in New York.

Sure, for an American it might seem that the Estonia is isolated. Sure, we don't have (yet) supermarkets the size of small town where you can shop your a** off.

Oh yes you do. Stockmann today looks quaint compared to the relatively new Kaubamaja. And I spent plenty of time roaming the Jarve Selver. That place is huge.

What I don't get is how there can be such material wealth in the country, but then you go out to the exterior of Kalamaja and there are old people living in warped homes with wood heating and roaming populations of feral cats.

It's very interesting. Not like I have anything against the little miisus or nurrs. And I have met many people who insist that wood heating is best.

Giustino ütles ...

but talking about stereotypes. the Swedes think that Estonian men are "too macho" and women "too slutty".

interestingly enough, the typical Nordic man is here believed to be overly feminine and women - well, women are believed to be simply ugly.


My half brother has Norwegian roots, and when I told him about the 'metrosexuality' of Nordic males he didn't believe it. That's because the 'old' image of a Nordic man in the US - that comes down from the waves of emigration in the 19th century is of very tough, very cold, very masculine guys. I would say that the metrosexual Northern male is a relatively new phenomenon.

Well, for the truth's sake I must admit that I've met enough Swedish and Finnish beauties to disprove the last claim.

Estonian women wear more make-up. I guess that's what this is all about :)

but I HAVE seen young men (so-called metrosexuals) in Stockholm who wear totally feminine haircuts. and I'm not just talking about long hair and hair foam here... so the macho-claim might be partially true.

I don't know, dude. Juhan Ulfsak [the fellow in this ad campaign - http://www.ksa.ee/ - ] looks pretty metrosexual to me.

And many of the men I met in Denmark were total bastards. Perhaps in Danish they were polite, but when they spoke English to me it was all: "then i f*cked her, then her, then her" - I can see where the Viking blood showed itself. There was still much raping and pillaging - just in designer shirts.

Kalju ütles ...

Actually, the wood heating is the best in many terms. Not as polluting, not many resources are used to dig/drill/transport/burn it. And you can use the fireplace when it's needed...:-)

About Kalamaja - that's the result of the rapid social changes and politics. Unfortunately not all elderly people are looked after by state (or by relatives). Their lifelong work in Soviet Union doesn't count in Estonia. But I think it's similar to all post-Soviet countries.