One thing I have been trying to cultivate here at this blog is links to other regional blogs. I should be perfectly clear that without inspiration from Phil at Finland for Thought and Aleks at All About Latvia, I probably wouldn't have started this vehicle for sliming Estonia's politicians and their birthday parties.
One thing I would like to do is to get more input from Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, and Icelandic blogs but finding them has proved difficult.
First of all, why these countries? Well, of the four Sweden is the most important because of the presence of Swedish capital in the Estonian market. Institutionally Sweden is quite different from Estonia, but in terms of regional interests, I think that it is an overlooked contributor to the debate. I used to read Carl Bildt's musings on a regular basis. I can sort of read some Swedish, it's not that different from English and I used to live in Denmark, but when I do translate Bildt he's talking about the Sudan and Bosnia, not Sweden.
What I would like to read from Sweden is something about Swedish domestic politics within a regional context. Why? Because most blog lists that Estonia is on lead me to countries hundreds upon hundreds of miles away, like Uzbekistan. Even Russia seems gigantic and foreign. But Sweden is also a small country on the Baltic Sea where they write in the Roman alphabet. They also have to think about Nord Stream and things of that nature.
Plus there are interesting things going on there politically. I mean the Social Democrats are out of power. And there are people that have told me that the Social Democrats are Sweden. The world must be simply upside down. However, instead of writing about Fredrik Reinfeldt's new government, it seems that all Swedes do all day long is fret about the Middle East or vacation in the wilderness. If it's not some play-by-play analysis of the latest attack by the Iraqi Martyrs Brigade, it's an account of a cozy weekend on the archipelago.
Norway is no better. It is an important country because it is a NATO partner, it's a regional energy producer, and every journalist in Estonia's paycheck basically leads back to Schibsted in Oslo. But in Norway it is the same. Darfur and Palestine are important. Oslo? Unimportant. I haven't even bothered checking out the Danish blogosphere for fear that it might be more of the same. And if it isn't about Darfur or terrorism, it's about IT or design. Yuck.
The Icelandic blogs are spectacular just because they are mostly centered around photgraphs of that island's breathtaking nature. Unknown to many, the Icelanders are the bad boys of northern Europe (the Estonians would be the obstinate boys). They were the first to recognize the restoration of independence in Estonia, and their historical nemesis are the Danes, a land of nasty, potato-in-the-mouth Lars von Triers. So they are spunky.
The only gent I can locate is the exiled Swede writing Pro Libertate Nostra. As expected, he's one of these libertarian guys that never stop carrying on about Ayn Rand. But at least he's interested in the world. And he namechecks the Estonian Reform Party in his "about author" section, so he can't be that bad.
My mission for you is to help locate more sources of information that can better help us understand the northern European region. If you know of any good blogs, in any language, pass them along.