From The Baltic Times:
Sir Robert Scott said he had concerns about Tallinn’s Cultural Capital budget, and said the program lacked input from the city’s minority – meaning Russian – community.
Further, he expressed concerns about the content of Tallinn’s program, which was “unclear in its European dimension,” lacked involvement from “new Estonians,” and did not show any new examples of culture. Mikko told The Baltic Times she had her own concerns about the program, which focused entirely on Tallinn’s medieval history, rather than showcasing the city’s forward thinking.
Ah, so the Tallinn planners thought they could dress up Edgar Savisaar for a night out at the Brotherhood of Blackheads, hand out some nuts, with a perfunctory performance from Vanilla Ninja, and all would be right and cultural in Tallinn.
There's a couple of riddles wrapped in this enigma though. For one, Scott needs a history lesson. Namely, Tallinn medieval culture isn't the culture of the maarahvas. It's the culture of the Hansa League, of German-speaking merchants. One does not need to be an 'old' Estonian to celebrate Tallinn's medieval culture. 'Newer' Estonians too own medieval homes in Vana Tallinn. There's actually little dividing the two groups on that front.
But here's the other part of it. So much of Tallinn is selling the city as a tourist destination. And one must wonder if the planners thought that that was all this designation is good for -- a way to draw in more tourists to experience medieval Tallinn. Tallinn does have a strong cultural output, but it's not the first thing you think of when you think Tallinn.
In my opinion, they should hand the whole damn event over to Vaiko Eplik and Chalice and let them run it. That would truly be a swell event. Until then, it's back to the drawing board. Turku though seems to be on the right track:
At the same cultural committee meeting, the Finnish city of Turku – which will jointly share the title of Cultural Capital with Tallinn in 2011 – was praised for its preparations. “Turku is very good. If we are not very good or even better, we will be marginalized,” Mikko said.Ouch. Not only are the Finns wealthier and better fed than Estonians, they also plan better events. Turku is a lovely city. I highly recommend the boat bars on the canal. Whatever you do though, don't fall in the water! In a way though, they are in a better position to host this kind of event. Turku is less dominated by medieval architecture and the tourism industry. It is also home to a well respected university. These are the kind of ingredients that make good cultural capital planning.
So, like I said, give the event over to Eplik and Chalice. Or just hold your heads and cry, because the Finns did it better one more time.