I am not sure if you have picked up on the debate over whether or not Tallinn should add another official language. No, not russkie, the native tongue of 43 percent of its inhabitants, but English, the language of those bartenders at Hell Hunt.
When it comes to official languages, sometimes I feel that Sweden got it right. Sweden has no "official language" but I think everyone would agree that you need to know Swedish if you want to get up in the Riksdag and demand to know whether or not Carl Bildt has paid his television license fees.
Finland is often lauded for pampering its Swedish minority -- now some 6 percent of the total population. On the other hand, the languages of the indigenous Sami, Romani, as well as the Russians who form 1 percent of the population are not important enough to be deemed co-equal to Swedish and Finnish. So, in essence, minority Swedish speakers are officially more representative of the state than minority Sami speakers. Reindeer herding peons take notice: your language is only worthy of being co-official in certain regions.
If one were to apply the Finnish method to other countries, you'd wind up with Polish as an official language of Lithuania, Hungarian an official language of Slovakia, Hungarian an official language of Romania, and, of course, Turkish as an official language of Germany. Turks have been living there for decades. They appear to have longstanding ties to Deutschland. This is the ideal of advocates of multiculturalism who think that official languages heal all. Estonia, even, has been advised to take more official language, because that would make all its social cleavages disappear.
Except, I actually think Estonian is developing a more interesting approach to the conundrum to making one person's language "official", another person's "regional", and denying a third person's language any recognition at all. In Estonia, there is one "official" feel-good national language. But following Estonian laws, minorities without long-standing ties to the country, like Ingrian Finns and Ukrainians, have been granted opportunities to learn in their native language and achieve cultural autonomy. In other countries, these groups would not enjoy such protection at all.
Meantime, official work continues in the national language. Estonian, despite its curvy vowels and many cases, is not an impossible language. I have lived in and out of this country for nearly five years and if Edgar Savisaar wanted my opinion of how he is running Tallinn, I'd be happy to give it to him. I'd say that Tallinna liiklus on vastik (Tallinn's traffic is awful), Tallinna uued majad on inetu (Tallinn's new buildings are ugly), and kõige inglise joodikad peaks olema keelatud (all drunk English people should be forbidden).
How hard was that? I don't see why that should ever change. Meantime in cities like Narva or Sillamäe, local officials have every right to communicate with one another and with their constituents in their native language -- Russian. They also must continue to serve their Estonian constituents in the national language too. And in Tallinn, you don't have to pass a law to make English official because it's already being used everyday in correspondence and at meetings by the city's large foreign business population.
So in a sense, Estonia is inching closer to being like Sweden. Estonia will become in time a place where you "officially" can speak whatever you want with your colleagues at work, but if you want stand in the Riigikogu and ask a politician about her mother's salary, it would be best to ask politely ja muidugi eesti keeles.