Just two days shy of Christmas, jõuluvana, also known as the International Monetary Fund, decided to present Estonia's southern neighbor Latvia with a gift worth €1.7 billion.
The aid is part of a broader €7.5 billion package for the lätlased, which includes financing from the EU, all the nordic countries except Iceland, the Czech Republic, Poland, and the World Bank.
Despite horrible Eurovision entry after horrible Eurovision entry, jõuluvana has taken pity on poor Latvia, and the country will continue to peg its currency to the Euro. In explanation of its gift, the IMF attributed Latvia's problems to "years of unsustainably high growth and large current account deficits" that have "coalesced into a financial and balance-of-payments crisis."
In Estonia though, unlike in Latvia, there is moderate faith in the government. The Ansip malaise has morphed into the Ansip apathy. It is not that the people are apathetic about what is going on around them. I think instead they are resigned to the leadership that fate has dealt them. If not the stubborn liberal Ansip, the ardent patriot Laar, and the pig-farming social democrat Padar, then who? Savisaar?
President Ilves meanwhile has cautioned against the rise of economic populism while reassuring us that Estonia has seen worse in its history. Next year will see two elections in Estonia, with European parliamentary elections in June and municipal elections in October. If anyone were to play power politics in Estonia, some time before either of those elections would suffice. True, true, and indeed.
And so we sit eating sauerkraut and gingerbread, patiently awaiting what 2009 will bring us, a year for which nobody, including Lars Christensen, has forecast good news. For the rest of 2008, I am looking forward to more tasty küüslaugujuust and the final episode of the historical drama Tuulepealne Maa. How about you?