Politics is a dirty business. Politicians are perhaps attracted to it both by their patriotic idealism and earnest hope to serve their communities as well as the lifestyle of catered lunches, expensive rides, and ability to expedite favorable real estate deals.
In Estonia, Minister of Social Affairs Maret Maripuu has announced her decision to resign. She is the first minister of Ansip's 2007 government to leave office under pressure.
A pretty basic DPA Article* about the resignation highlights some of Estonia's identity issues towards the end of this Age of Globalization. "It is absolutely unfitting that in a country seeking world renown as an e-state, attempts have been made to block the transition to the payment of pensions via bank accounts, which is absolutely the norm in the Nordic countries," Maripuu is quoted as saying.
The same article goes on to discuss "Eurobarometer survey showing Estonians trust their government much more than is the case in the other Baltic states of Latvia and Lithuania, despite the social security payments mess and an economy that has been in recession for months. At 48 per cent, the Estonian government's trust rating remains well above the EU average of 34 per cent and three times higher than Latvia and Lithuania's figures."
Despite these differences, most international English-language news coverage of the recent riots in Latvia and Lithuania has shocked me by the lack of basic knowledge about Estonia. There is a general meme descending in the pages of usually reliable media that the economic crisis is going to undermine political stability in basically any formerly communist country you can name drop in an article.
Bulgaria? Hungary? Estonia? Romania? Stankonia? -- They're all the same boat, whoever they are. Except old Europeans Iceland and Greece have also been rocked by protests and pepper spray too. Icelanders even burned a Christmas tree this week as they attempted to storm their parliament building. Could it be the end of times?
While Iceland becomes the next Latvia, Estonia is still grasping for its inner nord to find its way through the hard times. Experts like Andres Kasekamp and Marko Mihkelson inform us that Estonians are much more practical and restrained; not given to bouts of domestic unrest. Let's hope that Estonia's committment to the ideals of the Swedish absolutists and their Finnic abhorence of standing in close proximity to other individuals will keep them off the slopes of Toompea for the time being.
*An earlier version of this post erroneously attributed the article to Reuters.