|"Did you know that Tallinn means 'Danish city?'"|
Estonian PM Ansip and Danish PM Thorning-Schmidt talk Europe.
But now Rasmussen is gone, as is his successor Lars Løkke Rasmussen,and his counterpart is one Helle Thorning-Schmidt. Vanhanen handed his crown over to Mari Kiviniemi, who then lost an election to Jyrki Katainen. And the people back home are starting to whisper about "stagnation" and a "crisis of democracy" as Estonian politics seems to be headed nowhere fast. They even use the dreaded 'B' word to describe their top leaders -- Brezhnev.
Andrus Ansip is the Six Million Dollar Man of Estonian politics. Small scandals and broken promises don't faze him. Instead, he leaps over them, keeping his eagle eye trained on the future, zooming around the world on his cross country skis.
Even if his anglophone detractors refer to him in private as "Unzip," Ansip's an eternal optimist. No matter what happens in Estonia, it is typically good for the country and only possible thanks to his wise and thrifty policies. Sure the removal of the Bronze Soldier was a messy affair, but at least it didn't provoke a war with Russia. Sure Estonian unemployment is high, but at least it's not as high as in Latvia. Sure, goods are often ridiculously overpriced, but at least you are paying for them in euros. See what I mean? With Ansip, there is always a silver lining.
In April 2012, Ansip will conclude his seventh year at the helm of the ship of state. People wonder will there be an eighth year of Ansip, and a ninth year after that. With Tallinn Mayor Edgar Savisaar sidelined by Center Party squabbles, and Defense Minister Mart Laar sizing up other opportunities, the only real challenge to Reform Party rule will come from the Social Democrats. But it's going to be a long time before voters have any chance to change things in Tallinn -- about three and a half years. Until then, Estonia looks forward to more of the same.