esmaspäev, juuli 09, 2007

Põhjamaade blogid

One thing I have been trying to cultivate here at this blog is links to other regional blogs. I should be perfectly clear that without inspiration from Phil at Finland for Thought and Aleks at All About Latvia, I probably wouldn't have started this vehicle for sliming Estonia's politicians and their birthday parties.

One thing I would like to do is to get more input from Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, and Icelandic blogs but finding them has proved difficult.

First of all, why these countries? Well, of the four Sweden is the most important because of the presence of Swedish capital in the Estonian market. Institutionally Sweden is quite different from Estonia, but in terms of regional interests, I think that it is an overlooked contributor to the debate. I used to read Carl Bildt's musings on a regular basis. I can sort of read some Swedish, it's not that different from English and I used to live in Denmark, but when I do translate Bildt he's talking about the Sudan and Bosnia, not Sweden.

What I would like to read from Sweden is something about Swedish domestic politics within a regional context. Why? Because most blog lists that Estonia is on lead me to countries hundreds upon hundreds of miles away, like Uzbekistan. Even Russia seems gigantic and foreign. But Sweden is also a small country on the Baltic Sea where they write in the Roman alphabet. They also have to think about Nord Stream and things of that nature.

Plus there are interesting things going on there politically. I mean the Social Democrats are out of power. And there are people that have told me that the Social Democrats are Sweden. The world must be simply upside down. However, instead of writing about Fredrik Reinfeldt's new government, it seems that all Swedes do all day long is fret about the Middle East or vacation in the wilderness. If it's not some play-by-play analysis of the latest attack by the Iraqi Martyrs Brigade, it's an account of a cozy weekend on the archipelago.

Norway is no better. It is an important country because it is a NATO partner, it's a regional energy producer, and every journalist in Estonia's paycheck basically leads back to Schibsted in Oslo. But in Norway it is the same. Darfur and Palestine are important. Oslo? Unimportant. I haven't even bothered checking out the Danish blogosphere for fear that it might be more of the same. And if it isn't about Darfur or terrorism, it's about IT or design. Yuck.

The Icelandic blogs are spectacular just because they are mostly centered around photgraphs of that island's breathtaking nature. Unknown to many, the Icelanders are the bad boys of northern Europe (the Estonians would be the obstinate boys). They were the first to recognize the restoration of independence in Estonia, and their historical nemesis are the Danes, a land of nasty, potato-in-the-mouth Lars von Triers. So they are spunky.

The only gent I can locate is the exiled Swede writing Pro Libertate Nostra. As expected, he's one of these libertarian guys that never stop carrying on about Ayn Rand. But at least he's interested in the world. And he namechecks the Estonian Reform Party in his "about author" section, so he can't be that bad.

My mission for you is to help locate more sources of information that can better help us understand the northern European region. If you know of any good blogs, in any language, pass them along.

22 kommentaari:

Juan Manuel ütles ...

I really wish I spoke some Swedish and perhaps I will learn it if ever I get to fully understand Estonian.

But don't they have newspapers and columnists that can give you an insight on Sweeden just like other fellow bloggers? Is there no 'Stockholm Times' in English? You could also link those publications in your blogroll.

Also, the NYT has some "country" sections, like this one on Sweden. It is mostly 'suscriptors only' though.

Jüri Saar ütles ...

"As expected, he's one of these libertarian guys that never stop carrying on about Ayn Rand."

If he keeps carrying on about Rand than he's probably an objetivst, which is only a small subset of libertarians.

I enjoy The Local (news from Sweden in English). Not a blog, but a good source of news.

Vilhelm Konnander ütles ...

Dear Giustino,

You can take a look at the politics catogory at Most Swedish politics' blogs are in Swedish, and I must admit, I don't find them very interesting.

I'd say the dominant bloggers are Ali Esbati, Per Gudmundson, Jonas Morian, Fredrick Federley, Stig-Björn Ljunggren, and Magnus Ljungkvist. From this list, the male dominance is evident, which certainly does not vouch for any new or interesting perspectives on Swedish politics.



Giustino ütles ...

If he keeps carrying on about Rand than he's probably an objetivst, which is only a small subset of libertarians.

I know there's a sort of ideological civil war going on between these groups, but most of the guys I know who like Ron Paul also think Ayn Rand is a geenius.

Ari ütles ...

If self-promotion is allowed, I have a modest English-language blog that covers Finnish politics - Estonia-related posts here. The blog roll contains more blogs about Finnish politics, in Finnish and English.

Louis ütles ...

for me living in Stockholm, you have hit the nail on the head. Swedes are intelligent, they do know about all kinds of things, about their own country, about the world... but theres a certain.. passion missing a lot of the time. It gets to me a bit, we can have a conversation and they know things and they do care but on the whole, the *feeling* to get energetic about it isnt there. An extremely broad generalisation I realise but based on observation.

The thing I love about estonians is I can be at a party of new high school graduates, of course after the saaremaa has been passed around and most people have a passion for wanting to talk about their country and the world around them. Maybe because history is so recent in their minds they feel strongly and I think its awesome.

One last note, Swedes have a good knowledge of the world but sometimes about their closest neighbours, particularly the baltics, its rather lacking. When i told people I was visiting estonia for midsummers the most commen response was "they celebrate midsummers there too?". A less common but far funnier example is the educated swedish guy who was convinced estonia has a high divorce rate because they still have arranged marriages. solid gold.

I dont mean this to be a swedish rag-fest, I like this place, the people are lovely and there is a lot of history here but i do feel isolated from the world a bit.


stockholm slender ütles ...

Well, the Swedes maybe are not that interested in the outside world: they know it's not Sweden and therefore not perfect - some of those strange people don't even want to imitate the people's paradise! So, you want to keep a certain proper distance while being benevolent and helpful whenever the natives are amenable for some progress and enlightenment.

(Sorry, coulnd't resist a typical Finnish snark - and actually I pretty much believe that the Swedish society is about as far as the humankind has up to now progressed... It's just that it's all quite funny and at times slightly unreal.)

LPR ütles ...

Sweden was the coolest country when growing up. Come on! They had ABBA! I had their poster on my bedroom wall. That blond in the tights ... I could say I lost my virginity to her. Many times.

Anonüümne ütles ...

Our friend blogaddict has confessed to being a chronic masturbator in the late 70's.

There happens to be a population of Orthodox Russians in south-east Latvija with very deep roots.

Anonüümne ütles ...

If matters keep hotting up in this manner you should consider renaming your blog "Boner for Nordland".

Louis ütles ...

haha, this isnt hotting up! cant the swedes take a little outside opinion?

However to break into an uncharacteristic seriousness, I do also believe after being here that Sweden has a fantastically progressive society where I find many things are "as they should be". If we can accuse Swedes of being smug its because they have a lot of basis for it. If I think they lack passion in some aspects, maybe its because they are more level headed, more reasoned in others.

/boner for rootsi


stockholm slender ütles ...

What can one say - Finland, east of Eden!

Giustino ütles ...

What can one say - Finland, east of Eden!

It's a bit charming when you get to the docks in Stockholm and there's a sign for "Finnland" and "Estland". You get the feeling that these countries are still considered a bit wild in some corner of the Swedish imagination.

Man, I miss Stockholm. If only we could achieve their placid bubble world here. Speaking of boners, I recall I had a crush on our Swedish neighbor in Kobenhavn. But she was studying chemistry, and, well, there's just something grotesque about being attracted to a Swedish chemist. It makes you wonder if you have problems ...

stockholm slender ütles ...

Yeah, it's a lovely society, most advanced, but at times just slightly too orderly, slightly too clean. It gets to your nerves... Finns had fun in the spring when there was a news story about various Swedish warning signs. They have a 10cm (3,5 inch) gap in Stockholm metro that they feel obligated to warn people about etc. etc. But, this said, it's about the best we have done so far.

Juan Manuel ütles ...
Autor on selle kommentaari eemaldanud.
LPR ütles ...


You seem to have self-censored yourself on the topic of getting out of Tartu?! Whazzup wid dat?

Hey, Muhumaa is where it's at.

How well do you, the ultimate pond-hopper, bear the place that has never heard of a New York Minute and where life is as slow and quiet like the long shadows of the evening sun?

Can a New Jersey nervousness so easily be replaced with the placidity and sleepiness of Tartu Vaim?

Turn gasoline into molasses?

Giustino ütles ...

Sometimes I write things at 4 am that I get bored with. I feel that the essence isn't there so I retract my posting. It's like writing songs. Sometimes a song isn't that good and it's just time to trash it.

Anyway, New York nervousness versus Tartu Rahu? Sometimes I feel like New York has tested me in so many ways. There's nothing like being stuck underground in a hot subway car with someones armpit in your face for 30 minutes.

That's also an experience one would be loathe to repeat. After sweating through many days like that, the tranquility of life here is a well deserved vacation.

LPR ütles ...

They said on the radio that it was 97 F out there. The display on my car's dashboard gave me outside temp as 102 F.

Right now I wish I could splash into the 13 C water among pilliroog, hold my breath, dive and come up again to watch these naked and giggling Muhu girls join me ...


Instead ... gray cubicle. K street bustle. The sight of these sweaty women in business suits and white sneakers suck the life and libido out of me.

I created my own perfect hell.

Help me!!!!!!! People!!!!

Jens-Olaf ütles ...

Yah, where is the discussion about the influence of the oil, weakening the fundaments of the Norvegian society, harming the ability to catch up with the competiton of the globalized economy in the future, when the oil is gone. I know that they are discusssing it, in Norway. But never got to read about it in the blogosphere there, in English.
Bjoern Staerk seemed to be one of the first political bloggers in Norway but even on his blog it is general about life, Middle East, Islamism. And if they talk domestic politics, Norwegian bloggers seem to switch to their native language.
And I doubt that the Old Scandianvians could handle a immigration problem like Estonia faces, I mean the number of people.

Anonüümne ütles ...

If your libido is being sucked dry, might I suggest that you run out to your nearest record store and pick up a greatest hits of ABBA set. The rest will come naturally.

Jens-Olaf ütles ...

Giustino, did you know that Bjorn the Norvegian blogger met Scott in 2004, here is the post:
And the comments show well that one can start with Tallinn but ending up in Palistine. Your observation is more than right. Though comments are not from Norway, but where is the difference?

Unknown ütles ...

Dear Giustino,

I would like to announce that few weeks ago I have started a blog in English about Lithuania, the Baltics and beyond... If you are interested have a look. It's called Lituanica



P.S. Congratulations with a baby and good luck with your super blog!