Skip to main content

10 famous... Estonians

As I am off to Tallinn once more, here is the latest in my series of 10 heroes from each country. Much harder to choose than usual...

1. Paul Keres- one of the greatest chess players- "unlucky, like my country"
2. Jaan Tonisson- Moral political figure in the foundation of Estonia & a great Liberal.
3. Arvo Part- Innovative and hypnotic composer.
4. Kristjan Paljusalu- Double Olympic Wrestling Gold Medalist.
5. Jaan Kross- Elegiac and powerful novelist
6. Jaan Kaaplinski- Poet of brevity and unusual imagery
7. Neeme Jarvi- Internationally renowned conductor
8. Lennart Meri- film maker, writer and President
9. Alfons Rebane- Patriot and the model for John Le Carre's General Vladimir in Smileys People
10. Ernst Opik- Astronomer & co-discover of the Oort-Opik cloud (and Lembit's grandfather)

Comments

Anonymous said…
No women? Lydia Koidula OR Aino Kallas, perhaps?
Well Behaved Orphan said…
Now that is challenging! Arvo Part is probably the biggest name there and he is not the most famous chap in the world.

How about Erki Nool (Olympic gold medallist at decathlon) and Georg Ots (opera singer).

And if you will accept Baltic Germans as Estonians, the explorers Ferdinand von Wrangel and Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen.
mel said…
Cicero, this is hard...is this by blood or by identity, or by birthplace?

You can get much more broad, such as:

Karl Ernst von Baer (father of embryology) - birthplace

Wilhelm Ostwald (Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1909) - study (Tartu PhD)

Lachlan Murdoch (son of Rupert Murdoch) - half Estonian by blood

Ornella Muti (top Italian acress and model) - half Estonian by blood

And with Estonians per se, you forgot General Laidoner and maybe even Põdder. People may not like Päts but he's famous. I agree Koidula is missing. So is Erkki-Sven Tüür. And despite her politics, Erika Salumäe (and yes, Erki Nool too). And perhaps Carmen Kass?

Good on you for listing Alfons Rebane, but I think Kaplinski is a bit of a personal take...

Popular posts from this blog

Cicero ReDux

By Special Request of Baroness Scott and Mark Valladares... Cicero's Songs returns: bigger, longer and uncut.
October 1st marked the half way point of the Estonian Presidency of the European Union.  Perhaps for many people such an anniversary is of passing interest at best.  Yet the conduct of the Estonian Presidency is reinforcing just how forward looking and innovative the most northerly of the Baltic States has become.
Estonia is a country that wants to live in the future, and with its openness and innovation, that future seems a lot closer than almost anywhere else in Europe
It is not that Estonia does not “do” the past: the picturesque cobbled streets of old Tallinn have tourist crowds a-plenty enjoying the mediaeval architecture in an Indian summer of sunshine and blue skies.  The real point is that Estonia refuses to be a prisoner of its past. Lennart Meri, Estonia’s President in the 1990s- who spent years of his childhood in Siberia- once told me that the country had to conc…

The American National nightmare becomes a global nightmare

It is a basic contention of this blog that Donald J Trump is not fit for office.

A crooked real estate developer with a dubious past and highly questionable finances. he has systematically lied his way into financial or other advantage. His personal qualities include vulgarity, sexual assault allegations and fraudulent statements on almost every subject. 

He lost the popular vote by nearly three million votes.

He has, of course, been under criminal investigation practically since before he took the oath of office. The indictment of some of closest advisers is just the beginning. His track record suggests that in due course there is no action he will not take, whether illegal or unconstitutional in order to derail his own inevitable impeachment and the indictments that must surely follow the successful investigation of Robert Mueller into his connections with Russia.

However, all of that is a matter for the American people. 

It is also a matter for the American people that Trump is cheating…

In praise of off-shore tax havens

The last few years has seen a spate of "scandals" about the use of off-shore tax havens. The hacking and subsequent leaking of data about who does and does not hold assets in off-shore jurisdictions has become an old perennial in the British press, rather like the "COLD weather happens in winter and QUITE HOT weather happens in summer", whose alarmist capital letter laced headlines are such a lazy part of contemporary "journalism". 

The increasing sophistication of the hackers, whether Russian-inspired or not, has resulted in a steady trickle of information becoming a torrent. After the relatively filleted release of data in the so-called "Panama Papers", the data release of the "Paradise Papers" is even larger.  Of course, just natural curiosity dictates that the off-shore ownership, or even just "ownership", of assets is of general public interest.  Celebrities, from the Royal family to the cast of Mrs Brown's Boys, are …