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Showing posts from 2023

Concert and Blues

Tallinn is full tonight... Big concerts on at the Song field The Weeknd and Bonnie Tyler (!). The place is buzzing and some sixty thousand concert goers have booked every bed for thirty miles around Tallinn. It should be a busy high summer, but it isn´t. Tourism is down sharply overall. Only 70 cruise ships calling this season, versus over 300 before Ukraine. Since no one goes to St Pete, demand has fallen, and of course people think that Estonia is not safe. We are tired. The economy is still under big pressure, and the fall of tourism is a significant part of that. The credit rating for Estonia has been downgraded as the government struggles with spending. The summer has been a little gloomy, and soon the long and slow autumn will drift into the dark of the year. Yesterday I met with more refugees: the usual horrible stories, the usual tears. I try to make myself immune, but I can´t. These people are wounded in spirit, carrying their grief in a terrible cradling. I try to project hop

One Year On

  Head vabariigi iseseisvusp√§eva! Happy Estonian Independence Day! It is one year since I stood outside the Estonian Parliament for the traditional raising of the national flag from Tall Hermann tower. Looking at the young fraternities gathered with their flags, I was very sure that Estonia too would soon be facing the aggression of the criminal Russian regime. A tragic and dark day. 5 eyes intelligence had been clear: an all out invasion was going to happen, and Putin´s goals included- and still include- "restoration" of Russian imperial power across Europe, even to the Atlantic. Yet there was one Western intelligence failure: we all underestimated the guts of the Ukrainian armed forces, the ZSU, and its President and people. One year on, Estonia, and indeed all the front line states against Russia, knows that Ukraine saved us. Estonia used that time to prepare itself, should that "delayed" onslaught ever be unleashed, but equally the determination of Kaja Kallas,

A Hard Frost

  After a week of slush and damp, tonight there is a hard frost in Tallinn. The general election campaign has started with the parties submitting their lists of candidates and announcing their programs. The polls seem to show a polarization of views. Although the Liberal Reform party of PM Kaja Kallas is set to remain as the largest party in the 101 seat Riigikogu, the steady rise of the far right EKRE seems to place them firmly in second place, replacing the Social Liberal Centre Party, who seem set to lose several seats. In addition to the Conservative Isamaaliit and the Social Democrat SDE, there is a fair likelihood that a new party will join these in Parliament, namely the Business/Green minded Eesti 200. The Greens and the Libertarian "Right wingers" look like they will struggle to gain seats. A Moderate Reform/SDE/E200 coalition would be a good outcome, but the numbers will have to fall just so, otherwise there remains the chance of another Centre/Isamaa/EKRE coalition