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Estonians abroad may think that the recent local/municipal elections in Estonia have only minor ramifications on power politics in the country. After all, it is not as if the mayors of Toronto or Halifax have real clout when it comes to federal politics. Toronto Mayor Miller’s foreign policy views or visits abroad have little effect on Ottawa’s actions, and Miller’s traditional electoral base is hardly a homogenous unit. However, Tallinn’s mayor and Centre party head Edgar Savisaar, who runs a Tammany Hall from his city hall power base, wields a disconcertingly heavy hammer. Although his opponents in the local elections focussed on the corruption rife in Tallinn and the Centre party it was for naught. Tallinn’s city government has an annual budget of around 7 billion crowns, which is only 10% of the national total, but in reality Savisaar borrows, and in fact much, much more money passes through commerce.
The following is a compilation of thoughts from Estonians living in Eesti answering questions from abroad, gathered from a lengthy email stream.

3 November (BNS) - Latest data show that the population size of some wild animal species living in Estonian forests has risen more over the past decade than ever before during the time for which records exist, Eesti Päevaleht said.
Peep Mannil, head of the game census department at the Centre for Forest Protection and Silviculture of the Estonian Ministry of Environment, said that if the previous decade generally was characterised by a reduction in the numbers of hunting game then in the present decade a big rise has taken place.

Jüri Estam’s summary of the article by George Feifer on the Radio Free Europe - Radio Liberty website (
There are two kinds of unsolved mysteries: the kind that unresolved, but without apparent funny business, such as the case of Amelia Earhart, who disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean during an attempt to make a circumnavigational flight of the globe in 1937, and the ones that seem fishy.
One of the most recent unsolved big mysteries is that of the Arctic Sea - a cargo ship ship registered in Malta, owned by a company registered in Finland, and alleged to have been boarded by pirates in Swedish waters. Once the "pirates" were on board, the Arctic Sea headed southward on an erratic course. Why the Russian government would take an interest in a foreign vessel (the owner, it is true, is a Russian subject, and the crew was Russian) remains unclear. In any event, the Russians dispatched a task force that included destroyers and nuclear submarines, and boarded the vessel on August 17, after "finding" it off the west coast of Africa. Considering the capabilities of modern surveillance means available to large governments - satellites and the like - it is difficult to talk of the ship ever having truly gone missing very seriously.

Twenty years ago The New York Times agreed with the administration’s foreign policy that favored democratization of the Soviet Union but not its disintegration. On November 6. 1989,  the paper published a dissenting letter, and supplied its own headline.

Ago Ambre

November 6, 1989

To the Editor: 

Your observation that the Baltic republics, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, ''are far from becoming economically viable in the next few years'' (''A Sound Course on the Baltics,'' editorial, Oct. 21) applies more to the Soviet Union than to the Baltic states. The three republics, although producing only 4 percent of the Soviet gross national product, account for 12 percent of Soviet consumer-goods production. The economies of these three are well diversified in sharp contrast to the monocultures the central government in Moscow forced on many other areas. In addition, about 25 percent of Soviet trade flows through the Baltic states, a source of substantial income even now. 

I am writing this in English, for I want to have its intended message reach across our diaspora, the Estonian diaspora.  It has been done before, but the context was different and it was long ago. It is high time that we write the histories of our organizations and our activities before we disappear along with our memory.  The decades I am talking about were rich and important in a variety of ways, both in terms of preserving our past as well as our future.  What we did was as important for us as it was for Estonia.  And yes, we were successful, even incredibly successful.  We had a purpose and we had a cause.  We cannot let it disappear into a black hole. 

The White House - On September 25, 2009 President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Michael C. Polt to the post of  Ambassador to the Republic of Estonia.
Michael Polt is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service and has been the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Legislative Affairs since August 2008. Prior to that he was a State Department Senior Transatlantic Fellow to the German Marshall Fund of the US.

MFA Review - On 23 August 1939, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany concluded a treaty of non-aggression known as the Molotov- Ribbentrop Pact (hereinafter the MRP) after its signatories, the Soviet Union's People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs Vyacheslav Molotov and Foreign Minister of Nazi Germany Joachim von Ribbentrop. In the secret protocols that accompanied the treaty of non-aggression, the two totalitarian powers divided Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania in violation of international law into respective spheres of influence, which led to Nazi Germany starting the Second World War on 1 September 1939 with its attack on Poland.


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