Wednesday, 30 March 2022

Johannes Pääsuke: Karujaht Pärnumaal / Bear Hunt in Pärnumaa (1914)

Today marks the 130th birthday of Johannes Pääsuke, Estonia's first professional filmmaker. Here is one of his films: Karujaht Pärnumaal / Bear Hunt in Pärnumaa that was produced in 1914. 

Estonia's Rahva Raamat named Bookstore of the Year

The London Book Fair has announced that the 2022 winner of  the The Bookstore of the Year Award is Rahva Raamat's Viru store in Tallinn. The bookshop underwent a major renovation recently that has been praised for its sustainability and creating a wonderful cultural oasis. The International Excellence Award will be presented to Rahva Raamat's Viru store at the London Book Fair gala in London on April 7.

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

18th anniversary of Estonia joining NATO

On this day eighteen years ago Estonia became a member of NATO. It was one of the most significant geopolitical events in Estonia's history that continues to guarantee the country's security today. Estonians feel safe and protected within the NATO alliance despite living next door to an aggressor. 

Monday, 28 March 2022

It is possible to contract COVID-19 three times

In the past it was considered unusual for a person to catch coronavirus twice, but as time went on, more instances of repeat infections were observed. The highly infectious Omicron variant is the most common strand circulating at the moment, it is less lethal, confining itself primarily to the upper respiratory tract rather than affecting the lungs. People infected with the Omicron variant have a 25% reduced risk of requiring hospitalisation.

Estonia has registered a total of 551,714 cases of the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic. Of those cases, 217 people were diagnosed with coronavirus three times. There is no data on which strains the people were infected with as the virus variant was not determined in each case but it has been recorded that there was at least 90 days between each infection.

How Omicron and Delta symptoms compare.

A total of  2, 439 people have died from the coronavirus in Estonia.

Saturday, 26 March 2022

Erkki-Sven Tüür - 'For Ukraine'

'For Ukraine' was written two weeks ago by Estonian composer Erkki-Sven Tüür. In this video the piece is performed by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra and conducted by Estonia’s leading conductor, Tõnu Kaljuste.

Friday, 25 March 2022

73rd anniversary of the Soviet mass deportations from the Baltic countries

Between 25 - 28 March 1949 the Soviet regime forcibly deported 90,000 people from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, packed them into cattle wagons and sent them to remote parts of Siberia. The majority of the deportees were women and children, the youngest was less than one year old; the oldest was 95 years old. At least two babies were born onboard the trains. Journeys to the remotest, easternmost parts of the Soviet Union lasted between 2 and 4 weeks and deportees travelled in the most inhuman of conditions. 45 Estonians died en route and many more perished as a result of the inhospitable living conditions, never to see their homeland again.

Today we remember the victims of this crime and light candles in their memory.

Starting from 6pm tonight candles will be lit on Tallinn's Freedom Square and also on Tartu Town Square. People are encouraged to place a candle in their window at home as well.  

Russia has been responsible for many atrocities and sadly we are seeing them again in Ukraine, in the year 2022.

Monday, 21 March 2022

Curly Strings - Mind nad kätte ei saa / They Won't Catch Me

Between 25th - 28th March 1949 over 20,000 Estonians and around 70,00 Latvians and Lithuanians were focibly taken from their homes, schools, and places of work by the Soviet Army and deported to Siberia. This event is known as 'Märtsiküüditamine' in Estonia.

But one young man, Aksel Herbert Lindal, was able to escape. Curly Strings’ singer and fiddle player Eeva Talsi has a personal connection to this, because Aksel was her grandfather. On 25th March 2020, Curly Strings published the video for their moving song “Mind nad kätte ei saa!” (“They Won’t Catch Me!”), about Talsi’s grandfather’s story.

Tuesday, 15 March 2022

How Estonia is helping Ukraine

The war in Ukraine has entered its twentieth day and as we look on in outrage at the atrocities being committed by Russia, more needs to be done to help Ukraine defend its sovereignty.  The world has shown solidarity with Ukraine and together, our help and donations have made a difference. 

Estonia is no stranger to Russia's playbook and knows what is at stake. Yesterday the Estonian parliament voted overwhelmingly to call on the world to implement a no fly zone over Ukraine. Ukraine is in urgent need of protecting its skies.

Estonia stands firmly with Ukraine. Donations have been flooding in from private individuals and businesses. People are only too happy to help. 

Estonia has responded to Ukraine's request for assistance and to date, has contributed €220 million worth of aid to Ukraine in the following way:  
* Provided more than 2000 tons of military, humanitarian and medical assistance. Including Javelin anti-tank missiles, ammunition and eight new ambulance vehicles. 
* 15 tonnes of food aid
* Accepted over 22,000 war refugees from Ukraine, including 7,000 children
Help for the refugees.
Estonia has been very welcoming towards the Ukrainian war refugees and great efforts have been made to make them feel comfortable and safe in Estonia. The government has done this by handing out soft toys to children upon arrival and allowing all Ukrainian war refugees to travel on Estonian trains and  buses free of charge. In addition to this, refugees have been granted free access to Estonian museums. The University of Tartu is playing their part too. They are offering scholarships to Ukrainians and from today, the University of Tartu’s College of Foreign Languages and Cultures is starting to teach Ukrainian.

Monday, 14 March 2022

Head Emakeelepäeva! Happy Estonian Language Day!

March 14 is Emakeelepäev / Mother Tongue Day. A day in which we celebrate our beautiful language and perhaps think about our favourite words.

You might have heard the joke "Estonian has no sex and no future", referring to the fact that there are no genders and no future tense in the Estonian language, but did you know that it doesn't have a longest word either?

Here's an Estonian palindrome - 'kuulilennuteetunneliluuk' it can be read from both ends and it looks exactly the same. The word means - 'the hatch a bullet flies out of when exiting a tunnel'. A long vowel only word is 'äiaõeoaaiaoaõieau', it translates as 'bean-flower honour in father-in-law's sisters' beangarden'.

Head Emakeelpäeva!

Sunday, 13 March 2022

Mari Kalkun releases new song in support of Ukraine

Estonian Folk singer Mari Kalkun wrote this song on the night of 25 February 2022 shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. It's a beautiful, moving, poignant song, dedicated to the brave people of Ukraine. The singer asks us to support Ukrainians via the “For Ukraine!” campaign, run by the Estonian Refugee Council, Ukrainian Cultural Centre of Estonia and NGO Mondo .

Somewhere There´s War: Lyrics

Somewhere there´s war
But far from me
Somebody´s torn
On a battlefield
A baby cries
But it´s not mine
Somebody dies
But it´s not me

Can you still feel?
Can you still feel?

Somewhere there´s war
It´s at my home
My brother´s torn
On a battlefield
A baby cries
Ah, it´s my child! 
Somebody dies
Oh look, it´s me

Can I still feel 
Can I still feel 
Can I still feel
Can I still feel

To be a man
Does it mean to fight?
To close my heart
And have no fright 

A human
A human
A human

When I was a child 
I looked up the sky
I used to feel
My mind is free

My mind is free
My mind is free

Your mind is free
Your mind is free

Thursday, 10 March 2022

Eesti Post designs new postage stamp in support of Ukraine

The stamp depicts the dove of peace, which symbolises a message of peace, against the background of the colours of the Ukrainian flag. The stamp features the text ‘Слава Україні!’ in Ukrainian, which means ‘Glory to Ukraine!’, and ‘Eesti toetab Ukrainat’ (‘Estonia supports Ukraine’) in Estonian.

More information can be found on the Eesti Post / Omniva website

Sunday, 6 March 2022

How we can help the people of Ukraine

When I woke up this morning the first thing I thought about was the war in Ukraine. How did the people in Ukraine fare during the night? Did they get enough sleep? Were they warm enough? Do they have enough food and water? All week I have been thinking about how I can contribute and help them. I've read the inspirational stories of men filling vans and driving to the Polish border to drop off supplies, and about the two boys in Tallinn who spent their pocket money to buy canned food to donate. So far Estonian citizens have donated almost €6 million to Ukraine. This is great for a country with a population of 1.3 million.

All major international charities are collecting donations for Ukraine right now, but I have been looking for an organsation where I know the funds and supplies will get there quickly. Something Ukrainian. I scoured the internet and found that my local Ukrainian Catholic church has become a collection point and they have been arranging trucks to drive supplies directly to the Ukraine border. They have been calling out for medical supplies, blankets, sleeping bags, portable mattresses, long life food etc. I was only too happy to help!

My contribution to the people of Ukraine.

When I arrived at the church to drop off the donations I was informed that they had to move to new premises due to running out of space. Donations were flooding in. I was re-routed and arrived at the new location which was a warehouse style building with a large truck to the right in a loading bay, ready to leave as soon as it was full. People were walking into the building every few seconds carrying bags and boxes of goods. When I entered the building it was a hive of activity, there were 30-40 volunteers sorting through donations and packing them for the truck.  It was a great to see so many people from the local community coming together during this time of need. 

There are many ways we can help the people of Ukraine, either from dropping off supplies like I did yesterday or via a monetary donation. Here are three places to consider:

To support the Ukrainian military directly, you can donate to Army SOS. They buy the supplies the army needs (including things like radio sets, uniforms, supplies and ammunition) and promises to deliver them straight to the front lines. Website:

You can also donate to the Ukrainian army via a special fund set up by the National Bank of Ukraine. Website: Ukraine’s Armed Forces account

Come Back Alive is a foundation set up to support the Ukrainian military by purchasing essential equipment like body armour and helmets. You can donate to them directly here:

Thursday, 3 March 2022

Estonia stands with Ukraine

It's horrifying to see the images of destruction coming out of Ukraine each day. So much needless suffering because of one man's greed. The bond between Ukrainians has strengthened because of this war and I admire their courage, bravery and spirit as they fight for their country's very existence.

Here is a video message by President Alar Karis to the people of Ukraine.

Over one million Ukrainians have fled the country to escape the Russian invasion. Help is pouring in for the refugees and for those fighting. We all understand what is at stake. Estonians definitely know what is at stake like all other former captive nations.

Tuesday, 1 March 2022

The world stands with Ukraine

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has seen waves of shock and anger sweep through the civilised world. Nations are appalled by Russia's despicable act of attacking a peaceful country which simply wishes to govern itself and remain a democracy. Over the weekend huge protests took place in major cities all over the world to show their solidarity with Ukraine. 

Tens of thousands of people gathered at Tallinn's Freedom Square.

I was in Berlin at the weekend and over 100,000 people took 
to the streets to protest Russia's invasion of Ukraine. 

This is the 21st century and no-one wants war in Europe. 

Ukranian communities can be found all over the world and stand united.

Ukrainians are very patriotic and are fighting bravely for their country. 

The world stands with Ukraine because it is the right thing to do. 

The war must end.

Evil prevails when good men do nothing.  

Ice Fishing in Estonia

Here's a interesting cultural video about the tradition of ice fishing in Estonia.