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A recent gala hosted at the Estonian House on 34th Street in New York launched a project that promises to bring one of the most famed living Estonians in the world—composer Arvo Pärt— to Manhattan for an unprecedented concert–lecture series. The series will specifically explore the spiritual roots of Pärt’s music and will center on a concert at Carnegie Hall on May 31, 2014, with the composer and his wife, Nora, in attendance. The landmark performance will feature the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, under the baton of Tõnu Kaljuste.


The Estonian American National Council has just published its first newsletter, containing news about its activities and about events, people and issues of interest to Estonian Americans. EANC plans to publish the free “EANC Newsletter” four times a year. In order to keep costs down, EANC will send as many future issues electronically as possible.  However, printed issues will continue to be mailed to subscribers who do not have e-mail. If you did not receive the December 2012 issue, the newsletter will be posted on  If you would like to be added to our mailing list, contact Linda Rink at 215-546-5863 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .   Please include your e-mail address in any correspondence.    


The Estonian Society of Central Florida (Kesk Florida Eesti Selts (KFES)) had many causes for celebration in December. For the first time in many years, Jõuluvana returned! More than 30 KFES members gathered on December 2, 2012, to welcome him in with song, and half the members—aged 3 to 90—performed for him in verse, song and dance.   Members were also deligh-ted to hear the news that the Estonian honorary consul corps in the United States was just expanded to Florida with the appointment of KFES vice president Lisa A. Mets as Honorary Consul for North Florida. 


VES #44, November 1, 2012   Logically, there is something askew in the newly published University of Tartu doctoral thesis by Tõnu Esko, et al.  The study not only claims that we are closer to Latvians and Russians, genetically, than to Finns, but reflective of foreign rule in Estonia beginning in the 13th century, also to a considerable extent the Italians, Spanish and French (none of whom were ever directly a part of any influx into Estonia). Mainly, though, it does not take into account the possibility of analogously reverse conditions or incidences.


Dr. Ekaterina (Tina) Khmelnitskaya, Curator of Russian Porcelain from Russia’s world famous State Hermitage Museum, was a Fulbright Scholar at Stanford last spring.    She is doing research about artists who worked in the Imperial porcelain factory in the early 20th century, but left in 1917.  The main sculptor of the time was Estonian August Timus (1865-1943) who later in Tallinn created sculptural portraits of K. Päts, J. Laidoner,  J Tõnisson, and other noted figures as well as the medal for the heroes of Estonia’s Independence War. What was in Estonian museums was destroyed in the 1940’s.  There is hope, though, that some of Timus’ artwork still exists in private homes of Estonians in the U.S., and might be able to be studied and shared in an upcoming book about August Timus.    If you can help in anyway, please contact:   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  


It’s clear that the leadership and day-to-day management of VEKSA was entrusted to veteran KGB officers, some with foreign intelligence experience. How specific were the directions developed by the Communist Party/KBG in establishing VEKSA’s pursuits? KGB officer Paul (Pavel) Toom, head of the 1st chief directorate of the Estonian KGB (foreign intelligence) compiled a top secret analysis of needs and operational priorities, which were widely distributed among other KGB branches in the USSR. This document was drawn up after the famous 27th party congress in 1986 had been held, where Mihkail Gorbachev had made radical proposals with regards to liberalization, perestroika and glasnost. 


The sun sparkled as we drove south from Võru and up a gentle slope to Suur Munamägi (Big Egg Mountain), the highest point in Estonia and, well, like a subdued hill. From the top of the tower we looked upon a rolling landscape of forest with patches of farmland, typical of the southeast.  At our next stop, the Võru Museum, we were the only visitors, a reminder of how peaceful the tourist path is away from Tallinn. Overall, the museum was grim, mostly about wars, with photos of tanks, soldiers and mass graves. I was drawn to a display of a bunker where the Metsavennad (Forest Brothers) lived while they fought guerrilla warfare against the Russians following World War II.


The Estonian Students Fund in the USA (ESF) provides scholarships and grants to students of Estonian descent.  The Fund has adapted to changing needs since its inception in 1961.  In the early years scholarships were given to recent émigré students. Although the focus remains on supporting 2nd and 3rd generation Esto-nian-Americans, the ESF now supports students of Estonian descent worldwide.  Five years ago, the Fund created a special scholarship category for Estonian-American students who wish to study in Tartu or Tallinn. 


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