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It’s amazing what a stretch of water can do. The country of Estonia sits across the Baltic Sea from Sweden and Finland. Yet the struggles of the past couple of generations couldn’t be more different on opposite sides of the sea. 

Traveling to this former Soviet republic spices up any visit to this region, especially if you connect with the people and tune into their story about their struggle for freedom.

Edward Lucas

A crisis is an expensive lesson, and wasting anything expensive is bad. So Estonians should use these hard times to take a hard look at themselves, their society and their state, and work out how to dump bad habits and adopt good ones. Learning from your own mistakes is good and learning from other people’s is even better. So Estonians should also look south to Latvia to see what may happen if current bad tendencies persist.
There are no quick fixes, only important changes. Independence was not a panacea. nor was introducing the kroon, or joining NATO and the EU. Adopting the euro will be no panacea either: it is a necessary condition for solid prosperity in future, but not a sufficient one.


“Estonia and the people of Estonia have endured a lot. However, even today we don’t have a real overview of what exactly happened in Estonia during the Soviet period,” said President Toomas Hendrik Ilves on Decemeber 8, in Kadriorg, at the first session of the Learned Committee of the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory.


BNS - Estonian students are third in Europe after Finland and Ireland for their reading skills and their knowledge of mathematics and science subjects, it appears from a recent European Commission report.

According to the Education Ministry the number of students with a poor achievement level in science subjects is three times lower in Estonia than the average in Europe.


BNS - Inspired by the "Let's Do It Estonia 2008" campaign, NGOs in Romania are preparing for a campaign in which volunteers will collect illegally dumped or littered garbage across the country in May 2010.

The Romanian NGO's behind the initiative have named it "Let's Do It Romania."

TORONTO, November 30 - Member of Parliament for Toronto Centre, Hon. Bob Rae introduced a resolution today to recognize August 23rd –Black Ribbon Day- as a national Canadian day of remembrance for the millions of victims of totalitarian Communism and Nazism in Europe. The resolution, seconded by Etobicoke Centre MP, Borys Wrzesnewskyj, passed with the unanimous consent of all parties.

The Central and East European Coalition (CEEC) met on November 17, 2009 with Congressmen Dennis Kucinich (R-Ohio) and Thomas Price (D-GA), co-chairs of the newly formed House Russia Caucus, to discuss the goals and mission of the Russia Caucus, and to provide suggestions for a possible agenda.  While caucuses on many of the Central and East European countries already exist, this is the first caucus with a focus solely on Russia.
The body is meant to improve communication between Congress and Russia's lower house of parliament. 

FM Review - In the early morning hours of 1 December 1924, a couple of hundred armed Communist conspirators attempted a coup d’etat in Tallinn. The conspirators killed approximately 20 people including the Estonian Minister of Transport Karl Kark. The Estonian people reacted quickly and crushed the attempted coup.
1923 and 1924 were economically very difficult years for Estonia. Overestimating the unrest of the Estonian people, the Communist leadership in Moscow decided the time was right for a Communist coup d’etat in their neighbouring country. This decision was not based exclusively on economic factors -- a coup would have been attempted in any case. In November 1924, 149 people in Estonia were convicted of hostile activities against the state. At the same time, staged demonstrations against Estonia were organised in the Soviet Union.


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