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202008

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Estonian Americans in several communities came out to show their support for the ongoing fight for democracy in Belarus. Socially-distanced, COVID-aware rallies have been held across the U.S. in recent weeks as outrage over disputed elections and demand for change continue in Minsk and beyond.

 

In addition to Washington, DC, Estonian communities supported events in New York City and Lakewood, NJ.


The Estonian American National Council’s (EANC) Washington, DC Director, Karin Shuey, offered supportive remarks at two events in the nation’s capital.

Helga Merits

 

university

 

I’m sorry I never took a picture of my grandmother’s kitchen.

 

It was small, a cupboard on one side, showing her decorated cups and plates, and a small tin of sweets.

 

The sink was of granite.

Swimmer Merle Liivand Sets New World Record


In celebration of Estonia's Restoration of Independence Day on August 20, Merle Liivand swam 20 kilometers in six-hours in Florida without using her hands and relying only on her "mermaid tail".

 

The result is yet another Guinness World Record.

The foreign ministers of eight Baltic and Nordic countries have issued a joint statement condemning the violent suppression of protests after long-time president Alexander Lukashenko secured his sixth term as president of Belarus on Sunday.


As stated in a release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: "The Foreign Ministers of Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden, in the context of the developments that are taking place in Belarus, express their grave concern about the violence against post-election demonstrations that have occurred in response to reports of widespread electoral fraud.

 

We are very troubled by the reports of physical injuries inflicted on the demonstrators."

Helga Merits

 

letter

 

I miss the long letters that I received when starting my research into the Estonian refugee community.

 

The elderly people were willing to write or to phone, but as they lived far away and long distance calls were still expensive, writing was the best way to communicate.


Mostly four to eight pages long, the letters were in regular handwriting and always a treasure of information, news, anecdotes, and memories.

Indrek Lepson

 

It was a week, or so, before Christmas, 1979, when we departed from Suva, heading for the Solomon Islands, and dropped anchor at a little island on the outer fringe of Kadavu.

 

The island is so small that it's not even shown on the map of the Fiji Islands, although I'm sure that it is on a larger scale chart, where I met the world's richest man, by his own account.

Estonia Initiates UN Security Council Discussion Concerning Belarus


On August 18, Estonia and the United States led a UN Security Council discussion about the situation in Belarus and its possible implications for peace and security in Europe. In his speech, Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu expressed serious concern about the use of excessive force by the Belarussian authorities in peaceful demonstrations triggered by the falsification of election results.

javelin

Estonia's purchase last month of 92 Javelin missiles through the US European Command Assistance Program is an example of the kind of programs these bills fund.
Source: Eesti Kaitsevägi/Estonian Defense Forces/mil.ee

 

The Estonian American National Council (EANC) is tracking several bills in process in Congress that include significant funding for Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

 

The House and Senate passed their versions of National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (NDAA) in late July, while the House has also released its State and Foreign Operations (SFOPS) and Defense Appropriations bills.


The Senate report accompanying its version of the NDAA included language commending the Baltic countries on meeting the 2% of GDP benchmark for defense spending, investing in capabilities to deter and resist the Kremlin’s aggression, and improving their coordination on defense requirements and procurement.

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