Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Fall has arrived. Weeks of stuffy heat have ended, and Tartu is now in normal Estonian weather: +20C and overcast. To be honest, I'm relieved. It's nice to have a bit of warmth, but if you're born and raised around here, you can only stand so much of it. Somehow, the constant drizzle is comforting.

News of the day is an interview given by the head of the Estonian Orthodox Church. The elderly cleric has just returned from a trip to one of the remote regions of Russia settled by Finno-Ugric peoples, and in addition to talking about that, took a stab at the bullshit session that takes place today - a congress of Russian "compatriot" organizations. Apparently he was invited to attend, but the exact time of the congress is the same as the mass for an important chuch holiday. Nobody bothered to check. More importantly, the Metropolitan Cornelius mentioned that local Russians really ought to learn the Estonian language and make more of an effort to learn Estonian history and culture; that assimilation is not really a deadly sin. Masters Klenski and Zarenkov proceeded to accuse ETV, the public broadcasting authority and state TV channel, of twisting the Metropolitan's words. Which is a difficult charge to make stick when the entire interview is available online, as is the transcript. Then again Zarenkov might just get kicked out of the compatriots' congress. I'm not sure yet how much I want to dig into that whole mess.

(While the EOC submits to the Moscow Patriarch, and as such is mostly a Russian organization, there is a measurable number of Orthodox among Estonians. To the extent that you'd find religious, church-going Estonians, anyway.)

The other local news is that both the Chancellor of Justice and the State Controller (two very senior civil servants conducting oversight of government actions) are likely to be replaced. Postimees suggests that Taavi Veskimägi of IRL is liked for the Controller's position, and that Reform wouldn't mind making Rein Lang the Chancellor. Lang may be the party's most senior lawyer, but he's a bit too - let's say, colorful - for Estonian politics. The Chancellor of Justice is supposed to be a figure of authority. So I'm not sure that's going to work out very well.

Carry on...


Giustino said...

Should we expect a guy with a Russian surname for the justice ministry post?

antyx said...

Can't imagine who you're thinking of...

Giustino said...

Well, I guess you and your German surname means you won't be considered.

I am referring to the discourse at Ed Lucas' blog where the resdent Russian lower-case n-nazi, was complaining about the lack of visibly slavic ministers in the Estonian government.

Quite honestly I don't know whose left in the Reform's backbench. Keit Pentus?

antyx said...

Eh, that's an old argument, and a fallacious one. There used to be a relatively strong Russian-speaker political force in Estonia, but it imploded. The only one left if Sergei Ivanov (no relation), who is now in Reform, but used to be the deputy mayor of Tallinn.

The lack of Slavic ministers is quite simply due to a lack of credible Slavic politicians. Gräzin isn't really Russian despite a Slavic name, Sergei Ivanov is a nobody, and obviously nobody's gonna let Klenski anywhere near the government.

The bottom-feeders on Lucas's blog cannot comprehend that Estonia is a nation state. When Japan gets a Korean minister, then we can talk about Russian ministers in Estonia.


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