One should never forget about the past. Hardly there is a better day than today to stop for a moment and to look back at what has been done. On the New Year’s Eve, let’s have a quick look at most important things that happened in Estonia this year.
Song and dance celebration
Held once every five years, it is the festival. This summer Estonian capital got paralyzed for few days as tens of thousands of people flocked to Tallinn to dance, to sing or just to attend this massive event. With more than 20,000 performers on stage at the same time, it’s one of the world’s largest choral events and it’s extremely important for all Estonians as a part of their national consciousness.
Estonia offers e-residency
They did it again. This year Estonia has proved that its aspiration to become the world’s innovation center is not just an idle talk. E-residency, first global, government-standard digital identity has hit the headlines of all the major international media. Now, when everyone can become an e-Estonian to use Estonian government digital services, bank accounts etc., nobody can predict exactly what’s going to be the aftermath, but some foreign investors describe the move as “freaking huge” and “insane”. Once again Estonia has sent a clear message to the world: we’re all about innovation and we’re not afraid of it.
Estonian parliament votes for cohabitation
There are many wars being waged in the world and, surprisingly, one of them is about if same-sex couples should be allowed to live together. Marriage equality is taking over the world and it looks like Estonia can’t stand aside anymore. The new law, that would allow all couples (including same-sex couples) to legally register their cohabitation (kooseluseadus in Estonain, or a law of living together), has exploded like a bomb in Estonian post-Soviet society. In 2014 the country saw protests, religious rages, public discussions, yes and no campaigns until the law has finally won the October voting by a tiny margin 40-38. There is still a chance that next government will shelve the law in 2015, but if not, in 2016 Estonia is going to become the first post-Soviet country to allow same-sex couples to legally register their partnership.
On the picture: people are holding posters for and against the law.
Tensions with Russia grow
Estonians know much more about Russian invasions than they would like to. That’s why they took the conflict in Ukraine deadly serious as soon as it broke out. Mr. Ilves, the president of Estonia, has been warning the West for a long time already about possible dangers of being too friendly with Putin’s regime, but it’s only now the West actually started to listen.
In September Estonian Security Service officer Eston Kohver was abducted at gunpoint from the Estonian side of Estonian-Russian border by Russians using smoke grenades. At the moment the officer is detained in Moscow prison, being accused of espionage.
Barack Obama visited Estonia
In this disturbing times Mr. Obama made his first official visit to Estonia. He gave a 30-minute speech in Tallinn and reminded Estonians that NATO and USA are bound to protect Estonia against foreign invasion: “We have a solemn duty to each other. Article 5 is crystal clear. An attack on one is an attack on all. So if in such a moment you ever ask again “who will come to help?”, you know the answer. The NATO alliance including the armed forced of the United States of America right here, present, now”. In the light of the events in Ukraine, many people find this visit and american military aid assurance a truly historical event.