11 August, 2017


✔︎ Sinimäel maeti hauda 202 langenud sõdurit
(Postimees)
"Säilmed maeti vennashauda, kuhu on varem maetud juba umbes 12,000 Teise maailmasõja ajal Eestis langenud sõdurit. … Punaarmee ja Saksa vägede vahel peetud Sinimägede lahing on teadaolevalt kõige ohvriterohkem lahing Eesti pinnal. "

✔︎ "Americans are more willing to defend NATO Baltic allies if Russia were to invade one of them. For the first time since the question was first asked in 2014, a slim majority now say they would favor sending US troops to defend Latvia, Lithuania or Estonia (52%).” - Chicago Council on Global Affairs

✔︎ On suvi, pole mõtet Zapadi pärast muretseda. - Kaitseväe juhataja Riho Terras


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Friday 11. August
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✔︎ Scientists overturn 5,000 year hypothesis
An interview with Ph.D. student Lehti Saag
(Postimees)
"An article published in the journal Current Biology in July confirms Estonians do not have a single original home in the Ural mountains from where people started moving westward to reach the shore of the Baltic Sea some 5,000 years ago.”
Question: "You studied the bones of five hunter-gatherers and five farmers from 4,500-6,300 years ago. What did you find?"
--
Lehti Saag: "That is the time agriculture reached Estonia. The hunter-gatherers we looked at lived here 6,300-5,600 years ago, the farmers some 4,700-4,500 years ago. Agriculture came to Estonia in the circa one thousand years in between."
--
"We wanted to know how people moved during that time as there has been a lot of talk about how Estonians have lived here for a very long time, and that we are a very indigenous people. It is true in the sense that we still have the most genetic material from hunter-gatherers in Europe. However, we are not the isolated hunter-gatherers who lived here thousands of years ago. We have seen several influxes of people over the millennia..."

Report Summary: "Extensive Farming in Estonia Started through a Sex-Biased Migration from the Steppe"
(Current Biology)
"Here we present the results from new low-coverage whole-genome shotgun sequence data from five hunter-gatherers and five first farmers of Estonia whose remains date to 4,500 to 6,300 years before present.” - [PDF version of the full report is available for purchase.]



- Tapping and tracking Soviet Tallinn’s tourists
(Estonian World)
[I visited Tallinn in 1978 and remember the little-old-lady in the hallway by the elevator!]

- The KGB Welcomes You to the Hotel Viru. Please Mind the Hidden Bugs
(Daily Beast - July 2014)
“… the hotel entrapped visitors into occupying themselves within its premises rather than seeking entertainment outside. This was all in line with the plan of the KGB agents who listened in to every syllable and watched every step taken from their listening room hidden on the secret top floor of Hotel Viru."



Võrumaal: Taluõues kihises ja roomas üliharuldane loodusnähtus
(Lõuna Leht)
"Augusti alguses märkasid Võrumaal Kärgula külas jalutama läinud külalised taluõues hiiglaslikku ussilaadset moodustist, mis koosnes tuhandetest väikestest ussikestest."

"Mis on vaenuköis?”
(Postimees | Eesti Rahvaluule)
"Vaenuköis ehk vainuköis on vaenusääse (Sciara militaris) vaklade moodustatud ahel, mis on kuni 15 cm lai ja 3–4 m pikk, kirjutab Vikipeedia. Vaklade ahelat võib märgata juuli- või augustiöödel niisketes metsades."



- Arvamusfestival 2017
(ERR | Postimees)
"Kaljulaid: õmblusteta ühiskond ei ole raha, vaid õigete asjade küsimus."
--

- 5th annual Opinion Festival begins in Paide
(ERR)
“… the two-day event will feature approximately 160 discussions in Estonian, Russian and English on topics ranging from education to the economy, pornography, and veganism."



- US aircraft damaged as it practices landing on Jägala-Käravete highway - no injuries
(Postimees | Delfi)
Foto: Mihkel Maripuu | Postimees

Estonian Air Force to get two M-28 transport aircraft from US
(The Baltic Times)
“… Estonia will get two transport aircraft M-28/C-145 worth a total of six million U.S. dollars as a present if Estonia covers the costs needed for them to conform to European flight safety regulations as well as transport costs."



Russia: The Federal Security Service wants all data from registered instant messengers and social networks. All of it.
(Meduza)

Graphic: Meduza




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Thursday 10. August
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Terras: võtame Valgevene kutse Zapadile vaatlejaks minna vastu
(ERR)
“…  ja saadab septembris algavale Venemaa-Valgevene suurõppusele Zapad oma vaatlejad."

Estonian military to accept invitation of Belarus to attend Zapad 2017
(BNN)
“General Riho Terras noted that this summer Belarus and Russia have already conducted preparatory joint exercises testing communications in July and currently a demonstrative drill is taking place in Pskov, not far from Estonia and Latvia."



- Mesilased presidendi kantseleis
(YouTube)
"Juuni lõpust asub Vabariigi Presidendi Kantselei roosiaias kolm mesitaru. Roosiaias toimetavad väga rahulikku tõugu kraini mesilased, kelle põhirass on pärit Sloveeniast ja Alam-Austriast."

- That moment when the Estonian president becomes a bee keeper
(Estonian World)
"This week, the president’s office announced that since June, the Kadriorg’s presidential palace has accommodated three beehives in its gorgeous garden."



- USA ründelennukid maanduvad Jägala-Käravete maanteel
(ERR | Postimees)
"Kümme USA Marylandi rahvuskaardi lennuüksuse A-10-tüüpi ründelennukit harjutasid neljapäeval maandumist ja õhkutõusmist Jägala-Käravete maantee laiendusel."
http://www.err.ee/611776/fotod-usa-rundelennukid-harjutasid-maanteele-maandumist

- U.S. A-10 Thunderbolt II Jets Practice Take Off And Landing On Highway in Estonia
(The Aviationist)



- Judicial reform: Polish civil society rises up
(Deutsche Welle)
“Protests against unconstitutional justice reforms in Poland have highlighted the weakness of opposition parties. Young demonstrators don't trust the liberals. Lech Walesa remains the only voice of authority for them."


Chinese tourists boost Helsinki tourist trade
(Yle)
"Chinese tourists spend a lot of money when visiting Finland's capital. Last year visitors from China spent 214 million euros in greater Helsinki. Even more Chinese tourists are expected to come this year."






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Wednesday 9. August
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- Geneetika selgitab, kust on pärit eestlaste esiisad
(ERR)
"Erinevaid teadusuuringuid lugedes on võimalik kokku seada pilt sellest, kust on pärit meie esivanemad. Kogutud info põhjal pani Ajalugu Oskariga kokku animatsiooni, mis seletab väga lihtsalt ja selgelt, kust on pärit eestlaste esivanemad."


Arvamus: Zapad 2017 - õppused või agressioon?
(Postimees)
"Venemaa naabrid jälgivad murelikult idanaabri sõjalisi ettevalmistusi sügisesteks suurõppusteks Zapad 2017. Erukindral ja riigikogu liige Ants Laaneots (Reformierakond) loeb siiski kõige mustemate stsenaariumite täideminekut – sõda või järjekordset anšlussi – ebatõenäoliseks."
- On suvi, pole mõtet Zapadi pärast muretseda
(Eesti Päevaleht)



- NATO Needs an Offensive Cybersecurity Policy
(Real Clear Defense)
"The designation of cyberspace as a domain of operations has far-reaching implications. As decided upon by Allied countries in the Tallinn Manual 2.0, such a label allows NATO to act only against those cyberattacks that qualify as an “armed attack.” In the case of cyberattacks, however, opponents often do not seek physical destruction. Of late, cyberattacks have moved further away from traditional warfare in pursuit of subtler influences, sometimes involving coercive political pressure."



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Tuesday 8. August
_____________

Vaata, kuidas oleme 25 aastaga muutunud
(Äripäev)
"Eestlane muutub järjest targemaks ja toob koju kunagisest umbes nelikümmend korda rohkem raha. Pere loomise lükkame järjest kaugemale, samas iseenda eest oleme õppinud hästi hoolitsema."



- Kuidas ajaloolised fassaadid kasvasid büroohooneteks
(Postimees)
"Linn kasvab ja tiheneb, kuid ajaloolisi mälestusi valvab kaitsevöönd. Siiski on muinsuskaitseamet nii mõnelgi korral lubanud ehitada ajaloolise fassaadi ümber modernse büroohoone."



- NATO in Baltics learns from Ukraine's mistakes
(Deutsche Welle)
"Repeatedly strong NATO approval ratings in all three Baltic states indicate support for strengthening military presence in the region. Combined with paramilitary and volunteer armed forces - such as the Riflemen's Union in Lithuania and Kaitseliit in Estonia - civil society has been mobilizing against the perceived Russian threat, just as it had formed the backbone of resistance in Ukraine."



Poll: Increasing Amount of Americans Support Defending Baltic Allies
'American Opinion on US-Russia Relations: From Bad to Worse'
(Chicago Council on Global Affairs)
"Americans are also more willing to defend NATO Baltic allies if Russia were to invade one of them. For the first time since the question was first asked in 2014, a slim majority now say they would favor sending US troops to defend Latvia, Lithuania or Estonia (52%). And a growing minority of Americans favor sending US troops if Russia invades the rest of Ukraine (from 31% in 2015 to 39% in 2017)."

- Küsitlus: USA elanike hinnangul peaks Baltimaid Venemaa eest kaitsma
(ERR)

Opinion: European Defence - difficult choices ahead for Estonia
(Postimees)

- For Zapad 2017, Washington to deploy paratroopers in Estonia
(BBN)

- Estonian, Maryland National Guard cyber exercise begins at Ämari
(ERR)



- Consumer price index in Estonia increases by 3.6%
(BBN)




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Monday 7. August
_____________

- Korrespondent Maria-Ann Rohemäe: ameeriklased ütlevad, et ma olen jahedavõitu
(ERR)
"Eks ma pean harjuma üleüldiselt Ameerikaga, ameerika inimesed on teistmoodi, mina olen nende jaoks teistmoodi. Ma ise ei pea ennast väga tüüpiliseks eestlaseks või külmaks inimeseks, aga ameeriklased kohati ütlevad mulle, et ma olen jahedavõitu, ma pean harjuma sellega, et small talk on täiesti normaalne nende jaoks. Kui sa lihtsaid vestlusi inimestega ei pea, siis pigem on see nende jaoks ebamugav ja piinlik."



- Eastern Lessons: The “old” West can learn a thing or two from “new” Europe’s progress
by Edward Lucas
(CEPA)
"Estonia’s EU presidency for the remainder of 2017 is a salient reminder of “new” Europe’s progress. The fact that an ex-communist country with one million inhabitants is managing the EU’s agenda is taken for granted. Despite a lackluster government, Estonia is smoothly pushing ahead with its agenda, particularly on creating a digital single market. E-residency - a digital ID card for foreigners - is attracting interest from outsiders wanting to do business in the EU, not least Britons spooked by Brexit. The NATO-affiliated cyber-defense center in Tallinn has just finished its annual “Locked Shields” exercise, now the most important war game of its kind in Europe."
--
"Other frontline states also have plenty to teach. Ukraine, against all odds and at great cost, has fought Russia to a standstill on the battlefield, gaining vital experience about the way Russia wages regular and irregular warfare. Ukraine’s mythbusters have the sharpest antennae when it comes to dealing with Russian propaganda."



- Venemaa mõju Eestis
(ICDS)
"Viimase 25 aasta jooksul on Venemaa mõju Eestis järk-järgult vähenenud. Tänaseks ei ole enamikes valdkondades see märkimist väärt. Eesti puhul on suhted Läänemere naabritega ja ELiga tervikuna palju tähtsamad – ja tugevamad – kui suhted Venemaaga."

- Russian Influence in Estonia






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- Russia -
"Trust No One"
_____________

- Russians Mark Putin’s 18th Year in Power by Reprising Brezhnev-Style Anecdotes
by Paul Goble
(Window on Eurasia)
"In the intervening period, Putin has won enormous authority not only among those who have known no other ruler but also among their elders, but he has also suffered the fate of previous Moscow rulers who remained in office a long time: he and his regime have become the subject of Russian anecdotes that resemble those Soviets told about Leonid Brezhnev.”
Example: "Putin’s movements are a military and state secret but it is difficult to keep them that way because everyone can see where new asphalt is being put down on the roads and where houses are being repaired and painted."

- Putin's Luck has Run Out and Russians Know It: Sergey Shelin
(Window on Eurasia)
"The 18th anniversary of Vladimir Putin in power is an appropriate occasion to remember that the successes of the Kremlin leader and those of Russia as a whole aren’t “one and the same thing, however much his regime tries to promote the opposite view, according to Rosbalt commentator Sergey Shelin."



Why the Pope ♥️ Putin
(Politico-Europe)

"The Vatican’s secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, is scheduled to fly to Moscow on August 20 to meet the Russian president and Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. The four-day visit - the first of its kind since the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014 - is another step in a deepening relationship that began in September 2013, when Francis wrote an open letter to Putin, who was chairing the G20, to express his opposition to a U.S. military intervention in Syria.”



- Russia's Pothole Predicament
(Foreign Affairs)
"It’s no secret that Russia is a kleptocracy in which the state is run for profit by a criminal elite while average citizens shoulder the cost. Road corruption in this setting appears to be a logical revenue stream for all involved—from top officials who pilfer from the roads budget, to construction companies cutting corners, to local traffic cops taking bribes for the most minor traffic violations. Such bribes can be anywhere between $15 to $200. And even if bribes can be avoided, one might still have to cover the cost of a new chassis: because of this perfect storm of graft, roads are littered with holes large enough to dislodge wheels from vehicles.”
"The Soviets, upon inheriting the muddy mess of the country’s roads, sought to improve the infrastructure through labor conscription for local road improvement; such work was often poorly executed and helped to normalize an amateurish approach to what should be a sophisticated engineering endeavor.”

More than 20 Russian Regions Now at Third World Levels Economically
(Window on Eurasia)
“… economists say that Russia faces “at a minimum, 20 years of economic stagnation.”



- Moscow Traffic Havoc
(The Moscow Times)
"If you come to Moscow this summer, 15 minutes after you leave the customs area at the airport you will hear talk of … “Моя улица” - a Moscow city program that the mayor’s office calls "крупнейший проект благоустройства в современной истории Москвы" (the biggest urban improvement project in the modern history of Moscow).
"The reason you’ll hear about it right away is because the person who meets you at the airport will moan about the hours he or she spent in traffic jams due to road work. As proof, your driver will show you his smartphone navigator dotted with thousands of little pictograms of tiny people and miniscule shovels. The signs used to be called "дорожные работы" (road work), but now they’ve been renamed "работы по благоустройству" (urban improvement work). Doesn’t matter what you call them — it’s still guys with shovels wreaking havoc with traffic."

- Moscow's hated construction work gets a mysterious, busty endorsement
(Meduza)



- Russian president visits Abkhazia on anniversary of brief war over the territory
(Politico-Europe)
"NATO criticizes Putin visit to disputed Georgia territory.”



Putin Still in Denial over the Loss of Ukraine
(Atlantic Council)
"When historians look back at the collapse of Russia-Ukraine relations, they will likely pinpoint the invasion of Crimea as the decisive moment. The 2014 military takeover of Ukraine’s southern peninsula and the subsequent Kremlin-led hybrid war in the east have forced Ukrainians into a fundamental reassessment of their attitudes toward Russia. It has poisoned bilateral ties and transformed what was essentially a trade dispute into the geopolitical divorce of the century."



Putin Heads to Occupied Georgia Territory on War Anniversary
(Foreign Policy)
"On Tuesday, the ninth anniversary of the war between Russia and Georgia, Russian President Vladimir Putin took time off from shirtless fishing in Siberia to pay a visit to Abkhazia. That’s one of Georgia’s two occupied territories, recognized as independent by Russia since the war - and Putin’s trip comes exactly one week after Vice President Mike Pence visited Tbilisi and gave a shout out to Georgia’s hopes of joining NATO. (Keeping Georgia out of NATO was the driver behind the 2008 war.)”



Northwestern Russia: Village Bones Reveal Gulag's Horrors
(RFERL)
[Anatolis is a Lithuanian man who was deported with his parents 1,721 km from Vilnius to the gulag in the northwestern Russian village of Adzherom. Bones of the camp's victims are often found in the surrounding forest. Anatolis and his wife find these bones and give them a proper burial.]

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04 August, 2017




✔︎ Pence’i visiit kinnitas Baltimaadele, et USA ei kao kuskile.  (Postimees)

✔︎ "The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact ... is 'the big national scar' for Estonia and the other plundered countries. ... From the Estonian perspective, great powers made a deal 'about you'. This left a legacy of paranoia that is always a subcurrent of the public’s thinking on Russia-related matters.”  - Toomas Hendrik Ilves (The Atlantic)

✔︎ Eighty years ago, on July 30, 1937, secret NVKD order #00447 was signed. This day is widely considered the start of Stalin’s 'Great Terror'. … from August 1937 until November 1938 more than 1.7 million people were arrested on political charges. The authorities executed more than 40 percent of these prisoners.  (Medusa Project)


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Friday 4. August
_____________


✔︎ West Backed Forest Brothers in Baltic Countries, Declassified CIA Documents Show
by Paul Goble
(Window on Eurasia) 
“… the US government not only carefully kept track of “the forest brothers,” as the underground armed resistance to Soviet power there in the late 1940s and early 1950s was known, but provided some limited covert assistance to these groups."


Note: I found Mr. Goble’s report quite interesting; did a little digging and came up with these declassified CIA reports. There are many more via the CIA’s 'Freedom of Information Act Electronic Reading Room’, readily available to anyone. - Aavo

- “Partisan Activities in Central and Southern Russia and Estonia
Dated 14. Jan. 1947

- “Partisan Activity in Estonia” 
Dated 13. Dec. 1951

- “Communist Activity, Moral and Resistance in Estonia
Dated 8. Aug. 1952



- Report: Russia is Using LinkedIn as a Tool of War 
(Newsweek)
“The Russian special services are for sure exploiting LinkedIn to gather personal information on certain targets and possibly recruit and blackmail them,” says a close Kremlin watcher at a university in a former Soviet satellite state, asking for anonymity to protect himself. “They operate under fabricated identities and credentials, while the Russian propaganda and trolling campaigns are widely applied on the platform. … The pro-Moscow campaign has recently expanded - and, in some cases, gone offline - allege some American LinkedIn members who have been criticizing Russia’s covert attacks on the West."




- Kagu-Eestis jätkub kiire interneti baasvõrgu arendamine

(Luna Leht)
"Ettevõtlus- ja infotehnoloogiaminister Urve Palo tuletas meelde, et kaheksa aastat tagasi võttis Eesti eesmärgiks tagada üle Eesti kiire interneti kättesaadavus. „2009. aastal algatatud projekti EstWin vältel on rajatud juba ligi 4800 kilomeetrit lairiba baasvõrku. Projekti lõpuks tahame tuua 98% majapidamistest, ettevõtetest ja asutustest võrgule lähemale kui 1,5 km."



- Haridusministeerium ostab 20,000 euro eest koolidele Euroopa Liidu lippe
(ERR)



- Ämarisse saabusid USA ründelennukid ja helikopterid
(ERR)
"Reedel maandusid Ämari lennubaasis Ameerika Ühendriikide Marylandi rahvuskaardi lennuüksuse ründelennukid A-10 ning helikopterid UH-64 Black Hawk ja CH-47 Chinook, et harjutada koostööd kaitseväe, Kaitseliidu ja NATO lahingugrupiga."



- Kaljulaid teenib rohkem kui Putin
(Äripäev)
"Kaljulaidi riigitöö eest saadavaks aastapalgaks arvutab portaal 206 400 eurot …”
--
 [Angela Merkeli aastapalk: 225 840 eurot … Putini aasapalk: 123,237 eurot … Dalia Grybauskaitė (Leedu President):  86,130 eurot … jne.] 



Zapad 2017: Is the U.S. Ready for Russia’s Largest Military Exercises Since the Cold War?
(Foreign Policy)
“(Vice President Pence) has a national security staff that has won plaudits for its international work. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and the Europe/Russia section of the National Security Council staff can also be counted on to provide the vice president and his team with seasoned support. There is no question that the Department of Defense under James Mattis, together with General Curtis Scaparrotti and his European Command are also ready to back up the vice president. ... The national security apparatus is solid where it needs to be to support Pence in a September crisis in the Baltics.
--
"NATO will be a player at the table too. After all, trouble with the Baltics, unlike with Ukraine, brings the alliance immediately into the picture, especially given the many allies that already have troops deployed in the region.”

- Call for peacetime ‘military Schengen’ to get troops moving
(Politico-Europe)
“… during a real military emergency, NATO's supreme allied commander for Europe would simply warn allies and deploy as needed."

Podcast: Deja Vu All Over Again
by Brian Whitmore
(RFERL)
“(A) look at relations between Moscow and Washington in the aftermath of new U.S. sanctions and Russia's retaliatory moves - and in light of Russia's upcoming Zapad-2017 military exercises."



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Thursday 3. August
_____________

✔︎ How the cybersecurity elite are working to prevent a digital apocalypse
(TechRepublic)
"This is our everyday job and nothing impresses us.” - Klaid Magi, Estonian Computer Emergency Response Team in Tallinn. 
"Magi's usual job is running Estonia's Computer Emergency Response Team, but today he's been in charge of protecting the fictional country of Berylia from unknown aggressors. The team of defenders, operating from a nondescript tower block in a suburb of the Estonian capital Tallinn, is just one of a number taking part in an international cyberdefence exercise aimed at preparing them to tackle the real thing. The two-day exercise, organized by a NATO-affiliated cyber defence think tank, aims to test the skills of these teams at defending a range of technology—from PCs and servers to air traffic control systems."

Estonia to counter cyber attacks by siting critical systems offshore
(ZDNet)
"In 2014, Estonia introduced initial plans to create 'data embassies' capable of running duplicates of its critical systems … The first data embassy will most probably start working at the beginning of 2018 … One of the main goals for the data embassies is to keep Estonia's state systems functioning even in a crisis, when the servers in Estonia don't work for some reason, such as a cyber-attack or the unlikely event of an occupation of Estonian territory."



- Tallinna-Tartu maantee lüheneb mõne aasta pärast viie kilomeetri võrra
(ERR | Ärileht)
“Antud teelõigu ehitamine on tee-ehitajale suur väljakutse, sest loodame 2020. aastal liiklejaid rõõmustada kauaoodatud ohutu ja liiklejasõbraliku 2+2 ristlõikega teelõiguga.”
--

- New section to shorten Tallinn-Tartu highway by five kilometers
(ERR)

- Eesti viis kallimat tee-ehitust
(Postimees)



Kadriorus tuli maa seest välja vana praam
(Postimees)


- Stoltenbergi hinnangul on NATO suhted Venemaaga madalseisus
(Postimees)



Vene mereväe hiigellaevad on Läänemerelt lahkumas
(ERR)
"Hiljuti palju tähelepanu pälvinud Venemaa Põhjalaevastiku alused - tuumaallveelaev Dmitri Donskoi ja lahinguristleja Pjotr Veliki - on praegu Läänemerelt lahkumas ning suunduvad tõenäoliselt oma baasi Severomorskis."



Tracking Russian propaganda in real time
(Meduza Project)
"The German Marshall Fund of the United States unveiled a new online tool - a “dashboard” - designed to “provide a near real-time look at Russian propaganda and disinformation efforts” on Twitter.”
--
"Kevin Rothrock reviews the recent history of American efforts to unmask Russian propaganda, and takes a critical look at potential flaws in this latest online resource."

“Dashboard”



U.S. General Says Russia Not 'Transparent' About Upcoming Zapad 2017 Exercises
(RFERL)



- Miks on õlu Eestis kaks korda kallim kui Lätis?
(ERR)
"ERR palus nii A le Coqil kui ka Sakul näitlikustada, kuidas kujuneb õllekohvri ning pudeliõlle hind Eestis ja Lätis. Põhiliselt mängivad rolli kolm näitajat: käibemaks, aktsiis ja kaupluse juurdehindlus."



✔︎ Pskov: Russia’s Villages, and Their Way of Life, Are ‘Melting Away’
(New York Times)
"In terms of population loss, Pskov, which borders Latvia and parts of Estonia, is among the worst hit regions in Russia. The population peaked at around 1.8 million in the 1920s, said Andrei Manakov, a demographer at Pskov State University. It is down to 642,000, and projected to drop to about 513,000 by 2033. Researchers estimate that out of 8,300 area villages in 1910, 2,000 no longer have permanent residents.”
Google Maps

"The Pskov region has four maternity hospitals, down from 26 a decade ago, with the wealthy now usually giving birth in specialized, Russian-speaking clinics across the border in Estonia.”
"The Pskov region has the worst ratio of births to deaths in the nation, with 18 people per 1,000 dying every year and just 11 per 1,000 being born. the military adventures and economic problems of the last two years undermined the confidence people need to reproduce, similar to what happened in the 1990s."
--
“Life is unpredictable, so people have fewer children.”



Helsinki set to become world's busiest sea passenger port
(Yle)
"Largely due to traffic to and from Estonia, ships in Helsinki's harbours serve some 12 million passengers a year. Helsinki is currently tied with Dover, England as the busiest passenger ports in the world."



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Wednesday 2. August
_____________

- Eesti autoäri edu üllatab müüjaid ennastki
(Postimees)
"Kuue kuuga on tänavu müüdud aga 13,332 uut autot, mida on 13,4  protsenti rohkem kui 2016. aasta samal perioodil …"



- Läti saab saata kaks vaatlejat Vene-Valgevene sõjaväeõppusele Zapad
(ERR)
"Ka Leedu ja Eesti said kutse tulla Zapadit vaatlema."



- Isesõitev buss ei sõidagi ise: konduktor peab kriitilisil hetkil sekkuma 
(Delfi)
"Kuigi buss on teoorias isesõitev, näitab praktika, et tehisintellekt pole 50 000 eurose prototüübi näol enda ülimuslikkust inimese suhtes veel näidanud. Konduktor, kelle olemasolu muudab bussi tehnikamuuseumisse kuuluva pentsiku eksponaadi laadseks asjanduseks, annab oma jutuga alust arvata, et läheb veel üks hea pool kümnendit, enne kui ükski masin turvaliselt mööda linna sõitjaid vedada saab."

- No major incidents with driverless buses in first three days
(ERR)
"Tallinn is the first city in which driverless buses will come in direct contact with live traffic. While the twin Easymile shuttles only officially began operating on Saturday, its training began long prior, with a specialist flying in from France to help the vehicles practice traveling along their route. The driverless buses will not remain in Estonia long, however; the testing phase will conclude at the end of August, after which the vehicles will be returned to France."



✔︎ OpEd: Pence or Trump - Whose Message to Believe on Russia?
(New York Times)
"Vice President Mike Pence has been delivering a remarkably consistent message on a trip to Eastern Europe this week - praising old alliances and reaffirming America’s commitment to defend democratic nations against those countries that would undermine them. Too bad these sentiments aren’t as eagerly embraced and celebrated by the man he works for back in the White House.”
“No threat looms larger in the Baltic States than the specter of aggression from your unpredictable neighbor to the east,” he said, blaming Russia for continuing to “redraw international borders by force, undermine the democracies of sovereign nations and divide the free nations of Europe one against another.”
"Meanwhile, Mr. Trump has not so far responded to Mr. Putin’s sweeping order on Friday that the United States shrink its embassy and consulate staff by 755 people, to 455, as well as Moscow’s announcement that it was seizing two American diplomatic properties."

✔︎ Pence talks tough on Russia while finding his footing abroad
(Washington Post)
"At nearly every stop, the vice president spoke forcefully about the specter of Russian aggression, talked of “peace through strength,” and reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, reiterating its cornerstone pledge that an attack on one nation is an attack on all.”
"The only problem is that Pence’s tough-on-Russia talk doesn’t quite align with some of the previous comments from Trump, who remained mostly silent on the issue this week."

✔︎ Pence: Russia’s ‘destabilizing behaviors are not acceptable’
(The Hill)
"Vice President Mike Pence says the new Russia sanctions bill signed by President Trump on Wednesday sends a message to Russia that the United States does not condone its meddling and "destabilizing behaviors.”
--
"Trump called the bill “seriously flawed” and said it contains “a number of clearly unconstitutional provisions” that limit his ability to dictate sanctions without congressional approval."

✔︎ Pence on the frontline
(CEPA)
"In meeting with the three Baltic Presidents - Kersti Kaljulaid of Estonia, Raimonds Vējonis of Latvia, and Dalia Grybauskaitė of Lithuania – Pence asserted that the largest threat they faced was “the specter of aggression from your unpredictable neighbor to the east.” In response to Moscow’s persistent pressure against the Baltic countries, Pence underscored that a strong and united NATO was more important now than at any time since the collapse of the Soviet Union."




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Tuesday 1. August
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- Vene piirivalvurid pidasid kinni Eesti kodaniku
(Lõuna Leht)
“… Värska vallas asuva Sesniki küla lähedal …"



- Neli küsimust, mis jäid asepresident Pence’il Tallinnas vastamata
(Eesti Päevaleht - behind a paywall)



- Pence'i visiiti turvas harvanähtav soomusmaastur
(Delfi)
“… Ameerikast hangitud soomusmasinat Gurkha Tactical …"



 - How to ridicule and threaten at once:
Russia’s bunker busters will reach Finns underground
(Disinfo Review)
"When the respected Wall Street Journal publishes an article “Beneath Helsinki, Finns prepare for Russian Threat”, there are several ways media can react. And it is quite telling to observe the difference between mainstream journalists and pro-Kremlin outlets.”
"In Russia, the media’s reaction was twofold … "We are no threat to anyone, you are hysterical and living in the last century.” and "Our weapons are invincible and you cannot hide from them."



- Chinese Navy ships dock in Helsinki for courtesy visit
(Yle)




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Monday 30. July
VP Mike Pence in Estonia
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✔︎ Pence meets with Baltic presidents at Kadriorg
(ERR)


Twitter: VP Pence in Europe (#VPinEurope)

- Pence’i visiit kinnitas Baltimaadele, et USA ei kao kuskile
(Postimees)

- VP Pence Says U.S. Will 'Always Stand' With Baltic Nations
(RFERL | Washington Post | EER)

- VP Pence in Estonia raises prospect of deploying Patriot missiles
(Deutsche Welle)

- Lithuanian President Says Russia Uses Energy For ‘Manipulation'
(RFERL)

- USA asepresident Mike Pence lahkus Eestist
(ERR)



- The Testing Ground for Trump's Russia Policy
(The Atlantic)
"Nearby countries such as the Baltic nations will remain fearful of Russia … but those fears have less to do with Russia itself than with the West, whose leaders failed to protect them during the World War II era."
--
"The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, a 1939 agreement in which Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union secretly staked out spheres of influence in the Baltics and elsewhere in the region, is “the big national scar” for Estonia and the other plundered countries, Toomas Hendrik Ilves said. 
"From the Estonian perspective, great powers made a deal “about you,” he explained. This left a legacy of “paranoia” that “is always a subcurrent” of the public’s thinking on Russia-related matters."



Minsk Seeks Maximum Transparency during Zapad 2017 Exercise to Block Provocations 
(Window on Eurasia)

- Russia’s Military Drills Near NATO Border Raise Fears of Aggression
(New York Times)


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Sunday 29. July
VP Mike Pence Arrived in Estonia
_____________

Juhtkiri: Euroopa ja Eesti vajavad Ameerikat
(Postimees)

- Mike Pence arrives in Estonia, kicking off Eastern Europe trip
(ABCNews | Washington Post | Newsweek)

- USA asepresident Pence kohtus Ratasega, räägiti ka Patriot-rakettidest
(ERR | Postimees | Delfi)
"Ameerika ennekõike" ("America First") ei tähenda "Ameerika üksi" ("America alone")

InterviewVP Pence in Tallinn 
(Fox News)
“America First does not mean America Alone."



- Siberi Koidula küla saadab Eestisse kolm sõnumit
(Postimees)
"Viktor Maranik (59) võtab mul käest kinni ja paneb südamele, et ma viiks Siberis Kemerovo oblastis viimasest veel enam-vähem säilinud eestlaste külast Koidula esiisade maale kolm sõnumit, mis tema hinge piinavad."



- How a tiny Baltic nation became a top destination for U.S. officials
(Politico)
“During the Obama years, Michael Carpenter (foreign policy adviser to Vice President Joe Biden) said, Estonians courted Biden more than other countries of its size. A lot of people don’t think to reach out to the staff of the vice president,” Carpenter said. “They were very, very good at checking in on a regular basis.” Current and former Estonian officials also pop up in disproportionate numbers at think tank events and foreign policy conferences in Washington, and pay regular calls on Washington reporters to press their case. “Some embassies around town really know how to work the scene,” Carpenter said. “The Estonians are a good example that works the whole scene.”




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- Off Topic -
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✔︎ Europe struggles to dispose of nuclear waste
(Politico-Europe)
"Political opposition, not technical hurdles, poses biggest challenge to finding permanent storage sites for deadly radioactive material."

Nuclear Waste: Finland Shows How It Can Be Done
(New York Times - June 2017)

EU Report: Inventory of radioactive waste and spent fuel
(European Commission)

- Nuclear power plants in Europe
(European Nuclear Society)
"As of November 2016 there is a total of 186 nuclear power plant units with an installed electric net capacity of 163,685 MWe in operation in Europe …”

- Brussels plans to saddle UK with EU nuclear waste
(Financial Times)






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- Russia -
"Trust No One"
_____________

- With Trump’s Hands Tied, Putin Is Free to Act
by Maxim Trudolyubov
(Keenan Institute)
"Now, eight months after the election, Russia is realizing that the constellation of forces it has to deal with in the U.S. includes Congress, the intelligence agencies, law enforcement, and the media–not just the executive. Even if you hack the executive or somehow manage to co-opt it, “the system” may turn against you, because it is more complex than you thought. Moscow was aiming at dealing with what it considered its equal, the executive. Instead, it ended up strengthening another branch of government, the legislature."

Putin Doesn’t Understand All Regimes Aren’t Like His – and No One in the Kremlin Will Tell Him
By Paul Goble
(Window on Eurasia)
“… it is sufficient [for him] to speak with Trump and everything will be decided. But he completely fails to consider that in the US there is an entirely different political system, and although Trump can decide about a great deal, all the same, he can’t decide everything.”



- Vene Raudtee kaalub Berliini ja Peterburi vahelist rongiliini
(ERR)
“… mis kulgeks läbi Läti, Leedu ja Poola, vahendab uudisteagentuur TASS."



Pro-Russian Separatists Harden Split from Ukraine
(Spiegel)
"After nationalizing businesses, pro-Russian separatists have proclaimed their own state in eastern Ukraine, calling it "Little Russia." Tens of thousands of residents in the region are now jobless.”



✔︎ Questions you're too embarrassed to ask about Stalin's Great Terror 
(Meduza Project)
"Eighty years ago, on July 30, 1937, secret NVKD order number 00447 was signed. This day is widely considered the start of the “Great Terror,” a period of political repressions lasting into 1938 during which no less than 1.7 million people were arrested, more than 700,000 of whom were executed. Soviet secret police targeted “enemies of the people,” “counterrevolutionaries,” “wreckers,” and their friends and relatives. To mark the anniversary of this human catastrophe, Meduza asked historian Sergey Bondarenko, who works with the civil rights society “Memorial,” to answer some of the most basic, embarrassingly ignorant questions about the Stalinist repressions between 1937 and 1938."



- Putin oma eluajal sanktsioonide lõppu ei näe
(Eesti Päevaleht)
"Kui Moskva aitas demokraatide vastu korraldatud häkkerirünnakutega Trumpil Valgesse Majja jõuda, siis on kongresmenid leidnud sekkumisele väga tõhusa vastuse: „Kutid, te võisite teha meie presidendist küll oma kliendi, kuid meie seome ta käed, nii et mingit tulu teile sellest ei tõuse.”



- Don't Underestimate Putin’s Thirst For Power
(Die Welt via WorldCrunch)
"It stands to fear, that the U.S., under the leadership of its new president, will legitimize Moscow’s violation of international law as well as its demands for a “zone of influence” within Eastern Europe. But no one should be fooled into believing that Putin’s ambitions stop there. Ultimately, he envisions forcing his will onto all of Europe."



- Russia’s Creeping Occupation in Georgia
(New York Times)



- Russia's Back-to-the-80s Foreign Policy
(The Atlantic)
"The latest round of Russian-American embassy staff hits - Russia cut hundreds of U.S. Embassy employees in an escalatory response to U.S. expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats last December - recall the big Soviet-American embassy staff expulsions of 1986. Few recall the details of these Reagan-era fights. But many remember that the 1980s ended badly for the Soviet Union."



- The Russian Navy: To deter the US and to Compete With China
(Jamestown Foundation)
"The Russian Armed forces are becoming the main element of the government’s “patriotic propaganda.” Currently, the Ministry of Defense is overwhelmingly focused on preparing to celebrate the 320th anniversary of the Russian Naval Fleet. Even the Dmitryi Donskoyi, the last remaining Soviet-era Project 941 nuclear submarine, will take part (Krasnaya Zvezda, July 26). State television incessantly repeats that it is the biggest submarine in the world—a dubious achievement meant to symbolize Russia’s military power. Such remnants of Soviet military might can similarly be observed in the “Fundamentals of Russia’s State Naval Policy Through 2030,” a strategic planning document recently approved by decree of President Vladimir Putin (Pravo.gov.ru, July 20). The document is interesting for two main reasons: First, it provides insights into how the Kremlin views the world. Second, it allows one to judge the extent to which Moscow’s naval ambitions correspond to reality."
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