Chartists versus the World
Published Postimees 13 December 2012


This week December 13 2012  my book “A small white nation” comes out. In the book, I examine Estonia's place in the World. How and why Estonia has moved from being a country at the periphery to the very centre of the debate of how the world ought to be run.

There is more story telling in the book than I normally write. I am quite sure I will enrage some people and shock others. One thing I described so shocked my editor that she refused to believe it was true.

“Are you really sure it happened?” she kept asking me over and over again. I leave you to guess what it is but you have to read the book.

But there is one thing that has been left out. I don't write about Charter 12. The simple reason is when I handed the manuscript in to my publishers it didn't exist yet.

It was just perfect timing, I write a book discussing amongst other things, whether Estonian political culture is failing on not, and a month later, some of the country's leading minds, let's call them the chartists, get together and say categorical that failing it IS!

Still the book is up to date. And at the risk of being a bit presumptuous it is up to date precisely because I'm not Estonian. Let me explain.

The chartists and their fellow travellers have been falling over themselves to describe how bad the situation is.

Some have compared the situation to the 30s. Others have compared the situation to the Arab spring.

Lecturer and writer Rein Raud said we were going back to communist times.
Jaan Kaplinski compared it to 1994 when Laar's first government fell. Scholar and poet, Aare Pilv compared the situation to talking to a computer. You may get angry at the computer but the computer is not going to respond.

Expats see things differently. The international community do not think democracy is collapsing.

The proof of this is reports from the Bertelsman Foundation, the Economist Intelligent Unit and others.

There is a cartoon somewhere on the web, you can have fun looking for it, of a parrot holding a copy of the Charter 12 and squawking.

“Democracy collapsing, government corruption, crisis, Polly wants a cracker.”

The chartists may not be ridiculous, but they are being ridiculed.
In June when Meikargate first broke, I wrote that the scandal could actually show Estonia in a positive light because it shows the media holding politicians on all sides up for public scrutiny.

Nobody paid any attention except for Mihhail Lotman who greeted with me warmly when I ran into him.

The chartists are urban cosmopolitan types so why do they see things so differently to rest the World? Why are they squawking like parrots?

Well to understand this we have understand what the charter actually is. Charter 12 is in the tradition of charters that date back all the way to Magna Carta in 1215 when England's barons restricts the power of the king. It was the first inkling of the concept of rule of law. In the early 19th Century there was the Chartist movement that tried unsuccessfully to win universal male suffrage. In modern times there was Charter 77 the dissent movement in Czechoslovakia, then Charter 88 in Britain that called for a modernisation of Britain's unwritten constitution. Charter 88 is no big deal but the other charters were really big moments in the histories of their countries.

Charter 12 uses far more strident language than 77 or 88.

Charter 77 talks about engaging: “in a constructive dialogue with political and state power.”

Charter 12, lest we forget said that “neither the President of the Republic nor the government appear to want to change the situation.”

Charter 77 said it did not want to lay down its own program of political of social reforms or changes.

Charter 12 does precisely that.

Some say the strident language is proof that Estonian democracy is working.

Vaclav Havel and the 77 gang were facing an authoritarian regime. They had to tone it down. They were still hunted like wild animals.


Some say Charter 12 is nothing to do with civil society and everything to do with ambition and grandiosity.

Lotman called Charter 12 a bid for power: "Is the point of this whole undertaking really to pave the road to Parliament for one group of people? Is Parliament really bad because some of them found themselves locked out?" he asked.

The grandiosity means far from opening up the debate the Chartists are closing it down.

Four years ago Barbi Pilvre could write.

“The political and economic analytical premier league in Estonia is a famously narrow group of people. Open discussion is characterised by a settled hierarchy. We have a lot of well-known experts in their particular areas. Bystanders are not let in, not because they lack competence, but because we have this authoritarian discussion culture. If the hierarchy had a chance they would keep it that way as the media loves to protect experts.”

Since then this settled hierarchy has been blown apart. Anybody can write about anything and get it published.

So along comes this charter. The chartists are reclaiming their position as overseer of the nation's political debating culture.

And this is most effective if framed in the strongest language possible.

It's pretty ironic that the chartists, whom rail against a return to the Soviet times, have set themselves up as a vanguard of people. It's all very well....Leninist.

But for me, none of these theories work.

Some of the charter's signers are already in Riigikogu. And none of the charter's signer make a living by writing stuff in the newspaper.
I am going to opt for a simpler explanation for the squawking. It reminds me of an old joke.

“The bullets in the Matrix are Estonian.”

I remember how I felt about Estonian politics back in 2010 when it finally dawned on me how moribund and decadence the Estonia’s political system had become and was going to remain.

I felt despair, I felt more than despair. I felt -the Germans have a word for it- “angst.”

This was my political angst. I haven't felt that way for 20 years. I have always loved politics but for the longest time I didn't want to read about politics. It was too painful, which put me in a difficult situation because I write about politics.

I remember discussing this with other ex-pats and they recall feeling the same. Now just like Pilv says I am just like a robot. I have become numb to it all.

Estonians are patient but that patience isn't bottomless.

The emotions of the chartists, like Matrix bullets, have caught up to what I was feeling back then. Their anger, frustration and angst has reached breaking point. They can't take it anymore.

Any other nation would have been up in arms by 2009- 2010 already.

Meikar or somebody else would have come forward back then already. And it would have fitted in with everything else that was happening back then. Democracy is going to hell and the economy is going to hell.
Charter 9, Charter 10 or even Charter 11 would make perfect sense. Charter 12 just seems like hyperbole.

But “A small white nation” was written some time ago. And because I am not Estonian I was feeling like a chartist already when I wrote it. So along with the joy, the love, the apprehension, and the humanity there is angst, real angst.



Book published 10.12.12




A Black President for a Small White Nation II
An Intellectual Casino
The Great Migration
Two Tribes About the Estonian British communities
Immigration Policy
On the Meikar Affair A political scandal Involving money laundering
The invisible beautiful Estonian film
The Austrian Factor On Austrian economics
Galojan won't be coming home soon.
On Veerpalu.
Survival of the fitness
The view from London On the Euro
White Riots More on London Riots
City under siege London Riots
The end of Newspapers 
China Rising
Playing around with higher education
Response from Education Minister (ed note: in Estonian, will translate into English when I have time)
Right is Right ?
Sotsid are not freaks Why are the Social Democrats still failing?
Room 101 A comparison between British kids and Estonian kids
Go West Where is Estonia exactly?
Musician Jaan Tätte view Follow up story
The greatest speech of all time A review of Unite Estonia a very successful political play held 8 May at Saku Suurhall.
For Europe's sake: Stop the Tories How the British elections will influence Estonia.
The libertarian tradition Why Estonian Health care is better than the USA
Brave new Estonia Estonian Independence day
Cancel the debt Haitian crisis
Who's in charge here How the leader of the opposition in Estonia can bully the PM.
The man who annoys Estonians: Q and A with Priit Pullerits Postimees did this in depth interview.
Black men, Estonian women the truth
An opinion piece. The title is self-explanatory.
Pyrrhic Victory
About the 2009 local elections in Estonia.
Laar's Dilemma About the former PM of Estonia.
Cult of Youth Why Estonia is run by kids
Quiet genius who brought East to the West How the Koran came to be published in Estonia.
Bigotry and denial Race relations in the Baltics in particular Lithuania
A hard landing indeed About the economic crisis
Fighting to preserve a Nation's heritage Lithuania's Jewish community



A black president for a small white nation II
Why Estonia and Obama need each other. Published Postimees 14 December 2012 

Four years ago I outraged the nation when I suggested in my first Postimees article what Michelle Obama the president's wife might be thinking if Estonia got into trouble.

Ah yes Estonia that small-minded little white nation....to hell with them.”

That article was about a fair dialogue between Estonia and black people.

I am not going to talk about that here, suffice to say progress has been made, and I have to admit after four years I believe far from being hostile, Obama will look kindly upon Estonia precisely because of his African heritage, here is why.

We have seen Obama appearing to conspire with Russia's leadership at a nuclear security summit in Seoul, South Korea, March 2012.

It’s important for him to give me space,”  he said in a ´hot mike´ moment with outgoing President Medvedev. The him in question being Putin.

The foreign policy experts were worried here.

The leadership of America's traditional allies are worried, they don't trust Obama.

The Israeli's feel he is siding with the Palestinians, the British feel he doesn't like us. He needs us but he doesn't like us. That is what he means when he said the relationship between Britain and America is an “essential relationship” rather than a “special relationship.”

To understand how Obama thinks one should read what has written about himself. I have some insight on this because of my background, I believe what works against Britain and Israel, works for Estonia.

The theory doing the rounds in conservative circles is what is “wrong” with Obama is not that he is a socialist but that he is an “anti-colonialist,” what ever that means.

“Anti-colonialism” is a rather misleading mash-up of two different concepts, anti-imperialism and post-colonialism.

Both terms can be applied to Obama.

Anti-imperialism just means being against imperialism. You can be right-wing anti-imperialist. The libertarian right in America is anti-imperialist.

Post-colonialism is a left-wing academic theory. Post-colonialism is a theory that posits that the West, led by America, defines the rest of the world in a way that is unfair and inaccurate. This definition has been used as a justification for imperial adventurism most recently in Iraq.

The stepfather of post-colonialism is the late Palestine scholar Edward Said who in his book “Orientalism” argued the Orient doesn't really exist. The concept was invented by 19th and 20th Century Western writers, not as a conspiracy, but as part of an intellectual Foucaultian discourse, which divides the world into them and us.

Obama was at Colombia the same time as Edward Said. It is not clear if he ever took a course with him they certainly knew each other. It is not difficult to find pictures of them having dinner together.

Moreover Maria Mälksoo, professor at Tartu University has written that the Orientalism has been going on here. In other words Eastern Europe does not exist, even the Baltics does not exist, these definitions were created by Western writers and don't reflect what the region actually is.

Dinesh D'souza, conservative author and film-maker, who made the film “2016 Obama's America” explains what all this means.

“If you want to know why there is anti-Americanism round the world, it is anti-colonialism,” he said. On American television.

“He(Obama) subscribes to an ideology that sees America as the rogue nation in the world. The whole ship of the world has gone one side up and has gone one side up because one civilisation the West, America conquered the rest of the world and stole its stuff.”

According to D'Souza, Obama wants to make America weaker and poorer to address this injustice.

“The world is divided into the oppressors and the oppressed. You have to put a leash on the rouge element that is America.”

Put simply from D'Souza point of view, Obama won't defend Estonia because to so would be an imperial act.

D'Souza cites as evidence for his theory what Obama writes in his book “Dreams from my father”.
In this book, Obama writes that he couldn't have his father so he took his dream.

Obama's father fought against the British Empire. In the 50s America replaced Britain as the main imperial power. Therefore Obama wants America curtailed.

D'Souza film was a huge success, but his ideas have been rubbished by the American media. I think he is on to something.

Obama's father was a British citizen from Kenya, Obama spend much of his youth in Asia, his background is similar to mine and for that matter D'Souza's. And yes, we were all are raised with the same narrative, which includes post-colonialism and anti-imperialism, even if we didn't call it that.

This is where I have an insight. The teenage Obama of “Dreams from my father” reminds my of my nephew.

Like Obama my nephew is growing up with only one parent, like him he is very bright, opinionated, interested both in politics and culture. He defines himself by African-American pop culture despite or maybe because of the fact that he is mixed race. He also continually spouts anti-imperialist, post-colonial, anti-American rhetoric. My nephew has reminded me that post-colonialism is part of the DNA of discourse of all children of the Empire.

D'Souza may be right in his assessment, but he is wrong in conclusions.

In the last four years Obama has gotten to know a little about Estonia. He knows Prime Minister and the President. I can't see why Obama should be different to any other foreigner, the more he learns about Estonia the more he is going like it.

Intelligent people like Estonia because of the warm welcome from the people, the positively vibe and dynamism, the nature and architectural heritage. Obama has his own reasons; post-colonial reasons.


Estonia is post-colonial, it has never been an aggressor nation. Estonia has always been a victim of aggressor nations.

If we assume D'Souza is right, countries like Britain, France and Israel are always going to be bad and essential, countries like Estonia are always going to be good and non-essential.

But Obama's task is to stand up for the non-essential, or the “subalterns” to use the jargon of academia.

A comment from a student of my stuck me. “20 years ago it was illegal to be Estonian,” a young person told me.

If Obama ever heard something like that I have doubt whose side he would be on.

Obama vision is for America to be the champion of the oppressed and given the right information Obama can understand that this narrative can play out for small white nations as well.

Obama acceptance speech was very hopeful for Estonia He gave a strong indication that he will stand up to Putin, if he tries any funny stuff.

He began by saying: “Tonight more than 200 years after a former colony won the right to determine its own destiny, the task of perfecting this union moves forward.”

In other words, America was once a colony itself, and it should stand up for other former colonies.

He continued: “A nation that is defended by the strongest military on Earth.”

In other words, he is not planning to significantly reduce America's military commitments any time soon.

You may say that I am reading more into the speech than was there, but I don't think so.

As a former speech myself writer, I know that these speeches are worked on months, in advance and carefully worded. The American president was talking to his “people” both in America and abroad and after fours years in office I believe Obama understands that “his people” may include a small white nation.





An Intellectual Casino
Published Postimees 15 October 2012

Imagine an animal. It is grey, has eight arms, a primitive brain, and suckers, lives in the sea. It looks like an octopus, it's mother and father are octopuses, its children are octopuses. But it is not an octopus. Let's call it a non-octopus.

Now imagine an investment firm. It has grown at a phenomenon rate over 10 years. Its sleekly dressed, oily, smooth talking, Russian-speaking owners make huge amounts of money. Most of its customers lose money and they lose ALL their money. But lets not call it a scam, let's call in a respectable brokerage company working hard to make money for it clients. It is not in any case an octopus.

Tallinn is the global headquarters for a venerable institution, which for legal purposes we will call Non-octopus Forex company. It is all part of the retail forex market which in Estonia is controlled by Russian-speaking Estonian who started out in the 90s. They allied with Russian from the mother land in the early 2000s and set up shop here in Tallinn. non-octopus Forex has plush offices down town. It billboards can be seen in advertising hoarding in the city centre. With offices in over 27 country and growing, its emm..... tentacles are spreading out across the world.


Non-octopus remains an excellent way for suckers to lose all their money. Don't take my word for it.

"Ninety five percent of our retail customers lose their money. It's an intellectual casino," Juri K one of the companies top managers told me. He went on to say that the education and training programs are a waste of time.

Juri seems typical of non-octopus's senior managers, speaking perfect English, he is impeccably dressed, he can operate in any international setting. Ironically he doesn't operate so well in Estonia, his intellect and interests are elsewhere. In my interview with him he betrayed a lack of knowledge about what is going on here.

Forex short for foreign exchange is investing in the price of national currencies. Just as an investor might trade shares, an investor can try to make money guessing about the price fluctuation of foreign currencies.

Everybody is in agreement that forex is high risk because it operates on something called gearing.

Think about buying a house. You put down €10,000 to buy a €100,000 house and borrow the rest from the bank. In effect you control an assets worth €100,000. If the price of the house goes up to €160,000 as happened a few years ago, you have made €50,000 profit, assuming you sell. But if the price goes down you could be in deep trouble.

That's how forex works, but the margins so much are bigger the potential for loss is enormous. €10,000 can get you control of €5000,000 at the outrageous 500:1 margins that Non-octopus Forex company can and does operate.

Forex is supposed to be for the big fish. Countries and huge international financial institutions make up the bulk of the market.

In recent years the recession has created a lot of desperate people all over the world. Company's like Non-octopus Forex company have preyed on them.


American, Chris Brown, 32, worked for the company for nine months developing new markets. He is one of a number of foreigners the company recruited to pull in foreign clients. He said Non-octopus is a gambler's racket that attracts people who are too poor to be investing in anything, how much more Forex.

"The whole industry is centred around cultivating the idea of a casino. If you look at the style of art work on their websites."

Brown describes a world where poor people in countries like the Philippines are getting ripped off by
"shady suits in Tallinn."

"Set aside the moral elements it is bad business anyway. But that's what we were doing because it was the quickest easiest money," Brown said.

"We send advertising to people who don't have the wherewithal to understand the awful nature of trading."

The final straw for Chris was a marketing campaign which offered €50 for trading a certain amount with a demo account in the Middle East and other parts of Asia, places where €50 is a couple of weeks of helpful finance.

"First of all it is not sustainable, If you want to be a sharky assed businessman, there is only so many of those people you can pull in, before word spreads that it is a complete sham," Brown said.

The b*******t from Non-octopus Forex company doesn't stop there. In their literature they proudly claim to be regulated by the European Union. The truth is very different.

"They try hard to be as unregulated as possible," Chris Brown said.

"We had a company that operated in the British Virgin Island and another one in Europe if anyone would ask we would say we are regulated in Europe."


"However (foreign) clients weren't dealing a European regulated company. They did not have the same protection they would have if in fact they were living in Europe.

"It is was clear that we were not going to expand into the (United) States because US regulations are 10 times tighter."

The line from the company's PR people is pretty much what you expect.

Yes, Forex is high risk, there is an element of risk in any investment but people can make profits if they know what they are doing. The company offers training programs, seminars to teach its customers how to trade in Forex. The seminars and training programs and bundled Forex software all add to the company's profit.

But a careful examination of their public statements gives the true picture of what is going on.

"Market makers in foreign exchange trading by default sell positions to and buy positions from their customers. Different buy and sell positions cancel each other out, therefore eliminating the need for netting in the market,"Franziska R, press relations for the company informed me, in response to an email.

In other words the Non-octopus Forex company really is a casino. Give them your money and you are betting against the house and not on the market.

Chris Brown said that as a broker clients would ask him.

"If you are the counter party to my trade, if I lose, you win which is technically true," he said.

"If the client wins the brokerage loses but most people trade poorly because they don't quite understand what they should be doing to maintain share margin.

"If somebody doesn't have limits placed on loses and gains they are going to end up losing at some point."

Like any other casino it is in the house's interest for the customer lose money.
Does any of this matter, this article is not suggesting that the company is breaking any laws. Besides Tallinn has plenty of other casino.

The existence of a major retail Forex company based in Tallinn doesn't mean that the reputation of the country will be damaged. There are dodgy company everywhere.

"The only people who get into Forex market are people who look at the idea of making a thousand per cent (profit) in one day. Those people who are inherently dodgy anyway," Chris Brown said.

It may not be important as the latest political scandal but it is just as sad. The company owners are misrepresenting to the whole World who they are and what they do. If they are running a casino they should call it that. And by these shady dealing they are making locals and ex-pats dislike and distrust a group of people who who everybody is trying so desperate hard to like and trust. I leave it to you to work out who.











































Translation



This blog requires sophisticated translation to operate.


Many articles were written in English and translated into Estonian.


Others were written in Estonian and translated into English.

Click on the links to see the translated versions.


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News




In English

A first for Estonia: An elected Black Politician
Christian Science Monitor 26 Oct 2013

Turay to take seat on Tallinn city council 
Published ERR 22 Oct 2012

Mixed Results for Tallinn City Council 
Published ERR 21 Oct 2012 

The expat running for city council 
Published ERR 16 August 2013 

Estonian gets its first Black candidate for city councillor
Published ERR 16 August 2013 

Interview with Estonian World 
6 June 2013 Estonia World 


Eesti Keeles

I am not a natural social democrat
Eesti Päevaleht 25 October 2013

Abdul Turay joins the Social Democratic Party
Postimees 24 October 2013 


Social Democrats send Abdul Turay to the city Council 
Eesti Päevaleht 23 October 2013 

Abdul Turay gets into the City Council
Postimees 22 Oct 2013

I will represent the views of the whole community in government
Postimees 16 August 2013

Kross: we were also interested in Turay
Postimees 16 August 2013 

Abdul Turay to be a candidate for the social democrats 
Delfi 16 August 2013

Columnist Abdul Turay to be a candidate on the social democrats list
Õhtuleht 16 August 2013 

Abdul Turay to be candidate for Social Democrats 
Postimees 16 August 2013

Abdul Turay to be a candidate for local government
Reporter 16 August 2013 

An experiment has been taking place in Estonia for the last  is a 25 years
Eesti Paevaleht 26 November 2012 

Interview with Maaleht 
Maaleht 01 February 2013 





Published Delfi 13 December

Today journalist Abdul Turay presented his book in Viru Central Rahva book store “A small white nation” in which he deals in depth with the themes of Estonian culture and political landscape. Talking with the author was Priit Hõbemagi.....

Four years ago was published the opinion story which carried the headline “A black president for a small white nation” From that time Abdul Turay has with his pen published a huge amount of candid and brave opinion columns deconstructing Estonian life.
In “A small white nation” he deals with these themes in detail, in addition he has interviewed many of Estonia's public figures like Andrus Ansip, Mart Laar, Kadri Simson and Marju Lauristin.



A small nation


book presentation


Extract from Book Small White Nation (in Estonian)
Extract II from Small White Nation  (In Estonian)
Extracts from an interview with Home and Family
Interview on ETV
More Interview on ETV
Q and A Interview with Priit Pullerits
Black man flies solo

About

















A news and current affair portal about Estonia and the other Baltic States. 
Mostly opinion pieces and some feature articles.

Contact 
abdul_turay@yahoo.com
skype abdul.turay
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The English Language version of Small white nation is due out latter this year. 



The Great Migration

Published Postimees 13 Sept 2012



Recently, I asked a group of young people, if they have Facebook accounts. They looked at me like I was mad.

"That's like asking us, do we have a noses?" one of them said.

"Come to think of it even people who don't have noses have Facebook accounts," another said to much laughter.

Last week 6th July, Kanal 2 did a program "Minu Facebooki sõbrad". It was a light hearted look at the social network phenomenon. But the whole Facebook is king challenges some of our cherished beliefs about modern Estonia.

10 years ago when I first visited here, Estonia was more advanced than my own country the United Kingdom. It was a revelation. Estonia was my introduction to whole concept of social networking.

Rate.ee was founded in May 2002, that's a year before Orkut, or MySpace, two years before Facebook.

I so wasn't impressed when I first saw Facebook.
"Social networking,..... they have this in Estonia already for years, what is the big deal?"

Rate.ee was as successful as it was because it was "cool" for teenagers but it never made the transition that Facebook made to being a useful tool of communication for Generation Xers.
Then suddenly it wasn't cool any more. Estonians made the first great migration.

"We never lost the leadership of the market," Andrei Korobeinik Rate.ee founder told me.

"It's was like Myspace and Facebook. Myspace was the market leader. The problem with Myspace was popularity. It's started with teenagers who went there because it was cool and when parents went there it wasn't cool any more. That was actually the same situation with rate.ee."

For some reason, I don't exactly know why, the first great migration was not to Facebook or Myspace but Google's Orkut. Whilst in the UK and the US and Scandinavian countries we were all using Facebook by 2005-6 already.

Orkut is horrible. It looks horrible, its functionally is horrible. But some of us were kind of forced to use it because Estonian friends and family were on it. In 2008, the typical expat in Estonia would have both an Orkut account and a Facebook account. It was a nuisance.

When in Rome...and all that.

In 2008 when I came here to live, the majority of Estonians, even young people hadn't heard of Facebook.

But then in about 2010, Estonians suddenly realised that Orkut was horrible and the second great migration began. And when Estonian moved over they didn't keep a separate Orkut account they simply closed their Orkut accounts and made the switch to Facebook permanent.

Today thirty seven per cent of the population of Estonia are Facebook users.

Consider the situation with our neighbours. In Sweden 53 percent of of the population are Facebook users, in Finland it's 41 per cent, in Denmark it's 32 per cent of the population.

Russians are almost exclusively using Russian language social networking. Only 4 per cent of the population use Faccebook, though this is a larger number on absolute terms, 6 million people. Ukraine and Belarus are similar, 4 per cent. This situation is unlikely to change.

Latvians are still using their own Latvian or Russian language social networking sites. Only 16 per cent use Facebook.

In you want evidence that Estonia is more Nordic than Eastern European, this is an example.

In Lithuania 30 per cent of the population use Facebook. The explanation is that unlike Latvia (or Estonia) Lithuania does not have a large Russian speaking minority.

Surely "the Facebook great migration" is then a good thing?

It shows Estonia as moving in tandem with the West. It also has the practical advantage of making it easier for Estonians to form bonds with the rest of the West, making social and business connections that may bring investment or create export opportunities.

Well yes and no!

If you haven't spotted it already, the great Facebook migration means that Estonia has gone from being as leader to follower.

Whereas five years ago Estonia was ahead of the curve now it is behind it. Instead of inventing stuff that others are using, Estonians are now using stuff invented elsewhere.

Estonia has become e-backwards. And it is not just in Social networking that Estonia is falling behind. It's all IT.

"The general public think we are leaders of E-government in the EU and the World but actually we are not," Korobeinik said.

"We are not looking for foreign experiences. The UK is way more advanced and still they come to learn. Our politicians don't understand other countries are way more advanced."

"Our systems are not as good as in other country because we did these things earlier. ID cards, you would do them different nowadays.

"The tax department for example. There was not such thing as cloud service. Five years ago US and UK were way behind now they are way ahead."

Korobeinik said that lack of vision by the government is behind all this.

"We would keep our number one position if companies were able to export e-government solutions.

"Could you imagine if the US tax department was developed in Estonia?
"That would be a huge thing. Or if elections in UK are made with local e-voting systems. Estonian companies can't export them because of contract and the government's never going to export because there is not a single person in government who is interested, he is not getting anything from that."

"The Government should own the license and company gets everything else."

There is another bad side to this. Think about why Social networking exist. The web is popular because it creates spaces on the internet were people can operate in their own language and culture.

Go to the cinema and you basically have to watch American movies. That's OK... sort of. People don't have to go to the cinema if they don't want to. Estonians actually don't go to the cinema, American teenagers go every week, sometimes two or three times a week and if they like a film they will see it again.

But now we have a situation that even if you want to hook up with friends or put on an Estonian literature event, somewhere in California, somebody gets paid.

I'm not sure if this is bad, but it can't be good.

What's to be done?

Actually nothing. People have voted with their feet and that battle is over. IT leaders like Korobeinik are not that interested in social networking any more, the future is mobile.

"We won't go back to roots. We will try to use competency in other areas. Mobile will be way more important than internet because it provides possibilities. You can interact will people in real time. This is new area we don't have a lot of successful mobile services around.

"It is not a very exciting opportunity to have the number one social network in Estonia. You can earn a few million Euros and that's it. Much more exciting is to do something globally," he said.