Quiet Storm
About the elections 

Descendants of a gang of pirates
In defence of monarchy 

Mere Anarchy
Find out more about Estonia's young anarchists. 

Cut it Out 
About immigration. Frankly I am getting tired of the issue.


Thatcher's Legacy 
Celebrating Thatcher

The Conservative Solution
 The big issue in Estonia right now is cohabitation rights for same-sex couple. This is an opinion pieces on this subject.

Britain and Referenda 
Why Cameron will lose the next election and we will have a government more favourable to Europe and Estonia...

The Second Sex 
We are are told that we live in a male dominated society, that men have it easier than women; there are people who make a living by telling us this.I think that men have it tough and the situation is getting worse. I believe that feminism., or at least the radical form of it that has come to dominate, is wrong., and the effects of feminism that are causing great harm in my own country and in the rest of the Anglo-sphere are beginning to crop up here 

Chartist versus the World
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! ..

 A Black President for a Small White Nation II
An opinion piece. The title is self-explanatory.About the 2009 local elections in Estonia.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.”.......

Intellectual Casino
Tallinn is the global headquarters for a venerable institution, a giraffe, which for legal purposes we will call Giraffe 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. Giraffe 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 ehhh..... tentacles are spreading out across the world. Giraffe Forex remains an excellent way for suckers to lose all their money. Don't take my word for it.

The Great Migration 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.

 Two Tribes 
The story of Estonians in Britain is an interesting narrative not only on how communities develop but a reflection on Estonia itself. Its shows us that some of the assumptions that we make about modern Estonia are wrong.

More Articles

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
Why the world is silent about the Estonian election
Playing around with higher education
Response from Education Minister (ed note: in Estonian, will translate into English when I have time)
Right is Right ?
Why I write in Estonia
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? Venture Capitalist Allan Martinson view Follow up story to Go West Musician Jaan Tätte view Follow up story to Go West
The greatest speech of all time A review of United 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
Pyrrhic Victory
The Sexiest man in Estonia Guess who?
The Playboy bunny and foreign policy
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
Let's eat potato peels and again
Fighting to preserve a Nation's heritage Lithuania's Jewish community

.ee Bubble: Summer Update

.ee Bubble: Summer Update: Checking In Summer in Estonia. Sun is shining, weather is sweet. Many Estonian startups seem to be taking time off to enjoy the weather. ...



Quiet Storm
Published Postimees 21 October 2013

Readers will probably know I stood as a candidate in the recent local election. Let's talk about something you don't know. The other foreign candidates who stood. Hopefully it will help you make sense of some issues in this election.

Whatever the outcome of this election, one thing is clear, I will not be the most successful and most talented foreign candidate. That honour falls to Ole Michael Ramussen, a 45 year old sales manager from Denmark.

Ramussen is so successful precisely because has caused little impact. The local press have shown no interest in him. Yet he is the de facto leader of the Social Democrats in Saue.

Ramussen was elected as councillor four years ago in Saue district for the Social Democrats. He has been in Estonia for 15 years. Like many foreigners he left Denmark because he didn't fit into there any more. He lived in Germany for a while and then Britain. He has been a visitor and an enthusiast of the Baltic states since the early nineties. He moved to Estonia because of his job as a sales manager and stayed because of a woman.

For Ramussen moving to Estonia, meant moving up in the World.
“I moved from a bike to a car and I had a mobile phone the second day I was here, I had the same salary as at home but at that time it made a very big difference because the costs were cheaper,” he said,

Ramussen, who has been involved in politics since he was a boy, is a liberal. In Denmark he was in the right of centre Venstre Party, the sister party of the Reform Party. In Britain he joined the Liberal Democrats, another sister party. As well as being a sales manager he owns his own business. He has a young family. He has personal friend high up in the Reform Party.

So why on Earth, join the Sotsids?

“Liberalism has different versions and the spectrum is very wide..... I would portray the Reform Party as most extreme, most libertarian among the liberal family in Europe,” he said.

“For me it is quite a shock to join the Social Democrats because the name and the symbolism that was what I was fighting against both in Denmark, in Britain and in Germany, but I have to realised there is no better option.

“For many foreigners, especially from Scandinavia, everything is to the right of what we are used to. So what we consider responsible politics is not represented by parties in Estonia.... many of us turn red, so to say.

“I have personal friends in the Reform Party, despite these personal relationships I couldn't bring myself to join the Reform Party. For me it is a new lesson in life, I used to believe that everywhere you are you join the sister party.”

Ramussen was struck by the contrast between the enormous wealth people who shop in Stockmann compared to the treatment wife's grandmother in her retirement home.

“It was a shocking experience, the lack of responsibility towards elderly people in Estonia,” he said.

Rasmussen is fluent in Estonian. Though it took him a long time to learn it.

“I am a lazy schooler. I came here in 1998, I wasn't fluent until 2006.”

A less successful candidate was John Slade, his campaign was over before it even started.

Slade became the target of a campaign of vicious abuse that went beyond mere dirty politics into the realm of cyber-bullying.

Typical comments were: “Wow a new low in Estonian politics.” “He is a sponge always looking to take at every opportunity.”

John Slade, 65, is a retired former army officer, sports coach, and motivational speaker. He came to Estonia in the late 80s as a military attaché, married and settled down.

He would appear to be a good candidate. Slade has been involved in charity work for many years, bringing sports to deprived kids in Kopli and Lasnamae areas.
“I want to work with young people. I think there is no pathway for young people to grow up and I think that sport is a development tool and team sports are bonding. There are hundreds of children in Kopli they have no money they like sport, I train them.

“Sport for me is for everyone, it is not a privilege, it is a right. They should have the same opportunities as we do in England to do lots of sports.”

“Stick me in the city government, if there is any money available for sport I've got first crack at it.”

These are noble goals yet he faced fierce hostility

Firstly, Slade stood for the Centre Party.

He was directly approached by Centre Party chair and former Tallinn's mayor Edgar Savisaar.

A popular myth about Savisaar is that he can't speak English, It is not true he understands English quite well. Savisaar who presents himself as a man aligned to the East, with Russia, with Estonia's past. In reality just as comfortable operating in the West, in English, on the internet. Savisaar public personae is a façade to appeal to Russian-speaking voters.

“He understands every word I say, He also speaks German very well. I have known him for years and years,” Slade, who doesn't speak any Estonian, said.

Slade understands the populist nature of the Centre Party. He once gave a speech at a party conference. Even though the elderly Russian speaking audience didn't understand a word he said in 20 minute he had them clapping a cheering.

Slade is also a liberal but still he was willing to endorse the Centre Party.

“They (the Centre Party) haven't bought me I am more in line with them than the IRL or anyone else.

Secondly, Slade is totally on of step with in his views on Russia and Russian-speakers. Estonian don't realise this, but most foreigners who have lived in Estonia a few years become, how should I put this tactfully, cynical of Russian-speaking people and openly hostile toward Russia itself.

Slade is the opposite.

“I have more empathy with Russian culture, Russian honesty. But it's maybe because the people I meet are older. I like that feeling of family Russians have.”

After a couple of weeks of non-stop abuse, Slade quietly dropped out of the race.

Then there was my candidacy.

America's founding fathers thought public office is something that you should be called upon to do, rather than putting yourself forward.

This is what happened to me. I was approached. I have had people like Edward Lucas and Marju Lauristin telling me I should stand, years ago.

Eerik Niiles Kross called me out of the blue one day, sat me down and tried to persuade me to be his man.

It was a tempting offer and he offered a better deal than the one I got, but I had to turned him down.

I was already in talks with the Sotsids. Like Ramussen I am a liberal. I was a conservative as a youth but I became disillusioned with the British Conservative party because of their Euroscepticism.

Like Ramussen it was very difficult and painful for me to accept in Estonia the Sotsid were my best option. I have been against social democracy my whole life.

I was reluctant to stand as a candidate because I was not confident with my language ability. I have passed the B1 exam so if I was a Russian-speaker I could apply for Estonian citizen now. I felt it wasn't enough. But Eerik Niiles Kross insisted it was.

Standing was a tremendous risk.

It could intrude into my private life, which as a new dad is something I would like to avoid. I had to deal with a tremendous amount of quite ugly, and racial, abuse, though not as bad as the abuse Slade received.

It could harm my profession life as a journalist. Some readers may begin question my neutrality.
If you look through my columns I have been rather critical of the Sotsid in the past, but I defy anyone to find even one piece I have written where I criticise the IRL or the Reform Party. Even though I didn't join the party, some will always believe everything I write is an SDE viewpoint.

I picked the party that was doing least well in the polls. I had no idea how well I would do. There was no financial incentive. Councillors are only paid a nominal amount, and have to pay for their own campaign materials.

Is a lot of risk for very little benefit.
So why do it?

Is it possible people can get past their cynicism and accept the reason I stood, was the reason I said I stood?
I want a better future for my newborn son.

I am not Estonian, but he is, and since he is too young to speak for himself, I have to speak for him.

My own particular concerns are kindergarten places, key to this is making kindergarten teaching worthwhile by giving kindergarten teachers a decent salary. We should work with the private sector to provide more places. It's not going to be easy but I believe with can get enough kindergarten place by 2016.

I wanted decent roads that can absorb water rather that big public shelters that are just for show.
I wanted local government working with and supporting local residence groups.

I wanted the municipal police reformed, not shrunk. I wanted affordable quality day care treatment centres for the elderly. Mostly I wanted an inclusive democracy. All the parties are offering residents the chance to participate in how public money is spent and not just at election times.

I dreamt of Tallinn as a prosperous dynamic city, an international city, not one of mass immigration, a new Hanseatic order, if you like. Getting ex-pats engaged in local politics was part of that process. For these reasons which were the same as the other foreign candidates regardless of their political affiliation, I screwed my courage to the sticking place and ran as a candidate.

It has been a quiet election. A quiet storm. But when people look back on it 10 or 20 years from now they may say, it started then. This was the first tentative beginnings of Tallinn become truly cosmopolitan.







Quiet Storm
About the elections 

Descendants of a gang of pirates
In defence of monarchy 

Mere Anarchy
Find out more about Estonia's young anarchists. 

Cut it Out 
About immigration. Frankly I am getting tired of the issue.


Thatcher's Legacy 
Celebrating Thatcher

The Conservative Solution
 The big issue in Estonia tight now is cohabitation rights for same-sex couple. This is an opinion pieces on this subject.

Britain and Referenda 
Why Cameron will lose the next election and we will have a government more favourable to Europe and Estonia...

The Second Sex 
We are are told that we live in a male dominated society, that men have it easier than women; there are people who make a living by telling us this.I think that men have it tough and the situation is getting worse. I believe that feminism., or at least the radical form of it that has come to dominate, is wrong., and the effects of feminism that are causing great harm in my own country and in the rest of the Anglo-sphere are beginning to crop up here 

Chartist versus the World
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! ..

 A Black President for a Small White Nation II
An opinion piece. The title is self-explanatory.About the 2009 local elections in Estonia.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.”.......

Intellectual Casino
Tallinn is the global headquarters for a venerable institution, a giraffe, which for legal purposes we will call Giraffe 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. Giraffe 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 ehhh..... tentacles are spreading out across the world. Giraffe Forex remains an excellent way for suckers to lose all their money. Don't take my word for it.

The Great Migration 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.

 Two Tribes 
The story of Estonians in Britain is an interesting narrative not only on how communities develop but a reflection on Estonia itself. Its shows us that some of the assumptions that we make about modern Estonia are wrong.

More Articles

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
Why the world is silent about the Estonian election
Playing around with higher education
Response from Education Minister (ed note: in Estonian, will translate into English when I have time)
Right is Right ?
Why I write in EstoniaSotsid 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? Venture Capitalist Allan Martinson view Follow up story to Go West Musician Jaan Tätte view Follow up story to Go West
The greatest speech of all time A review of United 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
Pyrrhic Victory
The Sexiest man in Estonia Guess who?
The Playboy bunny and foreign policy
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
Let's eat potato peels and again
Fighting to preserve a Nation's heritage Lithuania's Jewish community




Descendants of a gang of pirates.
Published Postimees 5 August  2013 

Monarchy is in the news in Belgium, in Britain it's always in the news. Let's tell it how it is in the Estonian republic.

A few hundred years ago, a gang of vicious pirates, led by a power-crazed psychopath, invaded my country.

Like the knights of Teutonic Order in this part of the World, they spread destruction before them. They pillaged and raped and slaughtered vast numbers of people leaving much of the country as wasteland and enslaved the survivors. Like the Soviets they killed off anybody who had money or drove them into exile.

For hundreds of years the British Isles, like Estonia was oppressed by the descendants of this band of thugs, who spoke a different language and had different customs. The pirates were known as the Normans. Their leader was known as William the Conqueror.

In Estonia you finally got rid of the Baltic Germans, in England we never got rid of the Normans.

Like every other ethnic group that has settled Britain before and since, the Normans assimilated and became English. They assimilated so completely that everybody has forgotten how the aristocracy, and the monarchy, got started.

Thus when the most recent direct descendant of the power hungry psychopath, the next person to rule us all in about 50 years time, was born, we all stand around cheering for the little prince.

But cheer we should.

As a Briton living in Estonia I am aware the monarchy, comes in for criticism. Some in Estonia seem to believe it is antiquated institution. I will explain why we still need the monarchy and why this system works.

In Britain's constitutional monarchy, the Queen doesn't have any legislative or judicial power she only has executive power. She does not make laws, she only signs them. Her powers are similar to President Ilves.

The Queen does has a veto but since no monarch has used it in two centuries, it has become constitutional precedence that no monarch can use it. It could be argued what is wrong with the monarchy is that it has too little power, the Queen can't stand as a last resort against some outrageous law, as presidents in other countries can do.

In Britain; parliament rules. This issue was settled over three centuries ago. Charles I paid for it with his head. The question was finally settled when James II was thrown out of power and out of the country in 1689.

The Queen's position is almost like she hired by the parliament to do a job, just like any other head of state. The difference is the monarch is picked from one family, Parliament could fire her if she was making a mess of things. This has happened in the last century, as I will talk about latter.
If we didn't have a queen, we would have to have a president, a respected elder statesperson,  somebody to serve as focal point for national identity, someone who sign bills into law, attends functions, opens schools and hospitals, entertain foreign dignitaries.

The Queen does her job superbly. She is the best diplomat on the planet, in 61 years she has never been criticised for anything she has said or any decision she has made, ever.

It been that way for so long people don't even notice it. Cynics will say there is media conspiracy not to criticise her. It just isn't true. The Queen is just that good. Other members of the royal family have been criticised and even vilified. Previous monarchs had a really bad time. George IV was so unpopular he had to wear a disguise when he went about because people would throw rotten food at him.

The monarch plays a key political role especially times of crisis. When we were losing the Second World in 1940 it became clear that the prime minister Neville Chamberlain had to go.

The King, George VI, decided to ask for Churchill to become Prime Minister after he took advice from Chamberlain. Many in Churchill's own party were afraid of Churchill, they thought he was a loose canon.

Think about that for a second, One of the most famous statesman of the last century had no mandate to run a country, or fight a war of any kind other than King's endorsement.

The Queen is good PR for the country. Even if you go to a country that has a queen and you say the word “Queen” people know immediately who you mean. Monarchs in other countries are also well known but the president of Germany anybody?

Our monarch, our Queen, is also good value of money, She is the biggest landowner in the country, but under a system worked out centuries ago she gets no income from her land. Instead the government pays her a salary and pockets the income from the land. Since the income from the royal land is vastly more than her salary, it's a bargain.

You could say the Queen's power hungry ancestor stole the land in the first place, but for the government to steal it back is just communism, and we all know where that leads.

We all have bosses. Human societies are hierarchical but with a monarchy, you have at least some chance of being ruled by somebody who is not an ****hole.

Some people go into politics because of their strong beliefs, some people go into politics because they are approached, this is the way America's founding father thought the system should work, but some people go in politics for power, money or fame. Politics like show business attracts narcissistic personalities, even psychopaths. And since politicians are actors it is always difficult for voters to tell who is genuine

Our monarchy doesn't work like that, George VI, the king who appointed Churchill, was a shy man, afraid of public speaking. If you have seen “the king's speech” you will know he had a stammer. He didn't want to be king, it was his duty to his people. Somebody has to do that job. At a time when the rest of Europe was being ruled by bad men, some of whom were elected, at a time when in democracy had collapsed across the continent, Britain, the last hold out, was ruled by a hereditary head of state, and by an ordinary decent man.

I believe George VI was one of our best kings, because he did a difficult job which was against his nature. He wife believed the stress of being King shortened his life.

Prince William is by all accounts a modest man. That's the best thing about him and his wife. Apart from the fact that they are richer and better looking than most of us, they are just ordinary people.

What if we have a bad monarchy, parliament will replace them.

George VI became king when his brother was forced to abdicate. The official story at the time was he could not marry a divorcee as head of the Church of England and stay king. Prince Charles has married a divorcee and is divorced himself, no-one is saying he shouldn't be king.

The real reason why Edward VIII had to go, as has transpired from declassified US secret service files, was because he was a Nazi sympathiser whose wife allegedly had an affair with Von Ribbentrop. Yes that's right that Von Ribbentrop!

Parliament acted and Edward VIII abdicated. There are checks and balances in place to make sure that the right person is in the job. It is a difficult job but somebody has to do it.

They may have started out as brutal conquerors but they are all right now, the monarchy is in pretty good shape.

I for one will continue to celebrate descendants of the gang of pirates.






Mere Anarchy
Published Postimees  4 July 2013 

Fed up with reading with all the stuff that has been happening at the centre of Estonian politics, lets take a look at the stuff that is happening on the fringes.

Estonia's young left-wing community, the anarchists had a problem. They couldn't seem to get away from the opposite numbers, the Neo-Nazis and Fascist types. The Neo-Nazis would attacked them in Tartu's bars, in the grim housing estates where some of them lived, in the seaside town of Pärnu and outside gay clubs.

Eventually a group of Anarchists got together and came up with the solution. They would set up their own centre. It would be a place to gather, share ideas, hold concerts, do social evenings, have language courses to help to improve relations between Ethnic Estonians and Russian speakers. It would be a place to organise and spread the message of building a civil society and best of all it would be far away from the Neo-Nazis.

They found a place to rent near Kristiine, the Ülase centre. Andres K, a young activist takes up the story: “We signed the contract after a month we did an opening event and we went there to put up posters and the first morning we saw the most famous Neo-Nazi in Tallinn barbecuing across the yard.”
It turned out that the main focal point for Neo-Nazi activity was in the motor club in the same vicinity.

Worse, there was a Black Metal club in the same hall as the Anarchist centre, which attracted some National Socialists rockers.


The Anarchists had no idea they were there, but they refuse to be moved on.

That the far left can exist at all and the ying yang relationship between the two group is an indication of the Westernisation and modernisation of Estonia.

There is almost symbiosis between Fascists and Anarchists. There was a Nazi skinhead who turned into a anti-racist skinhead or SHARP, he then reverted to being a Neo-Nazi and tried to arrange the beating of old friends. There are punks who wear anarchist badges and then go drinking with Neo-Nazis.

There are more Neo-Nazis than Anarchists, over a 100 can show up for Neo-Nazi rock gigs in Tartu and Tallinn. But strangely the Anarchists are better organised and have therefore gotten more media.

The Anarchist centre looks like it should. It is dark, dingy and punk, second hand furniture, stained walls and at odds with the Estonian taste for bourgeois living. There are drawings of Andrus Ansip and Mary Olsen from Little House of the Prairie on the wall, two notorious bullies, they think, one fictitious the other real. There is a boxing bag in the centre of the room. The Anarchists are non-violent but with the Nazis living a stone throw away, many of them have taken up self-defence.

Kristina Mering explains the history of the centre.

“It was put together by a group of people who had been active before. And all of the people were part of a squat project. We were thinking we really need a place of our own,” she said.

“We are celebrating our two year birthday. We opened on the 8 May two years ago,”

As an Anarchist, Mering doesn't like the title leader, but she definitely has a leadership position.

“We make decisions based on censuses, we divide roles based on the skills that people have. Since I am a huge talker I am more in the picture. It doesn't mean I am more important. Among ourselves we know that no-one is more important.

“The purpose of the centre is to attract young people to find out more about left wing beliefs.

“We also have very many non-political events for chess evening. concerts, language groups. There is a necessity for a centre like this. It gives me motivation when I see people coming to events.”

The far left in Estonia has evolved into a mishmash of beliefs with several different focal points much of it based on identity politics; LTBG activists, animal rights activists and radical feminists. They are mostly Anarchist rather than Communists. Important influences are Saul Newman, and Naom Chomsky, It is easier to work out what they are against than what they are for.

They fight capitalism, exploitation of people and animals, sexism and discrimination and most of they are against fascism. Some of them describe themselves as Antifa, a German term that means Antifascist.

Mering's own interest is in Animal rights activism.

“ Everybody should find a topic which is really the voice of their heart. In my philosophy all these questions are really important. My roots are in punk, that were I got all these ideas. Most of us have some connection with the punk scene but it is not a must.”

The new young Anarchists are completely different to what people think of as Anarchism in Estonia. It is part of a Western pan-European movement. Estonian Punk and Anarchism in 80s was really a reaction to the repressive Soviet regime, it was never a Western movement, it primary focus was Anti-Sovietism.

Andres K doesn't think much ot Trubetsky.

“Trubetsky wrote this book which is practically copied and pasted from wikipedia. The media call him father of anarchism but his theoretical knowledge is not that good and he is not really active,” he said.

Estonian Anarchists still have a long way to go.

“The movement is a lot stronger Spain and Greece. It is a dream from every Estonian Anarchist to take their stuff and move to Greece,” Andres K said.

Ying Yang

The far right and the far left always had a kenetic relationship in the West.

The skinhead movement begun in England in the 60s simply as a working class movement. They liked black people and black culture and were the only white kids going to clubs where young Jamaicans immigrants would hang out. Being young and rowdy they would cause trouble. People started to assume they were racist, so anybody who was racist would be a skinhead, and the whole thing snowballed from there.

Don't be surprise to find skinheads at the Anarchist centre.

In Estonia today, there all many different types of skinheads; traditional skinhead also known as Trojans or spirit of 68 who hark back to its origins a working class pride movement, there are SHARP skins (Skinhead Heads Against Racist Prejudice) easily recognisable from their black and white clothing, Then there are Nazi skinheads also known as boneheads who other skins say are not real skins. There are even Red skins, communist skinheads, notorious for their violence towards boneheads.

“We have skinheads who claim to be apolitical but they are really left. If a skinhead is about working people's pride then they are welcome,” Mering said.

The Neo-Nazis are a dangerous bunch. Whereas Russian-speaking and ethnic Estonian Anarchists get along with each other and co-operate, Russian-speaking and ethnic Estonians skinheads and neo-Nazis hate each other and fight. They carry knives and train in martial arts.

In Tallinn  they go to the- ironically named- Woodstock bar on a Friday night. It is next to a gay bar. One activist was almost stabbed one night outside Woodstock, it was all peace and love.One thing saved this person. The fact that she had breasts. She is a lesbian who dresses and acts like a boy. Once the Neo-Nazis realised that they about to stab a girl they put away their fists and their knives away. Even the Neo-Nazis have limits to what they are prepared to do.

Mering has been pushed around but she admits a lot of the violence is based on gender.

“I'm a woman, they will probably not kick my ass.”

Anarchists and Neo-Nazis are cut from the same cloth. They come from socially deprived backgrounds.

“Anarchists often come from broken homes, dysfunctional families, growing up in poverty,” said Andres K.

He is a good example, he grew up in the sprawling estates of Lasnamäe where he still lives. He said he could just as easily have turned into a Nazi.

“Because of my low education I don't have any chance to make a career. I didn't finish high school because I was bad at maths. I was 17 when I quit school.”

“I am pretty bad financial place, even a janitor job I can't get,” he said.

Young Anarchists are conviction politicians. They are in involved in activism because they feel  they have to do it, not because the enjoy doing it. And they don't get paid to do it. With all the cynicism about corrupt politicians they are the kind of politicians Estonia actually needs. It is a shame their beliefs are too radical for most Estonians.

Estonian anarchist see their greatest success to be the growth of the civil society even with issues that they may not necessarily agree with. But just as Estonian people are cynical about politicians anarchists are cynical about Estonians.

“For most Estonians the only right they care about is the right to offend other people.

“Why can't you tolerate my intolerance,” said Andres K
“The most important thing is, to let the public know that violent bald guys exist,”  he said.


Cut it Out
Published Postimees  28 May 2013


What's up with the immigration people?

On lots of different levels and in lots of different ways the authorities; whether there are border guards, police, or civil servants drafting bills; appear to be getting things horribly wrong.

I will tell three stories. They all have to do with immigration and are otherwise unconnected. They all have an underlying theme.

The first story is my own story. I am aware that police officers and border guards do difficult and necessary jobs under challenging circumstances. I am also aware that the police and border guards have done good things in the past, BUT....guys could you please stop harassing me.


I have been stopped three times in the last month, once in Old Town, once in Kristiine centre and most recently at the Port of Tallinn when I was coming back from Sweden.

At the port, I was with my Estonian family. My niece who is six is scared of police. She thinks naughty the police will carry her off to prison. Then she saw a police man heading towards us. The little girl let go of my wife's hand and fled in the crowd.

The policeman just kept on coming, he was so focussed on stopping me, he didn't even notice that I was part of a family group, or that he had frightened away a little girl.

“Can I see you passport please,” he asked.

Up ahead of I could see two gentlemen who appeared to be middle-Eastern origin, anyway they had darker skin than the typical Estonian. They had also been stopped by the police.


The second story is the big news in the ex-patriot community, though it is not as big news in the mainstream press.

Ex-pats who run small businesses have just discovered they have to cough up more money to the tax man or leave the country. 

Readers should understand that most ex-pats exist in a parallel universe which sometimes intersects with the “real” universe Estonians live in. They don't know what laws are passed, even when directly effected.

The Alien Act passed last year requires a foreigner from a non-EU country to earn 1.24 more than the national average in order to maintain their residence permit. It's a direct result of the residence scandal, and the hysterical rush to stop those Russians.

The act has succeeded, as the saying goes, in throwing the baby out with the bath water (üle võõli keerama).

Sometimes well intention laws are badly drafted. Lawyers and civil servants rush things. They work on a tight deadline. Those effected by the law feel this is what has happened here.

Louis Zezeran the Australian owner of Comedy Estonia is feeling the squeeze, basically all money he would have put into the company under the new laws he is forced to pay to himself and of course to the tax man, which means that his company may go out of business.

“Both the government officials and my lawyer have confirmed that under the new rules my company has to pay significant more tax to allow me to keep living in Estonia,“ he said.

“I am working with my lawyer now to put together the info.”

“I appreciate we need to stop those who want to make a scam, however what worries me is that the rules for my residency were changed after I was already here and I had already built a clearly legitimate business for two years. I believe this can be worrying to foreign business people who look to stability in a political environment when thinking of where to invest.”

“They could have allowed anyone who is currently here to stay on this old law, however it seems they specifically made a change to effect those already here,” Zezeran said.

For a man facing a choice between possible bankruptcy or exile from a country he has grown to love, Zezeran is remarkably sanguine.

“I try to remember this is a political decision. Estonian people have treated myself and my business very warmly and I do appreciate that.”

The last story is about Namir. He is a refugee from Afghanistan who had to flee for his life after decades of war. He had a hard childhood, he lost both his parents and two sisters. He had to decide whether to risk the life and his loved ones in his home city or go to another country. There is also Matata for East Congo. He lost his parents and sister and brother and fled to a neighbouring country where he was locked up by armed men, beaten and tortured. Then there's Abdan who fled Libya when his brother was hanged for political reasons.

You may have heard of these people before. You may have got a postcard explaining what a refugee is. There's even a website http://humanrights.ee/pagulane/ explaining how the whole system works. But if you look closely you will notice something is missing.


There is no mention of Estonia!

Namir, Matata and Abdan are real people though the names are fictitious, but they didn't come to Estonia. I have it on good authority from the Human Rights Centre that they were unable to find even one person who had been granted refugee status in Estonia whom they could use to illustrate their point. In other words of the 67 people granted status in Estonia since in the past 15 years, all, or almost all, have moved on, to Sweden probably.

I believe that most Asylum-seekers are not really refugees they are economic migrants, I worked in this field for a decade so I have some knowledge. But that's the point. If a person comes to Europe to make money, he goes to where the money is, as soon as he can.

Asylum-seekers will not stay, they are not a problem, they are not even an issue, So why all the scary pronouncements from the Academy of Security Sciences? Why all the public angst about a problem that doesn't exist? And most of all why the detention centres?

Detention centres were deliberately set up in places like Germany and Britain as deterrents. They are horrible places, they are meant to be, detainees rioted. The hope was potential asylum seekers would hear of the detention centres and avoid these countries.

Here deterrents won't work. People don't know where Estonia is anyway. Putting asylum-seekers in detention centres or prisons, is not only inhuman it's pointless.

The decision-makers don't always get it wrong. As I will explain in more detail in another article, the Estonian authorities had no choice but to turn down the Afghani interpretor who claimed asylum whilst still in Afghanistan. Under international law, you can not be a refugee, if you are still in your country of origin.

All this bring us to the theme raised at the beginning. The debate on immigration on both sides is governed by emotion and misinformation, rather that pragmatism and facts.

Some people want to help this one man because he helped Estonia. He can't be helped.Others want to stop refugees from swarming into the country. They won't swarm.Still others want to make Russians pay. They are making legitimate small businesses pay.Yet others want the police and border controls to be toughened up. They are already too tough.

So it was that a policeman charged up to me at the port and demanded to see my passport. I showed him my Estonian ID, which states that I am a permanent Estonian resident, that surprised him.

His superiors are not fools, they know somebody who is in Europe without permission, wants to leave Estonia for Sweden, not the other way round. But not everybody realises this.

I believe this whole incident was a phoney public relations exercise.

Somebody, somewhere, wants onlookers to think: “look, the police are protecting our borders.”Unfortunately, what onlookers were probably thinking was: “look, police are harassing that journalist who works for Postimees,” or simply: “look, they are scaring the little girl.”