Information about border crossing to Russia

Operators of the waiting places that have been constructed at Narva and Luhamaa border crossing points are responsible for the accurate number of vehicles waiting in the queue for border crossing. When sending an SMS message with the keyword “border” to phone number 15980 you will receive the SMS messsage specifying how big is the queue at the borders. SMS message costs 3 Estonian krons / 0.19 euros.

See also information on the trucks in queue and estimated waiting time based on admission of trucks by Russian customs for the last 72h

Savisaar, the one and only

Edgar Savisaar is an intriguing person in the East European post-communist gallery if only because he has managed to stay in the political arena. Savisaar was chairman of the Popular Front in the late 80s, now he is chairman of the Centre Party, one of the largest political parties in Estonia. He has been prime minister, economics minister, interior minister and mayor of Tallinn, ERR reports.

He is one of the most hated politicians in Estonia. That politicians of other parties hate him, is no wonder. More tragic is the fact that Estonian media as a whole, or say, 90 percent of it, wouldn’t touch him with a barge pole. The majority of the intellectuals don’t love him much either.

Savisaar, like other politicians, has skeletons in his closet. He has made mistakes, he has been unethical. He is no saint. He’s a politician. However, the treatment of his mistakes and faults in the Estonian media has been immensely more passionate and choleric than in the case of any other politician. When Savisaar suffered a heart attack in 2003, several of my journalist colleagues couldn’t disguise their schadenfreude. There was open talk of finally being rid of “Old Fatty.” Nothing like that could have ever happened to anyone else involved in politics.

Savisaar has always been suspected of a connection with Moscow. In 2007, it was said that he didn’t take a decisive stand against the looting by Russian-speaking masses exactly because he was Moscow’s handler. In 2010, it is finally confirmed: he asked money from Moscow for his election campaign.

Does it change anything in the present constellation? Not a thing. His supporters are convinced that this was a provocation organized by the KAPO against Savisaar, his adversaries have only received confirmation that Savisaar is, well, Savisaar.

On the evening of December 27, President of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves gave an interview to Estonian Public Broadcasting, condemning Savisaar’s actions. Since Ilves is for one camp an instrument of light, a positive force, and to the other an emissary of America, a negative force, his statement will not change anything either.

Read the whole article from Estonian Public Broadcasting: Savisaar, The One and Only

Ericsson increases production volumes

Ericsson Eesti, which launched production of 4G data communication support stations at its Tallinn facility in May, has increased production volumes and is planning growth also for next year. “Growth in the volume of the stations has been an aim and this has taken place as planned,” Veiko Sepp, board chairman of Ericsson Eesti, told BNS. “It depends first and foremost on our clients’ orders, but demand for broadband equipment is high and this allows us to look optimistically into the future. We have certainly given our contribution to the growth of Estonian export,” Sepp said. The company doesn’t wish to disclose the accurate production volume figures.
Ericsson launched production of 4G data communication network equipment in May and achieved full capacity in August. Ericsson took over the former Elcoteq facility in Tallinn in summer 2009.
Ericsson Eesti exports a large proportion of the 4G equipment, but some of it remains also on the local market.
According to Statistics Estonia information, export of goods from Estonia grew 47% in current prices compared with the same month last year. Export into Sweden grew 2.2-fold, mainly thanks to the export of electrical machines and installations.

Source: Estonian Review

Postal offices exchange euros

In the first two weeks of January, 179 post offices will exchange kroons for euros. The limit is 1,000 euros per day per customer.  As for all kroon to euro conversions, the service is free and the exchange rate is fixed.

Read more from ERR News

At least 5 pct of Estonians work in Finland

Although there are no precise records on how many Estonians have jobs in Finland, ETV reported that the number is at least 46,000, making up approximately 5 percent of the working-age population. According to a Statistics Finland estimate, around 21,000 Estonians travel back and forth to work in Finland. In addition to these, the Finnish migration authority has records on nearly 25,000 Estonians residing permanently in Finland.

In October, the business daily Äripäev estimated the number of Estonian construction workers in Finland to be around 30,000.

Read more from ERR News

Estonia’s first 3D documentary to focus on Lennart Meri

Estonia’s first 3D documentary film, “Monologues,” will be a minimalist portrait of late president Lennart Meri. Though Meri’s life is the primary focus of the work, director Arko Okk also tells the story of Meri’s compatriots, examining the man through the eyes of his contemporaries. Meri, who served as president from 1992 to 2001, was himself an accomplished  documentary film maker in the mid-20th century. He died in 2006.

“Monologues” will be released in February 2011.

Source: ERR News

Russians visit for tax-free shopping

More Russians who visit Estonia appear to be shopping in Narva for commodities that have grown expensive on their side of the border.

While the EU visa requirement for Russian citizens means the phenomenon is nowhere near that of  Finnish  “vodka tourists” who travel to Tallinn, two major supermarket chains decided to join the ranks of electronics stores and more premium merchants that offer tax-free shopping. 

On the minimum eligible purchase of 38.5 euros it is possible to get up to 4.8 euros back. The refundable percentage increases on larger purchases.  The average purchase is slightly under 100 euros, according to a manager with Rimi.  

Read more from ERR News

Estonians pay more for gas

Gasoline prices have reached a record high in Estonia, due to the world market and increasing domestic costs.

On December 28, gas and diesel cost 1.2 euros per liter at Statoil stations, reported ERR radio.

Statoil representative Kai Realo said prices in Estonia are dependent of the world market as the country does not have its own refinery. Domestic taxes are the primary reason why gas is more expensive in Estonia than in some other EU countries, Realo added.

Source: ERR News (Estonian Public Broadcasting)

Export to Sweden increased significantly

According to Statistics Estonia, in October this year compared to October of the previous year, exports of goods grew by 47% and imports by 38% at current prices. Exports to Sweden increased 2.2 times, mainly influenced by the increase in dispatches of machinery and equipment.

In October 2010, exports of goods from Estonia amounted to 13.1 billion kroons (840 million euros) and imports to Estonia to 13.3 billion kroons (850 million euros). The trade deficit amounted to 0.2 billion kroons (10 million euros), which was more than fourfold smaller than in October 2009.

In October, for two months in succession, the first place in Estonia’s export destination countries was held by Sweden (19% of Estonia’s total exports), followed by Finland (16%) and Russia (10%). Compared to October of the previous year, exports to Sweden increased by 1.4 billion kroons (87 million euros). Exports increased significantly also to Finland and Russia. Electrical equipment and furniture were mainly exported to Finland and electrical equipment and paints and varnishes to Russia.

The main countries from where goods were imported to Estonia were Finland (15% of Estonia’s total imports), Germany and Sweden (12% from each). Arrivals from Sweden increased by 0.7 billion kroons (46 million euros) or 79%. Arrivals from Germany also increased significantly. Electrical equipment and oil products were mainly imported from Finland, vehicles and parts thereof and electrical equipment from Germany and Sweden.

In Estonia’s exports the biggest share was held by the commodities of machinery and equipment (a quarter of Estonia’s total exports), mineral products (12%) and agricultural products and food preparations (11%). Exports of machinery and equipment increased nearly twofold compared to October of the previous year. Exports of mineral products (incl. fuels and electricity) and transport equipment also increased significantly (63% and 68%, respectively).

In October the biggest share of Estonia’s imports was also held by machinery and equipment (28% of Estonia’s total imports), mineral products (12%) and agricultural products and food preparations (11%). Compared to October 2009, arrivals of machinery and equipment increased by nearly twofold. Imports of metals and products thereof also increased significantly (76%).

In October compared to September this year, exports and imports of goods decreased by 1%.

In Baltic countries exports of goods increased by a quarter in Latvia and imports by 28% in October 2010 compared to the same month of the previous year. Exports of goods in Lithuania increased by 44% and imports by 38%.

Estonia’s foreign trade, January–October, 2009–2010
Month Exports, mEEK Imports, mEEK Balance, mEEK
2009 2010  %   2009 2010  % 2009 2010
January 7 270 8 134 12 8 851 8 488 -4 -1 581 -354
February 7 818 9 841 26 8 780 9 547 9 -962 294
March 8 345 9 834 18 9 825 12 560 28 -1 480 -2 726
April 7 728 10 638 38 9 385 10 899 16 -1 657 -261
May 8 165 11 395 40 8 555 12 408 45 -390 -1 013
June 9 550 10 380 9 9 811 11 928 22 -261 -1 548
July 8 251 10 957 33 9 444 11 553 22 -1 193 -596
August 8 120 11 206 38 9 134 12 152 33 -1 014 -946
September 9 428 13 249 41 9 956 13 406 35 -528 -157
October 8 950 13 138 47 9 652 13 302 38 -702 -164

 Read more from Statistics Estonia

Rhinoceros Murray stands up for its fellow specimen

The body of Murray, the rhinoceros who lived a long life in the Tallinn Zoo is about to receive the finishing touch – the skin has been mounted on the model and is currently drying. The whole procedure has followed its due course. When completed the stuffed animal will be exposed to the public in the Estonian Museum of Natural History hopefully in early spring.

A rare species

Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) is one of the most endangered species of mammals of the world, just a few thousand of whom still live in wild. It is the morbid interest of man towards the horns growing on its nose that has taken the animal to the verge of extinction. Theories from myth to quackery claim the horn to contain substances raising sex drive as well as curing cancer. Despite versatile medical research keratin has been detected to hold absolutely no healing power. It is a shame we still today find people who desire the horn of  rhinoceros, which in its essence is the same as all hair, nails, feathers or woollen socks.

The protest

The decreasing number of rhinoceros is the result of a mindless hunt for the horn. That is why the stuffed Murray is not equipped with its original horns, but their copies. This stands for protest – looking at the stuffed body and recalling Murray one ought not to forget the reason why these animals are about to die out. The original horns have long since been deposited in a proper storeroom and are not exposed to the public for the very same reason.

It is common practice also elsewhere in the world to exchange the horns and fongs by replicas but these are made to look as authentic as possible. In Murray’s case WE SHALL DO IT DIFFERENTLY. We thought what colour should the modelled horns be. At first, we considered red, the colour of blood and war yet also that of love.We finally opted for clean white – the colour of peace. Of course exact plastic copies have also been made of the horns which can always be attached to the stuffed animal later. At public exposure white mock-ups will be used.

The message

No rhinoceros are to be found in Estonian nature but we do have plenty of endangered species. The stuffed Murray is a black rhinoceros with white artificial horns. His second life in the museum draws our attention to the importance of nature protection and may-be it will increase the resposibilty of man in front of nature – black and white, the truth – a lie, life and death, Yin – Yang. We hope this message to reach also the international media.

Read more:

Source: Estonian Ministry of the Environment