An activist from the pro-Kremlin youth movement Nashi was detained in Tallinn Dec. 28 after attempting to enter the country by ship from Finland. Svyatoslav Smirnov attempted to avoid his Estonian entry ban by entering Finland by train before the Dec. 21 Schengen expansion. Following enlargement, his blacklisting applies to all Schengen member states and leaves him in the cold along with 2,092 other persons with banned entry status. Smirnov was shortly deported via Narva. The incident coincides with an attempt by two Nashi members to reach Estonia via Lithuania (see story Page 4), and reports say that another Nashi member, Mariana Svortsova, was recently turned back at the Finnish border.
The Tallinn city government is looking into the possibility of banishing the city's casinos to a yet-to-be-built man-made island, according to Jan. 8 press reports. Center Party city council member Mart Sults made the proposal to study the possibility last November. As he sees it, an island could be built in the bay west of the Paljassaare peninsula in northern Tallinn and all casinos operating in the capital city relocated there. According to Sults' idea, the cost of the construction should be shouldered by the casinos themselves. He says Tallinn would thereby be free of gaming halls and they would no longer be an eyesore on the cityscape.
Estonia's Schengen zone membership has already borne crime-fighting fruit thanks to the Schengen Information System, a database which links institutions between member states. In its first four months of use by Estonia, the system helped authorities find eight wanted persons, one missing person, 19 missing cars, and six important documents, BNS reported on Jan. 4. The system shares information on wanted, banned and missing persons and may be accessed in Estonia by police, border guards and the Citizenship and Migration Board.
Estonia (Tallinn) ranked fourth among 42 countries surveyed for the 2007 Global Property Guide, which measures house price growth. The country's 23.4 percent price growth rate put it about ten points above Lithuania, which ranked fifth. Bulgaria topped the list, followed by China (Shanghai) and Singapore.