The Academy of Arts threw their weight behind the Union of Estonian Architects (EAL) in a call for the government to declare the competition for the conceptual design of the country's new freedom monument a failure and to give up plans to put up the monument based on the present sketches. The Academy of Arts called on the government to rely on the advice of professionals rather than using the competition to finalize a design. Prime Minister Andrus Ansip announced on Feb. 28 that the government would go through with plans to build the monument despite protests. The government plans to raise the monument in time for the 90th anniversary of the outbreak of the war of independence on Nov. 28.
A recent survey commissioned by the National Broadcasting Company and carried out by TNS Emor, one of Estonia's largest polling companies, has found that the left wing Reform party and the slightly left Center party still top the opinion polls in the country. The Reform party managed to hold on to their 35 percent approval rating, the same as in January, while the Center party climbed 2 percentage points to 25 percent. The nationalist-conservative Pro Patria and Res Publica Union won 13 percent, while the Social Democrats and the Greens held on to 12 points each. The People's Union was the least popular party, only winning a 2 percent approval rating.
The Estonian Army has opened a new recruitment center which hopes to attract an astounding 400 new recruits by year's end. The center will recruit volunteers into the defense forces, the defense league and the defense college. It would operate with a staff of 13 and a budget for 2008 of approximately 13 million kroons (0.83 million euros). Until now, the defense forces haven't had a central recruitment unit or a recruitment system. It will have offices in both Tallinn and Tartu.
The newspaper advertising market in Estonia has slipped back. Compared with February 2007, the volume of advertisements published by the five largest newspapers last month decreased by 185 pages or 14 percent. All five main Estonian language newspapers saw a drop in advertising revenue. The papers turnover from advertising, at 34.9 million EEK was down 1 percent. The company with the biggest advertising turnover is Postimees with 10.5 kroons Toomas Leito; media analyst said that despite this internet advertising continues to grow. Leito's analysis looked at advertising published by five national newspapers: the dailies Postimees, Eesti Paevaleht, SL Ohulet and Aripaev and the weekly Eesti Ekspress.
A plan to set up an information center for the Belarusian community in Tallinn was put forward yesterday. The center also would have information received from the civic associations of Belarus.