Eesti in brief - 2011-11-03

  • 2011-11-02

Estonian Minister of Culture Rein Lang is keeping quiet about the details of when, or how, the state plans to return the St. Nicholais Church in Tallinn’s Old Town to the Lutheran Church, reports Postimees. The dispute about the ownership of the church building has been going on for at least twenty years. Former Minister of Culture Laine Janes, for instance, insisted that the church was a significant cultural heritage site and should remain in state ownership. After taking the post as culture minister, Lang has changed position and is now convinced that the church must be returned to the Lutherans. “We are now finalizing a contract that we will submit to the Lutheran Church and if they agree, then the state is ready to return the church building,” said Lang at a recent meeting with the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Last week, Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, at a reception at the Estonian Embassy in Helsinki, emphasized that being the theme country for the Helsinki Book Fair is a great honor for Estonia, reports the Estonian Foreign Ministry. “This Estonian book festival, complete with music, is one of the biggest Estonian cultural events in Finland and will further deepen our cultural ties and mutual understanding,” he said. The foreign minister stated that the Estonian printed word plays an invaluable role in the story of Estonia’s development. Estonian literature is familiar and well-known in Finland, since the Estonian printed word has given substance to cultural ties since the Age of Awakening. “In recent years, the interest that Estonians and Finns feel towards each other’s literature has significantly increased,” said Paet. “First and foremost I must thank Estonian authors. The fact that we are represented at the book fair by 259 works is a great accomplishment. The translators also deserve tremendous thanks. And thank you also to the musicians, whose works help to bring Estonian melodies to the fair,” he added.

Soviet-era Estonian farmers ordered to send potatoes to communist ally Cuba took advantage to stash love notes in the shipments, but never got an answer, reports AFP. “In the spring of 1961, our Soviet collective farm got an order to pack all the potatoes we had left and prepare them to be sent to Cuba,” Hans Uba, who worked as an electrician at the time, was quoted as saying by the weekly Maaleht. Dreaming of warmer climes than their Baltic homeland and of Latin charms, the farm workers decided to break with the language of Marxist solidarity and penned cheeky messages in rudimentary Spanish - two years after the start of the Cuban revolution under Fidel Castro. “We wrote things like ‘besame mucho,’” said Uba. “But nobody ever replied,” he added.