Eesti in brief - 2004-03-04

  • 2004-03-04
Representatives of two Russian parties in the Baltics - Estonia's United People's Party and Latvia's For Human Rights in a United Latvia - last week called for the creation of the Russian League in the European Union.

The organization would represent the interests of Russians and Russian-speaking people living in the EU. The two parties also stated such a group would stimulate Russia's legal integration with the union.

The escort car of President Arnold Ruutel hit a moose in the evening of March 1 in northern Estonia. The police officer who was driving the escort car suffered only a minor scratch. Ruutel, who was traveling in another car, was not injured and continued on his way to Tallinn. The police said that the animal ran onto the road from the forest and that it was impossible for the driver, who was sober, to avoid the collision.

Estonian supermodel Carmen Kass (photo) joined the youth organization of the Res Publica party last week and said she would consider the offer to run for the European Parliament. She added that although she was not a politician she felt she could still offer something for Estonia. Kass, voted Vogue Magazine Model of the Year 2000, lives primarily in New York and is reported to be the world's sixth highest-earning supermodel.

The police has found that Tarmo Toruke, the officer who interrogated Eesti Paevaleht reporter Sergo Selder regarding disclosure of a journalistic source, had exceeded his authority by taking a mug shot of the writer. The police also closed the criminal investigation that was opened against Selder when he refused to name a source for an article about a waiter who had reportedly committed a misdemeanor.

A report by the European Commission and the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions published last week said that new EU member states, including Estonia, would be troubled by the so-called brain drain after accession. About 6.3 percent of Estonia's residents want to move abroad to study or work after accession, according to the report. The European Commission noticed the brain drain would have a negative economic effect as younger people who were educated in one country would work in another one. About 1.1 million people from the new member states will move to "old Europe," according to the report.

Russia does not want the Baltic states to become a "gray zone" full of NATO weapons, the country's Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Chizhov (photo) said on a visit to Tallinn last week. Chizhov added that the alliance should pledge that new members would honor the European agreement on conventional arms control. Out of the seven countries to join NATO this spring, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovenia have not joined the agreement.