No. 45




To Be or Not to Be,  That is the Question

Putin has always congratulated the Republic of Estonia on its anniversary, and he probably did so this time, too, but in general he managed to spoil the anniversary of our country, of course. As will be remembered, Russia launched a full-scale attack on Ukraine from various directions early in the morning of 24 February.

We have experienced everything that is going on in Ukraine in our history. As retired officer and member of the Riigikogu Leo Kunnas says in the discussion panel of Riigikogu Toimetised, Ukraine has made two mistakes. Their war-time defence forces were too small, and they remained too modest with their deterrence. These are mistakes that Estonia must learn from. Fortunately, there is total unanimity regarding security policy among our political parties and Estonia has decided to increase its defence spending rapidly. You can read about it in more detail already in the panel discussion of this issue, where Jaak Juske, Enn Eesmaa and Mihhail Lotman participated besides Leo Kunnas. Marko Mihkelson has written an additional piece on the part of the Reform Party. In recent months, he has been engaged in creditable shuttle diplomacy with our allies in his capacity as Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu.

Colonel Peeter Tali has written an essay about how Russia has defined war and peace, and how Russia has been taking the West by surprise with its information operations. Analyst Andres Mäe writes about the energy security and energy vulnerability of small countries, taking the case of the Baltic States. It is a very thought-provoking piece of writing.

Professor of International Business at the University of Tartu Urmas Varblane and doctoral student at the same university Mathias Juust study more closely how the events in Ukraine may be a prelude to a bigger stand-off in the world, in particular between the US and China.

Director General of the Rescue Board Kuno Tammearu looks at Estonia’s crisis preparedness in terms of stocks and shelter options. On a linked topic, the Master’s thesis of MA Piret Avarmaa makes a good reading, giving an overview of the technological development of weapons systems and the ways of protecting oneself from them.

Specialists of the National Library of Estonia Laura Annast, Kateryna Botnar and Kristiina Kaju provide a survey of the books and websites that are educating in helping us cope better with the information war. It can be said to be a fairly useful little self-help corner.

In the “Political thought” section, Tunne Kelam, Member of the European Parliament from 2004 to 2019, continues his observations series, which also includes a little memoir moment. In this issue, he writes about the relations with Russia and the attempts to overcome the Communist legacy. In an unfortunate turn of events, it appears to be a very topical piece of writing once again, although none of us could foresee that it would turn out as it has when we were planning the series.

In the research section, we publish three studies in cooperation with the Estonian Research Council about their RITA programme. It was a programme in the course of which ministries commissioned studies with a view to shaping a knowledge-based policy. On a linked topic, President of the Estonian Academy of Sciences Tarmo Soomere writes about science for policy.

We publish two other studies by the Foresight Centre and look at the developments in the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences. There is a separate extensive study on what a youth-centred approach to young people might look like.