Editor-in-Chief’s Column



  • Without industry, we will not get rich

    03 July 2024

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 49, 2024

    Times are changing and our industry is facing many challenges. Ahti Asmann, the Chairman of the Board of the Estonian Chemical Industry Association, writes about them in his essay.

  • Options for a State Reform in Estonia

    13 December 2023

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 48, 2023

    There are few countries in the world that are smaller than Estonia. The Estonian state cannot be built on the model of France, Germany or the United States of America. So maybe we should look for our own way when shaping our statehood. This means effectiveness, but not only that. This means innovativeness and doing some things completely differently from how they have been done so far.

  • Estonians Believe in Education

    14 December 2022

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 46, 2022

    The development of the Estonian language, culture and identity has been strongly connected with education. Issues of good education are also relevant today. The world is evolving rapidly, and we have to be able to keep up with the skills we need for that, and our education system must be able to provide them to learners. This issue of Riigikogu Toimetised offers a range of views on the state of our (higher) education system, on the quality we should demand from it, what it costs and what we should expect for our money.

  • To Be or Not to Be,  That is the Question

    06 June 2022

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 45, 2022

    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.

  • One And a Half Degrees

    08 December 2021

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 44, 2021

    The issue of Riigikogu Toimetised you are holding in your hands reflects the current state of our ambitions and the situation relating to our idea of the green transition.

  • Lessons

    09 July 2021

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 43, 2021

    As I am writing these lines, Estonia is enjoying warm summer weather, the streets are crowded with people, the shopping centres are full of shoppers and the restaurant terraces are packed with customers. Everything appears to be almost like it was before. The past year was something in which we did not want to and did not know how to live. However, it seems to be over now. It is time to count the losses and to move on.

  • What Divides Us, What Unites Us

    09 December 2020

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 42, 2020

    It is very welcome that the present government included preparing the strategy “Estonia 2035” into its action programme, so that Estonia will finally have a longer-term plan. This plan will need to reach far longer than one election cycle, and ideally it should form an umbrella strategy for national strategies with a shorter time perspective and narrower topics.

  • An Alarm Bell, not a Church Bell

    08 June 2020

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 41, 2020

    The Editor-in-Chief’s column focuses on the lessons of the crisis, and the opportunities arising from the crisis.

  • Science Is Still Useful

    11 December 2019

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 40, 2019

    There is no reason for Estonia to hang its head in shame: we have excellent researchers whose work is at the highest global level. Estonian researchers are able to contribute to the international world of science, as well as research issues pertaining to life in Estonia. What can set certain limits is our impatience to get everything immediately, without stopping to ask what researchers have to do to earn their living.

  • If the Estonian State is a House, then What Kind of a House?

    03 June 2019

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 39, 2019

    Certainly, the Estonian state was not built on an empty space. Neither in 1918 when the state emerged from local governments, nor in 1991 when the foundation and solid plans of the state were still there. True, we largely used whatever material we could get back then, and some things have changed in the process, and of course life has moved on. However, people’s expectations are still generally the same. People want to live their lives in peace, to rear children and build their houses. For that, the state must provide protection, and help from time to time as the situation allows; it would be nice to have warm rooms, and a sufficiently large living room is needed where the inhabitants could meet each other.

  • Today, One Hundred Years Ago and One Hundred Years After

    05 December 2018

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 38, 2018

    The current Riigikogu, that will soon terminate its activities, has considered the issue of population a very important topic nationally, and has formed a special committee, the Study Committee to Solve the Demographic Crisis, to deal with it. This Committee has drawn public attention to the problem, and has cooperated with the universities and researchers to hear recommendations on how to resolve the situation. This issue of Riigikogu Toimetised, which focuses on the demographic problems of Estonia, publishes some studies that are the result of the work of the Committee.

  • How Can We Make It from the Hallway to the Drawing Room?

    04 June 2018

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 37, 2018

    We could always do more and better, but Estonia has done an impressive job in economic development. From the Soviet era, I remember the queues at stores simply to get a shopping basket, which would only then allow you entry among the product shelves. The shelves had hardly anything on them. The most difficult times were obviously immediately before and after the restoration of the Republic of Estonia. Now we are entering a stage in our development where Estonia is no longer a country offering cheap labour. We should also not be a country offering cheap products; instead, we should move on to the next stage and offer products with a higher added value. This means that instead of a country that assembles components, we are making efforts to become a country that produces the end products, and this also involves branding. In other words, on the global market, we must enter into competition with the countries who previously used us as sub-contractors. This is where innovation comes in, helping us to be better not in strength or cheapness, but in smartness. This issue of Riigikogu Toimetised views the tasks in the Estonian economic development in the context of global economy.

  • How to survive in the changed security situation

    05 December 2017

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 36, 2017

    Security is the focus topic of the new issue of Riigikogu Toimetised. As the members of the Riigikogu who participated in the Riigikogu Toimetised conversation circle found, security cannot be divided into external and internal security any more, and there are new aspects in it due to global developments. This is why we can say without exaggeration that security involves all fields of life. Besides war, it is also necessary to take into account humanitarian and natural disasters, and unexpected technological collapses that do not have to be the direct result of the activities of an enemy state (for example, solar flares that can knock out all electronics).

  • The twelve stars shining

    07 June 2017

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 35, 2017

    The overarching theme of this issue is the Presidency of Estonia in the Council of the European Union. Lithuania and Latvia have already had the opportunity to try this role. Their presidencies have been rather successful. So there will probably not be any prejudices towards Estonia as a former Soviet republic. We get the task of leading (and waiting is not a possibility in the current situation) the European Union, as it finds itself in a very difficult situation and faces many challenges.

  • Culture is the sum of all (after Mihhail Lotman)

    14 December 2016

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 34, 2016

    To simplify Lotman’s idea, the culture exists in all forms of human activities. When our forefathers built their log houses, they used manual construction methods that had developed over a certain period. They did it without thinking that some of these houses would be declared heritage sites one day, or that some might even be moved to the Open Air Museum. It is only since the 19th century National Awakening that we have a professional national culture, an idea that we took from the Germans. So we have a popular culture and a national culture, and one way or another we carry both inside us.

  • To be – no doubt – but how?

    08 June 2016

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 33, 2016

    Never before has Estonia been so well-known in the world as now, a hundred years later. The reason is simple: we exist now, we are visible also in the international arena now, and we have been there for quite some time already. The international situation of recent years definitely raises existential questions for us again, but, despite that, the question “to be or not to be?” is beginning to be replaced by the question “how to go on?”

  • They Just Are with Us

    14 December 2015

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 32, 2015

    Twenty five years ago the question “Who is an Estonian?” would have been considered just an attempt of philosophical discussion aimed at shocking people. I remember the events of the Singing Revolution at the Song Festival Ground,  where the people were singing “I am an Estonian and I will remain an Estonian”, and the meaning of this was unambiguously clear: opposition to the Soviet power and to the migrants, who were flwing in at an uncontrollable pace that threatened the existence of the Estonian nation.

  • Estonia’s Search for a Happy Industrialist

    10 June 2015

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 31, 2015

    Estonia is starting to run out of people who have the skills to build something essential with their own two hands, like a stove, a well or a shed. Just think about your own life, remember your school days and ask yourself: which part of the school curriculum have you needed in real life, and what have you desperately wished you had learned?

  • Our People, Our State and Our Space

    15 December 2014

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 30, 2014

    The key to the survival of the state of Estonia is the good relations between the Estonians and Russians living here. It is the task of the younger generation of Russians living in Estonia to shape the identity of local Russians.

  • Estonia’s Decade of Possibilities

    18 June 2014

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 29, 2014

    In 2018, Estonia will hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. We have witnessed the Presidency period of Lithuania, which has earned international praise behind the scenes. Lithuania as the presiding country showed itself to be an efficient diplomat and administrator who is able to join national and Pan-European interests. The activities of President Dalia Grybauskaitė greatly contributed to it.

  • Against the Wind

    19 December 2013

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 28, 2013

    It is November 2013. Autumn has been unexceptionally long and warm. The Minister of Culture of the Republic of Estonia has resigned. He said he did not have the possibility to have a say in the communication field, that in this field all truth transforms into lies. Culture newspaper „Sirp” became a part of a happening during which real people suffered.

  • Myths

    19 June 2013

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 27, 2013

    The history dispute that broke out in Estonia in the beginning of this year, after the publication of Volume 2 of The History of Estonia, is a clear example that characterises the situation in Estonia. In a sense, Estonia is again at the crossroads: is it better to hold on fast to the values of the nation state, or to be carried along with the current of globalisation and merge into something larger – the Baltic States, the Nordic Countries, the European Union. History and the myths created on its basis have two times been very important for Estonia in achieving independence. Now, when the modern view on history has placed the events of the Middle Ages in Estonia into a wider European context, there suddenly seemed to be less heroism. The fear that an important truth is disputed brought along a wave of criticism.

  • Twenty

    19 December 2012

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 26, 2012

    This year we celebrated the twentieth anniversary of many events that were important to Estonia after regaining independence: the entry into force of our Constitution, start of the work of the Riigikogu, elections of the President, and also the adoption of the Estonian kroon.

  • The Lost World

    14 June 2012

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 25, 2012

    The sinister circumstances connected with the financing of political parties that have come to light this spring force the Estonian society to ask questions belonging to the sphere of ethics.

  • Frightened Money

    15 December 2011

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 24, 2011

    Money is looking for a refuge. Government bonds that until now were reliable are not trusted any longer; the bonds of some European states have been declared trash by rating agencies.

  • Ready?

    15 June 2011

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 23, 2011

    20 August of this year is the twentieth anniversary of the day Estonia again became an independent state.

  • Landmark

    15 December 2010

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 22, 2010

    On 1 January 2011, Estonia will adopt the euro. It is a sign of the development of our economy during the last two decades. Although the efforts made for fulfilment of the formal criteria of the euro deserve recognition, with the benefit of hindsight it can be said that the preparation begun much earlier. Likewise, no politician or government can say that the euro is their merit. It is the Estonian people who deserve credit for that. We are one of the poorest in the “euro club” at present but we can rely on Estonians’ tenacity and diligence – they will do everything to raise their rating. The euro is a landmark which has been achieved with a great effort and from which something new will be born.

  • Fire under Ashes

    16 June 2010

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 21, 2010

    There are about 130 000 people in Estonia who are looking for a job. A large number of people in their prime have no steady income and, what is even worse form their own standpoint, they have no possibility to be useful.

  • An End to Stagnation

    17 December 2009

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 20, 2009

    The world is changing. The financial and economic crisis has forced people to abandon their habitual spend-use-and-dispose behaviour reminiscent of a hamster in a wheel.

  • How RiTo Got on Television

    17 December 2009

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 20, 2009

    The tenth issue of Riigikogu Toimetised (RiTo) was supposed to be published in December 2004.

  • Looking Back at the Beginning of Riigikogu Toimetised and a Modest Wish

    17 December 2009

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 20, 2009

    The idea behind the publication was conceived and made a reality as a sideline, just like many institutions of the Estonian state were built, both in our era and before our time.

  • Stuck

    18 June 2009

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 19, 2009

    For a long time we kept repeating to ourselves that we were not Latvia. Our economy would manage the crisis better, we had reserves, our politicians were better statesmen, etc. Until the cabinet crisis broke, that is. Until the cabinet crisis was created, to be precise. Disgruntled voices now say that we are like Latvia.

  • Lacking a Head

    16 December 2008

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 18, 2008

    Signs of the impending global economic crisis could be seen for many years, but did not receive sufficient attention. It was more convenient and pleasant to hope that, if a phase of economic decline did set in, it would not prove a very serious one. Now things look different.

  • What We Lack the Most

    18 June 2008

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 17, 2008

    Estonia may lack money, ideas and capacity for engaging in cooperation.

  • In Defence of History

    19 December 2007

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 16, 2007

    Talking about history has become popular and often two mutually exclusive arguments are heard.

  • A Different Kind of Spring

    14 June 2007

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 15, 2007

    For Estonia, spring 2007 has been extraordinary. For the first time in the last fifteen years, we felt that we could be facing serious domestic and foreign policy problems.

  • More Principles Are Needed

    18 December 2006

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 14, 2006

    Estonian parties have partisan interests in abundance, but a shortage of worldview, firm convictions and principles.

  • Tired of Politics

    13 June 2006

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 13, 2006

    Spring 2006 should be a hot one in Estonian politics. The birth of a new party is right around the corner. Sooner or later the result will be a shifting of the entire party-political terrain. In the autumn a new head of state will be elected in Estonia; in nine months, the people will elect another parliament.

  • Choices within Ourselves

    14 December 2005

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 12, 2005

    For a time this autumn, a discussion broke out in the Estonian media over the dearth of ethical and moral values in society. It struck me that I, too, have become more inured with each passing year where my social instincts are concerned.

  • Only the One Who Speaks Is Heard!

    15 June 2005

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 11, 2005

    In the last fifteen years, Estonian society has achieved an extraordinary amount economically and politically.

  • Ten Issues Already!

    15 December 2004

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 10, 2004

    The editor's column casts a look back at the ten issues of RiTo so far. RiTo has successfully cleared its early hurdles and has proved its merits. It has become, as the title page overleaf states, a magazine that reflects on parliament's constitutional and social duties, RiTo's readers are a loyal contingent and the periodical's place on the shelf of academic journals is nicely assured… a solid green row of spines.

  • Children’s Welfare in the Hands of the Riigikogu

    18 December 2003

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 8, 2003

    Population experts paint a fairly bleak picture when it comes to Estonia. The population pyramid, which should have a wide base since the young make up the largest part of the population, is in fact eroded. The burden of bearing the economy and general weal falls onto the shoulders of people who are in their middle years but approaching pension age. Some relief is provided by 15-19-year-olds, whose fairly sizeable ranks are about to enter the workforce.

  • This Issue’s Main Theme – the European Union

    11 June 2003

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 7, 2003

    The main theme of this edition of RiTo is Estonia and the European Union.

  • In Defence of Parliament

    17 December 2002

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 6, 2002

    The leading article treats the topic, raised by the media, of employment benefits for Riigikogu members.

  • The Tenth Anniversary of the Constitution

    14 June 2002

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 5, 2002

    Many events during the restoration of independence era are worthy of remembrance and commemoration, but three have proved to be chief among them. They are closely tied with one another and it would be wrong to view them separately.

  • Introductory column by the Editor-in-Chief

    19 December 2001

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 4, 2001

    During recent months, the Riigikogu has enjoyed the relatively stable support of about one-third of the population. What should the Riigikogu actually do in order to deserve at least a half of the Estonian residents' approval ofto its activities?

  • Editor-in-Chief’s Columns

    18 June 2001

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 3, 2001

    The work of the Parliament is reflected in the media, legislation, proceeding from reforms, and government statistics. The opening columns, reflecting on the Estonian press, reform statistics and articles in Riigikogu Toimetised (RiTo) No. 3, lead from the image of the Estonian Parliament and the voters' expectations towards the future plans of RiTo, where words count.

  • Comments by the Editor-in-Chief Aare Kasemets

    31 October 2000

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 2, 2000

    The Editor-in-Chief discusses some conceptual issues of the Riigikogu Toimetised (RiTo, for short) and some major topics covered in the RiTo 2. To start with, he characterizes Estonian Parliamentary Democracy as a nice human-faced creature with two dissimilar legs.

  • Preface

    15 June 2000

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 1, 2000

    Dear Reader of the Riigikogu Toimetised.

  • Thoughts on Parliamentarism, Democracy and Future Goals of the Riigikogu

    15 June 2000

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 1, 2000

    Democracy as a form of a state’s political regime is a constantly regenerating process that is based on a continuing dialogue between the people and Parliament.

  • New Parliamentary Forum – What, Why, for Whom, and What Next?

    15 June 2000

    Editor-in-Chief’s Column

    RiTo No. 1, 2000

    The back column of the Riigikogu Toimetised editor-in-chief Aare Kasemets (Riigikogu Chancellery) and managing editor Ülo Siivelt (Estonian Law Centre, Tartu) sums up the issues related to the concept of the publication, its first issue and future plans. When searching for the concept of the Riigikogu Toimetised, the Estonian information market, parliamentary publications in other countries, etc., were analysed. Eventually, a framework arising from the constitutional tasks of the Riigikogu was designed, which has no international counterparts. As the Estonian society and thus the possible readership of the Estonian-language part of the Riigikogu Toimetised is relatively small, it was not practical to create a publication that would focus narrowly only on law or politics.