Cultural Audit of Estonia
Estonia is a country that has continued to try to improve itself since leaving the former Soviet Union. 1990 was the year that Estonia declared its independence from the Soviet Union. Other European nations had recognized Estonia as their own separate entity almost immediately after declaring themselves a country. The Soviets were resistant initially but over a year later they also recognized Estonia as their own nation (infoplease, n.d.). Estonia joined the European Union as well as NATO in 2004. Estonia has been the first country to allow for internet voting in elections for parliament members (infoplease, n.d.). Tampering would be thought to be an issue with allow for electronic voting, but the Estonian government has taken the precautions necessary to prevent that from happening. The current president of Estonia is Toomas Hendrik Ilves. President Ilves was elected by an electoral college in 2006. He had previously served in the Estonia Parliament before being elected. The Prime Minister of Estonia, who serves as the head of the government and has just as much if not more power than the president, is Prime Minister Andrus Ansip who has held his position since 2005. The type of government that Estonia has adopted is a Parliamentary Republic. The people of the Estonia vote for the members to represent that parliament, in this case 101 people. Those 101 members of parliament then vote on who the President and Prime Minister of Estonia are. Parliament also gives forth votes to the people on issues that are concerns for the whole country.
Estonia remains a so called melting pot for Eastern Europe. The country is made up of 60 percent Estonia’s, with the other 40 percent being from other parts of the former Soviet Republic and a small population from other various parts of the world (Miller, 2009). With this much diversity within the country it is commendable that Estonia has done so well and can be a model of social and political change in just a short period of time after it had gained its independence from the Soviet Union. The political landscape of Estonia remains steady even with the drastic population from other countries. The huge national population disparity can and has lead to violent conflicts in the country. In 2007, the Russians that are in the country went to the capital to celebrate Victory Day, this day being the end of Fascism at the end of WWII. Estonian’s view Victory Day totally different than the Russians that are apart of Estonia. Victory Day to Estonian’s represents the start of Soviet occupancy in their country up until 1990. The Estonian government then moved the statue that the Russians came to, to celebrate, which led to violent clashes with country police for days (Miller, 2009). Despite the few clashes like this the Estonian government and political landscape has been solid, without much controversy, or wants from the people of political reform.
When people think of Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Press and what countries speak for these rights, Estonia isn’t one that comes to the mind of most. Estonia ranks first in the world in terms of Internet Freedom, second in the world in access to the internet in schools, and third in the world in both Freedom of the Press and IT legal acts (Viik, 2012). Estonia has taken a very progressive role in reforming the internet and what can be obtained on it. Estonia was the first country to allow for electronic voting in parliamentary elections. Estonia fighting for freedom on the internet also wishes to protect those that use the internet. Protection of personal information, safeguarding people from identity theft crimes is important to the country. The country itself had been a target to internet hackers and thieves; this is why the country has taken such a stance on internet freedom as well as internet security. The Cyber attacks against Estonia in 2007 have led to other countries to become more aware of...
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