Samuel Hanafin

10 June 2024

Do you speak Estonian?

The next legislative elections in Estonia will be in 2027, and it would be a stretch to gauge the future balance of power from the results of yesterday’s European elections. Voter turnout is much lower than in national elections. Isamaa has emerged as the clear victor and is now well positioned, if it stays its current course, to steer future coalitions further to the right. More nationalist posturing at the expense of Estonia’s Russian-speaking communities will probably follow.

Read more about Do you speak Estonian?

19 March 2024

In Tallinn

The Russian Embassy in Tallinn is an art nouveau building on Pikk Street in the old city. There are Ukrainian flags and placards with anti-Putin slogans opposite the entrance, the layers of posters and graffiti providing a rough chronology of events in Russia and Ukraine since February 2022. More recent additions include votive candles and portraits of Alexei Navalny. Estonia has no tanks or planes to send to Ukraine, but the country has committed the equivalent of 3.6 per cent of its GDP in aid, making it by far the biggest donor per capita. It joined Nato in 2004, along with the other Baltic states, and its intelligence reports on Russia’s hybrid warfare often make headlines in Western media.

Read more about In Tallinn

25 July 2022

Translation Exercises

Since last September I’ve been studying Russian at the Institute of Oriental Languages in Paris. After the invasion of Ukraine in February our polyglot grammar teacher strayed from the curriculum to explain the differences between Ukrainian and Russian. They are not mutually intelligible, he said; Ukrainian is a language not a dialect. The war has widened the political fault line between them. Other teachers read us responses to the war by newly exiled poets.

Read more about Translation Exercises