Let’s celebrate Baltic unity by learning more about our neighbors

Writer Justinas Žilinskas challenged his Facebook followers today by saying that, as we commemorate anniversaries of the Baltic Chain, the longest human chain recorded, we still hardly know anything that is happening in other Baltic countries. We hardly ever listen to Baltic music or know the names of other countries′ leaders. Some of his followers commented how they actually have a grasp of all things Baltic. A part of my job is to follow what happens around the Baltics, so I′ll use the opportunity to share some links (without much research, just some things that come to mind).

Did you know that:

  • Estonia′s EU presidency will be moved to an earlier date to account for Brexit (backgrounder). But surely Estonians will deal with it just fine – after all, they are the best at following EU rules. Latvia′s EU presidency was last year (my impressions from a presidency conference here), and Lithuania took up this challenge in 2013.
  • Many Estonian and Latvian politicians have active Twitter accounts in English – Twitter seems to be bigger there than in Lithuania (see my Twitter list of Baltic politicians).
  • Riga is home to the Baltic Center for Investigative Journalism Re:Baltica, Stockholm School of Economics in Riga with their excellent summer school on investigative reporting, and Baltic Centre for Media Excellence.
  • Latvia has very successful pharmaceutical industry. This year the developer of Mildronate, a widely known drug for heart diseases, was the runner-up for the European Inventor of the Year award.
  • There once was a popular Baltic singing competition (proto-The Voice or idol) Fizz Superstar – its winner Kerli from Estonia has grown up to be an electronic, somewhat emo music performer and songwriter. To this day, Baltic singers sometimes join these competitions in other countries and do quite well.
  • Speaking of music export, perhaps the most known Latvian band, Brainstorm, is still active. And we do hear it on the radio every now and then. Here is a selection of other up-and-coming Latvian bands, and here is a similar list for Estonia.
  • To continue the theme, there was a recent Latvian-Lithuanian collaboration – producer GeraiGerai released a remix of one of the most powerful voices in Eurovision Song Contest of the decade – Aminata (haven′t heard of her before? Hurry up and watch this).

I would also like to share an interesting recent piece of reporting – about Ukrainian workers finding employment in Estonia through Polish firms.

And it′s also a good chance to remember what I wrote after traveling to Estonia: Tartu & Tallinn. I must blog about Latvia too one day.

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