Estonia is a reminder of what a former Soviet republic can be.
Foreign Policy magazine recently announced a new index to identify the best foreign direct investment locations the world over. While the magazine is more often known for its long-form pieces on international relations and its excellent short-form blogs on diplomacy and IR theory, it has put together an index that has significantly more intellectual backing than most similar lists.
Little Estonia tops that ranking for Europe, coming in at number twelve. This is a remarkable achievement, a testament to the Baltic determination to leave Soviet days behind, and a rebuke to an otherwise sclerotic continent that cannot compete well with a country once crushed by decades of Soviet oppression.
Estonia has made a name for itself as the economic leader of the Baltic states, and has become increasingly influential in European circles for its tight fiscal management and an economy that has shown surprising resilience in the face of the ongoing slow meltdown of Europe.
The Baltics had advantages on leaving the Soviet Union, but foremost among these were the preservation of their civil societies and their fierce determination to be free. Most of the former Soviet Union suffered the loss of the former, and have only truly regained the latter of late.
Estonia is a beacon for what they can be.
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