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Guardian article on President Ilves: The man who made E-stonia


How did Toomas Ilves, a former student radical from New Jersey, end up as president of the most successful of the Baltic states?

President of Estonia at the London Conference on CyberspaceThis week Toomas Hendrik Ilves flew into Britain for meetings with David Cameron and an appearance with more than 60 other world leaders at the London Conference on Cyberspace. Ilves is the president of Estonia, the smallest and most successful of the Baltic states, and he knows a thing or two about the digital world, having orchestrated the ambitious "wiring" of what has been called "E-stonia". He knows more than most about cyber-security, too, having seen his country's computers crash en masse in 2007 following a cyber-attack that many (including Ilves) allege is traceable to Vladimir Putin's Russia.

I am following the Estonian leader's visit more closely than most; he had been an old friend of mine back in high school, 40 years ago. He relates details of the recent digital intrusion – purportedly sparked by his decision to relocate a 1947 memorial to Soviet war dead from a park in Tallinn, which angered some ethnic Russians living in Estonia's medieval walled capital – when I visit him at his family farm, near Abja Parish, some 40 miles inland from the Gulf of Riga.

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