Estonian president launches YouTube video blog

Estonian president launches YouTube video blog Tallinn - Estonia, the Baltic nation whose enthusiasm for all things related to the internet often sees it referred to as "E-stonia" has added another item to its cyber-portfolio by launching an online presidential blog Tuesday via the video website YouTube.

Visitors to YouTube can see Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves giving a five-minute chat to the nation on the subject of the economy in what is claimed to be the EU's first presidential videocast.

Currently in Estonian language only, there are plans to add English subtitles, a presidential spokesperson told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

The webcast may ultimately become a regular fixture, though initially it is being filmed on an ad hoc basis in response to significant news events, dpa was told.

Comments left by viewers on the YouTube site were mixed, with some entries suggesting Ilves was simply trying to copy the style of US president-elect Barack Obama, who made effective use of video blogging during his presidential election campaign.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev launched his own videocast on October 7, but via the official Kremlin website rather than a public site.

Previous Estonian forays into cyberspace have included opening an online embassy in the interactive video game "Second Life" and the small Baltic nation also played an important part in the development of internet telephony service Skype.

Ilves' presidential website bore the brunt of a cyber-attack launched from servers in Russia in the wake of an Estonian government decision to relocate a Soviet war memorial in the Estonian capital Tallinn in April 2007.

The success of Estonia's information technology infrastructure in repulsing the attack led directly to the establishment of a NATO cyber-defence centre in Tallinn. (dpa)