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Alec Ross: An Epic Tale of Two Countries

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Estonia and Belarus: two countries taking very different paths. Alec Ross explores the difference between Estonia and Belarus’ post Soviet societies.

Noting forward-thinking leaders like Mart Laar who helped in the beginning to propel Estonia forward to become a digital leader, to current President Toomas Hendrik Ilves who has helped introduce the world to Estonian capabilities.

In his article, Ross looks at the history of both countries in terms of how they responded to the crisis in 1991. With inflation rising rapidly and no legal framework, Estonian leaders went to work to not only solve the current crisis, but also set Estonia on a trajectory into the future. “Estonia has not produced a centi-billion-dollar company like Google, but it has achieved some notable successes, including Skype. More significant, it has innovated in a way that every place in the world, including Silicon Valley, should envy,” Ross writes.

From voting online to filing taxes online, Estonians are at the center of e-governance. They have created an “efficiency haven” for entrepreneurs who want to start a business, even creating a pathway to digital citizenship through the e-Residency program.

As Ross says, “Estonia has demonstrated how innovation in the industries of the future can do more than just generate wealth and employment; it can enhance our civic and political life. In this respect we should stop asking about the next Silicon Valley and start asking about the next Estonia.”

Read the full article here.

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