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Ambassador of Estonia about Kazakhstani people, national cuisine and cooperation with Kazakhstan in the IT-sphere

Heiti Mäemees

53 years old, hometown — Tallinn, Ambassador of the Republic of Estonia to the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan


Ambassador of Estonia about Kazakhstani people, national cuisine and cooperation with Kazakhstan in the IT-sphere


About moving to Kazakhstan

I came to Kazakhstan in 2017 for the post of Ambassador. However, my first visit was in 2010 when there was only the Estonian consular mission.

I have been working as a diplomat for 28 years. In 1999, I worked in Ukraine, Poland, Belgium in the permanent missions of Estonia to NATO and the European Union, and now I'm here.

I have been working as a diplomat for 28 years

I work not only in Kazakhstan but also in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan. Moving here is a challenge for me because the trade turnover between our countries has decreased since 2014. Now we are actively working in this region to raise our level in trade, political, and cultural terms.


There are areas in which we cooperate. For example, in the field of information technology, e-government, and online learning. There are IT programs, private and public, implemented in Kazakhstan where Estonian experience and solutions were used. This is not often discussed, but it is noted that our experts were involved. By the way, Bolt is one of the examples. The Estonian mobile app was launched in Nur Sultan in autumn 2019 and competes with Yandex Taxi and Uber.

We would like to strengthen our cooperation in these fields with Kazakhstan.

About the city

There are many entertainments and sports clubs in the city. I play tennis, so I'm glad all the centers have finally opened. We are also happy tennis is available here in terms of price and the number of courts.

I like to walk along the embankment or ride a bike on special paths. This is convenient, sometimes I ride a bicycle to work.


In Estonia, you can be in the middle of nature in ten minutes, but here you need to go to Borovoe. The forest is important for Estonians. If you feel bad, you can go out of town and hug the trees.

I was in Uralsk, Almaty, and Mangystau. I would like to visit the North-Eastern part of Kazakhstan and Shymkent.

About food
I am glad I can find any cuisine in Nur-Sultan: Asian, Eastern, and even Ukrainian. There is always a large selection of fresh fruits and vegetables, but I do not have enough fresh fish.


Some familiar things are more expensive in Estonia than here. For example, high-quality cheese. Other local dairy products are freely available and of good quality. I also got acquainted with good local wine.

Kazakhstan is a place where you need to try horse meat. I like horsemeat steaks at GolPas, a good place to with friends.

About people
Family is very important in Kazakhstan. Kazakhs can also live in peace with their neighbors. Perhaps this is due to the high level of empathy among citizens. I like the local hospitality and how it affects culture.

I try not to highlight common features in people. People say about us that Estonians are slow, but this is just a stereotype.

Kazakhs can live in peace with their neighbors

According to the census of 2009, Kazakhstan has a population of 986 of the Estonians. Not far from the capital, there is a village of Petrovka, where three grandmothers who speak Estonian live. They are great-granddaughters of those who moved here in the 19th century.

Kazakhstan is a good partner for Estonia. Times have become more interesting. Many young people live here. People think about education. This is why we attract students to study in Estonia.

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