Leon Glikman – professional debater

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In Äripäev’s lifestyle magazine Gentleman, a thorough article about Leon Glikman was published. Leon Glikman, an attorney-at-law, is a bashful man of principle, who most of all values privacy. He likes Buddhist countries, hates the violation of fundamental rights, is skeptical of bringing in immigrants, enjoys weird music and drives a motorcycle.

 “Glikman really enjoys the countries of Far East and South-East Asia, where the weather is warm, people are friendly, history interesting and food delicious. He always rents a motorcycle during the trip, enjoying the adventure alone, visiting all the places he likes,” writes Äripäev’s magazine Gentleman on 29th of May.

Even though Glikman has had his own motorcycle in Estonia for more than ten years – a childhood dream come true – the moody weather here decreases the joy of riding, the roads here are not so good, as well.

 “The speed, you hear all the sounds of nature, smells… You’re free. It is enjoyable despite of our crazy speed limits,” Glikman describes the magic of motorcycle ride, which is one of many stress reducers he uses.

Speed limits create resentfulness in him. In Germany, he rents a car and where there are no speed limits “gives his best”. After that he feels good. He would also like to own a sports car, if he lived in Germany where there are proper highways.

In Estonia, he drives a comfortable Japanese jeep, because the roads here do not withstand any criticism, it is only important that in winter, the car could go through the snowy roads. Glikman confirms that he does not dream of a luxury car – in Estonia, one must be practical.

What concerns him is the fact that the flights to Far East and South-East Asia are almost unobtainable in Estonia, which means staying a night in Helsinki or drive to Latvia, from where it is much easier to travel onwards. “The situation is depressing. I know many who have given up on investing here, because they do not want to change flights three times or pay enormous amounts of money for the tickets. Elsewhere the flying is cheaper, it’s only expensive here,” says Glikman, who is not a snobbish man.

He wants to travel from one place to another quickly, agreeing to use low-cost carriers and staying in low-budget hotels. “When I travel alone and on a motorcycle, the level of the hotel doesn’t really matter. At work trips and beach vacations, I always prefer a better hotel,” he specifies. When having a holiday in Myanmar, he doesn’t care which hotel he stays in, he doesn’t need a gourmet restaurant. He is a person who values fulsomeness.

He likes to wander around in extreme places, where most would not feel safe. On the other hand, Glikman loves calm and soothing Japan. “Almost everything is good in Japan. It’s a country where no-one has managed to get on my nerves yet. Everyone is extremely polite and friendly.”

Having time off is almost like a sin

Glikman thinks that the inability to relax is one of the reasons why people die relatively young. Last time in Israel, the honorary consul of which Glikman is in Estonia, he realized while visiting friends that in Israel you don’t need to make a phone call on Friday night to make sure whether the agreed meeting is still taking place or not. “There is a favorite 

restaurant where everybody gathers, everybody is joking, drinking wine, eating. We don’t have such a tradition. Everyone is worried that the next day they should be burning the waste or moving things from the garage to the holiday house,” Glikman colorfully describes the way of thinking he is not comfortable with. “I see this and I feel sad. People doing this do not look very happy, either.”

The average Estonian rests while doing repair works, gardening. “Awful. If you really like it – fine, but I’ve also seen that when they are not doing anything like that, they are like on charcoal, because they feel bad – they should be doing something, but no-one is telling them to. I have never understood that. The same thing is with very rich people as well, who could hire a quality staff for that. I do not want to do anything that remotely reminds me of work during my free time,” admits Glikman, who stubbornly avoids working in the home office during the weekend, unless a finish of a process is close. On a typical day off, he works out, goes out with a friend to eat or have a beer. “We walk, visit someone, maybe there’s a jazz concert somewhere…”

He laughs that lack of resting is one of the few things where our people can’t blame the state. But the attitude of Estonians, where the word “must” dominates may originate from the Soviet times, where everything had to be made with own hands, and unnecessary things had to be collected just in case they are needed one day. The latter can be considered as sort of work, recognizes Glikman. “I know people who do not keep their cars in the garage. They scrape the windows of the car in the winter, but keep their Soviet stuff in the garage at the same time. These people themselves are pleasant and normal,” wonders Glikman, calling the behavior of such type of people as Moskvitš-syndrome. “They try to bring the old Moskvitš back to life, but they can’t. It takes up room and it isn’t nice to look at.”

Glikman quickly adds that everyone should live as they like. There’s not point in judging people. If everyone would be the same, life would be boring. No authority should even glance at private property. Glikman thinks it’s wrong when people who don’t keep their home yards neat, are being fined. “It’s nobody’s business what a person does in their home.”

He deplores puritanical manifestations in politics

On work days, Leon Gikman relieves tension by working out in gym, swimming and riding a bicycle in the nature, reading books or watching arthouse films. During the weekends and vacations he relaxes, enjoys good food and quality alcohol – his favorites are red wines from the “new world” and Israel, also Scottish whiskies.

 “I believe that enjoying such free time is not bad. Unfortunately, in politics puritanical manifests have appeared, for example excise duties on alcohol higher than European average, one of the lowest allowed blood alcohol level in driving a motor vehicle or small boat, considering a picnic with a glass of wine as misdemeanor and so on,” he says.

The tax burden has taken us so far that compared to average people in Romania and Bulgaria, who are considered to be poorer than us, most of Estonians cannot afford a bottle of wine at a restaurant. “Unfortunately it is forgotten that tourists come to a country with a cooler and cheaper life,” Glikman notes.

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