Faces of Estonian Pragmatism. Sometimes it Happens Vice Versa

On 9 November Minister of the Interior of Estonia Mart Helme, who belongs to Euro-sceptic  extreme-right Conservative People‘s Party, Minister of Finance Martin Helme (he is also the leader of the Party) and member of the Eur…

On 9 November Minister of the Interior of Estonia Mart Helme, who belongs to Euro-sceptic  extreme-right Conservative People‘s Party, Minister of Finance Martin Helme (he is also the leader of the Party) and member of the European Party Jaak Madison told to the radio TRE that results of the presidential election of the USA have been fabricated. Joe Biden ‘s becoming the leader of the country would mean the beginning of recession of the United States, since he was elected by a deep state structure seeking to incorporate corrupt and blackmailed bastards. In other words, removal of Donald Trump from the power means that the Constitution is no longer valid in the United States.   
In the radio program they even were talking about the possibility of a civil war – the Minister of the Interior told that Donald Trump finally would win and restore justice, however after a long struggle, maybe even after bloodshed. Nothing more or nothing less. Next day after the scandal he arose, he told that with his speech about election in the United States he did what had to be done by journalists a long time ago. As if Estonian people don ‘t tell about what mass media of the United States are telling, that is, about fabrication of the election.
Being aware that three weeks after ‘blind defence ‘Donald Trump on 24 November strongly denying the results of election, finally delegated his team to start the delegation procedures. It seems that the version of Estonian radicals from EKRE about degradation of the Unites States has been activated de facto.   
Before that on 16 October Minister of the Interior stood out for his statement during the interview to Deutsche Welle (DW) that an excessive flow of Ukrainian migrants was unacceptable and unprofitable to his country. He said as if they agreed to work for less and thus were taking away jobs from local people, besides, they did not speak Estonian, thus, they increased the number of Russian-speaking people in Estonia.
The Minister Mart Helme expressed similar thoughts about seasonal workers in May in reply to the request of local farmers to lift restrictions for bringing labour force from abroad.
Over 25 thousand Ukrainians moved to Estonia in several years’ time. In comparison with other foreigners, Ukrainians used to get the most temporary residence and work permits in this Baltic State. Let ‘s say only in the first half-year of 2018 80 percent of permits were issued to Ukrainians. The flow of Ukrainians can become hardly controlled by such small country as Estonia, the population of which is 1.328,360 according to the data of 1 January.   
Nevertheless, having in mind geopolitical realities (aggression of Russia against Ukraine) the Minister should talk in a more diplomatic manner. Not to say that majority of Ukrainians working on a temporary basis, would probably try to integrate into the Estonian society.
During the same interview Minister of the Interior did not limit himself to ‘condemnation‘ of Ukrainian migrants and announced that it was necessary to organize a referendum in the country regarding definition of marriage as a relation between a woman and a man. The officer openly told that he had unfavourable to sexual minorities and suggested homosexuals Estonians to move to Sweden, where they could expect a more welcoming approach. The Minister was categorical about a statement that it was called homophobe and was explaining that the ones, who were against the referendum, were simply heterophobes, since they were getting under the blanket of heterosexual people. Relatively speaking, ‘other propaganda‘ must be presented to homosexual propaganda.
Once we listen to political ‘sirens from EJRE we might have an impression that this Baltic State, that is being considered advanced, is levitating to the stylistics of Viktor Orban‘s regime in Hungary. It turns out that this might be the price of the ruling coalition with the right-wing radicals that has to be paid even by Estonia, famous for its rationalism.
President of the country Kersti Kaljulaid after all these ‘precedents‘ had nothing else to do but virtually ‘give up‘ and denounce behaviour of politicians in a special announcement by indicating in a social portal that distribution of countrymen (to the ‘right‘ or not) according to sexual orientation, skin colour and some other discriminative features conflicts with the spirit of the Estonian Constitution and is dissuasive in a human point of view. The President summarized that a politician with such attitude is not suitable for the office of the Minister of the Interior and the Estonian society and she had discussed about this with the Prime Minister of Estonia.   
Finally, on 9 November Minister of the Interior Mart Helme resigned. To tell the truth, voting initiated by the Estonian opposition regarding distrust in the Minister of the Finance and fellow member of the father ‘s party Marek Helme – son was rejected on the same day (5 votes were lacking).
In general, a political system of Estonia coped with a test of right-wing radicals of ‘waves‘ of democratic society and the scandal collapsed. Besides, and this is the most important – in its works Tallinn is demonstrating a consistent loyalty to the vector of democratic solidarity.
Although the former Minister of the Interior threated his countrymen of the invasion of Ukrainians, on 7 July Estonia handed over 2,400 pistols Makarov to the Ukrainian Army that has been confronting with aggression of Russia. DW quoted the Minister of Defence of Estonia Jüri Luik, who indicated that his country was helping Ukrainians by training their special forces soldiers, military medicine, is sharing experience in such areas as cyber and territorial defence. The Minister called Ukraine its alley and emphasized that Estonia has been consistently and firmly supporting objectives of Kiev Euro-Atlantic integration.  
The Parliament of Estonia on 25 August passed a declaration supporting Belarussian democracy and civil society by 92 votes (from 93 of those who were taking place in the meeting in Riigikog on that day) and incited to organize a fair election in that country. We should remind that Estonia and its Baltic sisters have never recognized presidential election in Belarus held on 9 August as fair and were one of the first to announce about sanctions against the regime of Alexander Lukashenko together with other Baltic ‘sisters‘.   
Ethical pragmatism of a small nation, the basic feature of which is fulfilment of non-announced obligations between partners, even if /when individual politicians (they are everywhere) talk about a particular ‘sovereign position‘. This has been determined by living in the geopolitical periphery – in 2016 the former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Newt Gingrich told to the TV channel about Estonia as a suburb of Saint Petersburg of Russia so it doubted whether it is worth to start a nuclear war for just a suburb.   
Besides, article 5 of the NATO Treaty providing for collective defence was ignored, as a result of which Estonia could not just pay any attention. Let allies be allies, but a nation that has less than one and a half million population must trust, to begin with. Probably it has taken over the existential experience from its northern sister Finland.   
The solution of Estonians to move the Bronze Soldier monument from Tallinn city centre on Tenismeg hill to the cemetery of soldiers in April 2007 provoked a riot inspired by mostly Russian-speaking people and some politicians from Moscow even incited to ‘privatize‘ this pseudo state, in the opinion of the deputy of State Duma Sergey Glazyev.
Estonia is the first country in the world that has experienced most cyber-attacks of Russia (even then everybody knew that some IP addresses were from the computers in the Kremlin). It is logical that then Tallinn established NATO Cyber Defence Centre and Estonia now is the leader of cyber security in Europe.
It seems that Estonian pragmatism covers ’only‘ details and political fragments. Let ‘s say, the topic of relations between Baltic nations that have been shed for some time by the Astravets Power Plant being built in Belarus. When the meeting of Presidents of the Baltic States in Saaremaa (Estonia) that took place at the end of June, was held without participation of the President of Lithuania Gitanas Nausėda for the first time in history and the office of the president announced that the reason of non-arrival of the President to the meeting was different opinions regarding buying electricity from Astravets PP, President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid expressed a polite ironic sorrow regarding an incomplete meeting and named some troubles in the internal politics of Lithuania as one of the reasons.   
Summarizing the non-published solidarity and pragmatism, not only Russian press informed about the Russian soldier arrested on 6 October by Russian federal security service in Smolensk and his brother in Pskov (the latter permanently lives in Estonia) for spying in favour of Estonia. It is likely that this news is the top of the iceberg, because usually we have very little similar news from Russia.
Estonia quietly and probably quite successfully is involved in a delicate collection of information in Russia that is getting more reserved and because it figures out the algorithm of Russian special services quite successfully.
In November 2018 The Washington Post indicated it as a sample how to decrypt Russian agents (from 2007 to the date of publication that Estonians arrested at least 17 Russian people, who were working in special services). According to the daily, in case of Russian spies, special services of a small Baltic State recommend to its Western colleagues to act under the following principle: to make the agents public and then stigmatize. That is, to act in contrary to the Western special services that usually avoid diplomatic scandals and try to settle things ‘under the carpet ‘.  
Estonians are a small but hard-working nation that tends to look beneath the surface, probably that ‘s why they find themselves on top of various ratings quite often. For instance, in PISA education rating Estonian schoolchildren are the first in Europe and fifth in the world. In this area Estonians beat even Finland that is famous for its traditionally high-quality education system, that Estonia must have learnt from. The World Health Organization has indicated this republic (together with Island and Finland) as the country that is standing for clean air (over half of the territory of Estonia is covered with forests). In recent years in the ratings of life quality Estonia started to get in the top places taken by the Nordic countries mostly. The country is the first according to the freedom of speech on the Internet and is the record-holder according to the number of Internet starters. And so, on and so forth.
Estonians are coping with extravagant right-wing radicals-populists in their own – Estonian way, without stopping their works.
Arūnas Spraunius

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