Petition Calls for Ansip to Drop Sochi Plans ({{commentsTotal}})

Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip
Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip Source: Photo: ERR

Former editor in chief of Postimees, Anvar Samost, has opened a petition calling for PM Andrus Ansip to drop his plans of visiting the Olympic Games in Sochi. As of Tuesday morning it had collected over 700 signatures, including those by a number of IRL and opposition politicians.

Samost initiated the online petition on Sunday evening on a live ERR radio broadcast, saying that even if Ansip has said he is going as a tourist, on his own budget, he will still be treated by the hosts as a high ranking politician, even more so as he is traveling with Foreign Minister Urmas Paet.

IRL's Eerik-Niiles Kross and MP Juku-Kalle Raid, Center Party MP Olga Sõtnik and former Sirp editor in chief Kaarel Tarand have all signed the petition on the website.

Sõtnik told ETV on Monday that Russia is using the Sochi games to showcase its power and ambition, and that democratic states should not send politicians to countries with bad human rights records. She did not mention that her own party's chairman, Edgar Savisaar, has already booked tickets.

Tarmu Tammerk, the adviser on journalism ethics at ERR, said on Monday that it was inappropriate for an ERR employee such as Samost to use his position and the ERR airwaves for such political activity, noting that ERR, as a public broadcaster, must remain balanced and unbiased.

Ansip said at a press conference on Monday that he has visited a number Olympic games unofficially, including the 2006, 2008 and 2012 games. Ansip is an avid athlete, having been spotted cycling from the capital to his hometown Tartu, a distance of some 200 kilometers.

Algirdas Butkevičius, the Lithuanian PM, said at the same press conference, that he is also planning to attend the games, remarking that it is important for Lithuanian athletes to feel the support of the nation.

Latvia's newly sworn-in leader Laimdota Straujuma will not travel to Sochi, but the Latvian president will.