Palo Takes Flak From Daily for Apparent Version of 'I Can See Russia' Quote ({{commentsTotal}})

Urve Palo
Urve Palo Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix
Eesti Päevaleht reported that Minister of Economic Affairs Urve Palo raised some eyebrows at a recent government meeting, when she suggested the TV tower of Tallinn should remain in the ownership of the state because “you can see the enemy approaching” from there.

In May, Palo ditched a plan to privatize TV and radio broadcast operator Levira on grounds of security and history, as the company also owns the Tallinn TV Tower, a symbol of Estonia's regained independence in 1991. However, her Social Democrats on Monday suggested to hand the ownership to the government of Tallinn.

While it's true that the TV Tower was encircled by armored columns sent to Tallinn by Moscow hardliners in August 1991, Palo's comment was seized on by the daily as a Sarah Palinesque gaffe, perhaps given several other instances of the minister being too off-the-cuff.

According to Eesti Päevaleht, Palo spoke at an early summer session on the issue and said the structure was important because - as the quote was rendered - "you can stand on the top and see whether the enemy is approaching."

An anonymous source present at the meeting told the daily that the exact quote cannot be recalled - but added: “it was unexpected, but I think she meant it.”

Palo’s spokesman Rasmus Ruuda told Eesti Päevaleht that in her view, the TV tower has strategic importance because it is a communication center.

At 312 meters, with the conventional part of the building topping out at around 170 meters, it is the highest manmade structure in Estonia.

Palo has been under fire already for being allegedly too outspoken and unguarded. Shortly after being her investiture, she angered Estonian Air executives when she said the state company could go bankrupt.