This week in news: dirty politics and merry men.
Speculations continue as to how long the current coalition agreement - signed two months ago - will hold, as Reform Party's Tartu department has also voiced concerns about the chosen policies. The statement came soon after the new head of the Social Democrats, Jevgeni Ossinovski, spoke out against the agreement. For now, however, the tax change bill that lies in the heart of the controversy, has passed the first reading in the Parliament, after a 14-hour session that ended at four in the morning.
IRL was also in brief turmoil as the race for the party head turned ugly. A daily revealed that a suspiciously high number of new members had been signed up, with the party congress just days away, in what looked like an attempt to manipulate the election result. It was also revealed that over two dozen of the new recruits had a criminal record. They were, however, swiftly expelled from the party and the case is now in front of its new court of honor. As for the elections, Margus Tsahkna won with 685 votes, against 210 for Jaan Männik, and has promised to restore IRL's image and former values. How this change in party leadership will affect the coalition remains to be seen.
The European Commission's Vice-President Jyrki Katainen visited Estonia to promote the Commission's Investment Plan for Europe. His public debate with Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas can be watched here.
On Tuesday, the closed court hearing over Estonian security official Eston Kohver started at the Pskov regional court. Kohver, who was kidnapped from Estonian soil in September last year, is being accused of smuggling, espionage, illegal border crossing and illegal arms bearing. Estonian authorities maintain that Russia has violated the international law for nine months now and demand Kohver be released immediately.
More on Russia. Estonian Foreign Minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus called out the Russian ambassador in Tallinn to question him about the 'black list' of 89 EU citizens that was made public on May 30 and includes eight Estonians. Featured in the list are several Estonian security chiefs, one MEP, the justice minister, and former foreign minister and liberal MEP Kristiina Ojuland, who last week also found herself in the middle of another scandal, after calling African refugees a "threat to white race." Later on, she became one of the lead figures in an anti-immigration demonstration held in a park in central Tallinn on Saturday.
That Estonian culture is not necessarily in the grave danger many would have us believe was witnessed on Saturday and Sunday in Rakvere, where nearly 3,500 Estonian boys and men gathered together to celebrate the third men only dance festival. Folk-costume glad men performed 32 dances specially choreographed for the occasion, which aims to value mendance, men and their role in the changing society.
Editor: M. Oll