Finance Committee chairman refuses to talk to Estonian Public Broadcasting
Mihhail Stalnuhhin (Center), who following the change in government became the chairman of the Riigikogu’s Financial Committee, has refused to talk to Estonian Public Broadcasting (ERR) since an incident in 2014. Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) now said that considering his office, Stalnuhhin needed to talk to the media, including the public broadcaster.
“I talked to him on Friday after my interview with ERR on the radio, and he told me what he has also told the media, that he took offense with something that happened in 2014 or 2015,” Ratas said. He had told Stalnuhhin he needed to try and get over it, Ratas added.
Considering Stalnuhhin’s office, he needed to inform the public, and this could only be done through the media. Stalnuhhin had told him that he understood that, and that he would do it, Ratas said.
Stalnuhhin has refused to talk to any of ERR’s journalists since 2014. But since he now has a position of much greater exposure and importance to the government than he did as a simple member of the Riigikogu, his attitude needed to change, Ratas agreed.
Leading up to a debate broadcast by ERR’s Russian-language radio station Radio 4 in 2014, it had been agreed that the political parties could replace their candidates to participate in the debate with another representative if the candidate didn’t speak Russian well enough to keep up.
As a consequence, IRL sent Marko Mihkelson instead of Tunne Kelam, EKRE sent Andres Lillemäe instead of their candidate Martin Helme, and the Independence Party sent Emil Rutiku instead of Vello Leito.
Stalnuhhin was going to replace the Center Party’s candidate, Edgar Savisaar. But this was rejected by ERR on the grounds that Savisaar’s Russian skills were more than sufficient for the occasion. After this incident, Stalnuhhin refused to speak with any representative of ERR, which he has kept up since.