Chess Grandmaster Kasparov intervenes in Estonian elections, expresses astonishment at Center Party popularity (14)
The former World Chess Champion turned political activist heavily criticized Center Party in his Facebook post.
Kasparov, who is a frequent visitor in Estonia and also owns a flat in Tallinn which he uses for meetings with his Moscow-based mother and other family members, publicly announced his dismay at the fact that Center Party is leading the polls ahead of Sunday elections.
“You might not believe it, but a pro-Russia party is leading the polls in Estonia heading into Sunday's parliamentary elections," Kasparov said.
"I spend a great deal of time in Estonia and consider almost a second home, so this is a matter of personal concern as well as an EU crisis. Estonia has been a remarkable leader for personal freedom and economic transformation, especially online. Putin's invasion of Ukraine is continuing despite the latest joke of a ceasefire, and the Baltic States have already been targeted for Russian provocations. Putin's goal to maintain Russia's regional sphere of influence is based on economic pressure, energy extortion, and political destabilization and infiltration - as well as actual invasion and terrorism, as in Georgia and Ukraine,” he said.
Stopping short of drawing direct parallels between Putin and the Center Party, Kasparov nevertheless appeared to indicate that Center Party win could leave the back door open for less confrontational Estonian foreign policy when dealing with Russia.
“Even the Russian-speaking and perhaps nostalgic older Estonian minority do not want their nation to be more like Putin's dictatorship, or to ally with his regime against Europe. The Center Party is hardly running on that! But Putin, like all modern dictators, is quick to use the openness of democratic societies like Estonia against them. Russia has flooded Europe with propaganda and political cash to promote Putin's goal of a weak and divided EU. Putin doesn't need to buy or fool everyone, just enough people to create division and confusion while he continues his aggression,” Kasparov said, while conceding that Estonian elections are the business of Estonians only.
In November, Kasparov told ERR that Russia would not use a direct aggression against the Baltic states, but wouldn't hesitate to use other means to indicate for the Western countries that NATO exists only on paper. He said that he doesn't believe that Putin would dare to attack the Baltic states with a direct aggression, because Putin knows what the NATO Article 5 means.
“Russia would use different means to show force. One example is the abduction of an Estonian internal secret service agent Eston Kohver. The aim of this operation was to humiliate NATO and to indicate that NATO exists only on paper. The West needs to be decisive, to create order in Europe and in Russia,” Kasparov said.
A handful of Estonian politicians from Reform Party and IRL were quick to share Kasparov's Facebook statement in the social media.