Point blank: Estonia’s new first lady Ieva Ilves in her first interview (6)

Ülo Josing/ERR
1/15/2016 9:15 AM
Category: Politics

Estonia's President has a new wife. Ieva Ilves, wife of President Toomas Hendrik Ilves since January 2, has granted ETV's "Kahekõne" a first interview that aims to introduce her to the public as well as put a stop to the ongoing gossip surrounding the First Couple.

Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves married Ieva Kupce on January 2, only months after divorcing Evelin Ilves. The circumstances of the then First Couple’s separation and following divorce as well as the President’s new relationship to a public official of Latvia have since been subject to much gossip and speculation.

Now Ieva Ilves, two weeks after the wedding, has granted ETV her first interview in her capacity as the country’s new First Lady.

The interview was extraordinary not just because it marks the first such appearance of the President’s new wife, but also because of its unusual frankness, owing in no small part to the direct and determined manner in which Mrs. Ilves answered the questions.

Ever since their relationship became public last summer, the media have been after the supposedly dubious details of Ieva Ilves’ private life and her relationship with President Ilves. From insinuations right up to blunt accusations, the First Lady has been at the receiving end of a stream of attacks and insults directed at her person.

In response to this, Mrs. Ilves made it very clear that yes, she and the President have been a couple since summer last year only, and no, her daughter is not his child.

Right at the beginning, interviewer Indrek Treufeldt brought up the difficult start Ilves has had with the media, and her perceived refusal to give up her life to the curiosity of the public.

She calmly pointed out that her first role was that of partner to Toomas Hendrik Ilves, and of mother to her children. She acknowledged that there’s plenty of interest on the part of the public to know more about her life, but said that she was only learning to cope with this new kind of attention and exposure, and that she was feeling “a little stressed and uncomfortable.”

For all those who worry about the representative aspect of the marriage, tonight’s interview made it fairly clear that the new First Lady will take part in the President’s official duties. But her answers to Treufeldt’s questions about her professional life made it equally clear she is determined to continue her career as a cyber defense expert.

Ilves visibly warmed up whenever the conversation moved towards her work and she talked about her experience in cyber defense in a variety of countries.

The high point of the interview was when she talked about Latvia and Estonia and how the two countries perceive each other. In her opinion, both turned towards Western and especially American culture to such an extent that they almost forgot to pay attention to their neighbours. This is where her enthusiasm and personality left little doubt that she’ll be able to cope with her new role.

D. Cavegn

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