Kadriorg Carries On Amid Personal Scandal, Media Carries More Opinions Than New Facts (13)
It has been business as usual in presidential circles since a media-fueled scandal broke over video of the First Lady and a younger consort in a Tallinn cafe earlier this month, with coverage on news sites restricted to the opinion section and tabloids turning to crowdsourcing to continue momentum.
Over the weekend, President Toomas Hendrik Ilves appeared at Baltic Way anniversary events accompanied by his son, Luukas Ilves, and on Sunday he gave out the annual home beautification award, unaccompanied. Ilves has continued to maintain an active presence on social media with no comment on personal matters.
First Lady Evelin Ilves's comment on her Facebook page on the day the Kroonika gossip magazine ran the story has been the only communique from the parties involved.
A PR consultant, Aune Past called the post - an apology - the right step, calling it "sincere."
On ERR, opinion editor Rain Kooli also touched on the topic briefly and implicitly, in a piece in which he said he wanted to live in an Estonia where people were less judgmental. "In my Estonia, no kiss is equal to betrayal of the state," he concluded.
Critical opinions have also been aired. In today's Postimees, journalist Vahur Kersna wrote: "It is likely that she is the only person in Estonia who receives a salary from the state treasury, listed as reception costs, for being married. And what is required, or rather expected, from the lady in return? Really only one thing: dignity."
And Liina Kersna, who heads the prime minister's office, said in a public Facebook status that she didn't feel it was just a slip on the part of Evelin Ilves: "Adults resolve their relationship problems differently, without bringing down their partner. I see this behavior as low toward the spouse [Toomas Hendrik Ilves], no matter what the job. Putting a head of state in such a position shows an ambivalent relationship to the country." ERR's Kooli was probably reacting to that opinion.
According to Õhtuleht, the President's Office, which pays the First Lady a fee of about 1,500 euros a month after taxes for reception costs, did break its silence to confirm a report that Evelin Ilves had left the country to take a personal trip, reportedly to Germany. The paper quoted spokesperson Toomas Sildam as saying the trip was personally funded.
Tabloids have attempted to make the most of the story without reporting very many new details related to the future of the First Lady's position. Õhtuleht today announced a 100-euro reward for the identity of the young suitor, who was also placed with the First Lady at a yoga festival earlier in the summer. It was a Postimees satellite site later in the day that revealed the name: Vincent Aranega, a 28-year-old French national working for a company called Adcash in Tallinn.
Mart Raudsaar, the head of the Estonian Newspaper Association, also commented to Postimees, saying the media had gone too far, but said the topic should not be hushed over.
President Ilves has two years left in his final term.