Deputy Mayor Hits Back at KAPO Insinuations (12)
Tallinn Deputy Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart has reacted to implications in the national security agency KAPO's annual report that his actions were being manipulated by Russia, calling his inclusion in the yearbook "offensive."
"This is a book that describes threats to the Estonian state. I can disagree with much that is happening in our country, I do not support the current ruling elite, but no one has the right to question the fact that I am a patriot of my country [...] including KAPO officials," Kõlvart told ETV in an interview.
In a section on Russia's supposed exploitation of the school language issue, the report outlines Kõlvart's activities in resisting reforms for Russian-curriculum high schools as well as his contact with Russian Embassy diplomat, Juri Tsvetkov.
The yearbook includes what appear to be clandestine photos of the two during a martial arts training session in which Kõlvart handed Tsvetkov a bundle of Estonian grade school history books. The photo caption reads: "Handing over history books to a diplomat of another country isn't a crime, but gives rise to unanswered questions."
Kõlvart said he did see anything suspicious going on in the photos and pointed out that, in addition to his duties as deputy mayor, he also coaches martial arts and the two roles are not connected.
According to Kõlvart, Tsevkov is studying Estonian language and has a background in history, which is why he had asked for the books.
"Do Estonian textbooks really consitute secret information? Trying to use these photographs as compromising material is ridiculous. They [KAPO] will have to do better than that," he said.