Yana Toom: I have a few packs of minced meat on my conscience

Yana Toom on
Yana Toom on "Hommik Anuga". Source: Merily Malkus/ERR

Mother of five, MEP Yana Toom talked about the ruling government and life in Estonia as a Russian on the "Hommik Anuga" morning show on Sunday.

Toom, who currently lives and works in Brussels, admitted that she misses the sea air in Estonia.

The MEP, living in a kind of exile in Brussels, said that she could not cooperate with the Conservative People's Party (EKRE), even though she realizes the government was her party's call. "There was a period when all we did was apologize. It seems to be over now," she said on a more positive note, nevertheless adding that EKRE was the wrong choice for a coalition partner. "EKRE has a lot of support in Estonia, we cannot forget they were elected by the people," Toom said. She believes that the national conservatives could do even better at the next parliamentary elections, despite their constantly roaring ministers.

Toom also believes that Estonia could be ready for a Russian-speaking prime minister and that public servants are paid too much and their salaries should be cut in the crisis. She gave up a part of her own salary in the name of solidarity for a time and used the money to buy food packages for the elderly.

Learned to shoplift

Toom, who now speaks fluent Estonian, was kicked out of the University of Tartu due to her poor Estonian and weak grasp on the history of the Communist Party back in the day. She never graduated, even though she said that by then, the reason was mainly her own laziness.

The year 1992 was very difficult for the Toom family as her Russian husband couldn't get a permanent address in Estonia and had no work. Yana's mother has recalled that the family mainly ate turnips and millet in those days, while Toom says her mother remembers the period naively. "It was when I learned to shoplift," Toom admitted. "I have a few packs of minced meat on mu conscience," she explained, saying that if you're children are going hungry, you do what is necessary.

Because it was necessary to earn a living, parents had little time for their children. "The social workers today would be shocked," Toom said when talking about the independence of her children and recalling how the older children looked after the little ones. She believes that children do not need to be raised rather than given a framework. Toom said that while it was difficult to work so much and not see the children, the situation back then made her stronger.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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