'Samost ja Sildam': Viilma's statement lumps him in with politicians

Toomas Sildam (left) and Anvar Samost.
Toomas Sildam (left) and Anvar Samost. Source: ERR

Any religious society or its representative who speaks up on politics in Estonia needs to take into account that there might be criticism and insults. Politicians do that every day, hosts of Vikerraadio's "Olukorrast riigis" talk show Anvar Samost and Toomas Sildam found.

Samost said that while Estonia lacks a national church so to speak, religion has played a notable role in Estonian society and continues to do so.

"Estonia's entire cultural journey /.../ is so closely tied to the church, Christianity as to be inescapable," Samost added.

Sildam pointed out that while 65.5 percent of Estonians said they do not adhere to any religion at the 2011 census, the Lutheran faith can still be considered to enjoy the status of the people's church.

Both hosts described a church leader speaking out on political topics (pointing to Urmas Viilma, archbishop of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church – ed.) as rather a positive development.

"The question is rather that of politicians and which religious societies receive more money or preferential treatment in legislation compared to all the others," Samost said.

He added that politics is public business and everyone who gets involved subjects themselves to the same rules that apply to people who engage in politics on a daily basis.

Sildam said, however, that he feels the Lutheran church should not be speaking up on the Constitution and the Holy Bible and concentrate instead on the effects of the coronavirus today.

"We can see social distancing causing problems for elderly people many of whom belong to the Lutheran church," Sildam said.

Border crossing rules at times confusing and obtrusive

Both Estonia and Latvia decided to alter their restrictions on movement on Friday that is creating more and more confusion, Samost found.

"A situation where a person could easily travel to Latvia and back will never be created like this," Samost said, adding that the Baltic bubble has several benefits and that the two governments should achieve clarity.

Sildam said that living by numbers is getting in the way of normal life. "The question here is whether the coronavirus will put life on hold again," he said.

He added that he was greatly surprised by Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas' statement from Thursday on allowing charter flights to Turkey and Egypt.

"A week and a half after the scandal breaks, the economy minister tells us he does not know who was consulted in his ministry and what answer they gave," Sildam pointed out.

Estonia 200 unlikely to take votes from Isamaa

The hosts referred to this Saturday as the "Grand Saturday" as it saw the council meetings of Isamaa and the Center Party and the general meeting of Estonia 200.

Sildam compared developments in politics to when Res Publica was created in 2003.

"I believe that as things stand today, Estonia 200 would make the parliament were parliamentary elections held in a week," Sildam said.

Samost opined that Estonia 200 would likely take votes from Reform Party and the Social Democrat Party but not Isamaa.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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