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Royalists remained key influence on Estonian government for decades, investigators say

KAPO Headquarters
KAPO Headquarters Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

Documents obtained from several government ministers from the 1990s and 2000s suggest that a political force not represented in Parliament exerted a significant influence on many of the decisions of the last 20 years, said Security Police officials at an unannounced press conference on Wednesday.

The documents are said to be in the form of letters from people connected to the Independent Royalist Party, a faction that won eight seats in the first Parliament after the restoration of independence, before apparently fading.

An inquiry has been called to determine to what extent politicians were swayed by what Security Police officials called "extensive correspondence from Saaremaa" received starting as early as 1996 up until the present.

The ministers who received the letters were not named, although in two cases, the documents were recovered during a period of convalescence after a medical emergency, said a source close to government, speaking off the record.

Some of the letters are also said to date from earlier search warrants exercised by the Security Police.

However, letters written by ranking Royalists, sent in ordinary mail, usually postmarked Saaremaa, are said to have sent to a wide variety of people in power.

The memos are said to address "in clear and compelling language" the most core concerns of the country, from NATO and EU accession, the euro, relations with the US and Russia, and the installation of Prince Edward on the Estonian throne.

However, the only fragment of a memo obtained by the press, the writer, in a rambling letter, counsels the recipient (name redacted) to ensure that "the head of state be even more king-like," and suggest the president should have a country estate with fox hunts regularly held. At one point, the letter also suggests that ministers should fight duels rather than settling their differences on social media.

The revelations are sure to prompt a reassessment of what was viewed as an anarchic bit of theatre in the more freewheeling early 1990s.

"It appears that despite their image as a novelty act in an era with fewer restrictions on candidates, it appears from these memos that the Monarchists remained a potent behind-the-scenes force in Estonian politics," said a journalist. "It's not going too far to say that they were, if you will, king-makers."

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