'Olukorrast riigis' discussed future opportunities of former top officials

Lavly Perling.
Lavly Perling. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Journalists and hosts of the Raadio 2 "Olukorrast riigis" political talk show Andrus Karnau and Harry Tuul on Sunday talked about opportunities former top public servants have for self-realization using the example of former Prosecutor General Lavly Perling.

Perling, who currently works as an adviser in Ukraine, said last week that she supports the Parempoolsed (Right-wingers) in-house opposition group of the coalition Isamaa party and is not ruling out running in the local elections in its ranks.

Karnau and Tuul described as surprising Isamaa leader Helir-Valdor Seeder's harsh criticism of Perling, as well as the decision by the ethics council of the Prosecutor's Office to discuss Perling's conduct. The Prosecutor's Office is tied to Isamaa Minister of Justice Raivo Aeg.

Karnau said that Perling needs to continue as a member of the prosecution for some time to earn her special pension, which is why she cannot afford to sever ties yet. Prosecutors are not allowed to belong to political parties in Estonia.

The host described as unethical a situation where Perling no longer wishes to work under new management in the Prosecutor's Office but also won't leave. "However, does she deserve to be humiliated like that?" he asked.

The wider question is what to do with former high-ranking officials of law enforcement organs, Karnau said, giving the example of former Estonian Internal Security Service (ISS) director Jüri Pihl who ended up working for a Russian company after a short career in politics.

"The question is one of finding a civilized solution," Karnau noted.

Tuul chimed in by asking whether top officials or people who have held other executive positions must announce plans to go into politics long in advance or whether they should simply make an about-turn.

"We are seeing relatively young people peak in their career and what are they to do [once their term runs its course]?" Tuul asked, giving the example of President Kersti Kaljulaid who is going after the position of head of the OECD.

Andrus Karnau said that Perling's case has created an ethical conundrum in which Perling's conduct is mixed with that of the Prosecutor's Office that might seek to punish its former head for joining a group that competes with the justice minister.

The hosts of "Olukorrast riigis" also discussed the marriage referendum and NGO SALK that aims to pursue its "no" campaign, Health Board actions and the obligation to wear a mask, Eesti Päevaleht's influential people rankings and changes to government ministers.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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