Daily: Tartu councilman who referred to Ukraine 'civil war' quits Center

Council Member Nikolai Põdramägi (Center) addressing Tartu City Council on Thursday. March 17, 2022.
Council Member Nikolai Põdramägi (Center) addressing Tartu City Council on Thursday. March 17, 2022. Source: ERR

A Center Party city council member in Tartu who recently referred to Russia's invasion of Ukraine as a 'civil war' in that country has submitted his resignation to the party, regional daily Tartu Postimees reports. The councilman, Nikolai Põdramägi, also opposed the renaming of the 'Victory Bridge' in Estonia's second city.

Center Party chair Jüri Ratas confirmed to Tartu Postimees (link in Estonian) that Põdramägi had submitted his resignation and that this request was likely to be met in the near future, adding that Põdramägi's words were not a good choice and had had consequences.

Ratas added that since Põdramägi had already submitted his resignation, there was no need to expel him from the party's ranks, adding that the party's Tartu branch would be holding a board meeting Tuesday.

Head of branch Jaan Toots also confirmed Põdramägi's resignation had been received.

Põdramägi's last reported word on the matter had come Sunday evening, when he sent a letter to Tartu Postimees asking the city council to accept his apologies for what he had said, but adding that he felt he had been partly misunderstood and unjustifiably referred to as a "Putinista".

In his address at Thursday's Tartu City Government meeting, Põdramägi had repeatedly referred to the war in Ukraine as a civil war, cast aspersions on NATO's desire to defend Estonia and called the initiatives to rename the city's Victory Bridge, a title hailing back to the Soviet era, "Russophobic".

The original Tartu Postimees piece (in Estonian) is here.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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