Conservative think-tank 2021 donations four times liberal group's sum

SALK co-founder Tarmo Jüristo (left) and SAPTK director Varro Vooglaid.
SALK co-founder Tarmo Jüristo (left) and SAPTK director Varro Vooglaid. Source: Aurelia Minev/ERR, Priit Mürk/ERR

A think-tank founded on the basis of a liberal worldview collected around a quarter of the donations last year that another, albeit longer-established, think-tank which promotes a conservative worldview, ERR reports.

Given the two organization's polarized world-views and stated aims, at least in one case, of influencing the March 2023 general election, it would be inaccurate to describe the groups as rivals as such.

Whereas the Liberal Citizen Foundation (SALK) brought in €166,279 in 2021, according to its financial report, the Foundation for the Protection of the Family and Tradition (SAPTK), garnered €656,747 in donations.


SALK was founded around 18 months ago by journalists Tarmo Jüristo, Alari Rammo and Tõnis Leht and stated in its report that one of its main goals is: "To contribute to the creation and continuation of an all-round environment which will provide the least possible scope for EKRE and related political forces to polarize the electorate before and during the election campaigns, and thus allow liberal forces to fulfill their potential in the elections, to the maximum extent possible."

SALK says to that end its main task this year is preparing for the March 2023 Riigikogu elections, which will include improving its existing capabilities in data monitoring, analysis and modeling. 

The €166,279 the organization took in in donations came from over 600 people, while SALK took in €60,810 in business income last year.

93 percent of donors gave €1,000 or less to the organization, though donations from the major supporters (defined as giving €10,000 or more) accounted for 76 percent of the total receipts.

SALK makes its supporters' names public. The major contributors included taxi-hailing app firm Bolt's co-founders, brothers Markus and Martin Villig, and one of secure payments provider Wise's co-founders, Taavet Hinrikus.

SALK reported an operating profit of €71,000, labor costs of €84,179 and €45,900 paid to management for 2021, along with fixed assets of €76,365 and short-term liabilities of €4,860.


SAPTK brought in €656,747 in donations, a 40 percent rise compared with the preceding year.

Business income was fairly negligible, however, reported at €773.

SAPTK's report noted that in 2021 it had focused on the activities of its news and opinion portal Objektiv and launching the work of its legal aid center, particularly with regard to high-profile cases relating to Covid restrictions which it has fought.

"We paid a lot of attention to ensure that constitutional rights and freedoms of citizens were not violated with the coronavirus restrictions. /.../ We paid a lot of attention to the development of SAPTK's news and opinion portal Objektiv," listing its regular broadcasts, including those for young people and a newly-launched Russian-language broadcast.

SAPTK made substantial investments in 2021, €396,860, ERR reports, principally in precious metals which SAPTK's director Varro Vooglaid said was primarily as a hedge against inflation.

SAPTK reported labor costs of €128,911 in 2021, while the bottom line of the main activity for the reporting year was €210,918, or €478,419 when results from preceding periods are carried over.

 SAPTK reported net assets worth €689,337.

The organization says it is looking to purchase property and potentially land, also as a hedge against, for instance, declining donations.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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