EKRE expels party member over Ukraine aid claims
The Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) has expelled one of its members, over online claims he made that "99 percent" of aid sent from Estonia to Ukraine gets "stolen".
A statement issued Wednesday lunchtime by EKRE leader Martin Helme said the party had expelled Vsevolod Jürgenson from its ranks, due to damage he had incurred to the party's reputation, as a result of his comments.
"Jürgenson has made statements in public which do not represent either the views or goals of the party. In doing so, he has significantly damaged the party's image," the statement read.
"EKRE unequivocally supports Ukraine in its struggle for state, nation and independence. We have voted in favor of all Riigikogu positions which support Ukraine. Many party members make their own efforts to support Ukraine, by collecting donations and taking them to Ukraine themselves."
"We must note as a matter of necessity that Vsevolod Jürgenson in no way represents EKRE, on any elected representative body. He has never been an EKRE candidate, and will not be running for the Riigikoku on the EKRE list, in the forthcoming [Riigikogu] elections," the statement concluded.
Jürgenson on January 11 posted a video on a social media account which is among the most-followed by Russian-speakers in Estonia, investigative weekly Eesti Ekspress reported on its website in a piece published early on Wednesday (link in Estonian).
Speaking in Russian, Vsevolod said that "99 percent" of aid sent to Ukraine in its defensive war against Russia gets "stolen", either in Ukraine itself or en route, Eesti Ekspress reported.
Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, is a "drug addict", he added.
Vsevolod is no stranger to publicity stunts, having offered free taxi rides to anyone who shared his campaigning videos to their social media account, ahead of the 2017 local elections, when he ran for the Center Party.
He reportedly quite Center in 2021, while the recent video was, Eesti Eskpress reports, likely an effort to woo votes for EKRE from among Russian-speaking Estonian citizens.
Jürgenson also in the same post tagged an EKRE local councilor, Kai Rimmel, who wholly rejected his statements about Ukraine.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte