Oleg Ivanov, a member of the board of the Koos party, and his wife have left for Sochi, Russia, to head the party from there. Ivanov expressed concern about being detained by the ISS.
Ivanov announced his visit to Sochi on social media, outlining the party's plans.
"In one year, we accomplished what others have spent decades doing. Next, we will hold the party's first convention, set a program and begin planning for the European elections," he said.
Ivanov arrived in Russia after a road trip through Europe and the couple intends to remain in Russia for the time being.
Ivanov said that if party member Aivo Peterson is not released for the European elections, he will stand alone. "If Aivo is released, he will run as our leader," Ivanov said in an interview with journalist Alexei Stefanov, who departed Latvia for Russia.
Peterson was detained by the ISS in March and is suspected of forming an anti-Estonian relationship. Peterson was taken into custody for two months. On May 9, the prosecutor's office announced that Peterson's detention had been extended by two months.
Ivanov left Estonia because, following the arrest of his companion and fellow party member, Peterson, it became apparent that the police would eventually target him.
"The reason is straightforward: next year's European Parliament elections; we received overwhelming backing from [Estonian] citizens [during 2023 parliamentary elections], which shocked the authorities. They did the math and realized that with the support of non-citizens — and we are supported by a majority of non-citizens, primarily Russian citizens — we win also local elections in Narva, Kohtla-Järve, Sillamäe and the two largest districts of Tallinn. Of course, they cannot allow that, that is why Ivo is under arrest," he said.
Ivanov said that it is almost impossible to lead a political party from prison and to run for the European Parliament and local elections and that is why he has temporarily decided to do everything from a distance, where he cannot be taken in by the ISS.
Ivanov won 2,699 votes in the Lasnamäe, Kesklinn and Pirita districts of Tallinn and was not elected to parliament.
Together they registered as a political party on May 8 this year.
Editor: Marko Tooming, Kristina Kersa