Criminal complaint filed over SALK's pre-election activities

Tarmo Jüristo at the Opinion Festival (Arvamusfest) in Paide on Saturday, August 13, 2022.
Tarmo Jüristo at the Opinion Festival (Arvamusfest) in Paide on Saturday, August 13, 2022. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) has received a criminal complaint with regard to a think-tank, in relation to the latter's activities during the Riigikogu election campaign earlier this year.

The organization, the Liberal Citizen Foundation  (SALK), has the stated aim of a promoting a liberal worldview and an open society.

SALK's chief, Tarmo Jüristo, says he is unaware of who might have submitted the complaint.

PPA spokesperson Kaarel Kallas said: "A statement has been submitted to the PPA, in which they are requested to check whether SALK may have committed a violation in respect to free elections. We will be reviewing the information outlined in the statement and then decide whether there is any basis to initiate criminal proceedings."

Kallas declined to comment on who had filed the complaint.

Under Estonian law, criminal complaints must be resolved within 10 days.

Tarmo Jüristo told ERR Thursday morning that he was aware that the complaint had been filed, adding that since he had not seen it through official channels, he does not know who had submitted the complaint.
Daily Postimees had reported on the fact of the criminal complaint, which is publicly open information, being presented to the PPA.

Jüristo said that the complaint "resembles a funny paper, and seems to show that someone is worried."

Investigative weekly Eesti Ekspress last week published a longer overview of SALK's pre-election activities.

As a socially liberal organization, SALK had assisted the corresponding political parties: Reform, Eesti 200 and the Social Democrats – the three parties who make up the current coalition.

The text of the complaint includes some passages in English, referring to the English-language definitions of the terms "PSYOPS" (citing Wikipedia) and "deception" (citing Merriam-Webster).

SALK is also subject to a Political Parties Financing Surveillance Committee (ERK) investigation regarding allegations of suspected illicit donations.

SALK was founded in late 2020 and in many ways is the riposte to the right-wing Foundation for the Protection of the Family and Tradition (SAPTK); the two abbreviated names might seem at a second's glance to resemble one another.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Mait Ots

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