Fledgling political party in Estonia wants more neutral stance on Russia

Harry Raudvere.
Harry Raudvere. Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

A new political party is apparently crystallizing in Estonia which would, were it to make any headway, adopt at least a more neutral stance on Russia, given the geopolitical location of the country.

At the same time, the party-to-be has already attracted members with a track record of pronouncements rather more pro-Kremlin than neutral.

The party is very much at a formative stage and does not have sufficient members as things stand to be officially registered as such.

Dubbed the Estonian people's party (Eesti Rahva Erakond, or ERE for short), early bird member Harry Raudvere (pictured), a well-known businessman and writer, says that the Russian Federation has not committed any harmful acts towards Estonia, meaning Estonia should cultivate better relations with its eastern neighbor than it has been doing.

At the same time, several figures associated with the new party stand out not just for a conciliatory stance but also for their stated pro-Kremlin views and questioning of support for Ukraine in the current War.

ERE says it looks to Jaan Tõnisson (1868-1941), a leading Estonian statesman in the interwar period who was likely executed by the NKVD some weeks after the June 1941 deportations, as a figurehead.

Signed-up members include Roman Roman Malõšev, previously a member of the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) to March 31 this year.

Malõšev says the Ukraine War is but one way a globalist elite wants to divide and conquer, pitching nations against each other, and when seen in this context, the decisions and directions of the current Estonian government are of a similarly self-destructive nature, he claims.

Other members include Indrek Pähnapuu and Kertu Luisk, a member of the Võru City Council who was expelled from EKRE due to some pro-Kremlin social media posts.

The emerging party contains the already rather familiar suite of policy planks that already exist in the Estonian political landscape, such as a conservative worldview on social issues, opposition to e-voting, support for what is understood to be direct democracy, and opposition to taking on large numbers of refugees, even from the Ukraine war.

The party would also grant Estonian citizenship to "gray passport" holders, persons of indeterminate citizenship who make use of a gray travel document issued for crossing national borders, and also grant autonomy to "indigenous" groups, presumably referring to the Seto culture.

ERR submitted written questions to the party, though it was not clear who was answering them when the responses came in Friday.

What was revealed from this written interview was that ERE has no clear figurehead leader as yet, not an entirely unheard of phenomenon in Estonian politics, though since it is at a very embryonic stage – the party is not registered yet – a leader may emerge later.

500 members are required under Estonian electoral law to constitute a party; ERE says it will issue a summary at the start of July of how many members it has so far attracted, and hopes to reach the 500-mark this year.

The fledgling party says that Estonia's defense and foreign policy should be "fact-based" and not based on "emotion." On being asked about NATO membership, the party stated that: "At present, it is far from certain - since there are not enough facts on the matter - that the political solutions chosen to protect the interests and security of all Estonians are the most effective in ensuring the sustainability of the task infixed in the preamble of our constitution."

"This issue is being dealt with on an ongoing basis, and as a result of general discussions, logical positions will emerge, which will then become the cornerstone of ERE's political ideology," the statement went on.

"It is completely clear and unambiguous that good relations with other countries are the basis of the economic and social success of a small country like Estonia. We want to maintain stable relations with our neighboring countries," the statement added, in response to a question about relations with Russia.

As for who is behind the party in terms of finance, the response was that all members contribute in proportion to their means.

Other parties to have been formed in the past few years in Estonia include the effectively now-defunct Richness of Life (which confusingly also carried the ERE abbreviation) which ran at the 2019 Riigikogu election but not this year.

A combined list of the pro-Kremlin United Left Party (EÜVP) / Koos parties came close to winning a seat in Narva on March 5 this year.

Speaking at an ERE opening event, Raudvere noted that many members of the new party had been previously associated with Koos.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Aleksander Krjukov

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