Editorials published on the websites of three of Estonia's major dailies have called for Kaja Kallas to step down as prime minister of Estonia in the wake of revelations that a company her husband has a stake in has made a profit from shipping manufactured products to Russia, since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine began last year.
The papers all charge the prime minister with hypocrisy, given she has clearly and consistently called for businesses in general to halt all activity relating to Russia, if they have not already done so. She is also, based on her public statements, seemingly nonplussed at any claims of wrongdoing on her or her husband's part.
It reads: "Unfortunately, Kaja Kallas has not taken the opportunity to provide any good explanation to the media. Contra-wise, we heard a saga full of logical contradictions at the press conference (the regular government press conference on Thursday – ed.), and in addition, the prime minister has said that she has not done anything wrong, does not understand what she is being charged with and would be grateful if someone would explain that."
"The visibly flustered prime minister refused to answer questions about her husband's business activities at the press conference," the paper goes on, "so we didn't get any answers on Wednesday or Thursday, and there is no reason to believe we will hear any on Saturday or Sunday. As a result, Postimees gives the prime minister the friendly advice that she start packing up today, to avoid leaving under even more shame, in the future," the editorial continued.
Eesti Päevaleht (EPL) authored an editorial titled "Kaja Kallas lasku end taandada" ("Let Kaja Kallas relieve herself of office"), which stated that handing in her resignation need not mean actually leaving office – that would be down to the Riigikogu.
"Kaja Kallas should file a resignation request. This does not necessarily mean leaving office. MPs could give her a new mandate - if they consider this oversight sufficiently trivial," the editorial says.
That said, "there would unfortunately be a noticeable dose of cynicism inherent in taking such a step," the newspaper continues, implying the healthy number of seats Reform won at the March 5 election.
"Neither [Reform's coalition partners] Eesti 200 nor the Social Democrats seem to have any interest in delving into the issue with a critical eye, but without the Reform Party, it is essentially impossible to form a new government ahead the next elections.
"The only real danger to Kallas would thus be a palace coup due to moral embarrassment within the squirrel party (Reform's logo is a squirrel – ed.). Unfortunately, initial reactions here do suggest a deeper reliance on introspection [either]."
Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, caught in one of the most serious of recent scandals relating to her husband's Russia-oriented business interests, is squirming like a fish caught in a net and, unfortunately, is entangling herself more and more at every turn," the newspaper notes.
The prime minister herself has said she had no intention of stepping down. "I do not see the need to consider resigning as I have done nothing wrong. My husband has done nothing wrong. I do not understand what exactly is being held against me here," Kallas told Delfi Thursday.
Postimees is owned by the group of the same name, ultimately owned by businessman Margus Linnamäe. Its sister publications include regional variants of Postimees, while the same group operates the Kanal 2 (TV) and Raadio Kuku channels.
EPL is part of the Ekspress Grupp, which also operates portal Delfi and weeklies Maaleht and Eesti Ekspress. The group is majority owned by Hans H. Luik.
Õhtuleht is part-owned by the Ekspress Grupp and by the Alexela fuel retailing company.
Editor: Andrew Whyte