Kaja Kallas saga continues to gain traction in international media

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) upon arrival at the Special European Council in Brussels on Thursday. February 9, 2023.
Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) upon arrival at the Special European Council in Brussels on Thursday. February 9, 2023. Source: European Council

While initially slower on the uptake than the domestic media might have wanted, international publications have picked up the recent controversy to have engulfed the prime minister and her husband, relating to the latter's business interests.

When the story first broke last week, only one or two of the majors had honed in on it, though it seems since to have gained in traction, with Euronews and the Daily Telegraph (U.K.) already having run the story.

More publications have come on board, mostly focusing on the juxtaposition of Prime Minister Kaja Kallas' firm line on Russia and the need to disengage from any business ties with that country in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine, which started a year-and-a-half ago, with the revelations that her husband, Arvo Hallik, until now not in the limelight, had a significant stake in a company transporting manufactured items to Russia, right up to the present.

Interest in international media uptake of the story can also be seen in the context of an Estonian trait for wondering "what the elephant thinks about us," ie. what, if anything, do people in other countries and particularly in the larger and/or Western countries think about Estonia.

This leads to perhaps a slight echo chamber of a situation where the Estonian media then reports what the international media is saying about Kallas, whereas this would have in any case largely been what the international media picked up from ERR and other publications in the first place.

In any case...


Yle, Finland's public broadcaster, while its English-language page had not covered the story at the time of writing, has reported that Kallas has left an impression of being somewhat Janus-faced in the wake of the incident, with a majority of the population of Estonia favoring her resignation, Yle reports (link in Finnish).

While the opposition parties oppose Kallas remaining in office, Reform's coalition partners, Eesti 200 and the Social Democrats (SDE) await explanation from the head of government – something which President Alar Karis has also recommended she do, Yle noted.

Helsingin Sanomat

Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat (HS) meanwhile has reported that Kallas has maintained a strict line on Russia, yet has been caught up in the biggest scandal of her prime ministerial tenure so far, due to her husband's business dealings. 

HS referenced Hallik's stake in Stark Logistics, the loan Kallas had granted his company, Metaprint's revenue in Russia, and also the fact that the two main dailies in Estonia, Postimees and Eesti Päevaleht (EPL), have both called for Kallas to resign (all of this has been reported by ERR News-ed.).

The newspaper wrote that Hallik promised to end his business relations with Stark Logistics. Sanomat added that the case has also been covered by the Financial Times.


While politics site Politico briefly wrote about the Kallas scandal at the end of the week, in its Brussels Playbook column, the publication issued a more in-depth article on Monday. This noted that the episode has diminished Estonia's credibility in its interaction with its allies.

The Guardian

U.K. daily The Guardian has also reported much the same thing, and highlighted the prime minister's refusal to appear before a joint Riigikogu select committee hearing scheduled for today, Tuesday.

The Guardian also reminds its readers of Kallas' strong criticisms of French President Emmanuel Macron's decision to talk to Putin in the early days of the current war in Ukraine.

The Times

The Times, another British paper, has also provided an overview of the course of events , also referencing the fact that Kallas had once been mentioned in connection with the post of NATO secretary general, but also highlighting that the Internal Security Service (ISS) has stated that Hallik, Stark Logistics, and Metaprint, have not violated sanctions at any time.

Le Monde

In other languages, the French media is also covering the story – daily Le Monde wrote about it, calling the whole situation an embarrassment given Kallas' supposed moniker of the "Iron Lady of Europe," as touted by Newsweek after the outbreak of the war in Ukraine


Follow ERR News on Facebook and Twitter and never miss an update!

Editor: Andrew Whyte, Grete-Liina Roosvee

Hea lugeja, näeme et kasutate vanemat brauseri versiooni või vähelevinud brauserit.

Parema ja terviklikuma kasutajakogemuse tagamiseks soovitame alla laadida uusim versioon mõnest meie toetatud brauserist: