While two opposition parties have expressed doubts regarding Mailis Reps' suitability to continue in her position as Minister of Education and Research after lying to the public, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas does not agree.
"The most immediate reason is Mailis Reps lying about her giving an interview to the propaganda channel Sputnik," Reform chairman Hanno Pevkur said in a press release. "What was said in the interview must also condemned — justifying mass deportation by political motives and the accusation that Estonian politicians are fanning interethnic tensions, while herself saying different things to different audiences."
Ratas made clear during question time in the Riigikogu on Wednesday, however, that he does not consider it necessary to dismiss Reps from her position as minister because she was incorrect about the interview she gave to Sputnik.
"She has said that it was human error — she gave misinformation to Postimees," Ratas said in his response to Reform MP Taavi Rõivas, the former prime minister, who asked if Reps was suited to be a member of the government. "She has offered an apology for it. If you ask me, does Mailis Reps deserve to be Minister of Education and Research of the Republic of Estonia, my answer is yes."
On Monday afternoon, Russian pro-Kremlin media outlet Sputnik published a video of the interview clearly showing a Sputnik journalist properly introducing herself to Reps, who then spoke on the subject of the Holocaust and the Soviet deportations. The video showed the interview as recorded on the sidelines of a commemoration event at Rahumäe Jewish Cemetery in Tallinn in late January. Reps had previously publicly denied that she had ever spoken to the Russian media outlet and said she had no idea where certain comments on the subjects attributed to her were taken from.
In addition to Reform, another opposition party, the Conservative People’s Party of Estonia (EKRE), also said on Wednesday that Reps should consider resigning.
Editor: Aili Vahtla