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From churches to rock: where coalition parties' protection money is going

Tallinn's Kaasan Church.
Tallinn's Kaasan Church. Source: (Postimees/Scanpix)

Estonia's ruling coalition parties want to distribute their respective protection money to a total of 422 facilities or organizations, ranging from churches to be built or renovated to the Estonian LGBT Association and an organization dedicated to popularizing rock music.

The Center Party wants to distribute a total of €1 million to 136 facilities or organizations.

The largest amount, €26,000, is to go toward the renovation of Tallinn's Old Town Educational College building, while the smallest amounts are four allotments of €1,000 each.

By region, Tallinn will see the most support from the Center Party, as a total of 30 organizations or facilities in the capital city are to receive money from the senior coalition partner. Among them are a number of Tallinn schools and kindergartens, who are to receive money for the purchase of inventory or appliances.

The Center Party also wants to support the activity of the Estonian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate in both Narva and Tallinn. The Church of the Nativity of the Mother of God (Kaasan Church) in Tallinn, for example, is to receive €15,000 for renovation work on the church.


SDE: Support for LGBT association, Russian studies

The Social Democratic Party (SDE) has proposed distributing a total of €1.09 million in protection money to 142 facilities or organizations, with allotments ranging in size from €2,000-22,500. Saare and Võru Counties look to receive larger numbers of allotments.

While the SDE intends to distribute money to a number of Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (EELK) congregations, the junior coalition partner also wants to earmark €20,000 for the nonprofit Baltic Cener for Russian Studies for the conducting of the study "Putin's Russia after the 2018 presidential elections: the restoration of self-governance or an attempt at reform? Options for Estonia."

Another €20,000 in operational support is to go to the International Centre for Defence and Security (ICDS).

The Estonian LGBT Association is to receive €10,000 for awareness and advocacy support, and another €10,000 is to support the publication of the Estonian Women's Union's encyclopedic series about women who have most influenced the development of Estonian society.


The Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL) wants to distribute a total of €1 million to 144 different facilities and organizations.

Many allotments are to go to organizations involved in national symbols, traditions and education.

The party's largest, €46,000 allotment is to support the EELK's construction of a church in Jõgeva.

Another €20,000 is to go the Estonian Institute of Human Rights, which employs a number of individuals connected to the party.

IRL has earmarked €5,000 for OÜ Rokilaager for the promotion of Hard Rock Camp and rock music, and will likewise support a number of organizations organizing sports and youth events, inlcuding the organization of a ball for Jõgeva County youth with €3,000 and the purchase of a skateboard ramp for youth in Oisu with €8,000.


This distribution of funds referred to in Estonian as katuseraha — protection money — goes back to the 1990s. A certain amount of money was reserved to be allocated at the discretion of the Riigikogu's members to satisfy different parties' interests. The arrangement is still in place, discussed towards the end of every year, and acts as a sort of grease in the process of getting a majority for the state budget bill.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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