Fallout from the Mary Kross case, terminated at the request of the prosecutor, top-paying companies in Estonia, and the role of local authorities in supporting LGBT+ rights were among the topics in the papers on Thursday, Oct. 31. All links in Estonian.
Helme knew nothing about Kingo advisor
Interior minister and leader of the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) Mart Helme told daily Postimees that he was unaware that former foreign trade and IT minister Kert Kingo had hired Jakko Väli as an advisor.
Kingo resigned last week amid claims she had lied to the Riigikogu about hiring Väli, whereas in fact a contract and other workplace arrangements had already been put in place earlier in October.
Helme said that he was unaware the Kingo had hired Väli, who became the subject of a media storm after several defiant social media posts about his supposed impending role, culminating in him being expelled from the green party after posting offensive comments about former politican Evelyn Sepp.
Helme did however say that he thought Kingo had not directly lied in that she had said she had not met him as an advisor, and he had not worked for her for one day, reiterating his earlier claim that Kingo had been the victim of a sustained media campaign about her fitness for the job.
EKRE says it has a new candidate for the ministerial post, who it will present to prime minister Jüri Ratas Friday, after the latter returns from a working trip in New York.
Mary Kross trial termination: Mockery of rule of law or most sensible outcome?
Mart Helme also commented on the Mary Kross case, as reported by daily Õhtuleht, and the announcement that the prosecutor had called for the case to be wound up on the grounds of not being in the public interest, something which the courts, Kross and her lawyer agreed to.
Kross was charged with giving false evidence to the police after the latter found no cause to believe that she had been on Stroomi beach in Tallinn last November, where she claimed two EKRE T-shirt-clad men hurled rocks and verbal abuse at her.
According to Õhtuleht, Mart Helme said that the outcome was ridiculous and indicative of a double standard in the current climate of reprimanding people for lying (Helme directly referenced the Kert Kingo case).
Speaking at the government's weekly press conference, Helme cited Elvis, who he said used to ask if his name was spelled correctly when being told unflattering pieces had been written about him, saying that no thinking person would take the result seriously.
Foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) speaking at the same press conference was even more to the point, saying that the motives for lying and proportions of the offense were key, not whether or not they were in the public interest, adding that if people are to get away with lying, they might both reoffend and encourage the others to lie under oath.
Contrastingly, daily Eesti Päevaleht (EPL) said that the outcome was almost inevitable – it is indeed not in the public interest, a difficult concept to define but based on at least one past precedent involving a person or area in which the public should have confidence in, which really means someone working in a public sector role, which Kross was not, regardless of who she is married to (Reform MP Eerik-Niiles Kross-ed.).
Three thousand euros, the sum Kross must pay to the state as part of the arrangement, is no small amount, the piece says, and back of it is a tacit admission of guilt regardless of anything Kross has said or may say in the future.
If the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) is worried about its reputation since the supposed assailants were portrayed as its supporters, it should take legal action on the grounds of defamation – and even then, that might more appropriately be leveled at the person who first brought the claims to the public attention, tech entrepreneur Karoli Hindriks, the piece opined.
Microsoft tops salary list
Microsoft Estonia is the highest-paying employer in the land by some margin, according to business daily Äripäev.
Average monthly take home pay at the computer mogul is over €8,000, according to a recent survey.
Other tops payers include trading company CM Tallinn (average monthly pay of just over €7,877), Tommi Mäkinen Racing OÜ, Ott Tänak's rally team in other words (€6,996) and construction company Dagöstrand OÜ (€6,595). IT, trading, finance, real estate and consultancy firms dominate the top 50, which does not seem to feature public broadcaster ERR among its ranks.
Local authorities have minorities responsibility
Regional daily Pärnu Postimees notes that the recent storming of a planned LGBT+ event by opponents of the goings on has not gone ignored.
Equal rights commissioner Liisa Pakosta spoke before Pärnu City council on Thursday, on the rights of minorities, including LGBT+ people, in the context of local authorities.
Pakosta said that harassment of minorities could actually lead to jail time, adding that it was the responsibility of local authorities to ensure minorities' rights were supported.
Halloween with the Trumps
Finally, Halloween has grown in popularity in independent Estonia and, while no major events were reported here, ERR's online news in Estonia carried a gallery of U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania gifting candies to schoolchildren.
The reception, outside the White House, in fact took place on Monday, with the children of military families and from local elementary schools lining up in suitable costumes to receive their treats. No tricks were reported.
Editor: Andrew Whyte