While the Estonian parliament, Riigikogu, held a debate on climate change, Tarmo Kruusimäe, an MP of the Isamaa party and a former punk rocker, had a better idea; although he had previously stated he wanted to ask a question during the debate, when his turn came, he was seen enjoying an e-cigarette and music in his bed – showing no interest in asking a question.
On 15 April, the parliament held a debate on the topic, “Climate-neutral Estonia by 2035?”. Among the speakers were several experts who came to talk about the issue. MPs can ask questions at such discussions and Kruusimäe was one who had showed interest.
However, when Kruusimäe’s turn came to ask, his home computer connected to the parliament’s streaming system, showing him lying in bed and apparently puffing on an e-cigarette, while music was playing in the background. Kruusimäe did not ask a question, fell silent, and just blew vapor from his mouth.
In the video, the second vice speaker of the parliament, Martin Helme, says to Kruusimäe to ask his question. “Tarmo Kruusimäe, please,” Helme says. The video shifts to Kruusimäe’s bedroom, where one can hear music playing. “Tarmo, ask your question,” Helme says again. “Tarmo, you have the opportunity to ask a question.” And after a few seconds, “Looks like he doesn’t want to. Let’s proceed to the next question.”
Celebrity magazine Kroonika contacted Kruusimäe afterwards and asked why he decided to stay silent and vape during the parliament’s session.
“This is the charm and pain of remote work,” Kruusimäe told the magazine. “I think the parliament is very important. In my case, what went on was, shit happens.” He added that he was in a queue to speak and if he had known it was his time to ask questions, he would’ve worn a dress shirt and the background would’ve been different.
As Kruusimäe is a former punk rocker – his stage name is Kojamees – the video prompted many Estonians to crack jokes on the rock’n’roll lifestyle, ie one maintaining it even as an MP. The others joked that being an MP seems like an easy job – enjoy life at your leisure and still earn a salary of over €4,000 per month.
Kruusimäe has been an MP of Isamaa since 2017. In the last parliamentary election in 2019, he received 1,811 votes.
Isamaa is a national-conservative, Christian-democratic political party that has 12 MPs. The Estonian parliament has 101 members.
Cover: Screenshot from the video.