Estonian government-affiliated website calls for denying entry to a former president

A website that is affiliated with the Estonian government member, the far-right Estonian Conservative People’s Party, is calling for denying entry to the country to the former president of Estonia, Toomas Hendrik Ilves.

The website, called “Uued Uudised” (“New News” in English), is known to publish far-right content and opinion pieces. So while its content may be offensive to many people who oppose the inclusion of the far-right party to the Estonian government, by openly mocking and insulting a former president and calling for denying entry to the country to him is a new low for the website.

President Ilves has, after the Estonian Conservative People’s Party (EKRE) was included in the governing coalition by the leader of the Centre Party, prime minister Jüri Ratas, been outspoken against the coalition on the social media and criticised the government and the prime minister when the far-rightists make outrageous statements, be it against the people of other races, the media, attacking journalists or worse.

Now, the far-right website, that by its affiliation to the Conservative People’s Party is directly affiliated with the Estonian government, published an anonymous opinion piece on 15 May, directly mocking and insulting the former president.

The new level of the Estonian government

The website calls Ilves’s statements “verbal diarrhoea” and compares him to a random internet commentator. It also says that “it’s possible he’s drinking” while writing his social media commentary, and mocks the former president’s name by saying, “drinks so much that he’s no longer Toomas, but in a coma” (in a coma is, in Estonian, “koomas”, a word that rhymes with Ilves’s first name).

The “Uued Uudised” site then notes that Estonia denied entry to the Finnish publicist, Johan Bäckman, because he openly made “offensive statements” against Estonia and “disseminated ideas as if Estonia were a ‘fascist apartheid regime’”. The website then goes on asking, “how are Ilves’s actions any different? And if they’re not different, then what does he have to do with Estonia any more?”

President Ilves commented on Twitter that someone wants to deny entry to the country to an Estonian citizen. “The new level of the Estonian government. I especially like how the government’s media changes my name to “Koomas”. We can see how grown-ups are governing Estonia,” he wrote in an Estonian-language post.

Later, he added in English, “The webpage of the @EstonianGovt party headed by the Minister of Internal Affairs proposes I be denied entry to Estonia. The border guard is under his jurisdiction so I guess I’ll soon find out. @JuriRatas”

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Cover: Toomas Hendrik Ilves (Photo by Jelena Rudi).