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The next headache of Kross: our toothlessness

Eerik-Niiles Kross. PHOTO: Peeter Langovits

A mere month and a half as adviser to defence minister Urmas Reinsalu, of his own home party IRL, Eerik-Niiles Kross smilingly said in a private conversation at the end of last year that he could just as well give up his job, the goal being achieved – a Russian news channel having published the announcement of «pirate Kross adviser to Estonian defence minister». By this hinting that the choice by minister, right after local elections, was an Eastern policy message and not domestic distribution of positions. Yesterday, he resigned as adviser.

Why now?

I don’t want to offer anybody the option to damage interests of Estonian state; it is especially disturbing to me if this is being done in such a childish and short-sighted way as suggesting that Ministry of Defence is some kind of a party cover. I’m the last guy to hide behind somebody or something to protect my own interests.

Perhaps disappointment that the minister promised Americans he’d not hand you the state secret licence?

One could just as well claim that the minister promised a foreign diplomat that I would not run for secretary-general of NATO or UN. Estonia is a state based on the rule of law, and, for the most part, Estonian ministers act within Estonian law. How could a defence minister make promises in issues which are not on the agenda, which he is not competent in, which are in no way related to the person concerned, who would ask for a strange promise like this?

America will not let you onto its soil. Why?

I have nothing against the Americans, neither do they against me. The only accusation I am aware of, via indirect channels like Interpol, is the FSB accusation that I’m somehow linked with seajacking of Arctic Sea. Of course I’m not. When it comes to the ban to fly to USA, I have no reason whatsoever to assume this could in any way be linked to anything other than that very Russian hogwash.

Naturally, over these past months especially, I have heard all kinds of absurd claims. Of course I know quite precisely where and from whom a large part of these claims come from; but with these allegations I deal according to procedures prescribed by Estonian law.

Be these tales true or not, but the things talked about you are rather movie-like: kidnappings, arms trade, you having acted as a CIA employee.

What a multifaceted man! All these claims are characterised by the lack of sources willing to reveal their names; sources are lacking. In this, the situation is quite Kafkaesque, comically so.

The only person who has accused me in various absurdities is the Arctic Sea seajacker Dmitris Savins, jailed up in Russia, probably. He has claimed that I seajacked Arctic Sea, planned to blow up the Nord Stream gas pipeline, was linked with the Russian rocket attack against Georgia, and some other odds and ends. With Mr Savins, there’s at least some logical reason why he would come up with such nonsense.

A matter more funny is the excitement in Estonian political officials as they spread the tales just mentioned by you. All astir, they talk about me linked to money laundering, terrorists, Israeli intelligence, that I’m a Russian double agent, mediate assassinations. Whoever really wants to know things from me, let him just ask. I have never had problems answering questions, publicly.

What will you do now?

Same stuff as before, more or less. My concern, today, is the passivity and toothlessness of foreign policy. More actively than before, I want to help shape IRL’s foreign political statements and initiatives; at the moment, I’m working at the wording or IRL’s national economic platform. 

Hints at political officials, hints at passivity and toothlessness. You’re not criticising the coalition are you?

Anyone with a conscience is always slightly critical towards his government. Things can always be done better. I will admit, however, that some politicians and officials have lately been overly busy holding on to their positions and landing the domestic political blows – not standing for Estonia’s long-term interests. I hope the EU elections period will at least blow some fresh winds into ideas exchange and essential debate.

Why did you decide to run for European Parliament?

In order to secure success for Western-minded forces standing for Estonian national interests. I am not aiming at No 1 in IRL list; but I do want to give my all that campaign will not drown in euro-hubble-bubble-boredom.

Not to obtain MEP immunity, then?

No. There is no need for that whatsoever. I will perfectly manage defending my own self.

Who would fit better, for EU commissioner – Andrus Ansip or Juhan Parts?

In my opinion, Juhan Parts has many times the straightforwardness, capability and personality than any other candidate. Regrettably, however, a problem in democracy has always been that, for political reasons, it is always the guy with less opposition who gets chosen, not the one you should stand for. That breeds the meritocracy effect, resulting, among other things, in the current dearth of real leaders in Europe.