Editorial: Mine stuck under Prime Ministerial chair of Mr Kallas

PHOTO: Urmas Nemvalts

The alleged letters of guarantee for $100m by Eesti Pank during Siim Kallas era, trigger mixed feelings. On the one hand, the entire period could be regarded a «fledgling state and its high-flying youthful leaders» kind of a time. Thus, looking back with the wisdom garnered over the years, one might do the ironic smirk.

True: during these times of confusion, worse stuff occasionally happened. On the other hand, people use today’s standards while assessing these past acts by politicians. Therefore, as we’re talking about such vast sums of money, one wonders: how come Mr Kallas seems to not know exactly what the deal was about; and why Eesti Pank has found nothing on it in its own archives.

For Reform Party, lifting up Mr Kallas as prime ministerial candidate was meant to blow fresh winds on the backdrop of dubious half-truths that have frustrated voters to the critical limit. As revealed by the local elections, this fall, the voters desire to see fresh faces, as opposed to the old-timers. With the brand-new not available, the forgotten old might do. True: the old does carry burdens of the past – still a risk the Reformers were willing to take.

The materials published in media, however, leave the impression that instead of the hoped freshness, the old familiar stench is coming up. Almost, one feels, the white jumper of former Reform Party secretary-general Kristen Michal is flashing behind the refreshed and ready-to-go figure of Mr Kallas.

No matter where the documents jumped out of, the drawers of IRL or of some other institutions, and no matter the timing – why not have it as a rule, in Estonian, that a former/future prime minister can provide detailed explanations of vital cases, even if relatively old.

The accusations couldn’t have come too unexpected, Mr Kallas himself acknowledging of having been shown these papers before. When attacked, do defend thyself with facts and details – not by an overall statement that «the times were like this». A hundred million US dollars is a bit too big of a sum just to sign, offhandedly, between paying for ink in the printer and window-washing services. 

True: papers published so far do not prove Mr Kallas has done anything wrong; even so, it is quite a remarkable phenomenon, by itself, how those years as Eesti Pank governor hold a bulldog bite to the man. 

After that, Mr Kallas has been finance minister, prime minister, EU commissioner for nine years – where’s the scandals and skeletons from these times? Of the past EU period, only one sharper accusation comes to mind, in a British newspaper, which quickly died down. So let’s see if the $100m price labelled one holds anything to halt President Ilves hand from nominating the man as creator of next government.