They are definitely different from what we were back in the day. And thank God for that! It would be rather depressing if they were the same. I wish them enough courage to be precisely what they are despite all manner of campaigns and not to listen to the sophistry of wisenheimers like me. To dare dream and realize those dreams even if life is beating them down, because that is the only way to move forward. While I am in no way a qualified appraiser in this matter, looking if only at the growing number of young people who sign up for military service with their entire class, we should have reason to be satisfied.
A party that paints itself as national and conservative seems to downright admire Russian President Vladimir Putin. In addition to the new Russian constitution, passed after an unprecedented campaign of falsification, making Putin Czar for life, it also makes mention of God and marriage as a union between a man and a woman. How dangerous is this sympathy for Estonian domestic politics? What to do to keep Putinist propaganda from entering Estonia through such backdoors?
The best deterrent against Putinism is Putin himself. Just like Savisaar was his own antidote in the end – they overdo it eventually. We should also refrain from giving in to depression every time the Kremlin makes a sound as Putin has himself admitted he was out having a beer when they taught history. Of course, this is not to say we should keep our peace because we must stand up against stupidity in the West. EKRE and their friends are hardly up to the task. But the West has always had its own weirdos – even those singing the praises of Stalin.
How would you describe the situation in Russia?
I would rather not, to be honest, as I have not visited for a long time. And I’m not tempted to go either. It’s sad.
Back when you were in charge of Isamaa, it seemed its politicians often didn’t care about their personal rating and that national interests were prioritized instead. Do you think something like that would be possible today?
I’m sure it would be. All one needs to do is to refrain from rushing toward power like a racehorse wearing blinders.
The principal challenge of your second government was to make sure Estonia joined NATO. I do not see the current government having many great goals, while it is true that the times have changed. Still, what could be a beacon for Estonia to follow today in the name of which sacrifices could be made?