Difficult to Reverse

Politicised Board Appointments in Estonia

9 June 2020

As the coronavirus crisis continues, the Estonian government is replacing high-level officials and leaders of non-partisan state institutions with party apparachiks.

“Cadres are everything,” Stalin once said. The Estonian government has learned this lesson well. As the coronavirus crisis continues, and headlines are focused on falling infections and rising unemployment rates, the state has been making personnel changes.

From the boards of foundations distributing EU grants to the Estonian Public Broadcasting, people with sometimes dubious credentials, but close ties to the ruling moderate-left Centre party, the conservative Pro Patria, and far-right EKRE, have been stepping up.

These appointments have been roundly criticised by the media and parts of civil society; their consequences will unfold over years.

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Aro Velmet

Editor at the publically funded cultural monthly Vikerkaar, partner journal of the Eurozine network. He holds academic posts at the University of Southern California and the University of Oxford.

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