Center to retain cooperation agreement

The prime minister’s party has no plan to close its cooperation agreement with United Russia. Some members of the party brass still regard the document as an important symbol for the Russian voter and believe that ending the agreement would create a negative media background.

Chairman of the Center Party Jüri Ratas almost went for broke in front of Postimees’ camera yesterday in trying to avoid giving a straight answer to the question of why does the Center Party still need its cooperation protocol with United Russia after Latvia’s Harmony Center dropped it - writes postimees.ee.

“Because the protocol is dormant, no cooperation has been pursued,” Ratas maintained. The chairman saw no reason for Center to follow the example of Latvians. “We have no cooperation agreement with the Latvian party that would suggest the need to harmonize these kinds of messages. We are talking about two different parties in two countries.”

A source familiar with in-house affairs of the party’s board told Postimees that the situation regarding the protocol is confusing. “It has been discussed, while there are people who believe it (the protocol – ed.) infers some positive attitudes,” they said, hinting at the agreement’s potential for keeping Russian votes.

Another member of the party said the protocol is buried under a thick layer of dust, and that is exactly the way the party wants it. The idea is simple: while the existence of the cooperation protocol currently does not interest Russian voters, dropping it could polarize a certain part of Russian-speaking voters against Center.

Former member of the Center Party and its board Olga Ivanova confirmed as much. “It is very important for Center’s voters,” she said.

Ivanova basically echoed the opinion according to which the protocol is among untouchable topics in the party. “To some extent, yes. They are afraid that Russians will see through Center’s real policy,” the politician said regarding the potential consequences of closing the agreement.

However, there is also suspicion in the board that the agreement might not matter all that much to the Russian voter.

Journalist Pavel Ivanov agrees. “I believe this agreement does not sway the Russian voter. If they have a preference, it is not likely to change because of some cooperation protocol,” Ivanov said.

The journalist believes keeping the agreement frozen is senseless, and that the Latvians did the right thing by dropping it.

Deputy Chairman of the Center Party Jaanus Karilaid said that the party should not blindly follow the Latvians’ example, but added that the future of the protocol needs to be decided after the local elections.

The previous such attempt was made last year when the Center Party council discussed whether the new government could make it serve Estonia’s interests. The only relevant proposal was made by the Lääne County region under Karilaid.

Karilaid had ready proposals of how to carry the agreement with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s party into effect. “If the Russian Federation wanted to restore relations, it could simply return the president’s chain of office without the need for negotiations. That could be an initial gesture,” he said.

The council found itself over the barrel, and the agreement was left frozen. “It remains on ice so to speak. Because our foreign policy has a very rigid common stance on Russia, we have lacked the will to breathe life into the agreement,” Karilaid said.

The politician now believes the matter should be discussed again after local elections. A decision to drop the agreement would need to be supported by the party’s regional organizations.

“Neither option is off the table – putting the agreement to work for Estonia’s national interests, nor ending the federal cooperation protocol. The impulse could come from the party’s 20 regional offices. Lääne County alone is not enough; however, if we had 10-15 regions that found the matter important…” Karilaid said.

Latvia’s left-wing Harmony Center and its chairman Nils Ušakovs announced yesterday that their cooperation agreement with United Russia is no longer in effect.

Read also more news of Tallinn on our site.

postimees.ee
CENTERPARTY RUSSIA
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
1 view in march
I recommend
No recommendations yet

Comments

Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

Politics
Chairman of the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and one of the owners of construction group Nordecon, Toomas Luman, finds that a prime ministerial candidate should first and foremost be able to answer the question of what will become of the demographic crisis in Estonia. The businessman sees controlled introduction of foreign labor as the solution. A digital construction cluster was created in Estonia a few years back to bring innovation to the s...
Society
Last year saw 27,125 registered offenses, up 0.5 percent from the year before. Violent crime was up by 12 percent to 8,249 offenses. PHOTO: Dominic Lipinski / PA Wire / Press Association Images / Scanpix Growth was biggest for domestic violence – the police launched criminal proceedings in 3,607 cases that constitutes an increase of more than one-third – annual growth of 37 percent from 2,632 cases in 2017. At the same time, reports of domestic violence we...
Society
TALLINN - Ahead of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, tens of thousands of British citizens have chosen the citizenship of some other country, but only one Brit has recently chosen an Estonian citizenship. Spokespeople for the Ministry of the Interior told BNS that only one British citizen submitted an application for Estonian citizenship last year and the applicant was also granted the citizenship. Before that, no Brits had soug...
Society
TALLINN - Experts from Finland, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands highlighted the importance of decentralization and granting local governments greater decision-making powers at a conference titled "Strong local government -- strong state?" in Tallinn on Wednesday.  All Nordic countries have chosen a model granting local governments significant decision-making powers, thus the central government does not prescribe how local governments are to fulfill the...
Society
The language learning application Drops by game developer Planb Labs, established in Estonia by Hungarian founders, was named Google Play's best app of 2018. With the number of downloads surpassing 10 million, Drops was named Google's app of the year as the revenue of Planb Labs, a company registered in Estonia, increased fivefold, CNBC said. The developer's revenue grew from €335,000 in 2017 to €1.7 million in 2018. The company's shareholders include Hung...
Society
TALLINN - The Estonian Health Board has banned the distribution of chlorine dioxide, also marketed as the Miracle Mineral Supplement (MMS), the A-component of an unused product, meaning the sodium chlorite solution, must be taken to a hazardous waste collection facility. Ester Opik, head of the Health Board's North regional department, said that the banning of the distribution of the product was caused by the fact that MMS, distributed as a cosmetics produ...
Society
Nature cannot abide a vacancy, as the saying goes. If just one year ago, Estonia was battling the sale of MMS and the practice of giving it to children, a new “miracle cure” called Advanced TRS has appeared on the market now. Even though the make-up of the substance is different, the promise to cure autism and cleanse the body of heavy metals, which kind of extreme detox is accompanied by severe side-effects, sounds all too familiar. TRS is recommended to...
Society
Allied NATO battalions will soon mark two years serving in the Baltics. They have worked better than expected but would need prepositioned heavy weaponry and a functional contingency plan in case of a crisis, a report by the International Center for Defense and Security (ICDS) finds. “We do not know how Russia would have acted had we not welcomed allies in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland in 2017. I’m afraid they would have tested our resolve,” one of...
Society
The time of filing income tax returns is nearly upon us. The new income tax system, in effect since last year, will obligate many women who went on maternity leave toward the end of the year to make additional income tax payments, while those who give birth in the middle or at the beginning of the year have no such obligation. What this means is that some women will owe the state simply for giving birth “at the wrong time”. Laura Roop, who went on maternit...