Eesti in brief - 2009-08-05

  • 2009-08-05
Veterans of the Estonian 20th Waffen SS division are planning a memorial, news which came as a surprise to Russian war veterans. According to Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Andrei Nesterenko, Moscow received the news of the veterans' gathering with "a feeling of deep indignation," reports news agency He said that the Estonian authorities persist, contrary to the Judgment of the Nuremberg Tribunal, and other international documents, including the well-known United Nations General Assembly resolution of last year, with blasphemous attempts to rehabilitate the ex-SS men and their accomplices. Now, regrettably, traditional gatherings in the small town of Sinimae, owing to the encouragement policy of the authorities, are acquiring a massive and international character, by luring 'guests' from other European countries. Nesterenko explained that "the criminal connivance of the Estonian authorities at the conduct of such gatherings that not only desecrate the memory of the millions of victims of fascism, but also propagandize the ideology of neo-Nazism, xenophobia and racism, and must not remain without the attention and principled assessments from Estonia's European Union partners.

Estonia's government is ready to cut the budget again for the third time this year, reports Internet portal This third cut is planned to reduce budget costs by 2.3 percent, saving 512.4 million kroons (32.8 million euros). The State Chancellery and Foreign, Environment, Social and
Economy Ministries all agreed on the cuts; in disagreement stand the Education, Justice and Agriculture Ministries who are in partial agreement. The Ministry of Finance made a new proposal to those ministries who aren't on board yet, which offers cuts in staff costs. According to the Ministry of Finance, cutting the budget without Parliament's approval is legal. The budget would stay, but the breakdown would change. The latter is in the competency of the government.

Estonia's top lawyers earn most of their income through dividends, not official salary, thereby paying social taxes on only about 10-20 percent of their 'total' income, escaping social tax rules, reports Internet portal Aripaev. The income of management at the bigger law firms totaled 5 million kroons (320,500 euros). Official wages are taxed at a higher rate than are dividends. The 49 partners at bigger companies paid themselves an average of 154,143 kroons per month in dividends, at the same time average salaries were 15,911 kroons per month, slightly exceeding the national average. Taking dividends out is not illegal; the question is one of fairness, of whether the money taken out should be counted as salary. Tax and Customs Board (MTA) says that the larger law and auditing companies are currently discussing the question. MTA may look at the dividend payments as a form of tax evasion, according to the ruling by the Circuit Court in the spring. According to the advocacy chairperson, Aivar Pilv, "it is quite a natural thing when the company is earning profit and shareholders divide it." Pilv himself received 440,627 kroons a month as dividends and gross salary of 51,667 kroons.