Letter to Editor

  • 2002-08-08
Two standards?

Sara Toth left the ex-chancellor of foreign affairs in Estonia looking a bit worse than the situation warranted (TBT #317).

First, I take issue with the use of the word "indecent" in connection with describing his conduct. This usually has a sexual connotation, as in the offense of "indecent exposure." This element is not part of this story.

In this case, Estonian readers know that common words, considered vulgar language, were involved. Improper manners were apparently displayed. It may also be relevent that Mr. Tarand and Ms. Ojuland exchanged words during an informal social drinking gathering in the early morning hours. It is known that the chancellor attempted to dismiss Ms. Ojuland some years ago when she was his subordinate in the ministry. Both have previously been convicted of driving while intoxicated, thus this is a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

Mr. Tarand has said he may take the dismissal to court, moving the story from the political sphere to the judicial. It is at this stage that the story may become more interesting, particularly when it's revealed that Prime Minister Siim Kallas was aware that Ms. Ojuland had also acted "illegally" as a university teaching staff member at Concordia International University. This was, of course, prior to being appointed minister of foreign affairs.

Mr. Kallas did not consider this legal infraction an impediment for employing her as minister. She had taught as assistant professor, which in Estonia requires that the person have a Ph.D. degree, which she does not.

It appears there is one law and standard for those who the government wants to dismiss and another one for those in power and favored by the prime minister.

Peeter Kiviloo, Tallinn