TALLINN – Social Democratic Party (SDE) MP and deputy chair of the Riigikogu's Kaitseliit (Defense League) volunteer corps' support group Lauri Laanemets said that Interior Minister Mart Helme, who belittled Kaitseliit members in a radio interview on Tuesday, should apologize to Kaitseliit volunteers.
According to Laanemets, with his statement on Tuesday, the interior minister is undermining the foundations of Kaitseliit and should apologize to Kaitseliit members.
"In an interview with Vikerradio today, [Interior] Minister [Mart] Helme said that Kaitseliit members could not handle things. I disagree. I have been a Kaitseliit member for 16 years. Kaitseliit volunteers have always done what the state expects of them and have fulfilled their tasks with great commitment. Kaitseliit has always managed and will continue to do so in the future," Laanemets said.
According to Laanemets, Helme's idea that people who are members of the crisis reserve to be created should be released from conscript service destroys Estonia's national defense.
"Estonia's human resources are extremely limited. With his ideas, the interior minister undermines the foundations of Kaitseliit and creates motivation not to prefer Kaitseliit. As a unique voluntary organization, Kaitseliit has an important place in Estonian national defense and it is unfortunate if a member of the government destroys its reputation through the media. The message of the Estonian government so far has always been the opposite -- Kaitseliit can do it. This has had a significant impact on public support and the motivation of volunteers," Laanemets added.