Dictatorship Destroys Estonia

Dictatorship Destroys Estonia
Vsevolod Jürgenson, Estonian Politician

Estonia is in a bad state. The economy is declining, people's disappointment is deepening, the standard of living has reached the limit of endurance, the birth rate is ticking towards the extinction of the nation, and the political parties in the government have lost support. This total decline continues only because Kaja Kallas, having exhausted her competence, refuses to acknowledge her obvious failure in her official duties and is unwilling to resign as a failed employee, blaming her incompetence on opponents, whether they be ministers of the previous government or her own party colleagues. Such clinging to power at any cost is characteristic of dictators, but the price of dictatorship is the economic and moral decline of the country.

Ministries and institutions like a state within a state.

Kaja Kallas' biggest flaw is her vanity in showing herself as all-knowing and managing the entire national system. However, reality tells a different story. It is during Kallas' dwindling rule that the state within a state has begun to flourish, with high-paid chancellors, department heads, and political manipulators of ministries and state institutions taking power more forcefully than ever before. In a country where both the prime minister and the modestly knowledgeable finance minister talk about a lack of money, millions of budget funds are squandered on complete nonsense.

Here are some examples I have pointed out before. At a time when the state lacks money for justified needs, there is a desire to build a new eco-building for the climate ministry costing more than 60 million euros. A decision has been taken to create a regional development agency with 400 high-paid officials, but it's unclear what this agency will do and whether it can fulfill its tasks.

A good example of how a super-agency, which was supposed to be a magic wand for boosting Estonia's economy and exports, cannot fulfill even basic tasks, is evident in the case of EAS. Why maintain a failing institution whose 578 dedicated bureaucrats' diligent paper-pushing has led to a decline in exports, as state business supports remain inaccessible due to excessive paperwork, and most of the mega-agency's resources go to employee salaries? Or what about the financial wastage of the state-owned company Enefit Solutions, which wants to hire workers for a few months with a 5 million euro tender. According to Postimees, a powerful compensation is planned for 20 physical workers, from sheet metal workers-welders to painters-masons, with the tender indicating a procurement amount of 100,000 euros for each worker, i.e., about 33,000 euros per month. This criminal folly, which the prosecutor's office inexplicably ignores, occurs in a country where support for large families is cut and plans are made to target parental benefits.

More examples of irresponsible wastage.

While teachers are sent away with salary demands, the Regional and Agricultural Ministry has a stack of taxpayer money to create a green metric that the world supposedly can't do without. The State Chancellery allocated 833,000 euros from the public sector innovation program for developing the green metric. The result of this nearly million-euro embezzlement should be a methodology for assessing the sustainability of agricultural enterprises. Hooray for how our horizon expands thanks to this super cool metric!

The Enterprise and Innovation Foundation (EISA) announced a tender worth 1.3 million euros for implementing innovation sector marketing services, including creative, digital media, and media services. The tender winner must develop a marketing strategy and action plan, and creative solutions, participate in their development and production, and carry out marketing activities. Messages must be positive, emphasizing innovation and novelty, and generate interest in the target group. Messages must not have negative connotations, must be clear and unambiguous, correct, and in line with good practices. EISA also wants the creative solutions and related materials to possibly carry the principle of sustainability. Such mind-expanding propaganda material, which to be honest is of no use, is what the taxpayer-funded institution of freeloaders gets for 1.3 million euros!

Only a government led by reason can pull us out of the mire.

Kaja Kallas and her loyal lapdog Võrklaev have no intention of reducing the government apparatus and cutting ministry expenses, and for a very simple reason. Our prime minister and her subordinate ministers simply lack the power over chancellors and other hardened government officials. These cunning types have long realized that behind the prime minister and her cabinet's loud propaganda noise and fuss are incompetent political novices and are taking what they can from the state budget, knowing that every party must end and if fate blesses Estonia with a prime minister who genuinely wants to improve people's lives, the time of these profiteers in the public sector might unexpectedly end.

The fact that a bloated state apparatus can be reformed in a short time has been proven by newly elected Argentinian President Javier Milei, who reduced the number of ministries from 18 to 9 in his first law, as stated in his election program. Milei signed a decree to close parasitic ministries such as the Ministry of Women and Diversity. The remaining ministries are truly necessary ones like economy, infrastructure, foreign affairs, security, justice, defense, and interior. Worth emulating.

We could also learn from our close neighbors, where people's living standards have suffered less thanks to a better economic situation and state tax policy.

While Estonia raised VAT to 22 percent, Latvia applied a 12 percent VAT on fruits and vegetables. Latvia considered raising the tax rate to 21 percent, but the agriculture and finance ministers did not like this plan, and they agreed on 12 percent. A humane decision.

Lithuania's finance minister Gintare Skaiste was pleased that the country's economy is holding up well despite a slight slowdown and growth is expected.

Meanwhile, Estonia has entered one of the biggest crises in its history. In addition to some objective factors, the greatest contribution here is Kaja Kallas and her government's remarkably shortsighted policy. It's time to save ourselves from drowning and swim out of the whirlpool. If Kallas herself doesn't have the courage to make sensible decisions, the smarter wing of the Reform Party should encourage her to end the agony and step down. Estonia deserves an effective government!

Vsevolod Jürgenson