See, earlier, by Peter Brimelow The Singing Revolution vs. Open Borders Libertarianism
Little Estonia played a big role in the collapse of the Communist Bloc, despite having a population of just over a million. With access to Finnish radio and television—Estonian and Finnish are very similar languages—Estonians were acutely aware of just how much more prosperous the West was. And like the other Baltic states, they’d also been independent between the Word Wars, meaning they had recent memories of nation-statehood. They took refuge in an extraordinary national tradition of mass folk singing, brilliantly chronicled in the 2006 movie The Singing Revolution. In June 1988, folk singing spontaneously broke out in the streets of the Estonian capital, Tallinn. By 23rd August 1989, two million people, all singing nationalist folk songs, had formed a human chain—the Baltic Way—across Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Estonian TV stations were besieged by Soviet tanks, but eventually independence came. And now, it seems, the most tuneful of fervent of these singing nationalists are on the verge of serious power. Last week, they became part of Estonia’s three-party coalition government. [Euroskeptic Nationalists Set to Enter Government in Estonia, by Ott Umelas, Bloomberg, April 8, 2019].
Estonia went to the polls to elect a new parliament—the 101 member Riigikogu—on 3rd March. The result: one of those “far right” backlashes that have now become so commonplace in Europe. The mainstream conservatives (“Reform”), led by photogenic former Prime Minister’s daughter Kaja Kallas, [right] topped the poll with 29%, displacing the ruling “Centre Party” whose support fell modestly to 23%.
But here it gets interesting. In the 2015 Election, the “Social Democrats” came third with about 15% under the Proportional Representation system. This time, however, they fell to 5th place and 9.8% of the vote. The main beneficiary of their collapse was EKRE, the acronym for the Conservative People’s Party of Estonia, which rose from 8.1%, and 6th place, to 17.8%. EKRE’s rise also damaged “Fatherland,” a more moderate nationalist party which fell to 11.4% of the vote.
Led by 69-year-old historian, guitarist and former Estonian Ambassador to Russia Mart Helme, EKRE’s explosive rise—crowned by its joining the government—reflects the way in which many Estonians are not prepared to tolerate even the miniscule level of “Multiculturalism” which the EU has imposed upon their land. Singing may stop Soviet tanks but, perhaps they reason, it is likely to dissuade Islamist terrorists of child grooming gangs of the kind that are now a problem in neighboring Finland . Even more than in the Cold War, Estonians strongly aware of what is happening to their north.
By the standards of Western European nationalist parties, EKRE is pretty uncompromising. But then then “Overton Window” is more open to fresh air in Eastern Europe. Its youth wing, Blue Awakening, is organized along military lines. It organizes regular torch-lit marches and Finno-Ugric pagan rituals. (This may well have given Richard Spencer the idea for his much-denounced Tiki Torch Charlottesville march). EKRE itself advocates an Estonian ethno-state, in a country in which 24% of the population are Russian, and it wants out of the European Union, assuming a successful referendum.
EKRE also espouses financial support to encourage native Estonians to have more children and not emigrate to the West, banning abortion and the stopping of all non-EU immigration. Estonia has been forced to take a small number of “refugees” as part of the EU quota system. Fearing ethnic strife of the kind so commonplace in Sweden, Mart Helme has made his views on this, well, fairly clear:
“Our immigration policy should have one simple rule: if you're black, go back. As simple as that. We shouldn't allow this problem to emerge in the first place.”
[Conservative Politician: If You're Black, Go Back, ERR News, May 29, 2013]
EKRE also wants a referendum to overturn the legality of homosexual civil partnerships, Helme having publicly called the “Baltic Pride” celebration a “parade of perverts”. [Mart Helme tänasest geiparaadist: “Meie juhitavates omavalitsustes ei antaks kindlasti geidele marssideks või paraadideks luba,” by Johanna-Kadri Kuusk, Öhtuleht, July 8, 2017 ] It espouses Swiss-style direct democracy, a more generous welfare state (though only for Estonians) and is passionately against what it calls “Russian Imperialism”.
These policies attracted the Estonian working class, the conservative countryside and, interestingly, Estonian expatriates who are mostly living in the “Multicultural” paradises of Western Europe: 43.7% of Estonian expatriates voted for EKRE [Large share of diaspora paper vote goes to EKRE, ERR News, March 6, 2019 ]
The pro-EU Reform Party, which came first in the parliamentary elections, have made it plain that that they will never work with EKRE. [Estonia’s centre-right opposition party wins general election, by Reuters, Euronews, March 4, 2019].
However, this attempt to form another “Cordon Sanitaire” has failed. the Centre Party Prime Minister, Jüri Ratas, whose party is ironically strongly supported by the Russian minority, appears to have no such qualms. As Ratas is the Prime Minister, Estonia’s (woman) president has given him the right to try to form a government and on 11th March he began to do so…with EKRE, despite having claimed that he wouldn’t work with them. A significant body of opinion in the Centre Party opposes doing so, with one senior member even resigning from the party’s board on 12th March [Raimond Kaljulaid quits Centre board over party talks with EKRE, ERR, March 12, 2019]. But Ratas is undeterred.
Thus within less than two weeks of the election, Leftist joy turned to disbelief. This process is best exemplified in “woke” Estonian commentator Andrei Tuch, who has penned a piece in English:
It looked like Estonia, the eager poster child of Europe, would have simultaneously a female president (Kersti Kaljulaid was elected president in 2016—editor) and a female prime minister. Heck, they could’ve gone for an elegant bit of statesmanship and offered the chairmanship of the Riigikogu to senior Centrist, Kadri Simson. Imagine the photo ops: Kersti, Kaja and Kadri—a blonde triumvirate and a bloody triumph!
[Welcome to Estonia’s new far-right government, by Andrei Tuch, Estonian World, March 12, 2019 ]
But by the end of Tuch’s rambling article, in which implies that men who voted for EKRE have unhappy marriages, he can do little more impotently condemn:
As for Jüri Ratas, history will not remember him as the man who made the minimum wage free of income tax. It will remember him as the man who put the neo-Nazis in power in Estonia.
The change of headline comes with no acknowledgment, and none of Tuch’s references to EKRE as Nazis have been removed from the text).
Still, Tuch, despite his bitterness, sums up the situation for Estonia very succinctly:
If the Centre-EKRE-Isamaa coalition comes true in Estonia, the far-right EKRE will hold prime minister Jüri Ratas by the balls and dictate the coalition’s policy.
Perhaps EKRE will hold them so tight that they’ll sing soprano as the Singing Revolution is revived and Estonia croons away the EU’s identity-politics Cultural Marxist version of totalitarianism.
That coalition agreement has now been signed. So, if the Estonian Left are correct, then immigration patriot nationalists have the government of an EU state (albeit one of its smallest) …where they want it.
Harri Honkanen [Email him] is a student of Scandinavia.