“We’re not for Russia or Ukraine. We’re for peace.” This was Mart Helme’s message on the state broadcasting network’s online portal for Russian speakers.
Helme’s own far-right EKRE party leadership were seemingly disturbed by the gaffe, and downplayed its importance. For the public, they ostensibly distanced themselves from Helme’s candour. But despite EKRE’s attempt at face-saving, some prominent EKRE members have still insisted that a limit must be placed on the amount of support Estonia provides Ukraine. This approach could splinter a unified Western support for Ukraine.
Recent polling has indicated that the Centre Party’s rating has dwindled and EKRE has directly gained from this change in voter loyalty. Some observers have suggested that this shift was mainly among Russian speakers, who may perceive a possible political pro-Russian sentiment developing within EKRE’s ranks, especially involving the war with Ukraine. This would be exactly the result Russian operatives have been aiming for.
Critics of Helme who also reject neutrality in current circumstances have clearly stated that blatant, documented genocide, witnessed by international observers simply renders any impartiality in the matter morally unacceptable and politically short-sighted. Even consistently neutral states, such as Switzerland, Ireland and Austria have understood the need to take a stand now and nave suspended their historic positions of non-alignment in conflicts.
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