Thinking Citizen Blog — Young Leaders of the World (Part Four): Kaja Kallas, Prime Minister of Estonia

Thinking Citizen Blog — Sunday is Political Process, Campaign Strategy, and Candidate Selection Day

Today’s Topic: Young Leaders of the World (Part Four): Kaja Kallas (1977 — ), Prime Minister of Estonia (2021 — )

Last week: Mette Frederiksen, Prime Minister of Denmark. Two weeks ago, Volodymyr Zelenskyy of the Ukraine.

Last month (2/20/22) Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand. This week, on the suggestion of Kay Wilson (thank you), Kaja Kallas of Estonia — a country which, like the Ukraine, shares a border with Russia and has a long history of conflict with its much larger neighbor. For a little context: Estonia’s neighbor to the north is Finland whose Prime Minister, Sanna Marin, is eight years younger than Kaja Kallas! Finland, too, has a troubled past with Russia (most notably the Winter War of 1939 to 1940). Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.

FAMILY HISTORY — CIVIL SERVICE AND SIBERIAN EXILE

1. Father: Siim Kallas was the 14th Prime Minister of Estonia, and later a European Commissioner.

2. Mother: During the Soviet deportations from Estonia, her mother Kristi, six months old at the time, was deported to Siberia with her mother and grandmother in a cattle car and lived there until she was ten years old.”

3. Great grandfather: Eduard Alver, one of the founders of the Republic of Estonia…and the first chief of the Estonian Police from 1918 to 1919.

EDUCATION AND PRIVATE PRACTICE

1. University of Tartu (1999), Bachelor’s degree in law.

2. Estonian Business School, MBA in economics, 2010.

3. Worked as an attorney specializing in “competition law” from 2002 to 2014.

POLITICAL CAREER — Estonian Parliament (2011–2014), European Parliament (2014–2018), Prime Minister (2021 — )

1. Just to keep things in perspective, she won all of 7,157 votes when she was elected to the Estonian Parliament in 2011.

2. In 2014 when she was elected to the European Parliament, she won 21,498 votes.

3. In 2018, she became the first female leader of a major party in Estonia (the Reform Party) and in 2019, she led the party to victory in the general election with 29% of the vote versus the ruling Center Party with 23%. “However, the Centre Party managed to form a right-wing coalition with the conservative Isamas party and the far-right EKRE, leaving the Reform party out of power.”

NB: In January 2021, a scandal led to the resignation of Prime Minister Juri Ratas, and Kallas “formed a Reform-led coalition government, making her the first female prime minister in Estonia’s history.”

THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE CRISIS

1. “Kallas committed Estonia to donating howitzers to Ukraine to assist in its defense against a possible Russian invasion, pending German approval as the howitzers were originally purchased from Germany.”

2 “When Germany delayed in giving an answer, Estonia sent American-made Javelin anti-tank missiles instead.” (above)

3. “Following Russia’s recognition of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, Kallas demanded that the European Union introduce sanctions on Russia.”

NB: “Following the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, Estonia along with other allies triggered Article 4 of NATO. Kallas pledged to support Ukraine with political and material support.”

FOOTNOTES — RUSSIFICATION, THE NAZI-SOVIET PACT OF 1939, THE BALTIC WAY OF 1989 THE SINGING REVOLUTION OF

1. Estonians have fiercely resisted “Russification” — whether under the Tsars in the 19th century or the Soviets in the 20th century. The Estonian view of Russia is perhaps best summarized in the poster above commemorating the Nazi-Soviet Pact of August 23, 1939 which “divided Eastern Europe into spheres of influence and led to the occupation of the Baltic states in 1940.”

2. “The Baltic Way was a peaceful political demonstration that occurred on 23 August 1989 (the 50th anniversary of the Nazi-Soviet Pact). Approximately two million people joined their hands to form a human chain spanning 690 kilometres (430 mi) across the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, which at the time were constituent parts of the Soviet Union.”

3. A distinctive trait of the Estonian resistance was the role played by music, especially mass singing. “Imagine the scene in ‘Casablanca’ in which the French patrons sing ‘La Marseillaise’ in defiance of the Germans, then multiply its power by a factor of thousands, and you’ve only begun to imagine the force of ‘The Singing Revolution’. (Matt Zoller Seitz, New York Times). See the last link below.

Kaja Kallas — Wikipedia

Estonia — Wikipedia

Singing Revolution — Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baltic_Way

Siim Kallas — Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eduard_Alver

Sanna Marin — Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FGM-148_Javelin

Tallinn Song Festival Grounds — Wikipedia

The Singing Revolution — Official Trailer

The Singing Revolution

For the last four years of posts organized by theme

PDF with headlines — Google Drive

Kaja Kallas — Wikipedia

Estonia — Wikipedia

Singing Revolution — Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baltic_Way

Siim Kallas — Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eduard_Alver

Sanna Marin — Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FGM-148_Javelin

Tallinn Song Festival Grounds — Wikipedia

The Singing Revolution — Official Trailer

The Singing Revolution

For the last four years of posts organized by theme:

PDF with headlines — Google Drive

ATTACHMENTS BELOW:

#1 A graphic guide to justice (9 metaphors on one page).

#2 “39 Songs, Prayers, and Poems: the Keys to the Hearts of Seven Billion People” — Adams House Senior Common Room Presentation, 11/17/20

YOUR TURN

Please share the coolest thing you learned in the last week related to political process or campaign strategy or 2020 candidate selection or anything else for that matter.

This is your chance to make some one else’s day or change their thinking. Or to consolidate in your own memory something worth remembering that might otherwise be lost. Or to clarify or deepen your own understanding of something dear to your heart. Continuity is key to depth of thought.

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