Sunday, November 18, 2018

Lembit Opik: “I have been asked to stand for the Estonian Presidency"

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In what the Mirror credibly labels an "Exclusive", Lembit Opik claims that he's been asked by multiple parties to stand as the President of Estonia, despite never having lived there:
Opik claims he is the second best-known Estonian in the World after the 83-year old classical composer Arvo Part.
Part and a part you might say, if you had less tact than me.

Lembit tells the Mirror every time he appears on Estonian television, people ask when he is going to move there. He says:
"I’m interested in Estonian politics because I’ve invested a lot of time in helping the Estonian political system develop. Former members of my family have also been involved in politics in Estonia so there’s a natural fit there."
One former member of Lembit's family who was involved is Estonian politics is great uncle Oskar, who was a member of the puppet Nazi government that ruled the country between 1941 and 1944.

The only substantial account of his career I can find is in the Daily Mail, which treated it as a piece of whataboutery after Chris Huhne had condemned David Cameron's decision - in retrospect, a disaster for his party and country - to pull the Conservatives out of the mainstream Conservative group in the European parliament.

Anyway, the article tells us that:
A post-war Estonian investigation into crimes against humanity named Oskar Opik as one of eight officials who ‘share responsibility with the German authorities, by virtue of their office, for all criminal actions carried out in Estonia, and beyond its borders by military units or police battalions raised with their consent during the period of the German occupation’. 
He and the other directors were ‘responsible by virtue of the positions they held, for having given orders which resulted in crimes against humanity’. 
Oskar Opik always denied having any jurisdiction over political prisoners. But the Estonian International Commission for the Investigation of Crimes Against Humanity stated that ‘the directorate’s autonomy, in particular, enabled them to maintain police structures that co-operated with the Germans in rounding up and killing Estonian Jews and Roma, and in seeking out and killing Estonians deemed to be opponents of the occupiers’. 
Not being a public-school Stalinist like Seumas Milne, I can recognise that, contested by Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Soviet Union, Estonia was in an impossible position. But this historical baggage is unlikely to be helpful if Lembit really does have serious political ambitions there.

But, beyond that, Estonia is now faced with a serious threat from Putin's Russia. Putting it politely as one can, I doubt that a man who contrived to lose Montgomeryshire for the Liberals is the man the country needs to keep it safe.

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