Professor: Estonian Politics Unused to Dialogue With Civil Society

laine uudised-laine
26. Feb 2014

Philosophy Professor Tõnu Viik, who signed a recent declaration calling for fresh solutions to make life in Estonia better, said the Estonian political system is not used to the rise of civil society. However, a slight change is already visible.

Viik told ETV’s program "Vabariigi Kodanikud" on Tuesday that the Estonian political system is not used to the fact that in addition to the media and the politics, a third player, civil society, is expressing opinions, getting organized and stepping in.

Although Charter 12, signed in late 2012 and calling for broad changes in Estonian political culture, has not actually improved conditions a lot, some of the rhetoric of the charter has been adapted by politicians, even by those in government.

“I think a very gradual change in politics has taken place,” Viik said.

A change in rhetoric will eventually bring about a change in politics, said Viik, and added that the voice of civil society counts for more now, which is an achievement.

Still, the politicians are very reluctant to include the intellectual potential of the society and the gestures of inclusion have mostly been simulated. “It is as if seemingly a dialogue is held, but actually it isn’t and the real decisions are made somewhere else,” he said.

Viik said he sees the problem in the current cartel nature of the political parties, because it makes openness and inclusion increasingly difficult. “It is so much easier to agree on something with insiders and ask marketing firms how to sell our image so that we’d get a lot of votes,” he said.