Edgar Savisaar

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Edgar Savisaar
Edgar Savisaar 2005.jpg
Mayor of Tallinn
Assumed office
9 April 2007
Preceded by Jüri Ratas
In office
December 2001 – October 2004
Preceded by Tõnis Palts
Succeeded by Tõnis Palts
Prime Minister of Estonia
In office
20 August 1991 – 29 January 1992
President Lennart Meri
Preceded by Otto Tief (1944)
Succeeded by Tiit Vähi
Personal details
Born (1950-05-31) 31 May 1950 (age 64)
Harku, Estonia
Political party Communist Party (1983–1988)
Popular Front (1988–1991)
Centre Party (1991–present)
Spouse(s) Vilja Laanaru (1996–2009)
Children 4
Alma mater University of Tartu

Edgar Savisaar (born 31 May 1950 in Harku, Harju County), is an Estonian politician, one of the founding members of Popular Front of Estonia and the leader of the Centre Party. He has served as the acting Prime Minister of Estonia, Minister of the Interior and Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications. Currently he is the mayor of Tallinn, the capital of Estonia.


After graduating from high school, Savisaar continued his studies at the University of Tartu. In 1973, he graduated from the university with a degree in history. In 1980, he wrote his candidate thesis in philosophy on the topic "Social Philosophical Foundations of the Global Models of the Club of Rome".[1]


From 1980 to 1988, Savisaar worked in governmental institutions dealing with the planning of economy. During 1988–1989, he was the academic director for the consultation company "Mainor".

In April he co-established the Popular Front (Rahvarinne) which became the first political mass organization in Soviet Union outside Communist Party after 1920. Initially formed to "support perestroika" Popular Front started increasingly develop ideas of Estonian national independence and created so called Singing Revolution phenomenon. The process with several others lead to dissolution of Soviet Union ultimately.

In 1989, he became the Vice-Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Estonian SSR and the Head of the State Plan Committee. In 1990, he was the Minister of Economic Affairs. On 3 April 1990, he was appointed the Chairman of the Council of Ministers. When Estonia declared its independence on 20 August 1991, he became the first Prime Minister of the Republic of Estonia. His government was in office until 29 January 1992, when he was resigned after supplement problems and a continuing decline in economy.

From 1992 until 1995, Savisaar was the Vice-Speaker of the Estonian Parliament (Riigikogu). From 17 April – 6 November 1995, he was the Minister for Internal Affairs. When he was accused of recording private conversations of other politicians, the entire government faltered. Although his participation in the recordings was never proved, he announced his intention to leave politics. However, in 1996, he participated in the elections of the Riigikogu and became the Chairman of the Tallinn City Council. His return to the Centre Party leader's post evoked a split, as some leading members disillusioned with Savisaar's leadership style left to found Arengupartei. From 2001 to 14 October 2004, he was mayor of Tallinn. On 11 April 2005, he became Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications in the new coalition of Prime Minister Andrus Ansip and worked in the post until March 2007. From 2007 he has been mayor of Tallinn, the capital of Estonia.

Edgar Savisaar and Estonia People's Union leader Villu Reiljan jointly supported Arnold Rüütel's candidature for presidency in August–September 2006; Toomas Hendrik Ilves was elected though, a choice criticised by Savisaar and attributed by him[2] to alleged hostile media and partisan lawmakers. Savisaar refused to congratulate the winner.[3]

Savisaar has published four books. He has received the Order of the National Coat of Arms 2nd Class in 2001[4] and 1st Class in 2006[5] from Estonia and the Order of the Three Stars 2nd Class in 2005 from Latvia.[6]

In March 2015 Savisaar was taken critically ill and an infection of Streptococcus bacteria caused the amputation of one of his legs above the knee at Tartu University Clinic hospital.[7]


Savisaar giving an interview during the 2006 presidential election

Savisaar is one of the most controversial politicians in Estonia. While some people, including many from the Russian-speaking minority, see him as a defender of poor, his political opponents accuse him of authoritarianism, nepotism, corruption, destructive intrigues, and having close ties with Russian politicians. The latter accusation has been fuelled by the Centre Party's collaboration agreement with Putin's United Russia party, particularly since the agreement's content has not been made public. Savisaar is often associated with using Machiavellian politics and deals to achieve his goals, such as taping other politicians, which caused the so-called tape scandal in 1995; and while being the mayor of the Estonian capital Tallinn, real-estate deals that were good for the members of the Centre Party, but were bad for the town.[8]

Bronze Soldier[edit]

During the events surrounding the Bronze Soldier, Edgar Savisaar spoke out against the removal of the monument and accused Andrus Ansip of deliberate attempts of splitting the Estonian society by provoking the Russian minority.[9] In response to this many government officials and public figures have stated distrust and disrespect towards him.[10][11][12] In an online opinion poll conducted by a local newspaper Postimees, 87.4% of participants out of 10,000 found Savisaar to be inciting conflicts, whereas only 3.9% approved of his behavior.[13]

In relation to his reactions to the Bronze Soldier controversy, the Estonian Patriotic Movement created on 29 April 2007 an online petition website www.mahasavisaar.com to suggest resignation of Savisaar's position as the Mayor of Tallinn.[14][15] It ended on the 9 May 2007 and had collected 98,200 e-mail addresses (not signatures, although organizers of petition claimed so). In 2009 being a candidate for EP elections collected a 103506 votes in closed list system.

Personal life[edit]

Edgar Savisaar has been married three times and is the father of four children.[1] From marriage to Kaire Savisaar he has a son Erki, from marriage to Liis Savisaar a daughter Maria. The last marriage was to Vilja Savisaar, who is also an Estonian politician. They had a daughter Rosina. The couple announced their separation in December 2009.


  1. ^ a b "Edgar Savisaar". biography. web site of The Government of the Republic of Estonia. Retrieved 14 February 2007. 
  2. ^ video of Savisaar's reaction to the results: http://www.postimees.ee/240906/esileht/siseuudised/presidendivalimised_2006/219571.php?r
  3. ^ Postimees: Edgar Savisaar seab kahtluse alla riigikohtu erapooletuse. Postimees.ee. Retrieved on 4 August 2011.
  4. ^ "Bearers of decorations". president.ee. Retrieved 2 January 2014. 
  5. ^ "Bearers of decorations". president.ee. Retrieved 2 January 2014. 
  6. ^ "Ar Triju Zvaigžņu ordeni apbalvoto personu reģistrs apbalvošanas secībā, sākot no 2004. gada 1.oktobra" (DOC). president.lv (in Latvian). p. 14. Retrieved 2 January 2014. 
  7. ^ "Center Party leader Edgar Savisaar critically ill with an infection, leg amputated above the knee". err.ee. Retrieved 25 March 2015. 
  8. ^ Savisaar's and Kruuda's mutual gifts. Delfi.ee. Retrieved on 4 August 2011.
  9. ^ Lõhestaja number üks Postimees
  10. ^ Paet: Savisaar ei aita kaasa rahu tagamisele linnas. Postimees.ee. Retrieved on 4 August 2011.
  11. ^ Peeter Oja: Savisaar on silmakirjalik ja valelik. Postimees.ee. Retrieved on 4 August 2011.
  12. ^ "Rein Kilk: Savisaare loidus üllatas" (in Estonian). Delfi. 30 April 2007. Retrieved 1 May 2007. 
  13. ^ "Lugejad: Savisaar lõhestab ühiskonda" (in Estonian). Postimees. 30 April 2007. Retrieved 1 May 2007. 
  14. ^ Savisaare vastaste lõplik arv - 96678 rahvuslikliikumine.ee
  15. ^ "Savisaare vastu antud tuhandeid allkirju" (in Estonian). Delfi. 30 April 2007. Retrieved 1 May 2007. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Indrek Toome
Prime Minister of the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic
Position abolished
Title next held by
Otto Tief
Prime Minister of Estonia
Succeeded by
Tiit Vähi
Preceded by
Kaido Kama
Minister of the Interior
Succeeded by
Märt Rask
Preceded by
Tõnis Palts
Mayor of Tallinn
Succeeded by
Tõnis Palts
Preceded by
Andrus Ansip
Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications
Succeeded by
Juhan Parts
Preceded by
Jüri Ratas
Mayor of Tallinn