Mart Helme

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Mart Helme

RK Mart Helme.jpg
Minister of the Interior
Assumed office
29 April 2019
Prime MinisterJüri Ratas
Preceded byKatri Raik
Leader of the Conservative People's Party
Assumed office
13 April 2013
Preceded byMargo Miljand
Estonian Ambassador to Russia
In office
PresidentLennart Meri
Preceded byJüri Kahn
Succeeded byTiit Matsulevitš
Personal details
Born (1949-10-31) 31 October 1949 (age 69)
Pärnu, Estonia
Political partyConservative People's Party (2012–present)
People's Union (2003–2005)
Res Publica Party (2002)
Spouse(s)Helle-Moonika Helme
Alma materUniversity of Tartu

Mart Helme (born 31 October 1949) is an Estonian politician, Minister of the Interior since 29 April 2019, and chairman of the national conservative Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) since 13 April 2013. A historian by profession, he also served as Estonia's ambassador to Russia from 1995 to 1999. His son Martin Helme is the leader of the party's parliamentary group. Some media outlets have described him as politically populist and/or far-right.[1][2][3]

Early life[edit]

Mart Helme was born on 31 October 1949 in Pärnu. His father was a veteran of the Estonian Legion. He later said that listening to his father's stories about fighting on the Eastern Front made him an Estonian patriot despite being raised in the Soviet Union.[4]

After graduating from high school in Pärnu in 1968, he studied history at the University of Tartu and graduated in 1973.

In his youth, Helme played in several bands.

Personal and pre-political life[edit]

He owns the Suure-Lähtru manor. He has worked as a journalist, publisher and diplomat.[5] He has also been a farmer and a singer.

Political career[edit]

Helme joined the Estonian diplomatic service in 1994. In 1995, he was appointed as the Estonian ambassador to Russia by President Lennart Meri. His tenure lasted until 1999. While in Moscow, he took part in the border negotiations with Russia.

From 2003 to 2005, Helme was a member of the agrarian-centrist People's Union of Estonia. In 2012, when the party merged with the Estonian Patriotic Movement, Helme became a member of the new Conservative People's Party of Estonia. A year later, he was elected its leader.

He has said that "Estonian politicians should honestly admit that our choice is between staying with those who are creating a United States of Europe and joining those who desire a Europe of nation states. The Conservative People's Party doesn't see a place for Estonia in a United States of Europe."[6]

In 2015 parliamentary election, Helme was elected to parliament with 6,714 individual votes[7] and in the 2019 parliamentary election he increased his support to 9,170 individual votes.

In March 2019 Mart Helme said to the press that he wishes that one day his party would be the sole ruling party of Estonia.[8]

After EKRE's receiving of 17.8% of the votes in the 2019 parliamentary election and the subsequent inclusion in the governing coalition, Helme was appointed to Jüri Ratas' second cabinet as Estonia's interior minister.[9][10] On May 2, 2019, Helme was also named First Deputy Prime Minister.[11]

Media controversy[edit]

Mart Helme has made headlines in the media with some of his opinions.

The number of negroes in Tallinn has grown explosively.

— Mart Helme, speaking during the opening of a local party office.[12]

The police are already overwhelmed with work. Why should they be safeguarding the parades of perverts?

— Mart Helme, speaking about the LGBT Pride parade of 2017[13]

Personal life[edit]

Helme's current wife, Helle-Moonika Helme, is an MP in the Riigikogu for EKRE.[14] Mart Helme has a son, Martin Helme, also a prominent member of EKRE, from a previous marriage.


  1. ^ "Bloomberg - Are you a robot?". Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  2. ^ Press, Associated (March 3, 2019). "Populist party gains as Estonia faces possible power swap". Daily Herald. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  3. ^ "Center-right party tops Estonia vote, but populists win, too". ABC News. March 7, 2019. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  4. ^ EKRE: Esimees Archived January 8, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Mart Helme on olnud muusik, ajakirjanik, farmer, diplomaat ja mõisnik". Pärnu Postimees.
  6. ^ "EKRE general assembly elects Mart Helme chairman".
  7. ^ "Riigikogu valimised 2015: Detailne hääletamistulemus". Vabariigi Valimiskomisjon. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  8. ^ "Mart Helme: „Meie eesmärk on teha ühel päeval ainuvalitsus." | Õhtuleht". (in Estonian). Retrieved March 9, 2019.
  9. ^ Olsen, Jan M.; Tanner, Jari (April 29, 2019). "Nationalist party enters Estonia's government". Associated Press. Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  10. ^ Gershkovich, Evan (April 30, 2019). "Estonia joins the far-right club". Politico. Retrieved May 1, 2019.
  11. ^ Tanner, Jari (May 2, 2019). "Estonia minister calls president 'emotionally heated woman'". Associated Press. Retrieved May 5, 2019. The party’s role in governing expanded Thursday with Mart Helme’s appointment as first deputy prime minister, a position that includes leading the Cabinet during the prime minister’s absence.
  12. ^ "Mart Helme vihakõne koosolekul: Tallinnas on plahvatuslikult kasvanud neegrite hulk. Kui neile vastu pead koputada, siis see on õõnespuit!". Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  13. ^ "Mart Helme tänasest geiparaadist: Meie juhitavates omavalitsustes ei antaks kindlasti geidele marssideks või paraadideks luba. - Õhtuleht". Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  14. ^ ERR (May 2, 2019). "Kuusik replacement should be woman, says Estonia 200 candidate". ERR.

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Margo Miljand
Leader of the Conservative People's Party of Estonia
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Jüri Kahn
Estonian Ambassador to Russia
Succeeded by
Tiit Matsulevitš
Political offices
Preceded by
Katri Raik
Minister of the Interior