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Estonian president slammed for 'vulgar' Tweets

09 june 2012, 15:10
Estonia's President Toomas Hendrik Ilves. ©AFP
Estonia's President Toomas Hendrik Ilves. ©AFP
Estonia's president got an earful from the national media Friday for sending out a flurry of 'vulgar' Tweets on the micro-blogging site Twitter in response to a New York Times economics article, AFP reports.

Bow-tie loving President Toomas Hendrik Ilves went on a tweet-rant Wednesday after Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman argued in a short article that while Estonia had been globally praised for its austerity measures, its recovery was in fact lukewarm.

"Let's write about something we know nothing about & be smug, overbearing & patronizing... Guess a Nobel in trade means you can pontificate on fiscal matters & declare my country a 'wasteland,'" Ilves responded on his Twitter page.

"But yes, what do we know? We're just dumb and silly East Europeans," he added, before writing in his final tweet, "Let's sh*t on East Europeans."

Estonians have come to expect foul language from Ilves, who was born in Stockholm to an Estonian mothe and raised in the United States, before becoming president in 2006.

But some in the global media wondered Thursday whether the 58-year-old president's Twitter account had been hacked.

His spokesman, however, confirmed the words were his.

"All these tweets were written by Ilves himself," Toomas Sildam said.

Others, like the Estonian daily Ohtuleht, suspected the head of state had been drunk.

"We failed to get a reply from the president's office as to how many beers Ilves had had before tweeting after midnight following a reception and meeting with local students in Latvian capital Riga," the daily wrote Friday.

Another local newspaper said the comments damaged the country's reputation.

The former Soviet country of 1.3 million people regained its independence in 1991 and joined the European Union and NATO in 2004.

After years of breakneck growth, Estonia was hit hard by the global financial crisis, its economy shrinking by a jaw-dropping 14.3 percent in 2009.

It has since rebounded, registering 7.6 percent growth in 2011 and posting the lowest public debt in the 27-member EU at 6.0 percent.

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