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Cablegate: Estonia: Bios of President Ilves?S Advisors

DE RUEHTL #1086/01 3411414
R 071414Z DEC 06




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves has
surrounded himself with trusted, experienced advisors he
has known for most of his political career. For the
most part, these officials gained experience in the
early days of re-independence, and comprise some of the
most thoughtful and well connected people within the GOE
and civil society.

Rainer Saks: Chief of Staff

2. (U) Rainer Saks was born in Parnu, Estonia in 1967.
He studied history at Tartu University from 1988 to 1993
(though he did not complete his studies). Saks taught
history at Parnu Sutevaka Gymnasium for Humanities from
1993 to 1999. From 1999 to 2001 Saks served as an
advisor to Ilves when he was Foreign Minister. Since
2001 Saks served as director of the State Chancellery's
Coordination Bureau for the National Security Committee,
which is responsible for inter-agency coordination on
GOE security policy.

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3. (SBU) Saks is a long time confident of Ilves, and has
been an important link between the President and the
GOE. During his time in the State Chancellery, where he
worked for four different Prime Ministers, Saks showed
himself to be an able administrator. He kept a low-
profile, avoiding the press and abstaining from any
public role. As a result, despite his prominent
position in the government, he maintained an appearance
of political neutrality, which earned him praise from
Ilves and other politicians. His personal interaction
skills can be abrasive; however, in private meetings
with us, Saks has not been afraid to offer insightful
observations and comments on the issues for which he is

Sven Jurgenson: Foreign Affairs Advisor

4. (U) Sven Jurgenson was born in Tallinn, Estonia in
1962. He received a BS in data processing from Tallinn
Technical University in 1987. Jurgenson was a Junior
Research Associate and Lecturer of Data Processing at
Tallinn Technical University from 1987 to 1990 and a
Senior Associate at the Estonian Institute from 1990 to
1991. After Estonia?s re-independence in 1991,
Jurgenson left academia and joined the reconstituted
MFA. Jurgenson moved up rapidly within the MFA's ranks,
and in 2000 he became Estonia's Ambassador to the United
States, where he served until 2003. Prior to joining
Ilves's cabinet, Jurgenson was the MFA's Undersecretary
for Security Policy and International Organizations.

5. (SBU) During his time in the MFA Jurgenson was widely
considered one of Ilves's "boys". He was also one of
the most outspoken and influential voices within the
MFA. He is widely viewed within the GOE and the public
as one of Estonia's top foreign policy and security
experts. Like Ilves, he is a staunch atlanticist and
pro-U.S. He is respected for being extremely
articulate, as well as direct and well-reasoned.
Jurgenson is married with three children. He speaks
English, German, French, Finnish, and Russian. His wife
is a ranking official in the MFA's legal department.

Indrek Kannik: Security and Defense Advisor

6. (U) Indrek Kannik was born in Tallinn in 1965. He
graduated from Tartu University with a degree in
journalism in 1990. Kannik served as an advisor in the
MFA from 1990 to 1992. From 1992 to 1999 Kannik was a
Member of Parliament, first representing Pro Patria (a
nationalist party) and later a splinter group,
Parempoolsed ("better half"). While an MP, Kannik was
active in the Finance and Foreign Affairs Committees.
In 1994 he briefly left the Parliament and served as
Minister of Defense in Mart Laar's government. From
2000 to 2001 he was Head of the Foreign Affairs Desk at
Postimees, the Estonian paper of record. From 2001 to
2004 Kannik re-entered government service as Secretary
General in the Ministry of Defense and advisor to the
Minister, Margus Hanson. In his present position,
Kannik will be the principal liaison officer between the
President and the various security and defense

7. (SBU) Kannik has an extensive network among Estonia's
decision makers through his membership in the Estonian
Students' Society (EUS), one of Estonia's oldest
patriotic associations. During Soviet occupation (1940

TALLINN 00001086 002 OF 003

to 1988) the EUS was banned and operated in exile. EUS'
current membership brings together many influential
policy and decision makers across party lines (e.g.
Ilves, former prime minister Mart Laar, MFA Secretary
General Matti Maasikas, Olari Koppel (see para 8), and
Rainer Saks). Kannik speaks English, Russian, and

Olari Koppel: Advisor

8. (U) Olari Koppel was born in Tartu, Estonia in 1969.
He graduated from Tartu University with a degree in
journalism. He also spent a year (1993) at Aarhus
University, Denmark studying political science. From
1992 to 1999 Koppel worked for several newspapers and
magazines, including Postimees and Luup magazine, a
social-political current events publication no longer in
circulation. Koppel served as a press spokesperson for
the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and advisor to SDP MPs
from 2000 to 2006. When Ilves was elected to the
European Parliament, Koppel served as Ilves's head of
his constituency office in Tallinn from 2004 to 2006.

9. (SBU) Koppel is not as well known as Ilves's other
senior advisors. However, his recent service in Ilves's
European Parliamentary office has given him expertise on
EU matters. Koppel speaks excellent English as well as
Russian and Finnish. Comment: Until now, Koppel was
known primarily within the ranks of the Social
Democratic party. His appointment is generally seen as
being due to his close friendship with Ilves. End

Toomas Sildam: Public Relations Advisor:

10. (U) Toomas Sildam was born in Tallinn in 1962. Over
the last twenty years, Sildam has built a reputation as
one of Estonia's leading journalists. His work focused
on domestic issues (both political and economic), though
he also has significant experience covering Russia.
Unlike other journalists in Estonia who routinely move
between papers, Sildam's entire journalistic career was
at Postimees, where he reached the position of Senior
Editor. In 2005 Sildam also produced one of Estonia's
top current affairs television shows, "Happy Hour".

11. (SBU) Ilves approached Sildam to join his cabinet
while Sildam was in Brussels reporting on Ilves's
transition from European MP to President. Sildam
reportedly turned the job down initially, only accepting
after repeated approaches by Ilves. Sildam has an
excellent reputation among journalists and politicians
as someone who can be trusted. In 2002 Sildam
participated in an Embassy organized NATO tour and in
2004 he received a SEED grant which financed his
reporting on the Russian elections.

Aaro Mottus: Legal Advisor

12. (U) Aaro Mottus was born in Toila, Estonia in 1972.
He graduated with a law degree from Tartu University in
1994 and an MA in 1996. He served in various positions
in the Parliament's Chancellery, including advisor for
the constitutional committee, advisor for the elections'
committee, and advisor for the Parliamentary Board from
1993 to 1999. Mottus served in the Ministry of Internal
Affairs as an advisor to Minister Juri Mois in 1999 and
later Minister Tarmo Loodus in 2000. He was a lecturer
in the Public Service Academy as well as an advisor in
the Chancellery of the Parliament from 2000 to 2002.
Since 2003 Mottus served as head of the management and
social information section of the Parliament's

Heli Suvi: Domestic Affairs Advisor

13. (U) Suvi was born in Paide, Estonia in 1971. She
graduated from the Tartu Teachers' Seminar in 1994 and
in 2003 received an MBA in public relations and
communication from Tartu University. Suvi initially
worked as a school teacher at Purdi Basic School and
Paide Co-educational School. In 1998 she joined the
Paide City Government as a PR specialist. From 2000 to
2001 she was Deputy Director of Paide Health Care Center
and from 2001 to 2006 she served as manager of the
Estonian Reform party in Jarva County. In 2005 Suvi was
Mayor of Paide. Suvi is ambitious and well connected;
she is well known within the Reform party as an activist

TALLINN 00001086 003 OF 003

in local politics. In addition to advising Ilves on
domestic issues, Suvi also organizes his outreach visits
to Estonia's counties.


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