TALLINN (Reuters) - The president of small euro zone nation Estonia took to the Twitter-sphere on Thursday to launch a bitter attack on renowned economist Paul Krugman after the U.S. Nobel laureate questioned the Baltic state’s economic recovery from a deep crisis.
“Let’s write about something we know nothing about & be smug, overbearing & patronizing: after all, they’re just wogs,” President Toomas Hendrik Ilves said in a post on the social networking site early on Thursday.
“Let’s sh*t on East Europeans: their English is bad, won’t respond & actually do what they’ve agreed to & reelect govts that are responsible,” he added later.
His office confirmed the tweets were from Ilves.
He was responding to a blog by Krugman on the New York Times website, which called the 2008-2009 output drop in Estonia a “depression-level slump”, followed “by a still incomplete recovery”. “Better than no recovery at all, obviously — but this is what passes for economic triumph?” Krugman wrote.
Ilves’s office said in an emailed statement that the president’s comments were “a sincere and immediate defense of the major and often difficult efforts of Estonia to deal with the economic crisis and to stick to the rules adopted in the European Union”.
Ilves was born in Stockholm in 1953 after Estonia was annexed by the former Soviet Union and was raised in the United States. He has long been an eloquent and outspoken spokesman for his small nation, which joined the euro zone in 2011 and whose economy grew 4 percent in the first quarter of this year.
Estonia also has a tiny amount of sovereign debt, making it one of the fiscally soundest members of the indebted euro zone.
Reporting by David Mardiste and Patrick Lannin, editing by Paul Casciato