Former PM at Opinion Festival: Ukraine Crisis Will Lead to Separatism - in Russia Itself ({{commentsTotal}})

The Ukraine conflict and the trade wars with the EU will result - eventually - in Russia starting to fall apart, former prime minister Juhan Parts said at the opinion culture festival in Paide today.

"We are finding ourselves witnessing the center of one of many international conflicts. It will last at least 10 years and end with Russia falling apart. To a certain extent," said Parts at a debate of three of the country's past prime ministers

Parts said it was inevitable that Estonia would have to rearrange its economic relations and that being a country on the EU border, it would not be able to position itself "somewhere in the middle."

"One possibility has now undoubtedly been taken away from us. If the conflict becomes more pitched, it will create different kinds of economic development prospects, despite the fact that our neighbour is unpredictable and a trade war is going on."

Siim Kallas, Parts's predecessor, said that as EU transport commissioner he had been in close cooperation with Russian counterparts over the past years and said relations with Russia depended on how strong the EU was internally.

"One particular thing is especially important - Russia must never be cozied up to," said Kallas. "If you try to do things to their liking, they won't talk to you, your stature will drop in their eyes."

ERR is providing live coverage from three stages at the festival, the proceedings of which are mostly in Estonian.