Business unions don’t agree with Tiit Vähi that sanctions against Russia should be repealed ({{commentsTotal}})

Calls for realpolitik rather than following a tough line: Tiit Vähi would like Estonia to accept Russian's annexation of Crimea as fact and work towards ending the sanctions against Russia Source: (Mihkel Maripuu/Postimees)

Estonian businesses don’t share former prime minister Tiit Vähi’s view that sanctions against Russia should be repealed as soon as possible. “The EU can’t accept that Russia just marched into Ukraine,” industrialist Meelis Einstein said.

CEO of Kunda Nordic Cement and chairman of Estonia's union of construction materials producers, Meelis Einstein, said to daily Postimees on Tuesday that he didn’t share Vähi’s view that sanctions against Russia should be dropped for economic reasons.

“The European Union can’t accept that Russia just marched into Ukraine,” he said. “The truth is that it was Russia that violated the security agreements in place and caused the current regime of trade limits. The Kreml is acting as if they had the right to break every rule.”

Einar Vallbaum, chairman of the Association of Estonian International Road Carriers, also points out that sanctions against Russia can’t be dropped before Russia normalizes its relations with Ukraine.

Director of the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mait Palts, also said he didn’t agree with Vähi. Threatening its neighbors wasn’t part of NATO’s concept, and the conditions for repealing the sanctions had been agreed on internationally and largely depended on Russia’s own behaviour.

Vähi had said to Postimees on Monday that in the interest of business, Estonia should change its position, recognize the Russian annexation of Crimea, and start working towards repealing the economic sanctions imposed on the country.

Editor: Editor: Dario Cavegn

Opinion digest: Our plans do not have to bend to distorted Russophobia

In a recent opinion piece in Postimees, small business-owner and Reform Party member Vootele Päi responded to criticism sparked by Prime Minister Jüri Ratas' plans to attend a commemorative concert-service at the Estonian church in Saint Petersburg next month.

Kallas, Kasemets, Maasikas: EU is strong, no upside to losing the euro

Speaking on Vikerraadio's "Reporteritund" ahead of the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, Siim Kallas, Keit Kasemets and Matti Maasikas agreed that despite its prblems, the EU remained strong as a union.