Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree awarding the Order of Friendship to Estonian businessman Enn Veskimägi, chairman of the board at furniture company Standard.
Veskimägi was awarded the order for his contribution to the business and economic development of the Russian Federation, reported ERR's Russian-language online news portal (link in Russian).
"This is a pleasant surprise to me," said Veskimägi upon hearing the news. "I can say that I am moved."
The Estonian businessman assumed he was awarded the order for his work in the Estonian Employers' Confederation and the development of relations with Russia.
"I signed a cooperation agreement with Alexander Shokhin, president of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs," explained Veskimägi. "After our meeting, negotiations were reopened regarding the Estonian-Russian border treaty. In Moscow, we met with Chairman of the Russian State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee Alexey Pushkov. Later, together with Pushkov, we met with Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu Marko Mihkelson, which became the basis for further negotiations."
In Veskimägi's opinion, current economic relations between Estonia and Russia leave something to be desired.
"The reasons for this not only sanctions, however," added the Estonian businessman. "There are two more factors which affect this — the fall of the rouble, and the cost of oil."
Estonians who have previously been awarded the Order of Friendship include former President of Estonia Arnold Rüütel, conductor Eri Klas, actress Ita Ever, singer Anu Kaal, state official Kalev Timberg and singer Anne Veski.
Editor: Editor: Aili Sarapik