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Vähi Says All Quiet in Ida-Viru, Urges Discretion

Ida-Viru County, Estonia's majority ethnic Russian stronghold, remains strongly in Estonia's camp in the wake of the Russian military intervention in Crimea, says Tiit Vähi, a former prime minister who is an infuential businessman in Estonia's northeast.

Vähi, who has interests in industry and port business in Sillamäe, a former closed Soviet city, told Postimees:

"The mood is calm among people and the business community with positive feelings toward Estonia, and the events in Ukraine have not roused any anti-Estonian sentiments. Everyone understands that Ukraine is a country with a complicated history, whose rulers were unable to cope with uniting different languages and cultures because they were only looking out for their own bottom lines," he said.

"I was at the Independence Day concert in Sillamäe and saw the public singing the Estonian national anthem. This mood was completely unlike the one in Ida-Viru County when I was there in 1991 as government special envoy.

"The situation is very complicated and there's currently a big propaganda war going on in the case of Ukraine. I advise Estonian politicians to be wise and keep quiet on the topics. Politicians and young boys tend to get involved in a fight that isn't theirs, but our judicious silence helps keep the prevailing calm in Ida-Viru."

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