ISS: Economic relations with Russia undermining Estonian security

Russian flag at Ivangorod Fortress, on the other side of the Estonian-Russian border.
Russian flag at Ivangorod Fortress, on the other side of the Estonian-Russian border. Source: Sergei Stepanov/ERR

Economic sanctions imposed on Russia limit the latter's ability to attack other countries, which is why reducing economic relations with Russia will help strengthen Estonian security, the Estonian Internal Security Service (ISS) said in its 2021-2022 yearbook published Tuesday.

"The more effective economic sanctions are imposed on Russia and the more isolated the Russian economy is from the global economy, the less capable Russia will be of sowing a real threat of war and carrying out aggression and warfare," the ISS said in its yearbook. "The fewer economic ties Estonia has with Russia, the stronger Estonian security will be."

The ISS noted that sanctions have a twofold impact, affecting business interests but also human rights and democratic values.

"When conducting business with collaborators or state-owned companies in a hostile foreign country, business as usual may at some point not be possible anymore," the ISS said. "The imposing of sanctions as a means of influence has seen increasing use both regionally and globally. Estonian entrepreneurs should likewise think wisely about with whom they are doing business."

The agency cited as an example a company whose success hinged on raw materials imported from a sanctioned country. Once they could no longer import the raw materials from there, however, the company lost its competitive edge and it had to withdraw from contracts it had in place.

"Entrepreneurs are dependent on foreign partners and, in the case of certain business models, on partners in sanctioned regions," the ISS wrote. "Economic logic fails where politics shape, direct and control the economy. Entrepreneurs have to understand that conducting business with sanctioned countries undermines Estonia and its allies' security, and that such a business direction will harm the entrepreneur."

The ISS likewise warned that Estonian entrepreneurs may be susceptible to political exploitation as well, such as by using lobbies to pressure the government or the public in the interests of the Russian Federation, for example. The agency recommended Estonian business-owners avoid such partnerships.

The ISS Yearbook 2021-2022 was published in Estonian on Tuesday and is available here (link to PDF).

The official English-language translation will be available in due course.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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