Major financial donations by Estonian businessman Oleg Ossinovski to Eesti 200 and the Social Democratic Party (SDE) last year have been cast in a new light after a report was published regarding his former company's business in Russia. Nevertheless, representatives of the two coalition parties aren't rushing to take a stance on the donations in question.
"Oleg [Ossinovski] undeniably has extensive business activities," SDE secretary general Reili Rand said when asked by ERR on Tuesday whether the Social Democrats would be returning their donation.
"It's true that he has supported us, among other parties, in various years," Rand continued. "In light of yesterday's news, the simple answer would be that from the party's point of view, we can confirm that it's legally sound – the party has received a donation from a private person. But of course there is a moral issue here."
This is certainly something that the party board would need to discuss as well, she added.
"At the moment, I'm not going to hastily say what steps we should be taking," Rand said. "I think it would be wise to discuss the matter in follow-up to the newspaper article."
According to Eesti 200 permanent secretary Mihkel Veski, their party hasn't had the chance to discuss returning the donation, which is why he won't be commenting on the subject.
Oleg Ossinovski has been a major donor to the SDE for years. In 2023, he donated €50,000 to the Social Democrats.
Over the years, he has also repeatedly donated money to Eesti 200. Last year, he donated €35,000 to Eesti 200; in 2022, he donated €10,000 to the party, preceded by donations of €5,000 each in 2021 and 2020.
After Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Estonian businessman Oleg Ossinovski transferred his Russian railway businesses to likely close relative Veronika Ossinovskaja's name, who thereafter exported vast amounts of iron and iron ore out of Russia for companies owned by oligarch Alisher Usmanov, investigative weekly Eesti Ekspress reported Monday (link in Estonian).
Editor: Aili Vahtla