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Estonian business takes short-sighted view on Russian aggression

Apr 23, 2014
From wire reports, TALLINN

Estonian logistics and transit companies are actively participating at the transit fair TransRussia that started in Moscow this week. The businessmen in attendance say that politics only interferes with business and they “thank their luck” that Estonia has not made very vocal statements regarding the sanctions against Russia, reports Public Broadcasting.

Fifteen larger Estonian transport and logistics companies are represented at the Estonian stand at the fair, including Tallinna Sadam (Port of Tallinn), Eesti Raudtee (Estonian Railways Co.), Silport and others. Several smaller transit companies have their own fair stands too. This is where, they say, business finds new partners and contracts.

Estonian state-owned railway cargo company EVR Cargo board chairman Ahto Altjoe said that at the moment, EVR Cargo has two trains more a day traveling in the Russian direction than at the same time last year.

Tallinna Sadam board chairman Ain Kaljur and said that the company's latest bigger investments have been in the development of the container terminal. "True, it is sad on one hand, but fortunate on the other, that container transport is one of the few transport types that we have that have a clearly growing trend," he said.

The businessmen said that, usually, politics just interferes with business. Currently a lot is said about sanctions against Russia over Ukraine. "Our position this time is that our government didn’t make major statements in connection with Ukraine or Russia, those that the Latvians and Lithuanians made and that have caused a lot of feedback. We have behaved in a wise way this time," said Alekon board member Erkki Veisman.

Riigikogu transit and logistic support group chairman Deniss Boroditsh was also present at the fair and noted that relations with third states, be it Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, China or many others, are a very important political support for business and add credibility to partners. "That is why I am here, to show that our companies have political support too."

What Veisman and the others may not be taking into consideration is that, by remaining quiet while Russia invades and occupies a peaceful, neighboring country - Ukraine - this only serves to encourage Russia further. Other neighbors may be next on Russia’s list, including Estonia. This is a short-sighted view by these Estonian businessmen.

Those who do speak up, such as in Latvia and Lithuania, believe that it is better to halt Russia’s aggression, even at the cost of lost business, rather than to lose their entire business and livelihood if Russia turns its aggression in this direction.

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