Putin comments on Baltic relations

  • 2006-07-19
  • From wire reports
TALLINN - In response to an Estonian journalist's question during the G8 summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested that unsolved problems between the two countries were a result of the Soviet era's difficult legacy.

At a news conference in St. Petersburg on July 16, Indrek Kiisler of Estonian Radio asked Putin why Russia couldn't maintain friendly relations with its neighbors - Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine and Georgia 's and treated these countries as hostile nations.

In his answer, Putin said all the parties faced complex issues left over from the Soviet era, because in a single state many problems remained hidden.
"There are 2,000 potential territorial conflicts in Russia, that's why the central government is so closely following relations between the federal center and its regions," the Russian president said.
Things were the same in the Soviet Union, he emphasized. Therefore, one must consider these problems with a cool head, keeping in mind that the future will be secure only if countries are able to establish friendly relations and gain from their interactions.

"And the gains are big, especially for a country as small as Estonia, which is gaining a lot from transit and multi-party economic activity involving Russia," Putin said, adding that Russia was ready to develop and continue this interaction.
Referring to the border treaty, the Russian president said it would be wiser if one refrained from politicizing certain complex issues.

"It is strange when a document signed by the government comes out of Parliament changed and unacceptable to Russia, while our Estonian partners know this. Why play such games?" Putin asked. "Russia has patience and common sense, and we know there are such people in Estonia too, so we'll keep on working."