After the April events (dismantling of the Bronze Soldier Monument — REGNUM), Estonia lost half of the transit, which immediately resulted in sharp slowdown of the GDP, Academician Mikhail Bronshtein said in an interview to Pohjarannik commenting on the situation in the Estonian transit business. According to Bronshtein’s estimation, transit takes 25-30% of the Estonian GDP: “Transit means not only cargo flows, but what is manufactured and exported on the basis of Russian raw materials at Ida-Virumaa. Transit is financial resources and logistics as well… Transit is a balancer of the economy, which is especially important in the current situation of economic depression.” According to the academician, the cause of the recession was the April events in Estonia: “I warned our statesmen then that sanctions will be a follow-up to those actions, however, my warnings were not heard. For today, the Bronze Soldier is the past. Now, it is another matter. I met Russian experts not once, including those of high level. Even after the April events, we have agreed with the Russian experts that we would start talks on lifting the sanctions and so on. However, most harm is caused by the constant hostile rhetoric of both our and Russian politicians.”
Bronshtein cited as an example of pragmatic cooperation with Russia the situation with Latvia: according to him, at first, Latvia was much more critical than Estonia about Russia and they started having problems. However, Latvia gave up the hostile rhetoric against Russia and is now skimming the cream off the transit – not only Russian, but the Chinese transit as well. Bronshtein believes that Estonia must comprehend its geopolitical location. According to international experts, correct use of the location as a bridge between the East and the West will increase the country’s potential by 30%. And if Estonia turns into a European dead end, it will lose those 30% as well.