Signing a border treaty between Russia and Estonia is nice, but it will not be leading to the meeting of Estonian and Russian Presidents because they don’t like each other, says Sergei Utkin, leasing expert of IMEMO, the institute of international relations and world economy that is one of Russia’s most influential foreign policy thinktanks.
Utkin who is one of the most recognized experts on Russia and EU relations said in an interview to Eesti Päevaleht that, speaking of the border treaty, Russia was simply waiting until Estonia understood that there will never been a border treaty as long as it continued to press for the reference to the Tartu Peace Treaty. “It shows that the Estonian side finally understood the realities. Without such an understanding, nothing would have practically changed,” said Utkin.
The researcher adds that he does not believe claims that the border treaty was being pushed through by Nord Stream as the company had other ways to reach its objectives. When asked which side would benefit more from the border treaty, Utkin said that it’s a win-win situation.
He also questioned claims made in Estonian press that Russia needs the border treaty with Estonia to ensure Estonia’s support to its planned visa freedom with the EU. Speaking of lack of presidential contacts between the two countries, Utkin said that he agrees that it is not normal that over twenty years, no Russian president or prime minister has specifically visited Estonia while both Estonian and Russian presidents have visited Finland umpteen times.
“However, I cannot imagine such a visit taking place in any near future. You know well what Mr Ilves thinks about Mr Putin and he has not made any secret of it. How would you imagine such a meeting? Why should these two people meet? What would they talk about?”