Opposition Calls for Estonian Prime Minister to Resign Over Russian-Linked Business of Spouse
Differing opinions emerge among Estonia's coalition and opposition politicians regarding the transportation company partially owned by Prime Minister Kaja Kallas' husband, Arvo Hallik, as it continues shipping goods to Russia amid the Ukrainian conflict. Kallas maintains that her husband did not violate sanctions and that the company's operations in Russia will conclude in September, as reported by ERR.
While coalition partners demanded additional clarifications from the Prime Minister, opposition voices urged the head of government to step down.
Prime Minister Kaja Kallas stated that she has always separated work from family life, not delving into the details of her husband's business, and she is not connected to his entrepreneurial activities. The Prime Minister reiterated that Stark Logistics, co-owned by her husband Arvo Hallik, suspended logistics services in Russia one month after Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Nonetheless, throughout this one and a half years, the company has continued transporting goods to Russia for its Estonian partner, the shareholder society Metaprint.
"I have already stated that there is an ethical issue in conducting business in Russia, and I have always maintained this position. Business in Russia should be terminated. And my husband did just that a month after the war began: he ceased operations in Russia and does not provide any logistical services there," Kallas responded to the correspondent's inquiry about whether she sees an ethical problem in this situation.
On a subsequent and more pointed question about whether the Prime Minister sees an ethical problem in her husband's company assisting an Estonian firm in Russian logistics, Kallas answered, "I do see an ethical problem in that, which is why it will end in September."
When asked if her husband saw an ethical problem in the situation, Kallas affirmed that he did.
"As he recognized the ethical issue and found any activity in Russia after the start of the war entirely unacceptable, he terminated it within a month. He truly didn't realize that providing services to an Estonian company, whose entire activity - commercial operations, invoicing - is solely related to Estonia, is also problematic. Because they are not conducting business in Russia," Kallas stated.
Kaja Kallas advised journalists to direct questions about Stark Logistics' activities to her husband, Arvo Hallik, though he declined to provide an interview. The company's CEO, Kristjan Kraag, emphasized in a written response that they conducted business properly, including from a moral standpoint. However, they now understand that many view this differently, hence, in September, the company will cease cooperation with Metaprint.