Janek Mäggi: people must not be identified with evil on the basis of nationality

At the moment, all Russian people – from politicians to athletes – are depicted as pariahs. I think this is wrong, writes Janek Mäggi, former minister and owner of the communications agency Powerhouse.

A leader must never panic. Not even in a situation of war. They have to find a way to get to the desired result and do whatever it takes to get there. A leader’s nerves must not only be strong, but also in good working order.

The war in Ukraine is turning the world’s focus from health and corona to a more existential question: how do we survive at all? We lived in a world of entertainment until the corona crisis, but now it’s time to face the reality: life is not all peaches and cream.

The war in Ukraine brings a long period of instability, a lot of anxiety, suffering, pain. However, an entrepreneur can never give up, not even accept what’s happening around them. You have to work and find ways to serve the country and the people in addition to making money.

I still believe that peace will come within a reasonable timeframe, as it’s vital for everyone. The terms of peace are, of course, the question. At the moment, it’s difficult to find a solution that is acceptable to all parties to the conflict. An intransigent confrontation could lead to a prolonged war of attrition, in which not only the Ukrainian and Russian people, but also their economic partners would suffer. I’m pretty sure that Germany’s economic pain, for example, will lead it to do everything it can to find a sensible solution to a total crisis.

I pray for peace to come
At the moment, all Russian people – from politicians to athletes – are depicted as pariahs. I think that’s wrong. For example, in the world of draughts, I see how competing countries are trying to cancel the exceptionally sincere, dedicated and enthusiastic top Russian players who currently dominate the game. Not Russia, not its political elite, but athletes.

There are a lot of people living in Russia who are really lovely and nice and must not be identified with evil. Just like in Estonia, where not all people are good, there are also bad ones. Economic sanctions or ending cooperation with Belarusian companies also hit the ordinary working class the hardest, and only then have a little bit of impact on the well-to-do elite.

Personally, I’m trying to support my close relatives in Ukraine, we managed to get my niece and her daughter to flee the war and get to Estonia. However, my nephew and niece’s husband stayed in Ukraine to fight for their country. I feel a strong affinity with Ukraine and I pray for peace to come. The rest is a question of work and will.