Meanwhile, some interesting new laws were passed in the Riigikogu with hardly any mention.
The amendments clarify the rights of minority groups to communicate with state and local institutions in their language in areas where the minority made up at least half of permanent residents. They also allow for the minority language to be used on public signs, in announcements and advertisements, provided Estonian text stands first.
We've been discussing, primarily with Narvalane, the incompatibility of Estonia's minority policies in places like Narva, where Estonians are about 5 percent of the population.
Under the new rules adopted, Russian will be a de facto second language in Ida Virumaa county and all its cities, and will affect the following rural municipalities in Estonia: Kallaste, Mustvee, Kasepää, Vaivara, Aseri, Alejõe, Vaselemma, and Keila rural municipality. Several districts in Tallinn, like Lasnamäe and Põhja-Tallinn will similarly be affected, although Tallinn City will not. Two other Harjumaa cities that this law will affect are Paldiski and Maardu. And that's about it.
Of the 345,000 ethnic Russians in Estonia today, approximately 60 percent live in four muncipalities - Lasnamäe, Põhja-Tallinn, Kõhtla-Jarve, and Narva. Hopefully these laws make the integration process a little easier and make their lives easier too.