neljapäev, jaanuar 31, 2008

statelessness in decline

Not sure if any of you readers care or noticed, but the number of stateless people in Estonia continues to decrease.

According to the Ministry of the Interior's Population Registry, as of January 2, 2008, there were 112,422 residents with undefined citizenship, or 8.2 percent of the population.

Over the past five years the number of stateless persons has decreased by about a third. In 2003, 12 percent of the population was stateless. In 1992, 32 percent of the population had no citizenship.

One consequence of Estonia's citizenship policy is that 8 percent of the population holds the passport of another state, mostly the Russian Federation, Ukraine, or Finland. Around 84 percent of the population of Estonia holds Estonian citizenship.

Recent efforts to liberalize some of the requirements, such as making the portion of the exam that deals with the constitution available in Russian language, assigning citizenship automatically to newborns that qualify rather than requiring an application by the parents, and allowing more seniors to wave the linguistic requirements of the citizenship test, have not been adopted by the ruling government.

I wonder when and how Estonia will declare itself to be statelessness free. Is it possible they will forget to count some old pensioner living at the end of a hallway in Narva somewhere? I guess anything is possible. The authorities have estimated that Estonia will cross the threshold of having zero stateless residents sometime around 2015.

I am gathering that in combination with free language lessons and school reform, mortality is also playing its role in this process.

16 kommentaari:

Trek ütles ...
Autor on selle kommentaari eemaldanud.
karLos ütles ...

and kudos to estonia for achieving this on it's own terms, its own way (and really the ONLY way to do it and still have a positive outcome for the majority).

Trek ütles ...
Autor on selle kommentaari eemaldanud.
Trek ütles ...
Autor on selle kommentaari eemaldanud.
Estonia in World Media (Rus) ütles ...

In order for the problem to be solved there has to be a problem first

Kristopher ütles ...

A dishonest person could make other commenters look foolish if comments could be edited.

Well, the number of stateless people can only go one way. A drop of 15.8 a day in the past six months -- is that on par with previous periods?

Kristopher ütles ...
Autor on selle kommentaari eemaldanud.
Flasher T ütles ...

"I wonder when and how Estonia will declare itself to be statelessness free."

When it stops receiving naturalization applications from stateless persons, I suppose. There will be people applying for citizenship for ages, but since Estonia formally doesn't allow dual citizenship (although there are inconsistencies and loopholes), it probably won't be a particularly popular target for new immigrants trying to get an EU passport.

Jaanus ütles ...

I propose making up fake "super-state" certificates with pictures of babushka fire-fighters and Шти́рлиц scketchings. Free prize with this semi-citizenship will be lifelong residency in Нарва that will be re-named Sergeiville. It will be a Estonian version of Christianshavn where Russians can drink vodka, eat Nashi fruit and loot to there hearts pleasure.

Colm ütles ...

Free language lessons? Yes please! It's a pity they just offer them only for speakers of Russian though. Ma tahan eesti keelt 6ppida! :-)

Giustino ütles ...

Free language lessons? Yes please! It's a pity they just offer them only for speakers of Russian though. Ma tahan eesti keelt 6ppida! :-)

There are a preponderance of Estonian language education books for Russian speakers, that's true.

In order for the problem to be solved there has to be a problem first

Well, in line with the topic of your blog, I have a feeling the criticism from the RF will shift from "Russians are denied citizenship" to "Russians are denied Estonian citizenship."

That is, they will begin to argue that all holders of Russian passports should not have to take a test because Peter the Great won Estonia from Charles XII in 1721.

And no one to listen to them, as usual.

I can see why they do it, though. They need to make Estonia look bad in light of its accomplishments, and they need a reason to stay relevant in the lives of Estonian Russians, which is hard to do, especially those Russians living in places like Tartu or Haapsalu.

Max ütles ...

Time out for a short commercial:

Let's remember this day in Esto history:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Paju

space_maze ütles ...

Well, in line with the topic of your blog, I have a feeling the criticism from the RF will shift from "Russians are denied citizenship" to "Russians are denied Estonian citizenship."

At which point Estonia's transformation into just another boring European country will be complete ;-)

Russia's "pleas of distress" over this matter already are somewhat perplexing to Europe, as Estonia's citizenship laws are completely equivalent - even less strict - than the citizenship laws of any random European country. Compared to the crap you need to go to to get Austrian citizenship, Estonian citizenship laws are positively fluffy.

The only "difference" is that while legally, people arriving in Denmark the way Soviet era immigrants arrived in Estonia, would end up just as stateless .. the situation has not arisen. Some in mainstream Europe, lacking knowledge of the situation in Estonia, still misinterpret it in a way which isn't very positive for Estonia.

Once there are no stateless people, noone in Europe is going to listen to Russian finger-pointing anymore.

Giustino ütles ...

Some in mainstream Europe, lacking knowledge of the situation in Estonia, still misinterpret it in a way which isn't very positive for Estonia.

They know so little. They are still being sold that "Russians are denied Estonian citizenship on basis of nationality" -- which wasn't true in 1992 and isn't true now, obviously.

The Russian penetration of the English language media space is quite deep, and the kind of poppycock (love to use that word) that is published in the Guardian is worthless as well.

So who is there, other than The Economist and the Wall Street Journal, to inform the public? A lot of lazy journalists cover Estonia from Moscow, when they should be covering this country from Stockholm or Copenhagen or even Berlin.

Luarvik ütles ...

Well, Estonia granting citizenship and a statelessness individual applying for citizenship are two different things. Granting citizenship has to be based on an application. Quite a number of those who would qualify for citizenship simply do not choose to apply, and hence remain somewhere in-between. A state cannot make a person apply for citizenship, the initiative must come from a citizen. Citizenship for newborns (as far as I know) doesn't still come automatically, a parent has to apply for that aswell. I guess, it'd be wise for Estonia to change that down the line.

Giustino ütles ...

Citizenship for newborns (as far as I know) doesn't still come automatically, a parent has to apply for that aswell. I guess, it'd be wise for Estonia to change that down the line.

They should also adjust the "age out" option. Right now it's for people born before 1930, which means that if you were born in 1931, you're out of luck.