teisipäev, oktoober 24, 2006

Citizenship an Issue ... Again

The headline from Interfax reads: "Moscow to back Russians' struggle for rights in Baltic States - Putin." How is that news? I've been reading this stuff from Interfax and RIA Novosti for nearly two years now, and every few months they run the same headline with the same message.

President Valdimir Putin, addressing the World Congress of Compatriots in St. Petersburg, said: "I cannot fail to mention the well-known fact of mass denial of citizenship rights in Latvia and Estonia. There are about 600,000 so-called non-citizens there, who are permanent residents."

The Estonian foreign ministry has replied -- in English -- by updating its tables on citizenship in Estonia. The last update was in April, during a similar anti-Baltic citizenship laws campaign.

According to the ministry, the number of stateless persons in Estonia is down to 8.8 percent of the total population, or 120,511. So far a little more than 4,000 people have received citizenship this year. Over the past five years about 5,900 people have been naturalized per year. So perhaps Ansip was right when he said that this issue would "disappear" by 2015. I don't know - how do you think this issue will resolve itself?

4 kommentaari:

Anonüümne ütles ...

I'm pretty sure Estonia won't give in to Russia's pressure on this matter. Clearly this is just to justify Russia from doing nothing about it's own minority issues. And who knows, maybe the issue will resolve itself by 2015, considering that the majority of the non-citizens are probably from the older generation.

Giustino ütles ...

When we went looking for apartments in Tallinn I got a chance to see how some of the other [non-citizen] half lives.

I remember we went into an old man's apartment - he was all the way up in North Tallinn on the water - and his apartment was in BAD shape.

The real estate agent spoke to him in Russian, and he was just sitting there watching Russian TV, and I thought - does this guy even know he lives in Estonia? What does he think of these strange people that are speaking this gibberish language?

I wondered if he had relatives or anyone who cared about him. Perhaps they were back in Russia. Perhaps they now live in Brighton Beach. And I realized that that guy is like one of the many crumbling Soviet buildings in Estonia. He's still here for the time being, but one day he'll pass on and be forgotten. I guess that's what happens when empires die. People are left stranded on the otherside.

Anonüümne ütles ...

Well I think it might disappear but probably not. I mean, those people without Estonian citizenship..a large number of them doesn't want it, and then they complain that they are not given a chance. Secondly, a large number of them WANT a citizenship, but they don't want to do anything in order to get it. So, Estonia has done it's job, these people are not doing theirs.

Giustino ütles ...

So, Estonia has done it's job, these people are not doing theirs.

Well, if Estonia issued blanket citizenship to everyone that arrived during the occupation and resides in Estonia, then technically the same rules would apply to those who have shown up after the reinstatement of independence.

I mean, if I am a Russian-speaker who settled in the Estonian SSR in 1982, do I really have a greater right to citizenship than a Finn who moved to Estonia in 1996?

The world recognizes that the elections of 1940 that led to Estonia joining the USSR were a joke, and further, it de jure recognized the reinstatement of independence in September 1944. Most importantly, this is the official interpretation of law in Estonia.

So legally, the 1982 immigrant and the 1996 immigrant are in the same boat. But the 1982 immigrant should not have to apply and the 1996 should?

That doesn't make sense.