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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Sunday, 20.01.2019, 15:36

Estonian citizenship taken more often than citizenship of Russia

BC, Tallinn, 19.12.2018.Print version
More residents of Estonia acquire the citizenship of Estonia than of Russia during a year, it appears from figures published by the authorities this week, referred LETA/BNS.

Russian Ambassador Alexander Petrov told journalists on Monday that over 600 residents of Estonia have received the citizenship of Russia this year.


According to figures provided by the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board, over 700 stateless residents of Estonia have obtained Estonian citizenship so far this year and the number of such people should cross the 800 mark by the end of the year. 


The Russian ambassador on Monday would not give the precise number of residents of Estonia who have obtained Russian citizenship this year, only saying that over 600 of them have attended a ceremony to accept proof of citizenship at the Russian embassy. He said that the number of such people was slightly bigger than last year, but could be bigger still.


According to Estonian data, about 700-800 residents of undetermined citizenship have obtained Estonian citizenship annually in recent years. 


Presenting the citizenship policy and integration section of the pre-election platform of the Estonian Social Democratic Party (SDE) on Tuesday, chairman of the party Jevgeni Ossinovski said that just like last year, about 800 people are estimated to have accepted Estonian citizenship between the beginning and the end of 2018. Compared with a decade ago, this number is smaller by half. 


Ossinovski said this has a logical reason, as every year, people who wish to get Estonian citizenship receive it, and this naturally reduces the number of those motivated and still eligible to get it.


Interior Minister Katri Raik said that according to a survey conducted in 2017, 55% of stateless residents of Estonia would like to have Estonian citizenship, 18 percent do not want any citizenship at all and 8 percent would like to become citizens of Russia.


"Generally speaking, we believe that it is in the interest of the Estonian state and the society if all permanent residents of our country have a permanent connection based on Estonian citizenship with the Estonian state," Ossinovski said. "Although the development has been in the right direction, we continue to have a situation where we have approximately 80,000 stateless residents and 80,000 people with the citizenship of Russia. We believe that we should be making efforts for the number of Estonian citizens to increase in Estonia," he added.


Commenting on the information of the Russian embassy that about 100,000 Russian citizens live in Estonia, Ossinovski said that one reason for it could be people holding dual citizenship, which cannot be verified as Russia does not share its data with Estonia. There has been an inconsistency between the figures of the two countries already for a long time, the party leader observed.  


What is for sure is that there are more elderly people among Russian citizens, while most young people are getting Estonian citizenship. The latter is helped also by the legislative amendment that stepped into effect in 2016, which automatically grants Estonian citizenship to children born to stateless parents. 


As a result, the number of stateless minors declined from 2,121 in 2010 to 138 as at Dec. 1, 2018. The number of children whose one parent in an Estonian citizen, who have received Estonian citizenship since the country regained its independence, is 20,216.


According to official figures, there were 8,885 minors under 15 years of age in Estonia without Estonian citizenship as at Dec. 1, 2018. Among them, stateless residents and citizens of third countries numbered 7,595 and citizens of other EU member states 1,290. Of the 7,595 minors who were either stateless of citizens of a third country, stateless minors under 15 years of age numbered 138.


The pre-election program of SDE says that the party will seek to increase the number of Estonian citizens and, without changing the basic principles of Estonia's citizenship policy, significantly reduce the number of stateless persons in Estonia.

  

According to official figures, the number of stateless residents of Estonia has dropped from 104,814 at the beginning of 2010 to fewer than 80,000 at present.






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