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HomeEstoniaRussian citizens' interest in Estonian citizenship has increased since the start of...

Russian citizens’ interest in Estonian citizenship has increased since the start of war

There are 37 times more people with prior Russian citizenship who have received Estonian citizenship in the first 11 months of this year than there are new Estonian citizens who were previously citizens of Ukraine — 372 and 10, respectively, Postimees reported.

The year before, the respective figures were 343 and 10.

While in previous years there were usually 16-30 applicants for Estonian citizenship with Russian citizenship per month, then after the outbreak of the war, since March of last year, their number has increased to 57-83 per month.

Siiri Leskov, adviser at the Estonian Ministry of the Interior, said the number of citizens of the Russian Federation who have acquired Estonian citizenship has been steadily increasing over the last four years, almost doubling since 2020.

The reason why there are dozens of times more new citizens of Estonia who were previously citizens of the aggressor state than those who were previously citizens of Ukraine, the victim of the aggression, is that becoming an Estonian citizen is a long process.

The conditions for acquiring citizenship include, among other things, the requirement that the person must have lived in Estonia for at least eight years, of which five years permanently, and must have passed tests of command of the Estonian language, as well as knowledge of the Constitution and the Citizenship Act. They must also be released from their former citizenship.

The tens of thousands of Ukrainian war refugees who currently live in Estonia started arriving here at the end of February last year.

“The earliest we will be able to start looking at whether Ukrainian war refugees will stay here permanently and apply for citizenship is in a little over six years, when they will have lived in Estonia for eight years,” the adviser said.

Among those who received Estonian citizenship by the end of November this year, there are also 379 people who previously held unspecified citizenship. As of Dec. 1, there were a total of 62,251 people with a valid right of residence and residence permit whose residence is registered in Estonia. Four months earlier, there were over 600 more such people — 62,888.

Additionally, 17 people who were previously citizens of Belarus received Estonian citizenship this year, as did nine people who previously held Latvian citizenship, eight people who used to be citizens of Turkey and four people who were citizens of Lithuania. Other countries have had three or fewer people contribute to the number of Estonian citizens. A total of 860 people had received Estonian citizenship by the end of November 2023.

Source: BNS

(Reproduction of BNS information in mass media and other websites without written consent of BNS is prohibited.)

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