No wonder the Baltic states fear the Russian Bear, denying basic rights to Russian speaking people is against the UN charter and European universal human rights.
The Estonian legislator, after intense pressure from nationalist political groups, chose to regulate the country’s citizenship by reinstating the 1938 Citizenship Act. This meant in practice that only those who had Estonian citizenship before the Soviet occupation and their descendents would be considered citizens. Any immigrants who came between the date of occupation and the date of restoration of independence (a period of 50 years), would be excluded. For them. the only path for citizenship would be regular naturalization under tough Estonian naturalization procedures. The beginning of naturalization would be delayed and the meanwhile such people (who were members of the Russophone minority) and their children would remain stateless even if they were born in Estonia.
An ethnic Russian minority population in Latvia and Estonia (both of which joined the European Union along with Lithuania in 2004) has been continually reporting discrimination and denial of political and social rights, such as citizenship and employment by the Baltic Governments.
It has been reported that the core problem in this situation is that Latvian aliens were not thought of as non-citizens, but as stateless persons. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, many members of the Russian minority, especially in Latvia, where the conditions are the worst, have launched a united campaign protesting to be recognized as citizens and also for the Russian language to be adopted as the second national language in the region, but to not much avail.
Authorities claim that their goal is to develop a process of exchange and cooperation between all the stakeholders. Seeking help from the UN, Moscow has insisted that both countries abide by international resolve against racial/ethnic discrimination and stop denying citizenship rights to ethnic Russians.
- ○ UNHCR: Handbook on Statelessness now available in Latvian
○ Latvian referendum ‘a spit’ at European Rights Court