December 06, 2023

Estonia's Security Threat


Estonia's Security Threat
Natasha Chebanoo, Pexels.

According to Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, government officials are exploring strategies for deporting individuals who have opted to seek Russian citizenship. Kallas's statement came in response to Deputy Alexander Chaplygin's inquiry within the Riigikogu (Estonian parliament), as reported by Postimees.

Kallas emphasized that the Russian Federation's war on Ukraine constitutes a stark violation of international law, and that it has the added aim of destabilizing Estonia and its allied nations' security.

“The fact that a person who lives in Estonia decides to obtain Russian Federation citizenship," he said, "at a time when the Russian Federation attacks the Ukrainian state and people, indicates that, if necessary, within the framework of mobilization, [this person] is ready to join the Russian army and participate in attacks on Ukraine. This is already a threat to the security of the Republic of Estonia and a very clear signal that the Estonian state cannot ignore.”

In November, Estonian Interior Minister Lauri Läänemets revealed ongoing government efforts to explore deportation measures for individuals opting for Russian citizenship. Following this, Deputy Alexander Chaplygin sought clarification from the Prime Minister regarding the legal basis for such actions. Kallas responded, citing concerns about individuals posing security threats to Estonia.

Kallas continued, “I can assure you that the Minister of the Interior represents the official position of the government, which is based on the security and survival of Estonia... And the revocation of a long-term residence permit is preceded by an individual procedure, during which it is determined by law whether a foreigner poses a threat to public order and security of the Republic of Estonia."

Estonian officials highlighted that the forthcoming measures under consideration will not impact current residents holding Russian passports. With the country's prohibition on dual citizenship, the impending restrictions target individuals in Estonia formerly associated with the USSR who haven't obtained citizenship, as reported by Radio Liberty. As of January 2023, over 64,000 former USSR citizens without Estonian citizenship reside in Estonia, comprising 4.7% of the population.

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