MOSCOW, May 20. /TASS/. The state of Russian-speaking residents in Estonia continues to decline sharply according to the information in a report by the Baltic state’s Ministry of Culture on the outcome of monitoring integration policy, which was cited in a commentary by Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova made public Thursday.
"The report on the results of monitoring the integration policy published by Estonia’s Ministry of Culture on May 10 of this year indicates a sharp decline in the state of the Russian-speaking residents. Thirty-eight percent of non-Estonians feel like ‘second-class’ citizens in Estonia. Up to 70% of those in the target group think that they are unable to have a say in the development of society and the state in any way, while another 73% believe that their career prospects are far worse than those for ethnic Estonians. Regretfully, we have to state that Tallinn continues to ignore its international obligations in the sphere of human rights," the diplomat pointed out.
The spokeswoman noted that Estonia maintains a tight dependence on national language affiliation for socio-economic and career advancement. "On average, non-Estonians earn 15% less for identical jobs. Fifty percent of pupils being taught in non-native Estonian absorb the course content with difficulty while experiencing serious stress," she continued.
In her opinion, this data indicates that Estonia’s integration reform failed and more importantly it is impossible to harmoniously engage national minorities in Estonian society through "forced Estonization."
The diplomat stressed that Estonia’s failed policy in the sphere of integration as well as the systematic violations of national minority rights are being criticized not only by Estonia’s Russian-speaking residents, but by the international community as well. "Harsh evaluations of the mass absence of citizenship as well as the educational and language policy of Estonia’s authorities were given by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance and Human Rights Watch. The human rights organization, Amnesty International, considered the Language Inspectorate a punitive agency, noting that its activity contradicts the accepted norms reflected in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights," she added.