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Sunday 22.07.2018 | Name days: Marija, Marika, Marina

Sociologist: Estonia needs to reconsider the role of Russians

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Harmony and trust between the Estonians and the Russian-speaking citizens could be attained in Estonia after 20 years, if it is possible to divert the political culture from its current focus on the traditional values, considers Iris Pettai, one of the most approved sociologists in Estonia.

«In the ideal case, it is not the nationality that determines one’s fate, but his or her abilities,» Pettai indicates in an interview with 4 Raadio. «If we could overcome the stereotypes and find common values, understanding that Estonia is not undermined, and acknowledge that the Russian-speaking inhabitants have a huge potential, then everything will be alright.»

At the same time, the sociologists are raising an alarm because 70% of the unemployed people in Estonia are Russians, and the government has not managed to find an adequate way of working with this group, notes Pettai.

«As a preventive measure, the Russians that reside in Estonia are offered the opportunity to learn the Estonian language. However, there are many examples of young people who have excellent Estonian skills, yet, are still unable to compete in the labour market. Besides, young and talented Russians feel unnecessary to Estonia and tend to leave the country to search for employment abroad. In my view, it is a tragedy,» says the sociologist

Pettai also remarks that the Unemployment Insurance Fund representatives are aware that something has to be changed and a special program for the Russian-speaking population in Estonia should be developed.

«The differences in the standards of living, health and employment are increasing. In my opinion, it is a disaster. The state should finally reflect on what to do [to solve the issue], not just organise celebrations for the Estonian National Minorities Day,» she points out.


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