TALLINN -- The Estonian government passed a resolution on Thursday that helps people with poor health undergo citizenship formalities under simplified rules. Such people might be either fully relieved of an examination in the Estonian language, citizenship rules and constitution, or pass these examinations under a simplified program.
All applicants for Estonian citizenship on simplified terms should have a medical certificate, signed by a family doctor, submitted to a special expert commission. The commission is to pass a conclusion on the applicant's ability to take the exam either on a full or simplified program.
Around 160,000 out of 1.346 million -strong population of Estonia have no citizenship at all. After Estonia seceded from the former Soviet Union and restored the 1938 citizenship law Estonian citizenship was granted only to the population who lived in Estonia before World War II and their
direct descendants, The rest of the population, mostly the Russian speaking minority, were compelled to apply for citizenship, ask for the right to work and residence permits.
Such a big number of people deprived of citizenship made Tallinn a subject of strong criticism expressed by many international organizations, including the European Union and NATO which Estonia joined in spring, 2004.