TALLINN - Estonian authorities are readying to expel from the country discharged Russian servicemen and even their wives, both ex- and current. A report on Tuesday said that under a decision by the citizenship and migration department, Lyubov Mikolenko, the ex-wife of retired ensign Nikolai Mikolenko was brought to a center for displaced persons on June 29
On July 25, Lyubov Galitskaya, the wife of another retired Russian serviceman, a permanent resident of Estonia, was taken to the same center.
Authorities regard as illegal the staying of the former Russian servicemen turned civilians Nikolai Mikolenko and Anatoly Galitsky, since refusing to extend their residence permits back in 2000.
At that time, Estonia recommended them to leave “for their historic Motherland,” i.e. Russia.
In the 1990s, Mikolenko and Galitsky received vouchers to purchase housing in Russia, within the framework of a Russian-U.S. project, which Estonian authorities used as a pretext for the refusal.
The former servicemen, however, stayed on in Estonia, extending their visas now and then.
Nikolai Mikolenko has lived at a displaced persons center since 2003, and Galitsky - since late 2005.
Estonia has been having problems with their expulsion, as the expelled persons “refuse to cooperate with the authorities” in order expedite their eviction to Russia.
Lawyer of the Tallinn center of human rights information Andrei Aryupin said the refusal to grant residence permits to the former servicemen, who had been given assistance in purchasing housing elsewhere, but preferred to stay in the country, has no legal grounds.
Neither the availability of apartment outside Estonia, nor a voucher entitling the owner to such an apartment can serve as a reason for forceful eviction.
The vouchers were “an act of U.S. humanitarian assistance," aimed at helping Russia pull out its troops from Baltic states, including Estonia.
Estonia never took part in this project, and therefore can make no demands of the recipients of this assistance, Aryupin said.