Tallinn - The Estonian government on Thursday granted citizenship to 263 Russian-speaking permanent residents of the country.
The people who have been granted Estonian citizenship did not have any other citizenship, the government press service told Interfax. In addition, 18 citizens of Russia, two citizens of Ukraine, and one citizen of Moldova were granted Estonian citizenship on condition that they give up their previous citizenship.
The people have complied with all conditions needed to receive Estonian citizenship," the government said. Estonia requires citizenship seekers to take language tests and tests in the Estonia legislation and fulfill some other requirements, including not to have any criminal record.
Some 90,000 people remain stateless in Estonia. Another some 100,000 people became Russian citizens after the collapse of the Soviet Union, mainly because getting Estonian citizenship was too difficult. Estonia has a population of les than 1.3 million people.
The Estonian citizenship policies have been criticized by the UN, the OSCE, international human rights organizations, and the Russian Federation. Nevertheless, the Estonian government and ruling party said more than once that they have no intention of changing the state policies in this sphere.