Politicians: Russian Citizenship Law Change Will Not Affect Estonia ({{commentsTotal}})

A Russian Federation law that simplifies citizenship for Russian-speaking people and their children who live in formerly Soviet-occupied areas will not result in large numbers of people switching citizenship, Estonian politicians say.

The act, signed into law by President Vladimir Putin and generally seen by observers in the context of eastern Ukraine, could also appeal to Estonian residents who could get a Russian passport within three months of proving basic Russian proficiency.

While a board member with the Ida-Viru County integration center, Aleksandr Dusman, told Postimees daily that stateless people who hold grey passports might start flocking to Russian Federation citizenship, representatives if the country's four major parties all say it's unlikely.

The Center Party's Mihhail Stalnuhhin said the grey passport was more convenient than applying for a new citizenship and it allowed the holder to travel freely on both sides of the EU-Russia border.

The head of Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, Marko Mihkelson of IRL, seen as diametrically opposed to Center, said Estonia had no reason to react in any way to an "imperialist" step by Russia.

From the Social Democrats, MP Jaak Allik, agreed that it would not have an effect, but he took the opportunity to call for changes to the "stigma" of the current citizenship policies.

Rein Aidma (Reform Party MP) said the Estonian Citizenship Act should not be reformed, while adding that Estonia should not give an opening for a massive increase in Russian nationals.