The Language Inspectorate is asking the city council of Maardu, just east of Tallinn, whether newly elected mayor Georgi Bõstrov has sufficient proficiency in Estonian to exercise his duties, which is required by law.
Bõstrov's category E certificate, acquired in the 1990s, was not enough to satisfy the inspectorate, Postimees daily reported.
Ilmar Tomusk, director general of the inspectorate, said to his knowledge Bõstrov did not have the required language ability and by February 9, the city council has to provide an answer.
Tomusk said the category E certificate will not get Bõstrov out of the jam, as he might be able to recur to it only if he actually spoke the language.
"He can flash the certificate, but if he doesn't know the language, it won't help him," said Tomusk.
The 70-year-old politician, who was born in the Seto region but has twice served as mayor of Maardu, an industrial town east of Tallinn, has a bit of checkered past, known for raising the Soviet flag in Maardu in 1991 during the Moscow hardliner putsch.
Editor: K. Rikken