Young Estonian Russians feeling more integrated ({{commentsTotal}})

Students in a Russian-curriculum school in Tallinn appear confident before an Estonian language exam.
Students in a Russian-curriculum school in Tallinn appear confident before an Estonian language exam. Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

Integration survey shows an increase in the interaction between different ethnic groups of the Estonian population.

The results of the survey “Monitoring of Integration in Estonian Society in 2015” published last week indicate that the interaction between the different ethnic groups of the Estonian population has increased compared to five years ago. Most importantly, the Estonian language skills of the Russian-speaking population have improved and the confidence of young people who speak Russian as their native laguage, is comparable with their Estonian peers.

One of the positive results of the monitoring survey was an increase in contacts between people. Compared to 2010, the number of those Russian-speaking Estonians, whose circle of friends and acquaintances is half or more Estonian-speaking, has doubled. Furthermore, there are fewer Estonians, who have not had any contact with people of other ethnic groups. A total of 40 percent of Estonians and about 70 percent of people of other nationalities have expressed their positive preparedness to participate in a multi-ethnic neighborhood, study or work team or have relatives of other nationalities.

According to the project manager of the survey, Kristina Kallas, the attitude of Estonians towards the simplification of the procedures for obtaining citizenship has significantly changed in recent years. “The vast majority of Estonians is of the opinion that obtaining Estonian citizenship should be made simpler for all children born in Estonia, regardless of the citizenship of their parents,” Kallas said.

Similarly to Estonians, young people of other ethnic groups feel more confident in the country than the older generation. Youngsters, who were born and raised in independent Estonia, have an attitude towards their country of birth in which differences based on nationality or ethnicity tend to disappear.

In educational matters, both Estonians and the representatives of other nationalities have a positive attitude towards mixed groups and classes of children speaking different mother tongue and kindergarten is considered the most suitable place to start learning partially in Estonian.

The integration monitoring survey is an independent in-depth survey of the integration field commissioned by the Ministry of Culture and carried out every 3–4 years. This year’s survey was the sixth one. The survey research, which sampled a total of 1,200 respondents in Estonia, was carried out in January and February this year.

Editor: S. Tambur

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