President Kaljulaid: Ida-Viru County not hostile, Russian, downtrodden ({{commentsTotal}})

President Kersti Kaljulaid with Kristina Kallas (right), University of Tartu Narva College. Friday, Oct. 28, 2016. Source: (Sergei Stepanov/ERR)

Ida-Viru County is an Estonian county, Narva is an Estonian city and the region is neither hostile, Russified nor downtrodden, President Kersti Kaljulaid at the end of her two-day visit to Lääne- and Ida-Viru Counties in the country's Northeast on Friday.

"I am often asked in Tallinn what should be done with Ida-Viru county — what should be done with Narva," spokespeople quoted Kaljulaid as saying. "Being here, putting the question like this this seems strange. Ida-Viru is an Estonian county; Narva is an Estonian city. This is not some hostile, Russified, and completely downtrodden area."

The Estonian president acknowledged that the region did have its problems, including below-average wages, but asked what region did not have its problems. "I wish that people would notice more what is good in the Viru region, and there is a lot of it — development is visible," Kaljulaid added.

Over the course of her first domestic visit as President of Estonia, Kaljulaid was often asked how to unite the region's two communities. She said she did not agree with the notion that people were divided into different communities based on language, however.

"Estonian is taught from the youngest age in all Narva kindergartens," explained the Estonian head of state. "The people of Estonia are one community. There are people among them who speak a different language; there are people who have a different worldview, background, education. Dividing the community in two based on the language one speaks at home is not right."

During her two-day visit on Thursday and Friday, Kaljulaid visited the companies Palmse Mehaanikakoda, Estonian Cell, Eastman Specialties, Aqva Fitness Center, Ida-Viru County's women's shelter and support center, the Viru Infantry Battalion, the Lääne-Viru County Government, the Narva base of the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA), the University of Tartu Narva College and ERR's Narva studio as well as met with municipal leaders of both counties.

Editor: Editor: Aili Vahtla

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