Estonian Russian Speakers Petition Against Separatism (18)
A group of non-Estonian activists and public figures have started a petition titled Memorandum 14 in support of Estonian sovereignty and condemning interference in Estonian domestic matters.
According to the statement published on the site petitsioon.ee, the majority of local Russians wish to resolve issues within the constitutional framework of the independent Republic of Estonia and they condemn separatist statements made in the name of the local Russian-speaking population.
The initiators are Natalja Kitam (Etnoweb), Jelena Katsuba (Open Estonia Foundation), Igor Kalakauskas (Tallinn Tõnismägi Science School) and Ivan Lavrentjev (Network of Estonian Nonprofit Organizations).
Some 380 people have signed the petition so far and signatories include at least one MP, Olga Sõtnik, and former Green Party politician, scientist Aleksei Lotman.
The petition follows closely on news, reported by a Russian Federation newspaper, that Russian activists will hold two demonstrations in Tallinn in April to express solidarity with the Crimea and southeastern regions in Ukraine and "support the possibility" of holding a separatist referendum in northeastern Estonia.
According to Memorandum 14, the majority of local Russians wish to live in a democratic Estonian and need no “protection” by outside forces.
The statement in full:
We, signatories and Estonian residents - citizens of Estonia as well as other countries, and also permanent residents without a citizenship - watch the events in Ukraine with pain and concern.
We would like to say with all responsibility that our wish is to solve all the problems of Estonian society with the legal authorities of the Republic of Estonia. We do not need protecting from the outside; we think intervening with Estonian politics by third countries is unacceptable.
We do not support separatist feeling and statements made on the behalf of the Russian-speaking community of Estonia. All issues regarding the development of our society, including education, language and citizenship policies, must be resolved according to the principle of the sovereignty of the state.
Regardless of mother tongue and nationality, the majority of people living here consider Estonia their homeland. We think it is valuable that although we stand on separate sides of the ideological barrier, we consider it our duty to say collectively: our home is an independent and free Estonia!