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Ilves: No Room For Word 'Non-Estonian' in My Vocabulary

At a naturalization ceremony in Narva, President Toomas Hendrik Ilves said society should not divide people living in Estonia into “locals” and “outsiders,” and the word “muulane,” generally translated as “non-Estonian” or “alien,” although with a more us versus them feel, should not be used.

Ilves said in the speech at the ceremony on Tuesday that citizenship is an expression of free will, a feeling that this is the right step.

He said Estonian citizens are allowed to be Russians or Ukrainians, but with an Estonian passport, and not contrasting themselves to Estonians nor Estonia.

Citizenship will bring new employment opportunities and political possibilities, he said, adding that Estonian citizenship should be the goal of all who live in Estonia if they hold Estonia to be their home and share values, on which Estonia lies on.

“Each person must be important to us. Already years ago I proposed no longer using the term 'non-Estonian' and speak about Estonian Russians, Estonian Ukrainians and other similar groups, as we already speak of Swedish Estonians, Finish Swedes and Baltic Germans,” Ilves said.

“Estonia may be small, but maybe due to this fact it offers unbelievable opportunities and stories. Every talent may grow into a national, or even international celebrity.” he said.

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