Russian citizens in Estonia participated in State Duma elections

A Russian flag.
A Russian flag. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Russian citizens living in Estonia also participated in the State Duma elections, which took place over the weekend, with close to 15 percent of the Russians visiting polling offices in Narva.

Voting for State Duma representatives in the Rostov oblast and Stavropol Krai was open in Estonian polling offices. Ambassador of the Russian Federation in Estonia Aleksander Petrov told ETV's daily affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" on Sunday that the citizens of Russia in Estonia likely have very little connection with the regions.

He added that Russian election laws could be amended to allow for the interests of citizens outside of Russia to be better represented.

The ambassador noted that coronavirus-related restrictions could have affected participation. Body temperatures were taken in the embassy and safety requirements were followed.

"In discussions with our citizens living in Estonia, they have expressed that it would be better in the future if Russian citizens living abroad had a so-called abroad representative in the State Duma. It is being discussed and it is something to think about," Petrov said.

Russian legislative elections also took place in Narva on Sunday. Usually, some 15 percent of all Russian citizens residing in Lääne-Viru and Ida-Viru counties make it to the ballot boxes Russian Consulate in Narva. State Duma elections, however, are not as exciting as presidential elections and there was confusion regarding relatively unknown candidates.

The Russian electoral system is also complicated for the Russian citizen residing in Estonia. Politicians are running in 14 parties in addition to single-mandate constituencies. While people knew the parties, they certainly did not know politicians in Stavropoli Krai, which is 2,000 km away from Estonia.

"I have no desire to vote for any candidates set up here. I just do not know them. The State Duma candidates representing us are often from far regions of Russia," Vladimir Petrov of the Union of Russian Citizens said.

He noted that the new State Duma roster will likely not make a great difference for citizens residing in Estonia. "I do not think people should expect great changes. Generally, things remain the same as they were after the previous elections," Petrov noted.

There are about 40,000 Russian citizens in Ida-Viru and Lääne-Viru counties.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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