Russia's ongoing war in Ukraine has increased Russians' desire to leave their own country, as indicated by a sharp increase in the number of temporary protection applications and recipients of temporary residence permits in Estonia, said Kristiina Raidla-Puhm, director of the Citizenship and International Protection Bureau at the Police and Border Guard (PPA).
"There have been a lot more applications for temporary protection, and that, of course, is attributed to Russia's military invasion of Ukraine," Raidla-Puhm told ERR's Russian-language radio news on Friday. "While just 11 Russian citizens submitted the corresponding application last year, between the beginning of the year and November 15 this year, 199 Russians have already applied for temporary protection from the Estonian state. This growth trend is very clear; people really are looking for ways to leave Russia."
In other words, the number of Russian citizens applying for temporary protection from Estonia has increased 18-fold on year.
The number of Russian citizens in Estonia on temporary residence permits has gone up this year as well. Last year, a little more than 9,400 temporary residence permits had been issued to Russian citizens; this year, that total has increased to more than 10,000.
Raidla-Puhm can't confirm claims that Russian citizens who had been living in Estonia until now have been moving to Russia en masse; she noted that the PPA has no such data.
Statistics nonetheless indicate that the number of Russian citizens with permanent residence in Estonia has decreased by some 1,800 on year, down from 77,841 in 2021.
Editor: Aili Vahtla