The Vienna Convention does not allow Russian elections, which are also held in its diplomatic missions abroad, to be obstructed, said Minister of Foreign Margus Tsahkna (Eesti 200). This means Russians living in Estonia can likely vote at the embassy in next year's presidential election as usual.
"As far as I know, Russia has not issued an official note at this stage, but if you just look at the legal principle, allowing your citizens to vote in the territory of your embassy is part of the Vienna Convention," Tsahkna told ERR on Thursday.
"We demand the same from Russia and other countries towards their citizens," he added.
The Vienna Convention is an agreement that defines diplomatic relations between independent countries.
Tsahkna said the participation of Russian citizens living in Estonia in the vote may create a wider social debate.
The minister emphasized that Estonia will certainly protest against the holding of elections in the Ukrainian territories occupied by Russia, which is against all international law.
Whether the presidential elections in Russia are legitimate, fair, or transparent is a separate issue, he said.
The Russian presidential election is likely to be held on March 17, 2024. President Vladimir Putin is all but certain to win.
At the last presidential election in 2018, more than 28,000 Russians living in Estonia cast a ballot. BNS reported 94 percent of the votes were in favor of Putin. In total, 83,000 people could have participated.
In 2020 more than 7,500 supported changes to legislation that allowed Putin to extend his time in power.
As Russia's consulates in Tartu and Narva were closed after the start of the full-scale invasion in 2022, next year voting can only take place in the embassy in Tallinn.
Editor: Aleksander Krjukov, Helen Wright