As the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not granted permission to open polling stations anywhere else, Russian citizens living in Estonia will be able to cast their vote in the upcoming Russian presidential elections on the premises of the consular offices of the Russian Federation in Tallinn, Tartu and Narva.
"As the missions of foreign countries accredited to Estonia are permitted to organize voting for their citizens only with the consent of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and on the premises of the mission or the honorary consul, it will be possible for them to conduct voting at the consular offices in Tartu and Narva in addition to the embassy in Tallinn," ministry spokespeople told BNS on Friday.
In an interview with ERR's Radio 4 on Friday, Russian Ambassador to Estonia Alexander Petrov said that the Russian Embassy had sent Estonia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs a request to permit voting in the 2018 Russian presidential elections in Estonian cities with significant populations of Russian citizens.
"We sent a note to the Estonian Foreign Ministry with a request to permit us to organize voting in a number of our cities where our compatriots reside," Petrov said. "This concerns both the consular district of the embassy as well as the consular district of the consulate general in Narva. We have not received a conclusive answer to our proposal for now."
In the Russian State Duma elections held in September 2016, nine polling stations were opened in three Estonian cities for the approximately 85,000 Russian citizens living in the country; four were located in Tallinn, the seat of the Russian Embassy and Consulate, four in Narva, the seat of a Russian consulate general, and one in Tartu, where a consular office of the embassy is located.
A total of 10,493 Russian citizens in Estonia voted in the 2016 State Duma elections. In the previous presidential elections in 2012, over 21,000 votes were cast in Estonia, including over 10,000 ballots in advance voting.
The first round of the Russian presidential elections will take place on March 18. A possible second round is scheduled for April 8.
Editor: Aili Vahtla