Just two days before the 100th anniversary of the independent Republic of Estonia on Feb. 24, the Estonian government on Thursday granted citizenship to 100 people, the youngest of whom was nine months and the oldest 67 years old.
"Everyone is giving gifts to the Republic of Estonia on its 100th anniversary," Minister of the Interior Andres Anvelt (SDE) said in a press release. "These 100 new citizens have given a worthy gift to themselves on the Estonian centennial in obtaining Estonian citizenship. At the same time, these citizens are a gift to Estonia as well."
Anvelt described it as important to encourage and support in obtaining citizenship thos people who wish to contribute to society and have made the decision to seek Estonian citizenship.
Beginning next year, he noted, opportunities to learn the Estonian language will be expanded for those interested in seeking Estonian citizenship. In order to ensure that one's bid for citizenship is not rejected due to poor command of the Estonian language, the Estonian government will provide agreements for free language courses and paid leave from work in order to attend them, the minister added.
The youngest person granted Estonian citizenship on Thursday was a nine-month-old Russian citizen, who received Estonian citizenship together with their mother. Among the new Estonian citizens are 51 citizens of Russia, 41 stateless persons, two Ukrainian citizens, and one citizen each of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, India, Congo and Turkey.
Last year, nearly 800 people became naturalized citizens of Estonia, 558 of whom were previously stateless. Since the reestablishment of Estonian independence in August 1991, Estonian citizenship has been granted or restored to a total of 160,500 people.
Editor: Aili Vahtla