The numbers of both stateless residents and Russian citizens living in Estonia declined in 2018, spokespeople for the Ministry of the Interior said on Thursday.
As of 1 January 2019, a total of 76,148 stateless persons lived in Estonia, down 2,258 from 78,406 on 1 January 2018.
The number of Russian citizens living in Estonia, meanwhile, dropped by 948 on year, from 89,733 last 1 January to 88,785 this 1 January.
The number of Ukrainian citizens living in Estonia, on the other hand, increased by 988 — from 8,783 to 9,771 as of Tuesday.
Speaking at the government press conference on Thursday, Minister of the Interior Katri Raik (SDE) said that 731 people were granted Estonian citizenship in 2018, including 500 people who had previously been stateless.
Government endorses first new citizenships of 2019
The government at its Thursday meeting approved a proposal by the Ministry of the Interior to grant Estonian citizenship to altogether 58 people. The applicants included one former citizen each of Macedonia, Pakistan and Georgia. Citizenship was also granted to four minors, two of whom were citizens of Russia and one each of Ukraine and Armenia, as well as 26 stateless persons.
Among others to be granted citizenship by Thursday's decision are 16 people, 13 of whom are citizens of Russia, and one each of Turkey, Belarus and Ukraine, as ell as two mothers and two minors on the condition that the mothers are released from their previous citizenship.
The government also ruled on Thursday to release 23 people from Estonian citizenship on the proposal of the Ministry of the Interior, 19 of whom are seeking to become naturalised citizens of their state of residence.
Of those released with Thursday's decision from Estonian citizenship, 11 live in Russia, two in the Netherlands and one each in Norway, Ukraine, Germany and the US. Another four live in Estonia but have taken the citizenship of another country — two of Russia and one each of the UK and Germany.
Editor: Aili Vahtla