Friday, February 27, 2009

54 Estonian citizens registered in one flat

As George W. Bush came to Estonia, he said: "The recent history of the Baltic states truly is a miracle." Miracles are our everyday routine and we used to enjoy them. We are currently studying the miracle of 54 persons, which are registered in Mikitamäe county, all into one apartment. They live in the flat formally, not actually.
The persons live in the apartment are unknown, their mother tongue is Russian, but it does not mean they have no right to live in our territory. Those things are more sophisticated, because frontier territory they lived before, belongs today to the Russian Federation, but was in 1920 - 1940 a part of the Republic of Estonia. As the lands near Estonian-Russian border of the Russian side were parts of Estonia a number of decades ago and Estonian laws guarantee right to the Estonian citizenship
to all persons, whose direct ancestors lived in Estonia during its first time of independency - so they have right to the citizenship. For working in EU every person needs acceptable address within EU countries and if one to the question ´where do you live´ responds ´I live in Russia´,that is inconvenient to a proper European worker.
Moreover, Estonia pays them financial support for growing children, the favor that Russia does not. Per person living in the apartment, Estonian Ministry of Finances pays so-called ´bounty support´ directly to the Mikitamäe County, in total 61 000 Euros in a month. For this poor outlying county this sum is a countable financial
support, because due to global financial crisis Estonian state usually does not support its poorest borderlands.
This is a business project for the Mikitamäe County and whether this is breaking the laws is a question for court. The laws are different and the case wears on.
Mikitamäe is a habitation of the Seto ethnic group, that belongs to the Estonian nation similar to the Bretons belong to the French one. Eiki Berg has written:
"Thus might be a kind of unawareness, that is characteristic of Mikitamäe people: while other Estonians consider these villagers Setus, ‘pure Setus’ (mainly from Russia) on the contrary, call them "mõtsik" (strangers). Also it is interesting to note that elderly people consider Setu identity an important issue even though they tend not to be 'originals', while the young people do not care so much at all about Setu identity. Is this all because the historical Setumaa is administratively divided between Estonia and Russia at the moment?"
The fact 54 immigrants living in 50 square-meter apartment is discovered by popular TV-program "Eyewitness". Their reporter Mihkel Kärmas has done remarkable job: he spent all cold Februar day in Mikitamäe village, having tracked the key witnesses of this story. He also interviewed Inge Hirmo (People's Union of Estonia), the elder of the Mikitamäe county, as she stated:
"We´re supporting every Estonian citizen and we are not nosing our normal modest people. I do not believe those persons to break the laws... Let us suppose I know who they are, but I cannot tell you anything about the persons due to the Law on personal data protection. How can we, the local authorities, intervene in deals between the private persons? So I cannot tell you the apartment owner´s name, because he never commited any crime. There are no laws, which dictate how many citizens of the Republic of Estonia should be registered in one flat. I regard this case as a notable victory of the foreign policy of Estonia."

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