Monday, June 4, 2007

Fresh idea, which seems to be useless

Today in Päevaleht online the article of Andres Kollist, the first head of the Department of the Citizenship and Migration has been published, tomorrow it will see the light also a a hardcopy. This person (BTW, it seems he's also chemist) was the one who had to follow all the decisions of Riigikogu according to the citizenship. Now he tells, that one reason of the present social splitting are the wrong choices of the state, which have complicated the possibilities of Estonian residents without Estonian citizenship to go across the western border. One can say, that this way the Estonian state pushed those people to Russia's arms, and it's true. Moreover, if according to the initial plans of the government all the Russian speaking people would take Russian citizenship, it would be great pain you-know-where, we'd get the little Russia in Estonia, fortunately this scenario didn't work.

His idea is to give to all non-citizens the "citizenship of third type" (that's the original name, as we already have born and naturalized citizens). It would be given without any exams, just to exchange the Alien Passports, moreover it's defined as "quasi-citizenship". The holder of it could have all the rights of citizens except to vote in parliamentary elections, but including diplomatic support abroad and the freedom of movement. Something alike Netherlands have done for the people coming from old dutch colonies.

Basically it's a deal about so called "zero" citizenship, it would help to solve some problems as the enormous amount of non-citizens or aliens. In the light of AI report and the bronze night events this issue got in focus of many human rights organizations, actually OSCE was reporting about it quite long time ago.

As it was to expect the idea has found its opponents, Mart Nutt replayed immediately telling that there's no way of giving the citizenship to aliens, the masses immediately claimed Mr. Kollist as a red, traitor and collaborator. Paul-Erik Rummo gave more weighted opinion, telling thatit the fact of offering of such "citizenship of third type" itself would be offensive to aliens.

My opinion is similar to that of Rummo, in some meaning it would be offensive, but anyway people would take it. Even if they'd prefer to have Russian citizenship, nowadays it's pretty difficult to get it. The candidates have to pass the language and history exam and as I've heard it is pretty sophisticated.

The other side of this act is the loyalty the state would like to win with this action. I'm afraid it will be turned upside down by Russian propaganda, which still surrounds those people. Moreover many will take it as a tip the state gives to stay still, especially after the bronze night events. I'm afraid it's a bit late to do such steps, but should be noted that it's one of the best ideas suggested so far.