Administrators at Russia’s border Pechory area have launched a crackdown on officials who illegally hold Estonian passports in secret. Estonia has granted its citizenship to many of locals due to historical background.
The Pechory area of the Pskov region borders Estonia, Latvia and Belarus. While originally part of Russian Pskov region, the area was captured by Estonia during its war for independence following the Bolshevik revolution. The Tartu Peace Treaty of 1920 left it in Estonian sovereignty for the whole inter-war period, but after the country became part of the Soviet Union during Word War II, Pechory was transferred to the jurisdiction of the Russian Federal Republic.
After Estonia became an independent state again in 1990s, the new authorities declared that descendants of all citizens of the independent Estonia were eligible for Estonian citizenship – notwithstanding nationality. Pechory residents were among them, and since having an Estonian passport means free cross-border travel, many people applied.
An estimated 10,000 of the 23,000 predominantly-Russian locals now have dual citizenship, a situation which makes hot heads in Russia ring alarm over territorial integrity. Their nationalistic counterparts in Estonia eagerly fueled these fears by demanding sovereignty over Pechory on historical grounds.
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EU to the rescue to expose dual citizens in Russia