Far from an island of stability! (3)
Arvamus 03 Jun 2012  EWR
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Jüri Toomepuu

Laas Leivat, in his EWR opinion piece on 1 June, 2012, finds that Estonia is an island of stability. This may seem so to distant observervers, who form their opinions from isolated economic indicators and superficial understanding of Estonia’s political and social situation. The truth is, unfortunately, quite different.

The truth is that Estonia`s peculiar partocratic political system, dire social injustice, undemocratic voting law, widespread corruption and accelerating russification have made a large segment of Estonians lose hope that there is anything they can do to change things for the better. What seems as stability is actually unhappy resignation. Not everyone is quietly resigning to the status qou, however. Increasingly larger numbers of Estonians are voting with their feet. More Estonians have escaped from Estonia in recent years than escaped during WW II from Stalin`s Red Army.

There has been a 40 percent increase of voters for parliamentary elections from the first post-occupation election to the most recent, as increasingly larger numbers of former occupants are becoming Estonian citizens and voters. At the same time, the number of Estonians has actually decreased due to negative natural increase and emigration. The law which was passed to allow unlimited number of relatives of former occupants to immigrate, has resulted in a new influx of Russians.

The ethnic distribution of population, which according to the recent census showed a slight increase in the proportion of Estonians, is fiction, since no effective way of measuring ethnic distribution of population actually exists. Laws have been passed that allow Russians to simply declare that they are Estonians, which many of them are for various reasons doing, according to demographic experts.

Far from an island of stability, Estonia is an unhappy country in transition, where the Estonians who remain behind are rapidly becoming a minority in their own country.
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