The Estonian authorities have said that the country does not plan to revoke the residence permits it has issued to thousands of citizens of Russia and Belarus over the years.
Such an announcement from Estonia was made after both Lithuania and Latvia said they would revoke residence permits of Russian and Belarusian citizens.
The Lithuanian authorities said last week that a total of 254 Russian citizens and 910 Belarusian citizens would not be able to renew or claim residence permits as well as visas following the introduction of a mandatory survey that “tests” the values of people.
As the Lithuanian authorities have explained, the test includes a question that requires the respondents to answer on who Crimea belongs to.
In addition, the authorities of Latvia have also said that the country will ask around 6,000 Russian citizens who have made little to no effort to integrate or learn the language to leave its territory next month.
On the other hand, ERR has said that Estonia does not plan to take similar measures as Lithuania and Latvia.
The Minister of Interior of Estonia, Lauri Läänemets, said for ERR said that the authorities have not discussed taking measures.
He further said that the questionnaire is not reliable and stressed that they cannot detect people posing a threat based on this.
“We have not discussed this proposal as such, that we would not make any questionnaires. It actually does not give any real picture of the people who might pose a threat. These people are very good at lying and putting down what we want to hear or see on the form,” Minister Läänemets said for ERR.
In addition, Minister Läänemets said that the country also applies the language requirement for all those wishing to renew their residence permit and those wishing to apply for a permanent one.
As for people who pose a threat to the security of Estonia, Minister Läänemets said that the Internal Security Service would be taking care of such matters.
On the other hand, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia, Urmas Reinsalu, said that foreigners who live in the country could be questioned about their lives.
He said that it is rational to know more about foreigners’ views on different matters and, at the same time, stressed that “people are entitled to their opinions, but the question is whether every opinion and every attitude justifies the privilege of an Estonian residence permit.”
While Estonia does not plan on revoking the residence permits of Russian and Belarusian citizens, the country has already taken measures against people imposing a security threat.