Over half of stateless residents want to become citizens of Estonia

More than half of the people with undetermined citizenship living in Estonia would like to get Estonian citizenship but have difficulty mastering the official language to the necessary level, it appears from the findings of the survey titled “Monitoring of Integration in Estonian Society in 2015″ published on Thursday.

According to the outcome of the survey commissioned by the Ministry of Culture, 57 percent of stateless residents wish to obtain Estonian citizenship. They most frequently name inability to master the Estonian language as the main obstacle to naturalization.

In addition the outcome of the survey reveals the absence of strong motivators to meet the conditions set for the acquisition of citizenship, as one in three stateless respondents say that not having citizenship does not affect their ability to live in Estonia. Besides it’s easier for people who do not have Estonian citizenship to travel to Russia and other CIS states.

Citizens of Estonia make up 85 percent of the Estonian population and one-sixth of the population does not have Estonian citizenship. Of ethnic Russian residents of Estonia, 54 percent have Estonian citizenship, 24 percent Russian citizenship and 21 percent are stateless. Of ethnic Estonians 99.6 percent are citizens of Estonia.

From the viewpoint of integration policy it is causing concern that as much as 19 percent of the people of ethnic backgrounds other than Estonian who were born in Estonia and whose parents were also born in Estonia are not citizens of Estonia. The proportion of such residents has not declined compared with the previous similar survey taken in 2011. Besides there is as much as 34 percent of non-citizens among the so-called second generation, or people of ethnic backgrounds other than Estonian born in Estonia.

One-third of the people born in Estonia who do not have Estonian citizenship are young people of ages 15-34 and one-fifth of them describe their command of Estonian as good or very good. That such young people born in Estonia and having good command of Estonian language do not have full political rights and are staying apart from Estonian citizenry is a serious challenge to Estonia’s integration policy, the authors of the survey say.

Considering the low opinion of this population segment of their command of Estonian, but also the bigger proportion of members of the older generations and people with vocational or high school education among them, inability to meet the set conditions may indeed be considered an obstacle to the acquisition of citizenship.

According to the survey, a remarkable change has taken place in recent years in the attitude of Estonians towards easing the procedures for obtaining citizenship, with the vast majority of Estonians now expressing the opinion that all children born in the Republic of Estonia should obtain Estonian citizenship by simplified procedure regardless of the citizenship of their parents, and the same should apply to other people who have born in the Republic of Estonia.

The integration monitoring survey is an independent in-depth survey of the field of integration commissioned by the Ministry of Culture that is carried out every three to four years. The survey of 2015 is the sixth such survey.

Research for the study, which sampled a total of 1,200 respondents in Estonia, was carried out in January and February this year. Additionally focus group interviews were conducted, which focused on multilingual schools, media consumption and employment opportunities for young people of different ethnic backgrounds.

Source: Baltic News Service

Cinema attendance reached an all-time record

According to Statistics Estonia there were 2.6 million cinema visits in 2014, which is an all-time record since the restoration of independence. In the last nine years, cinema attendance has increased each year.

In 2014, there were 353 films screened in Estonian cinemas, 28 of these films were Estonian productions, 157 films of the USA, 148 European films and 20 films of other countries. The average price of a cinema ticket was 4.9 euros and the total box office of cinemas was 12.8 million euros.

The most popular Estonian films in 2014 were “Nullpunkt” by Mihkel Ulk (43,000 visits), “Kirsitubakas” by Andres and Katrin Maimik (20,000 visits) and “Risttuules” by Martti Helde (18,000 visits). In 2014, Estonian films were watched in cinemas by a total of 123,000 persons, which is nearly 5% of all cinema visitors.

The most popular foreign films were “Frozen” (88,000 visits), “Rio 2” (74,000 visits) and “How to Train Your Dragon 2” (68,000 visits). All three were a production of the USA.

During one cinema visit, a visitor spends an average of 10.9 euros, nearly 8 euros of which are spent at the cinema and 2.9 euros on transport and other expenses outside the cinema. The total annual expenditure of cinema visitors amounts to 67.4 million euros, 49 million euros of which are spent at the cinema and 18.4 million euros outside the cinema. The expenditures of cinema visitors account for 27% of all the expenditures of the visitors of sports and cultural events.

There were 8 full-length feature films and 12 full-length documentaries produced in Estonia in 2014. In total, there were 20 full-length films produced in Estonia in 2014. Besides the full-length films meant for screening in cinemas, 44 short feature films, 85 short documentaries and 10 short animations were also produced. In total, 159 short or full-length films were produced in Estonia.Diagram: Cinema attendance, 1994–2014

Full-length film – a film of a duration of at least 60 minutes or 52 minutes in the case of TV formats.

Source: Statistics Estonia

Population decline is slowing down

According to the revised data of Statistics Estonia, 1,313,271 persons lived in Estonia on 1 January 2015 – 2,666 persons (0.2%) fewer than at the same time a year earlier. Negative natural increase is the main cause for population decline, while the influence of emigration has decreased significantly.

The population decreased by 733 persons due to negative net migration (with more people leaving Estonia than taking up residence here) and by 1,933 persons due to negative natural increase (the number of deaths exceeded the number of births). Among the processes influencing population decline, there has been a rise in the share of negative natural increase. The previous time when the population number decreased more because of negative natural increase than because of external migration was in 2003.

In 2014, 13,595 persons were born and 15,528 persons died. The number of births remained at the level of the previous year. This is a positive indicator because the number of women in childbearing age is decreasing each year. Just four years earlier, as many as 2,000 children more were born (there were 15,825 births in 2010). The number of deaths has been declining since the beginning of the 1990s and in the last five years the number of deaths per year has remained between 15,000 and 16,000.

In 2014, more people left Estonia than took up residence here; immigrants numbered 3,904 and emigrants – 4,637. Compared to the three previous years, external migration has decreased by nearly 30%, while the level of immigration has remained the same. Since immigration consists mainly in return migration, which occurs generally 1–2 years after emigration, then after a previous period of more active emigration a higher level of immigration can be expected.

Harju county was the only county where the population number increased (by more than 3,000), mainly due to an increase in the population of Tallinn city. The decline was the biggest in Ida-Viru county – both in absolute and relative figures. Population loss exceeded 1% also in Järva and Lääne counties. A relatively small decline occurred in Saare and Hiiu counties, with population decreasing by fewer than 50 persons in both counties. In the rest of the counties, the population declined by 0.5–0.9%.Diagram: Natural increase and net migration, 2005–2014

The estimated population number is based on the 2011 Population and Housing Census and estimated under-coverage, and has been adjusted based on births, deaths and migration registered in the following years. The population number changes slightly due to revisions of personal ID-codes and the inclusion of persons who had been missing from population statistics so far.

Source: Statistics Estonia

How satisfied are people with their lives

“Overall, how satisfied are you with your life these days?” people across the European Union (EU) were asked. Life satisfaction represents how a respondent evaluates or appraises his or her life taken as a whole. It has a prominent role as it can be regarded as a key indicator of subjective well-being. On a scale from 0 (“not satisfied at all”) to 10 (“fully satisfied”), nearly 80% of residents aged 16 and over in the EU rated their overall life satisfaction in 2013 at 6 and higher, with an average (mean) satisfaction of 7.1.

In 2013, mean life satisfaction, measured on a scale of 0 to 10, varied significantly between EU Member States. With an overall average of 8.0, inhabitants in Denmark, Finland and Sweden were the most satisfied with their lives in the EU, followed by those in the Netherlands and Austria (both 7.8). At the opposite end of the scale, residents in Bulgaria (4.8) were by far the least satisfied, followed by those in Greece, Cyprus, Hungary and Portugal (all 6.2).

Baltic countries had the same satisfaction rate within 6,5-6,7.

life satisfaction

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Every fifth person in Estonia lives in relative poverty

According to Statistics Estonia, in 2013, 22.1% of the Estonian population lived in relative poverty and 8% of the Estonian population lived in absolute poverty.

Social transfers (state benefits and pensions) helped to prevent falling into poverty, as had they not been included in income, the at-risk-of-poverty rate would have even been 40.7% and the absolute poverty rate 32.6%.

In 2013, a person was considered to be in at-risk-of poverty if his/her monthly equalised disposable income was below 358 euros and in absolute poverty if his/her monthly equalised disposable income was below 205 euros. In 2013, the difference in income between the poorest and richest fifth of the population was 6.6-fold.

The at-risk-of-poverty rate is highest in the case of elderly people. In 2013, 32% of persons aged 65 and over lived in relative poverty. The absolute poverty rate is highest in the case of children and young people (aged 0–24) and in the case of pre-retirement age people (aged 50–64) (10% in both age groups).

The level of education significantly affects the risk of falling into poverty. Among persons with basic or lower education, every third was in the poorest and only every twelfth in the richest income quintile. At the same time, one-third of people with higher education belonged to the richest fifth. Therefore, the at-risk-of-poverty and absolute poverty rates of persons with higher education (14.6% and 4.1%, respectively) were more than two times lower than those of persons with basic or lower education (33% and 10.4%, respectively). A higher level of education is an important prerequisite for the prevention of poverty.

The incomes of Estonians were higher than those of non-Estonians and the risk of poverty was lower for Estonians. In 2013, the at-risk-of-poverty rate of Estonians was nine percentage points lower than that of non-Estonians and the absolute poverty rate four percentage points lower. 19.5% of Estonians lived in relative poverty and 6.8% in absolute poverty, the same indicators for non-Estonians were 28.6% and 11%.

At-risk-of-poverty rate is the share of persons with yearly disposable income lower than the at-risk-of-poverty threshold, and absolute poverty rate is the share of persons with yearly disposable income lower than the absolute poverty threshold. The at-risk-of-poverty threshold is 60% of the median yearly disposable income of household members, the absolute poverty threshold is the estimated subsistence minimum. Equalised disposable income is the total household income, which is divided by the sum of equivalence scales of all household members.

The estimations are based on the Social Survey, which has been conducted by Statistics Estonia since 2004. In 2014, more than 5,800 households participated in the survey. The survey collects data about the yearly income, which is the reason why the survey of 2014 asks about the income of 2013. The yearly income is necessary for calculating the indicators of poverty and inequality. In the case of the income of 2013, the data source changed – in addition to the Social Survey and previously used databases, the data of the Tax and Customs Board were also used.

Social surveys are conducted by national statistical offices in all European Union countries on the basis of a harmonized methodology under the name of EU-SILC.

Source: Statistics Estonia

Third of Russian-language school students failed to reach required Estonian level

A study by the Ministry of Education found that a third of pupils at Russian-language primary schools in Estonia fail to reach B1.

That means a third of students do not have a sufficient command of Estonian to study in Estonian on the secondary-school level.

The ministry is planning to spend 11 million euros from 2015-2020 on fixing the problem with a number of projects launched. These include better training for teachers, renewing study material, additional help for schools lagging behind, student exchange programs and organizing common events with ethnic Estonian pupils and summer language camps and courses.

“The Estonian language is a social skill which all students have to master already by the end of primary school (up to and including 9th grade). The skill is needed to provide young people the ability to compete on the job market and wide possibilities to continue studies,” Education Minister Jevgeni Ossinovski said.

Source: ERR News

‘Tangerines’ nominated for an Oscar

The Estonian-Georgian movie, “Tangerines” (“Mandariinid” in Estonian), has been nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film category for the 87th Academy Awards.

The film was shortlisted in December, being one of nine of the initial 83 canditates in its category. The shortlist of five nominees was selected by specially invited committees in New York, Los Angeles and London.

“Tangerines” has become one of the most successful film involving Estonian filmmakers, notching up tens of international awards since 2013. It was also nominated for a Golden Globe for the best foreign language film.

The movie tells a story that takes place in 1992 during the war in Abkhazia in an Estonian village that was situated there. In the village, whose residents have fled from war, injured fighters from two opposite sides of the battle front happen to all be staying in the same house of an Estonian elder. The leading roles are played by Estonian actors Lembit Ulfsak and Elmo Nüganen, and Georgian actors Giorgi Nakhashidze and Mihhail Meskhi. The film was produced by an Estonian film producer Ivo Felt.

The film was produced by Estonian film production company Allfilm and Georgian production company Cinema 24.

The Oscars gala will be held on 22 February at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

Prior to the Oscar nominations ceremony, Felt and the rest of the crew remained realistic in their hopes for an Oscar nomination. “The chances are slim, but they are there,” he said.

Following the announcement, Felt told kultuur.err.ee that they are all very happy, but as ever, remained modest when asked about the chances of taking home the coveted golden statue. “Nonetheless, it is nice to be among such a strong company of films,” he said.

The international success of “Tangerines” is unprecedented in Estonian cultural history.

The other nominees for the Best Foreign Language Film are:

  • “Ida” by Paweł Pawlikowski (Poland)
  • “Leviathan” by Andrey Zvyagintsev (Russia)
  • “Timbuktu” by Abderrahmane Sissako (Mauritania)
  • “Wild Tales” by Damián Szifrón (Argentina)

Source: ERR News

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