Strip Russians in Estonia of voting rights?

Debate has flared up again in Estonia about the right of Russians living in the country to vote in local elections, which the government had already wanted to revoke in 2023. The discussion has reignited after it emerged that around 75 percent of Russian voters in Estonia voted for Putin in the presidential elections on 17 March, albeit with a much lower turnout than in previous years. The national press is deeply divided.

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Postimees (EE) /

Voting locally is not a human right

Postimees wants to see voting rights for Russian citizens in Estonia revoked:

“What the suspension of the right to vote should look like legally, whether it requires a constitutional amendment or not, is not the question. What is absolutely clear is that it must be done. We live today in a situation where citizens of hostile states can decide who runs our local governments. Voting in local elections is not a human right. We must reduce Russia's influence on our politics. And that means, among other things, that citizens from Russia and Belarus should not have the right to vote.”

Eesti Päevaleht (EE) /

A threat to social unity

The ruling parties have an unfair interest in weakening the Centre Party, Eesti Päevaleht criticises:

“It is in no way compatible with the image of a democratic country when those in power deprive certain people of the right to vote in order to improve their chances in the next elections. It would also be dangerous from a social point of view. Formally, this would be abolishing voting rights on the basis of citizenship. Many, however, would see the move as an attack on language or nationality. For Marju Lauristin, probably Estonia's best-known social scientist, the Centre Party helps Russian voters to come to terms with and trust the Estonian state. The abolition of rights would shatter social peace in a situation where we need a united front against Putin's Russia.”