TALLINN, October 24 (Itar-Tass) - Inappropriate pronouncements Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves made recently in an interview with the Moldovan publication Adevarul may provoke interethnic strife, the board of the Estonian Chamber of representatives of national minorities states in an open letter published on Thursday.
Ilves’s words that the USSR implanted the Russian language in Estonia as the language of the Soviet government hold no water, are not in keeping with reality, the letter says. “Neither in 1940 nor in the subsequent years did anyone banish the Estonian language from Estonia nor introduce the Russian language as the state language,” says the letter.
The authors of the letter believe it does not befit the head of state to mislead citizens by asserting that “there are people putting obstacles to the studies of the state language.” “Quite the contrary, we point out imperfections of the methods and the academic base for its effective studies, for which the Ministry of Education and Science shows no care,” the letter says.
Noting that the president is the guarantor of the constitution, the authors declare that Ilves distorts the constitution, saying he “cannot imagine how anyone can feel happy in the country and have a sense of belonging to society without the knowledge of the officially recognized state language.” “While as the head of state you must protect the interests of all Estonian citizens regardless of their ethnic and cultural identity and the language they speak, you actually declare that only people of one ethnos are first-rate citizens. This approach has once led to a catastrophe in Europe,” the letter says.
The board of the Estonian Chamber of representatives of national minorities assessed Ilves’s statements as denigrating the mother tongue of a third of Estonia’s population and contradicting the letter and spirit of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.