Home News Estonian far-right demands drastic increase in language fines

Estonian far-right demands drastic increase in language fines

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The parliamentary faction of the Estonian National Radical Conservative People’s Party (EKRE) this week introduced a bill that would significantly increase the fine for non-compliance with the instructions of the state Language Board, writes err.ee.

Recall that the Estonian Language Department is engaged in identifying “violators” who, in the course of performing their official duties, do not use the state, but Russian and other languages.

“According to the draft law put forward by EKRE, the fines for violating the Language Act will be increased and new enforcement measures will be added,” the press service of the Estonian Riigikogu said.

Thus, it is proposed that the maximum amount of the fine for a “language crime” be increased from the previous € 640 to € 25,000. As an “additional measure of influence” on especially malicious “violators”, it is proposed to apply a ban on doing business.

The draft law will be considered by the Cultural Committee of the Riigikogu.

Editor of the Tallinn edition “Capital” Alexander Chaplygin notes in his telegram channel that he has a feeling that the Estonian parties have announced a kind of competition: who will be able to hurt the Russian minority more. “Today, EKRE has taken the lead, offering up to 25,000 euros to increase the fine for insufficient knowledge of the Estonian language by citizens. For firms, the ekreists propose generally draconian measures – a ban on doing business. That is, if any cashier at Maxima fails to pass the Estonian language exam, the retail chain can be closed. True, through the court, but the essence of this does not change. The EKRE initiative has become a logical continuation of a new trend in Estonian politics. Over the past month, we were “pleased” with the imminent liquidation of the Russian education, plans to demolish monuments to the Red Army soldiers, and also prohibit Russian citizens from voting in local elections, ”writes Chaplygin.

“Perhaps there are more options, and in the near future Russians in Estonia will face another unpleasant surprise. Elections are already in March, and against the background of the economic crisis, nationally oriented parties need to somehow divert the attention of the Estonian electorate. Oddly enough, but all the initiatives listed above are explained by concern for the security of the state. Yes, Prime Minister Kaya Callas the other day she directly connected the desire to close Russian schools with the war in Ukraine. That is, it is assumed that Russian education is a threat to the Estonian state. Kicking a quarter of the country’s population is obviously the best way to guarantee the successful development of the Estonian state. At least, this is how the behavior of the authors of the initiatives listed above looks like. The opinion of the Russians, as you understand, does not bother anyone, ”the journalist notes.

In his opinion, all this will result in the complete removal of the Russian minority from the social and political life of Estonia. “They want to turn a quarter of the country’s population into powerless marginals who have no real rights, except for the honorable right to pay taxes. The only ones trying to resist this onslaught are the Center Party. But in the Riigikogu she is now in opposition, while in Tallinn a no-confidence vote is already being prepared for the “centrist” city government. Mayor Michael Kylvart, according to the initiators of the vote, “not pro-Estonian enough.” We are in for bad times. Tallinn still remains the place where the nationality of the inhabitants is not a determining factor in the distribution of powers and public goods. But the general situation in the country is not conducive to the preservation of this stronghold of civil society,” concludes Alexander Chaplygin.

Meanwhile, the Language Department itself has expressed displeasure at the use of English in e-mail addresses and domain names of government agencies. The institution wants, if necessary, to clarify the “Language Law” and add to it the requirement that e-mail addresses and domain names of state institutions should be only in Estonian.

The Language Department has received a complaint that the email addresses and domain names of several government agencies are partially or entirely in English. As an example, it is mentioned that all e-mail addresses of the Rescue Board and their website are marked with the English rescue.ee. The Department of Transportation website shows that many email addresses assume that the definition of the relevant department or service is in English, and therefore their email address is also partly in English. For example, aircraft accident reports: [email protected]shipping email: [email protected]security incident reports: [email protected]information about the icebreaker: [email protected]

According to the author of the complaint, this contradicts the requirement established by the Language Law to conduct business in Estonian and violates the “fundamental right of everyone to apply to a state body in the Estonian language” provided for in Article 51 of the Constitution.

In a letter, the Director General of the Language Department Ilmar Tomusk informed the Minister of Justice Maris Lauriwhich, in principle, agrees with the arguments set forth in the complaint.

“The official language of the Republic of Estonia is Estonian. Both e-mail addresses and domain names of state institutions could also be in Estonian,” Tomusk emphasized.

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