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Russian party keen to establish presence in Estonian politics already in 2017

  • 2017-01-06
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - A group of activists has been working for almost six months now with a view to establishing a new political party called Party of the Peoples of Estonia (Eestimaa Rahvaste Partei - ERP, Партия Hародов Эстонии - ПНЭ) that would field its candidates in the general elections of 2019, Eesti Paevaleht said.

The newspaper said the proposed name for the party makes a reference to the Estonian declaration of independence adopted on Feb. 21, 1918, formally titled Manifesto to the Peoples of Estonia.

The initiator of the group, Mstislav Rusakov, is a lawyer by training and director of a human rights center named Kitezh and chairman of the NPO Russian School in Estonia. He is not a member of any political party at present. Rusakov has been a champion of an initiative to allow a person's Russian patronymic to be written into his or her Estonian passport, which he has defended both in the Tallinn Administrative out and the Tallinn Circuit Court.

As head of the human rights center he has given free advice to people, Eesti Paevaleht said. Some of the projects of the human rights center have been financed by the Tallinn city government.

As chairman of Russian School in Estonia, Rusakov has commented on problems of Russian language education and minorities in Estonia to Russian media outlets.

Rusakov said the group establishing the party is made up of about 30 people and about 100 people are ready to join the party.

"Plans are for the party to be established in 2017, but this is not the most important thing for us. What's important for us is that it would be established in 2018 at the latest. Such as in February 2018 – in time for the 100th anniversary of the Manifesto to the Peoples of Estonia," he said.

If the call for the establishment of the new party is signed by 500 people, which is required for the registration of a political party under law, the party will set its sights on the parliamentary elections of 2019, Eesti Paevaleht said.