MOSCOW 's The Estonian and Latvian ambassadors to Moscow are urgingthe Russian parliament to lend a hand to encourage Russian-speaking residentsof the Baltic countries to seek citizenship of their countries of residence.
"We think the State Duma could encourage them [non-citizens] to becomefully-fledged citizens either by acquiring citizenship or by learning the Estonianlanguage," the Estonian ambassador, Marina Kaljurand, was quoted byRussian news agency Interfax assaying at a Duma hearing on the subject of non-citizenship on June 9.
The statistics quoted by Russian lawmakers at the hearing were largelyoutdated, Kaljurand observed.
"Many figures and facts presented here today do not correspond to thetruth," the diplomat said.
There are in Estonia around 100,000 persons of undefined citizenshipwho make up 8 percent of the country's population, she said.
Latvia's Ambassador Andris Teikmanis also refuted the statistics aboutnon-citizens living in his country. However, he did not name a specific figurebut said only that the percentage of stateless persons in Latvia was slightlybigger than Estonia's.
Teikmanis also said that since Latvia's accession to the European Union in2004 about 50,000 people had opted for Latvian citizenship.The Latvian diplomat also called on the State Duma tospeed up the ratification of a bilateral accord on social security. Theagreement regulates the payment of pensions, including pensions to persons ofundefined citizenship.