State encourages Russians to change names

  • 2008-12-08
  • TBT staff in cooperation with BNS

TALLINN - The EstonianInterior Ministry believes that Russian-speakers would better blend into societyif they adopted Estonian-soundingnames, and is planning to make changing one's family name easier with a legalamendment, report the daily Postimees.

"Willingness to integrate" will be added to the Names Act as oneof the reasons for changing the family name. Officials meanwhile say thatintegration is one of the main reasons why name changes are being undertakenanyway.

In 2007, a new name was given to 980 people the and a name change wasrefused on 13 occasions. Of the cases of name change, a new first name wasgiven in 167 cases, a new surname in 739 cases and a new name and surname in 74cases.

Authors of the bill say the new regulation will make changing one's nameeasier and cheaper for residents, particularly by eliminating the need to puttogether a name file in each individual case and have it reviewed by the namescommission.

Estonia underwent a big namechange campaign in the 1930s when German family names were changed to Estonian names.