Estonians want non-Estonians to leave

  • 2000-09-14
TALLINN (BNS) - Nearly half of ethnic Estonians in Estonia believe the country would benefit from non-Estonians leaving, according to a public opinion poll commissioned by the Integration Foundation.

The results of the Saar Poll survey, published in the daily Eesti Paevaleht, show that 45 percent of ethnic Estonians believe that non-Estonians are not loyal to the Estonian state and do not support its development.

Over half the Estonian-speakers, or 52 percent, believe Estonia is not the homeland of the resident non-Estonians.

A member of the research team, sociologist Iris Pettai, said the survey is reliable, and its results are confirmed also by other surveys.

"The best sociologists were working for the survey, and we spent half a year on drawing up the questionnaire alone," Raivo Vetik, a political science lecturer at Tartu University and a member of the team, told the paper.

Sociologist Andrus Saar said the survey showed that there are two kinds of attitudes to non-Estonians among Estonian speakers. "Non-Estonians are divided into Russians and foreigners, and the attitudes to the two groups are different," Saar said. The answers to the question about the leaving of non-Estonians were given from the emotional aspect, without any thought to the consequences.

The questionnaire polled 1,142 people from different parts of Estonia and in correspondence with the ethnic structure of the population, and sociologists claim this is a sufficiently representative selection to provide a picture of processes taking part in the society.

Integration Foundation director Mati Luik said that the aim of the survey was not just to record the situation, but to observe the integration through the years. "Its importance lies in constant monitoring, which is to be continued next spring," Luik told Eesti Paevaleht.

The survey, which contained nearly two hundred questions, cost nearly half a million kroons (nearly $28,000) to conduct.