TALLINN - Andrey Kuzichkin, a political refugee living in Estonia and former head of the Tomsk region's culture department in Russia, became a citizen of Estonia last week by an order of the government of Feb. 10, Postimees reports.
Kuzichkin, who is also known as a columnist for Postimees, said that one of the reasons why he sought to be released from his Russian citizenship was his protest against Putin's regime. He said that he now plans to actively take part in political life in Estonia.
Kuzichkin noted that he had not set an objective to get Estonian citizenship.
"I'd been hoping to live in Estonia for some five more years and that things would change for the better in Russia and I could return. However, the war changed both the plans of the entire world as well as mine. I decided to apply for Estonian citizenship. Of course it was a protest against Putin's regime; it was a reply to those who didn't believe in my ability to adapt to a new life at the age of 60 and try to become a European," he told the Russian-language edition of Postimees.
Kuzichkin deems it important that Estonia should regard him as its citizen and not an immigrant. He added that he now plans to take part in Estonia's political life.
"First, I'll get a document and then I will vote in the Riigikogu elections," he said.
Originally from the Tomsk region, Kuzichkin has been residing in Estonia from 2014. Before leaving Russia due to political persecution, he worked as a lecturer in a university in Tomsk and before that in the administration of the Tomsk region.
Kuzichkin arrived in Estonia in January 2015 and applied for asylum due to his Estonian visa expiring. He spent his first six months in Estonia at the Vao refugee center.