This Guy – Estonia Edition

This guy:


Lives above this cafe:


Where this mural is on the wall:


In Tartu, Estonia.

That’s our friend Dave, the impetus for our trip to Estonia (Eesti). He is studying the Estonian language at the University of Tartu, an institution that has weathered several rulers, occupations, and semesters of rowdy students. Founded in 1632, University of Tartu is one of Estonia’s great prides.

Dave is studying Estonian as a piece of his dissertation toward his PhD. He is already studying Russian. His dissertation focuses on citizenship issues emerging from borders between nations and cultures. (my synopsis, not sure I got it right). Estonia borders Russia and still sports about a 13% Russian population.

In order for those folks to become Estonian, and be full citizens of the country where they reside, they must first give up their Russian citizenship. The rule applies to any person wanting citizenship; I would have to give up my US citizenship to become Estonian. There is no dual citizenship for Estonians.

If a Russian gives up her Russian citizenship, she gives up any current benefits she receives (perhaps pension or unemployment), and she gives up the ability to easily cross the border into Russia, where many of her relatives still live. And, more practically, where she may be able to make a little extra cash by smuggling goods or legitimately assisting Russian businesspeople to make commercial connections in Estonia. Estonia is a European Union (EU) member, thus a desirable place to make business connections and inroads.

Thus, many Russians on the border and in the capital city, Tallinn, maintain Russian citizenship and embrace Russian culture. Just a snippet of the interesting work Dave is exploring.

He was a wonderful host who showed us much of what Tartu has to offer, while making some new discoveries along the way. Oh yea, I really dig the mural, too.


Filed under 5-100, Travel

3 responses to “This Guy – Estonia Edition

  1. Ooh, Estonia! I’m Lithuanian (well, my name is Lithuanian anyway), and I’d love to get over there someday. Your friend’s studies sound fascinating. Looking forward to more stories from your trip.

    • That’s really neat that you know your heritage, or your name’s heritage anyway! I don’t know much about Lithuania – just a vague awareness of Soviet occupation, like that of Estonia and other similar states in the region. I suspect that Lithuania also has a rich cultural heritage.

  2. Pingback: Sigonella Directory | The Cinquecento Project

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