Good Practices

Intercultural competences in Estonia

Nationalities in Estonia:
Estonians 71,8%
Russians 21,6%
Ukrainians 2,1%
Belarussians 1,2%
Finnish 0,8%
Latvians 0,2 %
Polish 0,2%

One of the biggest problems in Estonia since restoration of independence has been the question of the non-Estonian population - people who moved to Estonia from within the Soviet Union. Their cultural and/or political identity is different from that of the Estonians. It is clear that the restoration of the independence of Estonia was traumatic experience for some of them, as they had been accustomed to thinking of Estonia as an integral part of their homeland.

Important points and keywords:
•Cultural ethnicity (belief of shared language, religion or other cultural values and customs);
•political ethnicity (political awareness);
-Territory (nature, agriculture);
•Identity of citizenship;
-Estonian citizenship;
-Russian citizenship;
-People without citizenship;
•Territorial identity (country and territory two different things);
•Identity of the native land (homeland);
-younger people versus older people;
•Ethnic – cultural identity
•Confusion of identities;
-no special identification towards any specific culture;

-no common positive historical past (between Estonians and Russians);
-depthless common cultural contacts;
-no equal access to the local labour market economical problems;
-lack of tolerance and understanding;
-the quality of education.

4 possible types of relationships:
1. confrontation;
2. integration;
3. separation;
4. assimilation.

Estonians were choosing the road of integration but activities to maintain it in Estonia are still lasting. (Eestimaa Rahvaste Ühendus, Eesti ja venelased - tähelepanekud identiteetidest.
R. Raud (2004). The Conditions for a Multicultural Estonia. Estonia. Identity and Independence. NY 2004.

What has done and what needs to do to improve Intercultural competences in Estonia

• learning local language – adequate language skills
In Estonia are schools for Russians who can learn subjects in Estonian language from first school year.
In summer universities, Language Learning Centres, courses can learn different languages, learn about cultural and lingual differences.
• organize cultural events – evenings in order to introduce different cultures; both ways – Estonians would introduce its culture and would learn about others. (Tallinn is the European Culture Capital during the year 2011).
- music events
- introducing/testing food;
- handicraft;
- sightseeing – museums, shows, workshops etc.
• supporting organizations (which are mostly NGO-s) which are promoting different cultures; awareness about different religions
• religion- to rise awareness of traditions, manners in different religions.

Good practices from other country

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