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To Amnesty International: Blame the lazy worker, not the Estonian state.


Amnesty International claims discrimination in Estonia

Amnesty International claimed last week that Estonia discriminates against Russians. Estonian officials and entrepreneurs say nothing of the kind occurs. “We respect the right of Estonia to preserve its culture and develop its language but the language cannot be promoted while neglecting internationally recognized human rights,” said the institution’s EU and Central Asian studies expert Anders Dahlbeck.

Estonians beg to differ. Spokesmen for the firms Elion and Silmet Group claimed employees are hired and promoted based on skills and qualifications, not a person’s nationality. Estonian Language Inspectorate Director General Ilmar Tomusk noted that requiring a person know a language necessary to do a job is not a violation of human rights. Minister of the Interior Kalle Laanet also pointed out that the state has financed language education for anyone who wishes to learn but cannot afford it. “If they don’t have the desire to learn, nothing can be done.”

Anyone who has worked in private enterprise in Estonia knows that companies are desperate for good employees. If you can write your name in a box which reads nimi, then you can get some job in Estonia. Sure, better jobs require better language skills, but this is the case in every country in the world. In the end, there’s only one reason for an employee not learning Estonian: The worker is lazy. City Paper salutes the good work Amnesty International does in the world, but in this case we believe the organization’s energy is hopelessly misguided.

And, by the way, City Paper is always looking for sales personnel, and we don’t really care what language you speak.