Disinfo: Russian speakers are barred from running in Estonian elections


In Estonia, most of Russian-speaking inhabitants may vote according to the laws, however they cannot run in the elections and occupy state-positions.

The Baltic politicians insist that everything that is Russian is a threat. And every time when the Russian-speakers in the Baltic States try to defend their rights, the authorities respond in spirit "your rights are not breached, because you don't have any".


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about alleged Russophobia in the Baltic States.

According to Estonian Riigikogu Election Act, article 4:

(4) Estonian citizens who have attained 21 years of age by the last day for the registration of candidates have the right to stand as candidates.

(5) A person who has been divested of his or her active legal capacity with regard to the right to vote does not have the right to stand as a candidate.

(6) A person in active service in the Defence Forces or a person who has been convicted of a criminal offence by a court and is serving a prison sentence shall not stand as a candidate for election to the Riigikogu.

As for the rights of minorities, Estonia is considered a consolidated democracy by Freedom House and a Flawed Democracy by the Economist Intelligence Unit's Democracy Index.

In Latvia, the Constitutional Court of Latvia stated that Amendments to the Education Law that stipulate transition to Latvian as the sole instruction language in schools are in line with the Constitution. In its decision, the Constitutional Court indicated that the convention on the protection of national minorities said that any person has the right to learn in their native language. But the convention allows countries themselves to decide the extent to which this is carried out, which was done in Latvia. Separately, the court decision notes that the right to learn the native language should not interfere with the development of the state language, and it is Latvian in Latvia. Read more here.

Additionally, Latvia offers educational programmes in eight minority languages, which besides Russian include Polish, Hebrew, Ukrainian, Estonian, Lithuanian, Belarusian and Roma languages. In primary schools, which are implementing the minority language programmes, lessons are taught in both minority language and Latvian, while in high-schools - 60% in Latvian, 40% in minority language. However, the passing of a Latvian language state exam is required to successfully finish and acquire a high-school diploma.

See related examples of pro-Kremlin disinformation claims, alleging that Russian-speakers are still openly discriminated against, especially in the Baltic states; Russian media and language under pressure in the Baltics; the rights of non-citizens are limited in Latvia.


  • Reported in: Issue 260
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 26/09/2021
  • Article language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Russia, Baltic states, Estonia, Latvia
  • Keywords: Russophobia, Russian language, Elections


see more

Ukraine is preparing for a full war in Donbas

As winter is approaching, the Ukrainian armed forces can start a full war in Donbas.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about war in Ukraine.

Ukraine is not preparing military provocations in Donbas. Kyiv has repeatedly stated that it is not interested in escalation and that it prefers a peaceful solution. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that the Minsk agreements are the only option to end the war in Donbas.

The European Parliament set the goal of discrediting Russian parliamentary elections

The main character turned out to be the European Parliament, where they made great progress, at least formally, towards their goal: discrediting the parliamentary elections and delegitimising power in Russia in general. The European Parliament approved a scandalous report recommending not to recognise the elected State Duma. The OSCE/ODIHR refused, on a far-fetched pretext, to send its observers to the elections in Russia.


Disinformation claim which appeared in the context of Russian State Duma election 2021.

The European Union took note of independent and reliable sources reporting serious violations in Russian State Duma, regional and local elections 2021 and expressed deep concerns over the continuous pattern of shrinking space for the opposition, civil society and independent voices across Russia. The EU called on Russia’s leadership to reverse these negative developments.

Crimea’s election is invalidated because of Ukraine’s failure to implement Minsk agreements

As a result of the failure of the Ukrainian authorities to implement the Minsk agreements, some people [German and French colleagues, as well as the European Union] are invalidating the elections in Crimea.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the implementation of the Minsk Agreements and the illegal annexation of Crimea, claiming that it voted to rejoin Russia through a legal referendum.

All four Minsk agreements, signed in the Belarusian capital in 2014 and 2015, first and foremost require a complete ceasefire. Ukraine has announced several ceasefires, the latest one being in July 2020, in the hope that Russia-backed separatists would do the same. However, they have been continually violating it.

Subscribe to the DISINFO REVIEW

Your weekly update on pro-Kremlin disinformation

No, thank you.