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Ukrainians in Estonia
17 August 2012 09:39

 Ukrainian community in the Republic of Estonia

1-2) Quantitative and social composition of Ukrainians, the places of compact residence of Ukrainians in Estonia.

The Ukrainians are the third largest ethnic group of the population in Estonia after the Estonian and Russian. More than 22 000 immigrants from Ukraine are living now in Estonia, and more than 4 000 people have Ukrainian citizenship. In the vast majority, they are people of the working fields. Mostly they are concentrated at the largest cities of Estonia – Tallinn, Tartu, Pärnu, Maardu. At the same time, a significant number of Ukrainians are living in the north-eastern region of Estonia (Narva Sillamae, Kohtla-Jarve, Johvi), where the chemical industry specialists and coal miners from Ukraine were sent in Soviet times.

3) Availability of public associations and organizations of Ukrainians in Estonian and its status.

Representatives of the Ukrainian diaspora in the Estonian Repuplic (ER) are united in more than twenty Ukrainian national-cultural societies. Some of them are part of the Ukrainian Congress of Estonia and the Association of Ukrainian organizations in Estonia. Another part of the organizations are working as independent units.
These communities are working as independent regional organizations. They are not numerous accounting no more than 50-70 members.

The main area of organizations activity of the Ukrainian diaspora in Estonia is to the cultural and educational field. To preserve national culture and language, customs and traditions of the Ukrainian people the following events are organised: concerts, exhibitions, lectures on the history of Ukraine, literary-musical evening dedicated to the anniversaries of prominent Ukrainian leaders and memorable dates in the history of the Ukrainian people.

For many years, The Ukrainian Friendly Association of Estonia was the only Ukrainian organization in the country who meets the cultural and educational needs of Ukrainians in Estonia preserving their language and folk customs. It was established in 1988 (Chairperson is Vira Konyk).

In 2002 the Ukrainian Friendly Association of Estonia was incorporated into the newly formed Congress of Ukrainians in Estonia (Chairperson is Vira Konyk). Today it comprises more than ten organizations among them are the following: The Union of Ukrainian women in Estonia (established in June 1998, Chairperson is Lilia Chikalska), The Scouting Organization «Plast» (2002, Chairperson is Bogdan Lyutyuk) and The Sports Club «Dnipro» (2003, Chairperson is Sergey Ishchenko), The Ida Virumaa Ukrainian Friendly Association (2000, Chairperson is Nina Dyachenko), The Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Community «Stozhary» in Maardu (2000, Chairperson is Anna Smirnova), The Ukrainian Friendly Association «Barvinok» in Rakvere (2004, Chairperson is Tetyana Stanovaya), The Ukrainian Association «Smerichka» in Oyzy (2003, Chairperson Anna Loovili), Ukrainian Friendly Association in Narva (1996, Chairperson is Galina Malyarova), Ukrainian Community in Pilva (2004, Chairperson is Liliana Cherepaha), The Ukrainian Cultural Community in Tartu «Promin» (Chairperson is Nikolay Stasuk).

The Congress of Ukrainians in Estonia are gathered around the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, which is located in the same building with the Ukrainian Cultural Centre (Chairperson is Anatoly Lyutyuk). The Ukrainian Sunday School, School Crafts and also small Library are located on the base of the Church.

In August 2007 on the occasion of the 16th anniversary of Independence of Ukraine, Anatoliy Lyutyuk, the Director of the Ukrainian Cultural Centre in Tallinn, artist, the citizen of the Republic of Estonia was awarded with the title of the Honoured Artist of Ukraine for his personal contribution to strengthening the image of Ukraine in the world, promotion historic and modern achievements of Ukraine.

The Female Vocal Group «Echo» (1989, Chairperson is Olesya Litnevski), The Chorus «Rodyna» (1998, Narva), The Young Women Ensemble «Verbichenka» (2005, Narva), The Young Women Ensemble «Dzherela» (2004, Maardy), The Ukrainian Theater Studio «Artstudiya» (1995, Tallinn), the Theater of Ukrainian art «Vertep» (2001, Maardy), The Club of Ukrainian Literature (2003, Tallinn) are acting on the base of organisations of The Congress of Ukrainians in Estonia.

The Congress of Ukrainians in Estonia is the member of The Nation Association of Estonia, the European Congress of Ukrainians, The Ukrainian World Congress, the Ukrainian World Coordinating Council. The congressional representatives are part of the roundtable of national minorities under the President of Estonia. While The Union of Ukrainian Women in Estonia is a member of the World Federation of Ukrainian Women's Organizations (WFUWO).

The address of The Congress of Ukrainians in Estonia is Laboratooriumi 22, Tallinn Estonia, webpage: www.hot.ee/uke, tel/fax: (+372) 641 1963. The contact information of Vira Konik as the Congress’ Chairperson is: [email protected], GSM: (+372) 5 232 275.

The Association of Ukrainian Organizations in Estonia established in May 2000, (AUOE, Chairperson is Vladimir Palamar) unites the Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Community «Prosvita» in Tallinn (Chairperson is Oksana Mamutova), The Union of Ukrainian Youth in Estonia (Chairperson is Vladimir Palamar), The Ukrainian Association in Sillamäe «Vodogray» (Chairperson is L. Zhitnik), The Youth and Children's Dance Ensemble «Color» in Tallinn (Chairperson is Nina Koort), The Cultural and Educational Community «Orpheu» in Tapa (Chairperson is Lubov Laur), The Ukrainian Community in Pärnu «Vitchyzna» (Chairperson is Nina Sushko).

The Academic Choir «Ukraine», the Female Vocal Ensemble «Sysidki» and The Chorus «Mriya» (1998, Tallinn).

In 2001, The Association was awarded with the Diploma of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine for its significant contribution for the forming of a positive image of Ukraine in the world as well as for the active social life.

The address of Association is Nafta tn. 6-2, Tallinn, EE10152, Estonia, Ukraina Organisatsioonide Assotsiatsioon Eestis, tel/fax: (+372) 600 67 68, е-mail: [email protected] The contact number of Vladimir Palamar as a Chairperson is (+372) 5565 9763.

The Ukrainian Friendly Association «Vodogray» in Sillamäe (The Chairperson is Larisa Zhitnik) was founded in May 1999. The main activity is devoted to working with children and young people. The Ukrainian Sunday School was established on the base of Association’s premises. The School’s activity is now supported by the Integration Foundation in Estonia, the governing body of Sillamäe, the Embassy of Ukraine in Estonia. It is the first entity among the Ukrainian Sunday schools in Estonia who received the licence of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Estonia on the right to teach their native language.

From September 2004, thanks to the efforts of Larisa Zhitnik (the Association’s Chairperson) the optional class of the Ukrainian language learning was provided in the Sillamäe Secondary School. The methodological assistance in the teaching of Ukrainian language is provided by the governing bodies of the Institute of Ukrainian Philology of the National Dragomanov Pedagogical University.

This Friendly Association maintains its network with the Centre for Ukrainian Studies of the KyivNationalTarasShevchenkoUniversity, the Center for Humanitarian Cooperation with the Ukrainian diaspora of the NizhynM.GogolStatePedagogicalUniversity, the Secondary School No 197 in Kyiv, the Community «Ukraine-Svit», the Cultural Department of the Brovary City Administration.

The Museum of Ukrainian Folk Art and the Assembled Library are operating under the Sillamäe Ukrainian Friendly Association «Vodogray». Since 2000 the Association issued an information list «Vodogray».

The Sillamäe Ukrainian Friendly Association «Vodogray» was awarded with the Diploma of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine in 2003, as well as with the Diploma of Community «Ukraina-Svit» in 2004 for both an active position under the subjects of the abroad Ukrainian culture and art and for the forming positive image of Ukraine in the world.

The address of Association is 13-3 Mayakovsky St., 40232, Sillamäe, Ida-Virumaa, Estonia, www.hot.ee/vodograi, е-mail: [email protected], tel.: (+372) 39 27 569; 39 77 468

Among the art groups of the Ukrainian diaspora in Estonia is known the Folk Ensemble «Zhurba», established in 1992. Its activity is focused on the revival of Ukrainian folk songs, their popularization among the Ukrainian and Estonian general public, as well as to acquaint the people of Estonia with Ukrainian folk clothing, rites and traditions.

The Ensemble is a member of the Estonian Folklore Community. In May 2000, the Ensemble issued the group audio under the support of «Radio 4», the Ministry of Culture of Estonia and the Tallinn Culture Department. In 2004, the Ensemble has been certified by Folklore Community of Estonia by assigning a higher category. In November 2004, the Ensemble «Zhurba» was awarded with the title «national art group» according to the decision of the Board of the Ministry of Culture.

The Head of the Ensemble is Vladimir Leibyuk (contact number: (+372) 55518524, e-mail: [email protected]

4) The status of political, social, educational, cultural, linguistic, information and other rights and needs of Ukrainians in Estonia.

According to the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia, the development of the Estonian nation, the preserving of the cultural traditions of the Estonian people is the main aim of Estonian statehood. However, for non-Estonians living in Estonia, the country's Constitution guarantees the possibility to preserve their language and cultural backgrounds, primarily through cultural associations and the native language education.

Nowadays, there are more than 120 national cultural communities in Estonia whose activities are supported by such governmental agencies as The Ministry of Education and Science, The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Estonia. Furthermore, the national cultural communities are supported by the local authorities.

The Sunday Schools are established on the base of Ukrainian Friendly Associations and operate in such cities as Tallinn, Sillamäe, Narva, Maardu, Valga, Oisu, Tapa, Tartu.

Every Saturday, the Ukrainian language radio program «Chervona kalyna» sounds on the fourth channel of the Estonian radio for the Ukrainian population in Estonia. The political and cultural life of Ukraine, as well as the Ukrainian diaspora in Estonia, are covered within that radio program.

From 1999 to 2003, The Ukrainian Friendly Association has issued the Ukrainian newspaper «Struny». Its issue was stopped due to the lack of funds.

5) The information on the representatives of Ukrainian diaspora among the political, governmental, business, scientific, cultural, artistic elite of the host country.

The famous Ukrainians and representatives of scientific, cultural and artistic elite of Estonia are sculptor Ivan Zubaka, artists Anatoliy Strakhov, Yarina Ilo, Anatoly Lyutyuk, Nina Vinnick, actors Eugeny Hayduk and Alexander Ivashkevich, musician Ruslan Trochinsky, theatre producer Yuri Mikhailov, historian Boris Dubovik, Professor of Slavic Philology of Tartu University Oleksandr Dulichenko and faculty member of the this university Ludmila Dulichenko, creator of the Sorochynsky fair in Maardu Mykola Shevets.

6) The legislation of the country of accreditation in the relations field with the national minorities.

The legal foundations of state policy in the sphere of ensuring the rights of national minorities are The Law on Cultural Autonomy of National Minorities, The Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, The Law «On Public Associations», The Law «On Public Education», The Law «On basic school and gymnasium», The Law «On Television and Radio Broadcasting», The State program devoted the integration into the Estonian society, The Foundations of the Estonian state cultural policy.

12 June 1993 the Riigikogu (the Parliament) adopted the Law on Cultural Autonomy of National Minorities, which prohibits persons who belong to the national minorities are granted the right of self-determination in matters of culture in terms of financial support from the government aiming the implementation of their constitutional right to preserve their native language, ethnicity, culture and religion. The number of cultural autonomy of national minorities shall not be less than 3000 people.

The representatives’ union of national minorities, whose numbers are less than 3000 people, acts in accordance with the Law on Public Associations. According to this Law, it is enough to have three individuals and small amount of money on the registration fee to establish the public organization. It is illegally to require the list of non-profit organization members, so the authorities of Estonia do not have the data on the size of any organizations.

Persons belonging to the national minorities have the right to establish and maintain national cultural and educational institutions, religious communities, to support the national traditions and religious customs of worship, if it does not prejudice the public order or health or morals; to use their language in their own paperwork, to make publications on their national language; to conclude cooperation agreements between national cultural and educational institutions and religious communities, to disseminate and exchange information in their native language.

According to the Law on the Public Education and Law on the BasicSchool and High School, the certain conditions should be provided for students of the Estonian Schools as non-native Estonian speakers to learn the native language and national culture. At the same time, the native language and culture learning should be organized by the school in case of the written request on the name of the school head from the parents of more than 10 students who have common native language. In addition, the learning process is provided as an optional course. The class duration is at least 2 hours per week where the study group is formed from the students of different groups.

In September 16, 1998 the Riigikogu (the Parliament) of Estonia adopted the «Principles of the Estonian state cultural policy», declaring the equality of all society members to participate in the cultural life in Estonia, regardless of their gender, nationality and residence. The main aim of the Estonian State in the culture policy is the maintenance of Estonian national culture and traditions. In additional, the State promotes the activities of the national minorities’ organizations and the cultural network with their ethnic homelands.

7) The host country public authorities working with national minorities.

The Ministry of Education and Science of Estonia and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Estonia are the government agencies working in the field of national minorities.

8) Challenges for ensuring the Ukrainians rights in Estonia.

The challenges for ensuring the Ukrainians rights in Estonia are the following: insufficient knowledge of the Estonian language; unemployment; citizenship status uncertainty; insufficient knowledge of the Ukrainian language; and the Russian mass media impact on the Ukrainian community.

However, the majority of Ukrainians as permanent residents of Estonia support the idea of integration of the ethnic non-Estonians in the Estonian society maintaining their culture, language and national identity. Moreover, the Estonian government has provided all needed conditions for that purpose.



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