Ukrainian community in the Republic of Estonia
In Estonia, Ukrainians are the third largest ethnic group after Estonians and Russians. Before the start of the Russian Federation's full-scale military aggression against Ukraine, more than 25,000 immigrants from Ukraine lived in Estonia, from the beginning of the war until May of this year more than 130,000 citizens of Ukraine entered the country, 71,000 of whom remained in Estonia.
The cities of Narva, Sillamäe, Kohtla-Järve, and Yihvi (the north-eastern region of Estonia) are places of compact residence of Ukrainians in the Republic of Estonia, where during the Soviet times specialists of the chemical industry and miners from Ukraine were sent to work. Ukrainians also live in Tallinn, Tartu, Maardu, Pärnu.
Representatives of the Ukrainian diaspora in the Estonia are united in two independent structures:
The Congress of Ukrainians of Estonia and the Association of Ukrainian Organizations in Estonia, which include twenty-eight Ukrainian national and cultural societies.
The Congress of Ukrainians of Estonia (chairman – Vira Konyk), currently unites more than ten organizations, including: the Union of Ukrainian Women of Estonia, the scouting organization "Plast" and the sports club "Dnipro", the Ukrainian community of Ida-Virumaa, the Ukrainian cultural and educational society "Stozhary" ” Maardu, Ukrainian community "Barvinok" Rakvere (chairman - Maria Gavrilyuk), Ukrainian society "Smerichka" Oizu (chairman - Hanna Loovili), Ukrainian community Narva, Ukrainian society Pylva, cultural society " Ray" of Tartu. The Congress of Ukrainians of Estonia gathers around the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, which is located in the same building as the Ukrainian Cultural Center (the head is Anatoly Lyutiuk). There is a Ukrainian Sunday school and a folk crafts school at the church, as well as a small library.
Women's vocal group "Vidlunya", choir "Rodyna", girls' ensemble "Verbychenka", girls' ensemble "Dzherela", Ukrainian theater studio ArtStudio, Theater of Ukrainian Rite "Vertep", Club of Ukrainian Literature operate under the organizations of the Congress of Ukrainians of Estonia.
The Congress of Ukrainians of Estonia is a member of the Association of the Peoples of Estonia, the European Congress of Ukrainians, the World Congress of Ukrainians, and the Ukrainian World Coordination Council. Representatives of the Congress are part of the round table of national minorities under the President of Estonia. The Union of Ukrainian Women of Estonia is a member of the World Federation of Ukrainian Women's Organizations (WFUHO).
The Association of Ukrainian Organizations in Estonia (President - Volodymyr Palamar) unites the following organizations: 1) Center of Ukrainian Culture in Estonia "Prosvita"; 2) Ukrainian village of Sillamye "Vodogray"; 3) Cultural and educational society "Orpheus" of Tapa; 4) Ukrainian society "Vitchizna" of Pärnu; 5) Union of Ukrainian Youth in Estonia; 6) Creative association "Koyt" of Tapa; 7) Ukrainian community of Payde "Spogad", 8) Youth and children's choreographic ensemble "Color" of Tallinn, 9) Ukrainian studio "Kobzaryk" of Tallinn, 10) Ukrainian registered Cossacks in Estonia, Tallinn. The Ukrainian Saturday school "Nadia" operates under the Association.
Academic choir "Ukraine", women's vocal group "Neighbors" and choir "Mriya" (Tallinn), ensemble "Kumasi" operate under the organizations of AUOE.
The Embassy of Ukraine in Estonia closely cooperates with the Ukrainian community, primarily in the field of public and cultural diplomacy to promote the image of Ukraine in Estonia.
Given the large number of Ukrainian children who came to Estonia with their parents, fleeing Russian aggression, the Embassy pays special attention to ensuring their educational needs.
The following Ukrainian schools are currently operating in Tallinn.
1. The school for Ukrainian children at 49 Raagu Street, in a building belonging to Tallinn University, is part of the Lillekyula Gymnasium (municipal school). The project manager is Natalya Myalitsina. The teaching staff of the school is fully represented by Ukrainian teachers from among temporarily displaced persons. Since September 2022, more than 400 students have started studying at the school (the school is designed for 600 educational places).
2. On September 1, 2022, the Tallinn Municipality opened a Ukrainian school at the Tallinn Tynismae State Gymnasium, which was named "Freedom School".
The educational institution is designed for 800 places for students of grades 7-12. Currently, 584 students study at the "Freedom School". Educational activities at the "Freedom School" are conducted using the method of language immersion, at least 60% of lessons are conducted in Estonian. The school is headed by Olga Selishcheva, who previously worked as the head of the Tallinn House of the Estonian Language INSA, as well as a teacher and head of educational work at the school.