The humanities and social science

2023 Issue №3

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Language policy of Estonia: achievements and the future of education in the Russian language



Estonia’s language policy sparks serious debates in the academic community, further complicated by the politically charged nature of the topic. In the works of Estonian authors, there is unequivocal postulation of Russia’s influence on Estonian society, while relatively little attention is given to the Russian-speaking minorities themselves. Domestic researchers focus on the negative aspects of integration and language policies—violations of the rights of national minorities, the assimilative nature of Estonia’s language policy—yet, due to the lan­guage barrier, rarely incorporate Estonian-language empirical material. This often leads to diametrically opposite conclusions about the prospects of Estonia’s language policy, ranging from the inevitable assimilation of the Russian-speaking minority to its successful integration into Estonian society while preserving linguistic and cultural distinctiveness. The article examines the results of Estonia’s language policy as of 2023 and the prospects for Russian-language education in the country, drawing conclusions about the potential transformation of integration policy into a genuinely assimilative one.