National minorities and their cultural activity

A national minority is an ethnic group living alongside the local ethnic group who differs from the main population by ethnic, linguistic or religious affiliation or by some other trait. A national minority meets the following criteria:

  • is in numerical minority compared to the main population;
  • is not in a dominating position in society;
  • members of the national minority are citizens or permanent residents of the state;
  • has an ethnic, religious or linguistic divergence from the majority of the population;
  • considers itself a nation.

Representatives of about 190 nationalities live in Estonia with the largest ethnic groups being Russians, followed by the Ukrainians, Belarussians, etc.

A special feature of the protection of national minorities is positive discrimination, by which ethnic minorities are given relatively more rights. The rights of national minorities are protected with laws and international agreements.

The national minorities living in Estonia are actively engaged in the preservation of their culture and traditions with more than 300 cultural societies operating.

The tasks of supporting the cultural life of national minorities and contributing to preserving the cultural uniqueness and language of national minorities lie with the Ministry of Culture in Estonia. The Council for Ethnic Minorities operates under the Ministry of Culture as an advisory body regarding the development of the cultural life and activities of national minorities.

More about cultural diversity and integration can you read at home page of Ministry of Culture.

Last amended: 26-05-2017 00:00 | Compiled by: Ministry of Culture