Universities

Other universities may follow Tartu’s lead in banning Russian students | News

A total of 440 students who are citizens of the Russian Federation are studying at Estonian higher education institutions, AK reported, joined by 50 students from Belarus.

Hendrik Voll, vice-rector for studies at Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech), told AK that the position of Estonian universities tends to be to act in the same direction.

He said he shared Tartu University rector Toomas Asser’s concerns about the security issue surrounding Russian and Belarusian students.

Voll told AK that: “We also discussed this issue with security experts outside the university; the university does not have the ability to differentiate Russian and Belarusian student applicants loyal to the Putin regime from those who are not”.

Renno Veinthal, undersecretary at the Ministry of Education and Research, says the focus is on Ukrainian students fleeing the war.

Veinthal told AK that: “Universities are doing their best to create study opportunities for Ukrainian students whose study options in their home country have been suppressed to date. In Russia and Belarus, students can still continue their studies.”

Hendrik Voll said similar decisions are likely to be made with other higher education institutions in Estonia.

“The rectors and boards of Estonian public universities have been discussing this issue for a long time, and the current position is that Estonian public universities are doing the same here,” Voll said.

Other such universities include the University of Tallinn and the Estonian University of Life Sciences, located in Tartu.

Russian and Belarusian students who are already studying in Estonia will be able to continue their studies if the proposed ban comes into force, at the start of the next school year, provided they have a residence permit.

A Russian student, Danila Kuklianov, from Moscow and in his second year studying technology and robotics at the University of Tartu, said he had friends who had already wanted to come to Tartu before the war broke out , adding that now would be an opportunity to flee the Putin regime.

Another, Areta Grape, a life sciences and economics student, said their fellow students were united in their opposition to the war in Ukraine.

Grape said, “I don’t know anyone who agrees with the Russian government about Russian students studying here. Everyone is opposed to war, everyone wants peace and to be able to study in Europe.”

Another student, Adilet Dossymbekov, also a student of life sciences and economics, said the dispute had no impact on student relations, regardless of their background.

He said: “None of us are racial, none of us discriminate against others based on race or ethnicity, or who we are and who we live with. We are all here to learn. “

The University of Tartu announced on Wednesday that from the next academic year, students from Russia and Belarus will not be able to study, unless they already have a residence permit in Estonia or any other state. EU member.

Students already enrolled – 257 from Russia and 25 from Belarus – could continue their studies, while the ban only applies to bachelor’s and master’s students.

Meanwhile, 79 Russian citizens and 10 Belarusians are currently studying at TalTech, AK reported.

Russian and Belarusian students who had dual nationality could also circumvent the ban, assuming their other nationality was that of a state that Estonia finds favorable.

The main rationale was security concerns about students whose sympathies might end up going to their home country’s regime and its attack on Ukraine, as well as to comply with sanctions imposed on Russia, Belarus and their citizens, in other areas.

President Alar Karis, former rector of the University of Tartu, was very pointed in his criticism of the announcement, adding that it should probably be reviewed.

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