Lawyer: state should make its laws available also in Russian

11.04.2012, 16:21

Toomas Vaher, chairman of the Estonian Bar Association, is worried that Russians living in Estonia do not know the laws that regulate life in Estonia well enough and believes that the solution would be to translate the whole body of laws into Russian.

“People need to have the possibility to read laws in their mother tongue because this is the best way for them to understand their rights and obligations,” writes Vaher.

Vaher reminds that Riigi Teataja (State Gazette) was published also in the Russian language until January 1, 2006, but it was then stop to cut costs and was made into a paid service.

“We must not forget that about 30 percent of residents in Estonia speak Russian as their mother tongue. The question is not about politics, but about a practical need to make laws available to Russians in their mother tongue,” he added.

According to Vaher, State Gazette is also available in English, but many lawyers need Russian translations also in their daily work.

The Bar Association has proposed to start by translating the first 10 to 15 key pieces of legislation into Russian or buy existing translations, revise them and make them public.

These would be the laws that are most likely to affect the life of Russians living in Estonia,” he said.