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Estonian Universities to Ban New Russian & Belarus Students Due to War in Ukraine

Estonia’s higher education institutions are considering additional sanctions against Russian and Belarusian students after a local university did so last week.

The University of Tartu (UT), one of the highly ranked universities in Estonia, announced last week that it will not be accepting new students from Russia and Belarus starting from the next academic year for two main reasons; As a sanction imposed due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and because of security concerns in the 27-nation bloc, reports.

“It is important to note that the decision applies only to the academic year 2022/2023 and only to new applicants. All students registered at the University of Tartu are members of the university family, their residence permits are valid, and they are invited to continue their studies. At the moment, there are 257 Russian students and 25 A student with Belarusian citizenship studying at the University of Tartu,” Viz Rector at the University of Tartu wrote in an advertisement.

After that, universities in Estonia intend to impose sanctions on citizens of Russia and Belarus who arrive in the Baltic state for study reasons. There are 440 citizens of Russia and 50 citizens of Belarus studying in Estonian universities.

Hendrik Vol, who represents one of the largest Estonian higher education institutions, Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech), revealed that his university plans to do the same, due to security concerns surrounding Russian and Belarusian students.

We also discussed this issue with security experts outside the university. The university lacks the ability to differentiate between Russian student candidates and Belarusians loyal to the Putin regime and those who are not.

He also noted that other universities such as Tallinn University and the Estonian University of Life Sciences are likely to announce similar decisions, as the issue has been under discussion for some time.

>> Estonia suspends e-residency program for citizens of Russia and Belarus

Such a decision was not welcomed by the Russian students, one of them – Danila Koklyanov, said that he had friends who plan to come to Tartu before the outbreak of the war, on the way to escape from the Putin regime.

I don’t know anyone who agrees with the Russian government about the Russian students studying here. “Everyone is against war, everyone wants peace and the ability to study in Europe,” said Arita Greb, another Russian student.

Moreover, Russian and Belarusian students already registered in Estonian universities will be able to continue their academic life in the country if the proposed bar comes into force, at the beginning of the next academic year, if they have a residence permit.

In addition, Russian and Belarusian students with dual citizenship can be exempted from the ban, assuming their other citizenship was for a country that Estonia considers valid.

However, President Alar Karis, a former university president in Utah, wasn’t fond of the announcement, saying it would likely need to be reconsidered.

After closing visa centers in both countries, the Estonian government has suspended visa applications for Russian and Belarusian citizens since the Russian invasion of Ukraine last month.

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