MAY 2016

Course participants motivated to study Estonian by desire to communicate in the language
Counselling Centre assists more than 1000 residents in 2015
Applications for support for new academic year now open for national minority Sunday schools
Maštots Armenian Sunday school opens its doors to visitors
National culture society events

Information on Estonian language studies

Course participants motivated to study Estonian by desire to communicate in the language

As at the end of April, 1884 people all over the country were taking part in the Estonian language courses being organised by the Integration and Migration Foundation Our People (MISA). Employees from the foundation are dropping in on lessons to share information with the participants, answer any questions they have and to seek their feedback on the courses.

“The language courses have been running since last autumn, and in that time we’ve popped in quite regularly to talk to the students and teachers face to face,” said Jana Tondi, the head of language and cultural immersion at the Integration Foundation. “We’ve asked them why they’re studying Estonian and whether they’d like to use the language more. The majority said they’d signed up for the courses because of their jobs and to be able to communicate more freely with their Estonian colleagues. In the feedback they gave us, quite a few also mentioned that they’d like to make more use of Estonian in their everyday lives – in shops and cafés, talking to Estonian neighbours and people they know, going to the movies, watching Estonian-language shows on TV, listening to the radio and reading newspapers.”

44-year-old Svetlana, who works as an editor, is taking Estonian at the A2 level in Tallinn. She said her studies are helped by watching subtitled programmes on ETV.

55-year-old Tatjana, who is a price and quality controller, is studying the national language at the B1 level in Pärnu. She is studying Estonian in order to be able to use the language at work and in day-to-day life, but added that she would also like to read Estonian books and newspapers and chat more with Estonians.

41-year-old Irina, an assistant in outpatient rehabilitative medicine, uses Estonian at work and in her everyday life quite a lot. She still wants to improve her language skills, however – especially in grammar, which she feels is complicated and needs practice. She added that she would like to make even more use of the national language, including being able to help her child with school work. 

36-year-old IT specialist Vitali has started studying Estonian at the B1 level, since he wants to be able to engage more with his colleagues and make new Estonian-speaking friends.

The Integration Foundation wishes all of the participants in the courses well and hopes they are motivated to see their studies through and make real use of their Estonian skills.

MISA is organising free Estonian courses at the A2, B1 and B2 levels until 2020 as part of the ‘Activities supporting integration in Estonian society’ project of the European Social Fund.

For further information please contact: Jana Tondi | Head of Language and Cultural Immersion, MISA | Telephone: +372 659 9069 | E-mail: [email protected]

Activities of the Counselling Centre of MISA

Counselling Centre assists more than 1000 residents in 2015

Since autumn 2014, the Integration and Migration Foundation Our People (MISA) has been operating a Counselling Centre which provides information, advice and guidelines on living in Estonia to those of other nationalities residing in the country. It has offices in both Tallinn and Narva, and monthly consultation hours take place in various towns in Ida-Viru and Harju counties.

A total of 1035 people turned to the Counselling Centre’s consultants in 2015, being assisted via e-mail, over the phone and in person. “The main questions people had for our consultants were about citizenship and benefits,” explained Kätlin Kõverik, a senior consultant at the Counselling Centre: “what they need to do in order to apply for Estonian citizenship and the order they need to do it in; whether and on what conditions you can apply for Estonian citizenship for a child born here; what basis you can apply for an Estonian residence permit on for your relatives; what the language requirements are in obtaining citizenship and working in a variety of positions; what kind of financial support is offered to those who are less well-off and to older people; whether and on what conditions pensions are paid to people with residence permits who have only recently started living in Estonia; what the situation is with support services and employment for people with disabilities; what help is offered to newly arrived immigrants in terms of finding a job; and how to go about finding and contact people from the same national or ethnic background.”

Another topic which is regularly discussed during consultations is Estonian language studies and language practice. “Most people want to know what the conditions are for taking Estonian language exams, how they should go about choosing the right teacher and what materials they should use,” said Kõverik. “They also ask how they can practise their Estonian, who can make use of such opportunities and what the conditions are for doing so. Some people ask for advice as well on how to overcome barriers in speaking Estonian.” 

The Counselling Centre is open to anyone seeking information on the way things are run in Estonia and on living and working in the country. Consultants can introduce clients to public services and the social benefits offered by the state, and if requested can provide help in communicating with state and local government institutions.

Consultants can be contacted by e-mailing [email protected] or calling the free information line 800 9999. The Counselling Centre’s offices are located at Lõõtsa 2a (8th floor) in Tallinn and Kerese 3 (room 308, 3rd floor, Kerese Centre) in Narva. Information about consultations in Tallinn and Harju County and Ida-Viru County can be found on the Integration Foundation website.

The operations of the Counselling Centre form part of the ‘Development and implementation of an advisory and information system’ activity of the ‘Activities supporting integration in Estonian society’ project of the European Social Fund.

For further information please contact: Kätlin Kõverik | Senior Consultant, Counselling Centre | E-mail: [email protected] | Telephone: +372 659 9032 

Open application rounds

Applications for support for new academic year now open for national minority Sunday schools

The Integration and Migration Foundation Our People (MISA) has launched an application round for base financing for national minority Sunday schools for activities in the 2016/2017 academic year.

“We decided to open up the application round in May so that all Sunday schools have project support agreements in place by the start of the new academic year and can recommence their teaching work straight away in September,” explained Kristina Pirgop, the head of partnership relations with MISA. “We’ve also been arranging open days with national minority Sunday schools since the start of the year to introduce parents and anyone else interested to what goes on at the schools and to raise interest in sending their kids to them. We’ve had four open days so far, all organised in partnership with the schools.”

Sunday schools that apply for financing for the 2016/2017 academic year must be registered in the Estonian Education Information System. The deadline for the submission of applications is 6 June 2016. More information about the application round can be found on the Integration Foundation website.

30 national minority Sunday schools were granted support for activities in the 2015/2016 academic year. These included Ukrainian, Russian, Azeri, Latvian, Georgian, Ingrian-Finnish, Tatar, Uzbek, Belarusian, Kabardian, Korean and Armenian schools.

Sunday schools are open to children and young people from the ages of 3-18. Classes are generally held in two age groups. The Integration Foundation organises in-service training for teachers each year so as to ensure that the studies offered to the students are interesting, educational and of high quality. 

The base financing of national minority Sunday schools is funded from the state budget via the Ministry of Education and Research.

For further information please contact: Kristina Pirgop | Head of Partnership Relations, MISA | Telephone: +372 659 9024 | E-mail: [email protected]  

Sunday school open days

Maštots Armenian Sunday school opens its doors to visitors

From 16:00-18:00 on Saturday 28 May the Maštots Armenian Sunday school will be holding an open-day event on the premises of the ‘Tee Tulevikku’ hobby school on the 3rd floor at Rävala 8 in Tallinn.

“Since the date of the open day coincides with Armenia’s Independence Day, we’ll be talking about Armenian history, its symbols and the most important sights in the country,” explained Džanna Šahbazjan, the director of the Sunday school. “We’ll also be having a music lesson, in which we’ll be singing Armenian songs about spring and mothers. There’ll be a handicraft lesson, too, and in the language class we’ll be revising Armenian words and expressions and learning some new ones. The event will be capped off by a dance class in which anyone interested can learn the steps to a special dance Armenians do on Independence Day.”

Anyone wishing to attend the open day is asked to register in advance by e-mailing [email protected].

The Maštots Armenian Sunday school was established in Tartu in 2008. It has also been operating in Tallinn since 2013. Students at the school study Armenian and learn about the culture and traditions of the country. The vocal ensemble Dvin, led by Džanna Šahbazjan, is connected to the school and has taken part in a number of international competitions. It also won the ETV singing competition series ‘Perepidu’ in 2012.

For further information please contact: Džanna Šahbazjan | Director, Armenian Sunday school | E-mail: [email protected]
Kristina Pirgop | Head of Partnership Relations, Integration Foundation | Telephone: +372 659 9024 | E-mail: [email protected]

National culture society events

SED ARTE to celebrate 20th anniversary with series of exhibitions

SED ARTE, a non-profit organisation which arranges art exhibitions, is set to mark its 20th anniversary with a series of exhibitions. The first in the series, entitled ‘Dolce Vita’, will be open from 12 May-7 June.

‘Dolce Vita’ will be hosted at Tallinn Portrait Gallery (Suur-Karja 2). It will showcase the latest works of two modern artists: Marina Printseva and Yuri Gorbachev. Printseva lives in St Petersburg, while Gorbachev resides in New York. They are both new-age artists with Estonian roots who look at the world from a similar angle – believing in miracles and a brighter future.

Marina Printseva’s mother is Estonian, and a blend of two cultures can be seen in all of the artist’s work. She introduces the world to Estonian and Russian traditions and their wealth of culture. Her textile compositions emerge from a complex technique that combines embroidery, painting and appliqué. Art specialists have named it ‘knitted painting’.

Juri Gorbachev’s work is characterised by the use of gold, bronze and specialist lacquers and enamels. His art can be seen in 25 museums around the world, including the Louvre and the State Russian Museum in St Petersburg. Last year the artist donated one of his paintings to KUMU.

For further information please contact: Olga Ljubaskina | Director, SED ARTE | Mobile:  +372 50 56 257 | E-mail: [email protected]

Slavic culture and literary language days to be held in May

Culture and literary language days of importance to Slavic people have been organised in Estonia for almost 30 years. The Kirill & Meffodi cultural society, in association with the Union of Russian Educational and Charity Associations in Estonia, has taken charge of the event for the past eight years. The 2016 Slavic culture and literary language days will be held at the Russian Cultural Centre in Tallinn (Mere pst 5) from 19-26 May. All events are free of charge.

The programme includes:

19 May | 18:00 – Belarusian culture day

20 May | 18:00 – Concert of the Russian Philharmonic Society in association with the instrumental studio of the Russian Cultural Centre

21 May | 16:00 – Folklore concert

22 May | 13:00 – Russian culture day featuring performances by collectives of the Union of Russian Educational and Charity Associations in Estonia

23 May | 18:00 – Ukrainian culture day

24 May | 19:00 – Concert of spiritual songs at Aleksander Nevski cathedral

27 May | 19:00 – Vocal music concert featuring performances by special guests Marina Cherkasova and Irina Ishutina (St Petersburg) and Vladimir Ignatov (Tallinn)

The following talks will be held at the Russian Cultural Centre:

23 May | 12:00 – Sergei Minin: ‘Images of Kirill and Meffodi in Russian iconic art and church architecture’

24 May | 12:00 – Literary researcher Vladmir Bragin: ‘The sources of Russian writing and publishing’

26 May | 11:00 – Artist and art specialist Valeri Laur: ‘Orthodox motifs in Russian painted art’

For further information please contact: Tatjana Semenjuk | Member of the Board, Kirill & Meffodi | Mobile: +372 5836 3613 | E-mail: [email protected]

Unique ‘Poems of Music’ concert to be held at Russian Theatre

The ‘Poems of Music’ concert being held on 21 May represents a unique project performance. The music of composers from Estonia, Russia, a variety of other European countries and the United States will be played by the Estonian Defence Forces Orchestra while the works of Russian poets from the Silver Age are recited by actors from Estonia and Russia.

The concert will take place at 18:00 on 21 May at the Russian Theatre.

Led by conductor Peeter Saan, the Estonian Defence Forces Orchestra will perform well-known romances in new arrangements featuring the vocal talents of Estonian opera singers Olga Zaitseva and Maria Kondratjeva. 

Poems by Igor Severyanin, Anna Ahmatova and Marina Tsvetaeva – representatives of the Silver Age in Russia in the early the 20th century – will be recited by Russian theatre and film actor Evklid Kürdzidis, Estonia’s Russian Theatre actress Tatjana Manevskaja, Estonia’s Puppet Theatre actor Evgeni Moissejenko, Viljandi Academy of Culture student Eduard Tee and actors from the Russian Youth Theatre.

The life story of Igor Severyanin, one of the best known authors of the Silver Age, is closely connected to Estonia: he took up residence of Toila in 1921, translating the works of many poets from Estonian into Russian with the help of his Estonian wife, Felissa Kruut. He died in Tallinn and is buried in Aleksander Nevski cemetery. Silver Age poetess Anna Ahmatova is considered to be the soul of Russian literature and the greatest poetess of the Silver Age. The works of Marina Tsvetaeva leave no one unmoved: her love poems and odes to her fatherland have a sombre undertone, reflecting her emotional world and what she went through in her life. 

Tickets are available online from Piletilevi at

For further information please contact: Marina Tee | Director, Zlata Educational and Literary Culture Centre | E-mail: [email protected]

Watch the family opera ‘Elephant’ ahead of Child Protection Day

At 12:00 on Sunday 29 May, children and their parents are invited to come along and watch the exciting new Russian choral opera ‘Elephant’. This fun production, based on text by Russian poet David Samilov, is being staged by Oleg Golub (Moscow).

The main character in the opera, which is full of adventure, is an elephant who decides to travel the world, meeting a variety of wild animals and figures from fairytales along the way. 

The music for this unique children’s opera was composed by Vladimir Ignatov. Its colourful sets and props (in Hundertwasser style), the foyer decorations and the costumes were designed by Elena Klyuyeva (Moscow).

The opera will be performed by the Allegro studio choir, Aleksandr Nekrassov, Anastassia Tsubina, Alina Silina and Eduard Tee.

The opera premiered on 16 March 2016. Tickets are available online from Piletilevi at

For further information please contact: Ljudmila Tee-Veresinina | Director, NPO Noorte Ühing Go-7 | E-mail: [email protected]

Ukrainian folk culture festival to be held in Tallinn from 1-12 June

A Ukrainian folk culture festival is to be organised at the same time as the Tallinn Old Town Days by the Ukrainian Cultural Centre. The main aims of the event, which will run from 1-12 June, are to introduce the culture of Ukrainians – one of the largest ethnic minorities in Estonia – to the public and to further ensure that cultural heritage and traditions are passed on and maintained among the local Ukrainian community.

During the festival, townsfolk and visitors will be able to take part in workshops, attend exhibitions and participate in free excursions in the Cultural Centre. At the woodwork shop (Laboratooriumi 25) visitors will be able to make their own wooden toys, while at the Cultural Centre itself (Laboratooriumi 22) there will be a workshop on decorating traditional Ukrainian Easter eggs. There will also be poetry afternoons at the centre at which visitors will hear poems from the Red Book of Poetry, while the youngest members of the family will enjoy Ukrainian fairytales. Exhibitions will also be open during the festival, showcasing traditional Ukrainian toys, embroidered kerchiefs and folk costumes.

Anyone interested is welcome to attend the events, all of which are free of charge.

The programme and schedule for the festival can be found on Facebook at and on the website of the Ukrainian Cultural Centre at

For further information please contact:  Kadri Mägi | Ukrainian Cultural Centre shopkeeper | E-mail: [email protected]

Contemporary Belarusian art on display at Keila-Joa Castle

As part of a series of exhibitions being organised by the non-profit organisation SED ARTE, an exhibition of contemporary Belarusian art entitled ‘Mental World: Dedicated to Chagall’ is being shown at Keila-Joa Castle. It is open from 4 June-4 July 2016.

The exhibition showcases the works of Russian artists Aleksandr Grishkevich, Ilona Kosobukoi and Vladimir Kontsndailov. It is the first time these artists’ works are being shown in Estonia. There will also be meet-and-greets with the artists during which they will outline their painting techniques. A ticket to Keila-Joa Castle is required in order to visit the exhibition.

For further information please contact: Olga Ljubaskina | Director, SED ARTE | Mobile: +372 50 56 257 | E-mail: [email protected]

‘Ukrainian Flowers 2016’ concert to bring together Ukrainian youngsters from Estonia and abroad

The Ukrainian Youth Union of Estonia invites everyone to attend the gala concert of the international youth and children’s festival ‘Ukrainian Flowers 2016’. The free concert will be held at 15:00 on 5 June 2016 in the main hall of the Russian Cultural Centre in Tallinn (Mere pst 5).

This annual festival gives Estonia’s Ukrainian community the chance to celebrate its cultural heritage and to promote it to the general public. Audiences can watch and listen to music and songs and folk songs and folk dances that are important to Ukrainians as performed by children and youngsters.

Ukrainian collectives from Estonia and around the world have taken part in the festival over the years. This year’s gala concert will feature children’s and youth music and dance collectives from the Estonian towns and cities of Tallinn, Sillamäe, Valga, Pärnu, Tapa, Maardu and Tartu, with guest performances by Ukrainian youngsters from Poland and Ukraine itself.

For further information please contact: Vladimir Palamar | Director, Ukrainian Youth Union of Estonia | E-mail: [email protected]

National cultural association activities are supported by the Integration and Migration Foundation Our People through the national minority cultural association project competition, which is financed from the state budget via the Ministry of Culture.

For further information please contact: Kristina Pirgop | Head of Partnership Relations, Integration Foundation | Telephone: +372 659 9024 | E-mail: [email protected]