The objectives of the development plan of the housing sphere 2007-2013, the drafting of which has become into a final stage, are to make a housing accessible to all the residents of Estonia and to develop the housing foundation into a quality and sustainable one. There will again be a big idea for uniting the society – restoration of fairness in the Estonian legal system and curing the injustice caused by the ownership reform.
”The ownership reform initiated during the restoration of independence must be completed in compliance with the objectives of the reform while honouring the constitutional bases of the legal system” as noted by the President Arnold Rüütel. For that purpose, both the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Finance have provided new support measures, which should enable repairing the material damage caused by the violation of the equal treatment principle to all the persons who were deprived of the possibility to privatise a dwelling. “The Estonian nation must feel that Estonia cares; that they live in a country that cares about them,” assures the President of the Republic Toomas Hendrik Ilves while giving the feeling of assurance to that idealistic objective.         

As a Member State of the European Union, we have an obligation to respect human rights, including the civil right that was contradicted with in the ownership reform. Estonia that restored its independence, starting with extensive economic and social reforms, made a reservation in the Act of Ratification of Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms Convention and Its Additional Protocols on 13 March 1996. With that, they precluded the international legal surveillance over the ownership reform and over the execution of the financial segregation policy at the reallocation of the joint ownership. By peculating the right to privatise their home from dozens of lessees, those apartments were granted to the so-called legal successors at pleasure of officials. The entire activity is mystified as the restitution of property over half a century.

In the European room of culture, we find a substantially similar activity during the so-called enclosure in the British Isles in the 17-18th century where, first with a physical violence and later with a public violence pursuant to law, a systematic “inclosure of commons” (R. Price) took place. Thus, nowadays in Estonia, the so-called ‘purging’ the forced tenants from the dwellings is taking place. By treating the dispossession of foreign property by embezzlement, squandering, or by misuse of official position trusted to the official or at the disposal of the official as a criminal offence against property, the Criminal Code provided as a punishment imprisonment for up to 8 years in Estonia at the last decade of the 20th century.

In spring 2006, at the meeting with the Irish Ambassador, the Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications, Edgar Savisaar, recognised that Estonia has paid dearly for its reforms. “The main difference of our societies is that if your success is founded on an organised cooperation between various layers of the society, then here it has been partially achieved at the expense of the weak,” Savisaar said as a conclusion. Now it is time for the state of Estonia to turn its face towards the modern European state based on the rule of law and stop the arbitrary action, “which has accompanied the dogmatic implementation of the restitutional ownership reform” (Member of the European Parliament Siiri Oviir).

The project “Development of the measures directed at solving the collisions between the owners – lessees occurred with the ownership reform in the housing” is directed on the basis of a scientific treatment at drafting practical solutions at solving those contradictions. A forced tenant as a person with a social status represents a person with a special social, economic, and legal position caused in our society by the ownership reform who was deprived of his legal possibility to privatise his dwelling used on a basis of a lease contract on the equal bases with other lessees. An estimated number of such forced tenants is 80,000 households. As an acute problem, the so-called restitution of the houses to the Baltic-Germans appears, as a result of which the subject of forced tenants of these houses will be handled separately.

If you yourselves or the members of your family belong to the persons deprived of the possibility to privatise the dwelling restituted during the ownership reform described above, please fill in the following REGISTER SHEET to start the specification of the bases for estimating the material and moral damage to thereby enable to apply for curing the damage.                 

Peeter Tedre,
Person responsible for the project