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    ESTONIA BARS RESIDENCE TO 30 RETIRED RUSSIAN SOLDIERS

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    TALLINN, MARCH 18, 2004. (RIA NOVOSTI) - The Estonian government refused to issue permanent residence permits to thirty retired Russian military officers and their families, reports the governmental press service.

    The refusal proceeded from advice of an ad hoc commission led by Margus Leivo, Interior Minister, government PR said to RIA Novosti.

    The applicants are on a list of persons whom an Estonian-Russian agreement of July 26, 1994, concerns. The document envisages social guarantees for retired military officers and their dependants, the commission says in a statement.

    The applicants have no prospects at all to be expelled from Estonia - but they are entitled only to temporary residence permits, no longer than five years each, in compliance with an amendment made December last to the law, On Aliens.

    One Evgeny Miroshnichenko, a retired Soviet Army officer, applied to the State Court, 2002, after he was refused permanent residence. Though he won the case due to certain vaguely worded legal clauses, the plaintiff had to make do with a temporary residence permit.

    To prevent the precedent setting subsequent judicial practice, parliament amended the law On Aliens, December 17, 2003, to prohibit permanent residence to retired military officers of other countries, and their families. The amendment entered into force, January 16.

    Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs promptly came out against the notorious legal point.

    Estonia has roughly six thousand retired military officers and their family members whom the above agreement concerns.

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