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The rural areas are populated almost entirely by ethnic Estonians, except for Lake Peipus coast, which has a long history of Old Believers communities.
In 2011, University of Tartu sociology professor Marju Lauristin found that 21% were successfully integrated, 28% showed partial integration, and 51% were unintegrated or little integrated.
The population of Russians in Estonia is estimated at 320,000.
Most Russians live in Harju and Ida-Viru counties, where are majority in many municipalities.
Under Russian rule, power in the region remained primarily in the hands of the Baltic German nobility, but a limited number of administrative jobs was gradually taken over by Russians, who settled in Reval (Tallinn) and other major towns.
As the Russian Federation was recognized as the successor state to the Soviet Union, all former USSR citizens qualified for natural-born citizenship of Russia, available upon mere request, as provided by the law "On the RSFSR Citizenship" in force up to the end of 2000.
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Although Estonia have a centuries-long history of settlement by Russians, including the Old Believers' communities, the majority of today's Estonian Russians arrived in the Soviet era or are the descendants of those who did.
In 1217, an allied Ugaunian-Novgorodian army defended the Ugaunian stronghold of Otepää from the German knights.