- “SKDS” published a government commissioned survey of Latvia’s ethnic minorities “Sense of Belonging to Latvia”
- Cabinet of Ministers tasks the ministries with the preparation of proposals for measures aimed at the consolidation of the society
The market and public opinion research centre “SKDS” launched a government commissioned survey of Latvia’s ethnic minorities “Sense of Belonging to Latvia.” According to the survey, the number of respondents who agree with the statement “I am proud of being a Latvian citizen/resident” has grown compared with the results of surveys conducted in previous years. In 2014 58% agree with the statement compared with 35% in 2009. As to the most topical problems 38% of respondents mention issues of social security and social policy, 34,4% - unemployment, 26,5 % - raising of living standards, 19% - health care, 17,5% – economic development, 13,8% - financial policy, 13,3% - citizenship and ethnic issues, etc. 20,7% respondents claim their knowledge of Latvian is excellent, 27,6% - as good, 27,5% - as satisfactory, 18,8% - as poor, and 4,2% do not know any Latvian. Only 11,3% of those ethnic minorities who are not Latvian citizens plan to naturalise within the next 12 months, while 80% have no such plans. Respondents mention lack of motivation, age, poor Latvian language proficiency as the main reasons for not obtaining Latvian citizenship. In evaluating the events aimed at the promotion of consolidation of the society, 79% of respondents (who were aware about the following events) positively evaluated Latvian language courses, 77% - events for children (camps, competitions etc), 65% broadcasting of important events on LTV7 and Latvian Radio Channel 4 in Russian, 55% support to ethnic minority NGOs aimed at the preservation of cultural and ethnic identity, 50% day or festival of ethnic minorities, 49% bilingual education in schools, and 46% - the solemn ceremony on granting Latvian citizenship. The majority of respondents or 41% in evaluating the conflict between the Ukraine and Russia stated that they do not support any of the sides, while 36% support Russia, and 15% Ukraine. In responding to the question as to what ethnic Latvians should do to promote the consolidation of the society, the most frequent answers were: the government should stop provoking and splitting people (13%); to be friendly, responsive, kind, appreciative (11%); both sides should make concessions, unite, and not split the society (8%.) The survey was conducted in May and June 2014. 800 ethnic minority respondents took part in the survey – 68,9% of them were Russians, 11,4% Belorussians, 7,2% Ukrainians, 5,8% Polish, and 6,6% representatives of other ethnic group.
Full text of the survey is available in Latvian at: http://www.mk.gov.lv/sites/default/files/editor/atskaite_piederiba_08_2014.pdf
In response to the survey, the Cabinet of Ministers has tasked the ministries with the preparation of proposals how to ensure free Latvian language courses, increase motivation for obtaining Latvian citizenship, improve availability of information in Latgale (Eastern Latvia), government communication that encourages the sense of belonging to Latvia, and other measures for the consolidation of the society. The Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma highlighted the fact that 64% of ethnic minorities are Latvian patriots as a good indicator also acknowledging the need for considerable work in furthering integration.
Official press release by the Cabinet of Ministers available in English at: http://www.mk.gov.lv/en/aktualitates/government-urges-strengthen-national-minorities-sense-belonging-latvia