- Latvijas Avize interviews the head of Security Police Normunds Mezvietis
Latvijas Avize interviews the head of Security Police Normunds Mezvietis. According to Mr Mezvietis, in addition to information gathering, risk assessment and neutralisation, the Security Police is currently increasing its work on preventing security risks. Some minority NGOs and activists in Latvia receive funding from various foundations in Russia for research, public activities, publication of books and officially there are no restrictions on foreign funding for NGOs in Latvia. Before the crisis in Ukraine, the Security Police made a number of proposals to restrict such funding, however, other institutions did not support such move because it could violate human rights and the principles of liberal democracy; this attitude is changing now. The Security Police is following publications of various books, which could be conditionally called "anti-state", such as alleging violations of rights of national minorities or glorifying the Soviet era or besmirching the independence periods. The wording of these publications and opinions does not represent violation form the legal point of view. According to Mr. Mezvietis, the freedom of speech should be balanced against the interests of national security. So far, the Security Police issued recommendations to deny residence permits in 30 cases.
- Mayor of Riga Nils Usakovs: Russian speakers criticise the government policies, yet they support Latvia as independent sovereign state
Latvijas Avize interviewed the Mayor of Riga Nils Usakovs after he returned from the funeral of slain Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov in Moscow. According to Mr. Usakovs, the murder of Mr. Nemtsov was a shock for everyone – both to the ruling circles and to the opposition. He hopes that the death of Mr. Nemtsov could become a turning point to motivate people to calm down tensions and improve the situation – resolving crisis in the EU-Russia relations and ending the war in Ukraine. Mr. Usakovs believes he does not have the mandate to speak on behalf of all Russian minority in Latvia, yet he is one of the politicians in Latvia who has most contact and communication with Russian speaking residents and thus he is able to make conclusions about their attitudes. He highlights that many Russian speakers are very critical about the government policies, the MPs or ministers and he believes that this is normal and in this sense, minorities are not different from ethnic Latvians. However, it is important that the majority of Russian speakers are support Latvia as independent sovereign state. He believes Russians are much more patriotic than what the modern myths allege. Regarding the forthcoming presidential election in the Saeima, Mr. Usakovs emphasised that the "Concord Centre" is an opposition party and thus it will have to choose between candidates put forward by other parties and he does not rule out support to the incumbent Andris Berzins.
- Shortage of Latvian language courses in Daugavpils
- The most popular parties in February
The demand for Latvian language courses in Daugavpils is greater than the number of available places. The Daugavpils City Council allotted EUR 6000 for that purpose and the Education Department organised seven training groups (20 persons in each) at different levels. Within four days, 177 persons applied to the courses and thus the application had to be closed. Neatkariga
According to the results of opinion poll conducted by Latvijas fakti, the most popular parties in February were Concord (18,1%), Union of Greens and Farmers (12,7%) and Unity (9,8%). Neatkariga
- Programme "Ambassador of Latvia’s culture" implemented in 2014
Latvijas Avize writes about the programme "Ambassador of Latvia’s culture", implemented in 2014. Participants of the programme (25 representatives of minorities and majority population) took 64 academic hours of training on themes "Identity and culture", "Cooperation and dialogue in community" and "Culture projects development and implementation", in order to disseminate this knowledge throughout Latvia and facilitate cooperation of various different ethnicities as well as understanding of Latvia’s culture and its interaction with cultures of Latvia’s minorities. Latvijas Avize interviewed some of the graduates. Dmitrijs Trofimovs of Russian students’ corporation "Fraternitas Arctica" shares this knowledge with other members of the corporation. They also developed a project "1918-2018.Future" with travelling exhibition about the participation of ethnic minorities in Latvia’s war for independence. Natalija Ketnere, the editor of local Russian language weekly "Nedela Ogre", collected and published materials about Ogre as vacation town and its prominent personalities – Orthodox Christian pastor Georgijs Tailovs (politically repressed during Stalinist era), painter Karlis Hunu, opera singers Pauls Sakss and Elfrida Pakule. Jazeps Dobkevics, culture worker in Kraslava and representative of Latvia’s Polish union "Strumien", is grateful for the new information and highlights that Kraslava is a place benevolent to different cultures, as there are two Latvian schools, one Russian and one Polish school, as well as music and arts schools. He also believes there are stereotypes in the society about the students of Russian schools, which are untrue. Olga Rozko of Slavonic culture society "Rodnik" is grateful for new methods and new contacts, which are helpful in her work and cultural activities. The programme was developed by the Ministry of Culture, Latvia National Culture Centre and NGO "CultureLab".
- State Language Centre: the main task of the volunteer assistants of the state language inspectors will be provision of advices and consultations
According to the State Language Centre (SLC), the main task of the volunteer assistants of the state language inspectors will be provision of advices and consultations to people about correct usage of Latvian language. If a volunteer finds violation of the State Language Law in the public space, s/he will address the responsible person explaining how to prevent it. The volunteers will not be authorized to punish for violations of state language usage. Choosing the volunteers, the SLC will have to ensure their competence and ensure training on the legal provisions. The SLC hopes to engage teachers, librarians, employees of municipal institutions in such initiative. Latvijas Avize