- Saeima’s Society Consolidation Committee met with representatives of Ukrainian NGOs in Latvia
- Vesti Segodnya interviews head of the Union of Latvia’s Ukrainian Communities Ludmila Belinceva
- Latvijas Avize prints articles about the history of the Russian Orthodox Church in Latvia
Latvijas Avize reports about a meeting of the Saeima’s Society Consolidation Committee with representatives of Ukrainian NGOs in Latvia. There are many Ukrainian organisations in Latvia and no common one which would represent all Ukrainians. According to the head of one of the biggest NGOs - Union of Latvia’s Ukrainian Communities Ludmila Belinceva, Ukrainian organisations in Latvia represent very different opinions as there are also different opinions among Ukrainian residents. Mrs Belinceva said that Ukrainian society is much more split than Latvian and Latvia would help Ukraine by sharing its successful experience in consolidation of the society. Representatives of the Latvia’s Congress of Ukrainians, in their turn, called Latvian authorities to draw closer attention at granting Russian citizenship to Latvian residents, information provided by Russia’s federal TV channels broadcasted in Latvia, and some Latvian politicians, like MEP from Latvia Tatjana Zdanoka (Latvia’s Russian Union) who, to their opinion, split the society.
Vesti Segodnya interviews the head of the Union of Latvia’s Ukrainian Communities Ludmila Belinceva. Mrs Belinceva comments recent statement by the head of the other Ukrainian organisation - Latvia’s Congress of Ukrainians Mikola Pavljuk made in the Saeima saying that disloyal Latvian non-citizens should be sent out of Latvia. Mrs Belinceva says that Ukrainians living in Latvia do not share Pavljuk’s statements. Mrs Belinceva believes that by such statement he surpassed even the most radical local nationalists and offended not only all Ukrainians but also all Latvian residents.
Latvijas Avize prints articles about the history of the Russian Orthodox Church in Latvia and the planned visit of the Patriarch of All Russian Orthodox Church Kirill to Latvia in May. There are about 350,000 Orthodox believers in Latvia and it is the third major confession in the country after Lutherans and Catholics.
- Security Police initiated a criminal proceeding concerning an online collection of signatures in support of reunion of Latvia with Russia
- Ombudsman Juris Jansons accuses Vesti Segodnya of provision of false information
- The Daily Telegraph: Daugavpils might be the next region to ask for Russia’s “protection”
The Security Police initiated a criminal proceeding concerning an online collection of signatures in support of reunion of Latvia with Russia. The authors of the petition as a post scriptum to its description noted that it is just a joke. However, the Security Police considers that it contains a call to abolish the independence of Latvia with an aim to make it a part of another state. Vesti Segodnya
Vesti Segodnya reports that the Ombudsman Juris Jansons in an interview with Latvian Radio 4 accused the newspaper of provision of false information reporting on his position about bilingual education. The Ombudsman asserted that he never called to close Russian language schools, but when was asked by the radio program’s host to clarify his own position regarding national minority schools, the Ombudsman did not provide a clear answer. The newspaper, in its turn, asserts that it is the Ombudsman who misleads the public and his recommendation which is officially published clearly says that “as 50% of minority students evaluate their Latvian language knowledge as good, it is recommended to set in the legal acts that secondary education for students who have studied for a while in Latvian education system is only in Latvian language.”
According to the British Daily Telegraph, Daugavpils (city in the Eastern part of Latvia) might be the next region to ask for Russia’s “protection”. The newspaper notes that Daugavpils, along with a few other Baltic settlements near Russian border, is one of few cities in the EU with a Russian speaking majority. Two of the interviewed Daugavpils residents complain about harsh economic situation, high unemployment and no benefit from Latvian membership in the EU and assume that it would be good if Latvian would become part of Russia again.
- Minister of Education Ina Druviete asserts that the will be no major changes in bilingual education system
- Rector of the University of Latvia Marcis Auzins: requirements for state language proficiency for foreign lecturers are absurd
Vesti Segodnya reports about a meeting of the President of Latvia Andris Berzins with the Minister of Education Ina Druviete. The President asked the Minister to clarify her position regarding the plans to transfer education in ethnic minority schools into Latvian language. According to the Minister Druviete, there will be no radical reform and the Education law will not be changed. The newspaper says that the Minister’s tactic is to persuade school directors to use model of bilingual education which foresees proportion 80/20 instead of the most widespread model 60/40 – which means that all subjects except Russian language and literature will be thought in Latvian language. The Headquarters for the Defence of Russian Language Schools in Latvia, in its turn, plans to hold another picket for children’s right to receive education in native language on 20 March.
Rector of the University of Latvia Marcis Auzins stated that the existing regulations on state language proficiency requirements for university lecturers are absurd and hinder attraction of foreign lecturers for permanent work in Latvian universities. In order to get permanent employment as a staff member at Latvian higher education establishment, the lecturer has to have the certificate of the highest state language level. Vesti Segodnya
- Unofficial commemoration of Latvian Waffen SS legionnaires took place without major incidents
Newspapers report that the unofficial public events commemorating Latvian Waffen SS legionnaires took place without major incidents. About 2000 persons participated in the procession amid the plentiful presence of law enforcement personnel, including Border Guards and the Police boat patrol. "World without Nazism" protesters shouted at the participants of the procession, yet unlike the previous year, there were no incidents. Some politicians participated in the commemoration procession, including the MPs Raivis Dzintars, Janis Dombrava, Imants Paradnieks, Vineta Porina, Inara Murniece, member of Riga City Council Aleksandrs Kirsteins, as well as former Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development Einars Cilinskis who has recently been dismissed from this post due to his announced decision to take part in the procession just like he participated during all previous years. Altogether, 7 individuals were detained for petty violations. Diena, Latvijas Avize, Neatkariga, Vesti Segodnya
- Anti-discrimination campaign launched by the Society Integration Foundation
- Diena: many aggressive comments on internet portal www.diena.lv come from users located in European institutions
Latvijas Avize reports about an anti-discrimination campaign launched by the Society Integration Foundation. One of the key elements of the campaign are posters with different pictures of little children accompanied with titles that due to different reasons they might be subjected to discrimination in future. According to the Ombudsman’s Office, from August 2013 to this day, legal equality department has received 73 complaints and initiated 22 verification cases. Five of these cases concern discrimination on the grounds of racial and ethnic belonging, six cases concern discriminating attitude towards pregnant women and mothers with little children, four cases about discrimination on the grounds of disability, six cases about violation of the principle of legal equality. The State Labour Inspection, in its turn, in 2013, punished a number of employers who set gender or age limits for potential employees in job advertisements.
Diena prints an article about its monitoring of aggressive comments on internet portal www.diena.lv checking IP addresses of users who published these comments. The monitoring showed that many offensive comments using uncensored vocabulary comes from IP addresses registered for the Council of the European Union and the European Commission’s houses in Brussels and Luxemburg. Many rude comments published under news articles about social economic issues topical for Latvia come from Latvians living outside Latvia. Users taking part in the recent discussions about situation in Ukraine come also from Russia and United States of America and often, using rude words and racist or hateful content, thus raising confrontation. Three years ago the same monitoring showed that the many aggressive comments were published by authors located in the Ministry of Interior, Bank of Latvia, and Central Statistics Board.